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Constantini, Humberto

CONSTANTINI, HUMBERTO

CONSTANTINI, HUMBERTO (1924–1987), Argentinian author, poet, and playwright of Sephardi-Italian heritage. From his beginning in the 1950s, his works were deeply involved with the social and political situation of his country. His identification with leftist groups led him to choose exile when a military dictatorship seized power in 1976. In Mexico, where he lived in 1976–83, he wrote his most important novels: De dioses, hombrecitos y policías (1979; Gods, the Little Guys and the Police, 1984) and La larga noche de Francisco Sanctis (1984; The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis, 1985). Both deal with the practical and moral plight of people persecuted by state terrorism, in a combination of realistic themes with an expressionist, poetic, and even grotesque style. His collections of short stories (Un señor alto, rubio, de bigotes, 1963; Una vieja historia de caminantes, 1967; Háblenme de Funes, 1970) include some Jewish stories in Sephardi and ancient Jerusalem settings. Jewish history and identity also appear in his collection of poetry Cuestiones con la vida (1986). His unfinished novel Rapsodia de Raquel Liberman deals with the Jewish prostitution trade in Argentina in the 1920s. Costantini's plays and dramatic monologues were published in ¡Chau Pericles! Teatro completo (1986). His works have been translated into English, French, Hebrew, German, and Russian.

bibliography:

D.B. Lockhart, Jewish Writers of Latin America. A Dictionary (1997); A.E. Weinstein and M.E. Nasatsky (eds.), Escritores judeo-argentinos: bibliografía 1900–1987 (1994); F. Reati, Nombrar lo innombrable: Violencia política y novela argentina 1975–1985 (1992).

[Florinda Goldberg (2nd ed.)]

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