Venezuelan Literature: Classics and favorite books and writers

Today I want to talk to you about one of my favorite topics. A subject that I am very passionate about. Literature. But I want to talk to you more than anything about Venezuelan literature.

I love reading and I enjoy a good reading since I was a little girl. I loved when the teachers sent me to read a book at school. When you are studying in Venezuela, the usual thing is that they send you to read classics of Venezuelan literature. Let me tell you that there are a lot of good Venezuelan writers. The ability to write is an art. To transport people to the story, be it fiction or a documentary story. And I have laughed and cried with books of many Venezuelan writers.

Venezuelan literature has crossed several stages until it reaches what it is today: It went through the costumbrismo, the criollismo and even inherited other currents of universal literature.

Today I want to give you a small sample of some of the great works of national literature that I recommend reading if you are interested in knowing more about Venezuelan culture:

  • Doña Bárbara:
    An irrefutable classic of Venezuelan literature that comes from the hand of the famous Rómulo Gallegos, and one of the obligatory books that send you to read at school. This work was published in 1929. It is a novel set in the Alto Apure and which deals with several issues at once, always highlighting the struggle of civilization against barbarism, a recurring theme in Gallegos. Without a doubt, it is a fundamental of the national literature.
    In front of Doña Bárbara will be Santos Luzardo who will serve as antipode and who will make in the novel as the representative of civilization.
    In addition to this theme, the novel is also full of characters and situations typical of the Venezuelan plains, and is written with a language of this region of the country.
    In his novels, Gallegos would always print this social criticism and these remarks that he would also make during his life as a politician in the country.

Doña Barbara by Rómulo Gallegos
  • Las Memorias de Mama Blanca(The Memories of Mama Blanca):
    One of my favorite books, written by my favorite writer, the beautiful Teresa de la Parra, was published the same year as Doña Bárbara (1929)
    It is a story that portrays several of the adventures of childhood. It is Mama Blanca who, cordially, tells the memories of her childhood. The work brings with it all a forgotten Venezuela, left behind, a country of dirt roads and few buildings.
    It is written with a melancholy tone and the novel, without a doubt, brings us back to a Venezuela of the past, together with a nostalgia. I recommend reading it if you are one of those who are excited listening to the stories of your grandparents or your parents about the past. The book is something like that. It takes you to the memories of Mama Blanca and fills you with all her emotions. Her happiness, her sadness and her melancholy.
    Several scholars of Venezuelan literature have commented that in The Memories of Mama Blanca Teresa de la Parra captured her own memories.

The Memories of Mama Blanca by Teresa de la Parra
  • Ifigenia(Iphigenia):
    Teresa de la Parra also wrote another beautiful novel, which I also consider one of my favorites and is called Ifigenia, stars a girl of about 18 years, Maria Eugenia Alonso, who has just returned to Caracas after a long stay in Europe. She discovers that she no longer has an inheritance, and so she has to live in her grandmother’s house and look for a good marriage.
    Iphigenia marked a change in Venezuelan literature. The work is a portrait of Caracas society at the beginning of the 20th century. The strict moral standards are represented in the novel in the character of the Grandmother. The ambitious personality, common at that time due to corruption in the administration, appears represented in the character of Tío Pancho. In addition to being a harsh critic of society, Iphigenia is a work full of rhythm, with very detailed descriptions.
    The work posed serious problems for its author since the then Venezuelan dictator Juan Vicente Gómez decided to deny her any type of grant to publish the novel. De la Parra decided then to move to Paris.
    For some in Ifigenia you can see a veiled criticism of the Gómez regime.
  • Lanzas Coloradas(Red Spears):
    It is Arturo Uslar Pietri who, in 1931, managed to publish this great independentist novel. In it, he narrates several scenes of the campaigns undertaken by Bolívar and by the representative of the Spanish army, Boves.
    But Uslar Pietri not only remains to present these two figures, but skillfully presents all the progenies independence from two different castes: The wealthy, with land, money and amenities, and the workers of these farms, which lacked land but that did not lack ambitions.
    It is a story shown from several angles, moving away from a single vision of the facts but, rather, presents them from different perspectives.
    Reading this work is to transport yourself to this time, distancing yourself a bit from the romanticism that characterized the other texts that addressed it.
  • Cuando Quiero Llorar No Lloro(When I Want to Cry I Do not Cry):
    The title of this work was taken from a poem by Rubén Darío (Youth, divine treasure / you’re going to not return! / When I want to cry I do not cry… / And sometimes I cry without wanting to…).
    It was Miguel Otero Silva who, with already extensive literary career, published this novel in 1970.
    Through the voice and life of three characters, called the three Victorino, who belong to different social classes, Otero Silva makes a social and political critique of his time.
    It was not the first novel that Miguel Otero Silva published in the form of criticism, but one of the best known and also a reference of Venezuelan literature. Through its pages you can find three different ways of living and conceiving the city of Caracas in the second half of the 20th century.
  • Casas Muertas(Dead Houses):
    My dear Miguel Otero Silva, whom I also consider one of my favorites Venezuelan writers, also wrote a saga of books that I consider to be classics that are also highly recommended. These are Dead Houses and Office 1.
    Dead Houses is the second novel of this Venezuelan writer, was published in 1955.
    The novel is a description of the decline of Ortiz, a town in the central plains of the country, due to the continuing deaths from severe epidemics of malaria and the emigration of its inhabitants to large cities and oil production areas. The novel illustrates the process in which Latin American peoples subjected to external interests were victims of false progress and an unequal and disintegrating modernization.
    Otero won the National Prize for Literature in the edition of. -1956 and the Novel Prize Arístides Rojas for this novel, which would have a continuation 6 years later: Office No 1.
  • Oficina 1(Office No. 1):
    This is the third novel by Venezuelan writer Miguel Otero Silva. Published in the year 1961.
    The novel narrates the birth of an oil field around the No. 1 Office, first in eastern Venezuela, which was drilled by the “Venezuelan Gulf“. The novel continues the story we saw in Casas Muertas following the transformation of the well into an oil town, which in real life corresponds to the city of El Tigre, and its anarchic development.

All these novels I consider great classics of Venezuelan literature and are highly recommended by me, your beloved weekly writer.

I hope you liked the post this week! I send you a lot of love as always, my dear readers!

Have a happy week!

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