Biography: Andrés Bello | Philologist, writer, lawyer and Venezuelan pedagogue.

(Caracas, 1781 - Santiago de Chile, 1865) Philologist, writer, lawyer and Venezuelan pedagogue, one of the most important figures of the American liberal humanism. Andrés Bello had the immense privilege of assisting, in its 84 years of life, the disappearance of a world and the birth and consolidation of a new one. He met the three last decades of Spanish rule in America, and on the period of emancipation of the Spanish in the new world colonies and the emergence of the new States born of the process of independence. That was a privilege that never ceases to be a mere chronological coincidence was due to his extraordinary ability to understand and study from the inside and to effectively drive springs of reality that had him live.

Andrés Bello
Great liberal humanist in the best English tradition, since in the United Kingdom had to be philosophically and politically, Andrés Bello had the talent know move to the practice field his great erudition in lands as diverse as Philology, Linguistics and grammar, teaching, editing, diplomacy and international law. In addition, contributed to Latin American letters, nourished readings of the classic Latin poems, an indigenous consciousness. In his vast erudition, its political character and its literary sensitivity reflects the ideal of European classicism, perfectly coupled with the modern national and patriotic sensitivity of his time.
Andrés Bello was born in Caracas, then headquarters of the captaincy General of Venezuela, on November 29, 1781. In his hometown he lived to 29 years of age. His parents, beautiful Bartholomew and Ana Antonia López, did nothing to prevent the voracious passion for letters that said from his childhood. After completing his studies in the Academy of Ramon Vanlosten, he could become familiar with latin in the convent of Las Mercedes, guided by friendly erudition of the father Cristóbal de Quesada, who opened the doors of the great Latin texts.
At the age of fifteen, Bello already translated the 5th book of the Aeneid. Four years later, on June 14, 1800, is he received Bachelor of Arts for the Real y Pontificia Universidad de Caracas. And it was in that year of 1800 when it produced its first encounter with a great man, who already definitely opened the dykes of their curiosity and interest in science: Alexander von Humboldt, whom he accompanied in his ascension to the top of the eastern peak of the Chair in Caracas, which was then known as Chair of the cerro El Ávila.
Bello then started University studies of law and medicine. Of modestly well-to-do family, he coasted in part studying giving private lessons; with other young Caracas, was among his students the future liberator: Simón Bolívar. In addition to these activities, it was added to the study of French and English, Bello was attracted especially by the letters, and began to write poetic compositions and to attend the literary tertulia of Francisco Javier Ustáriz.

Lesson of Bello Bolívar (detail
a picture of Tito Salas)
His first literary steps followed the footsteps of the then prevailing neoclassicism, and the nickname of The Swan the Anaucoearned him, in the illustrated Caracas society. In addition to translations of Latin and French works, he composed in these first years of literary performance Odes to the Anauco, vaccine, the ship and the victory of Bailén, sonnets to an artist and my desires, the enabling of the Pokémon Tirsis eclogue and romance to a saman, as well as dramas Venezuela comforted and restored Spain.
At age twenty-one he received his first public office: official Second Secretary of the captaincy General of Venezuela, which was promoted in 1807 to Commissioner of war and civil of vaccine Board Secretary, and in 1810 officer first Secretary of Foreign Affairs. In 1806, the first printing press brought by Mateo Gallagher and James Lamb, very late indeed, considering that the first installation of a printing press in America dates back to 1539, in the capital of new Spain, Mexico had come to Venezuela. In 1808, he began to publish the Gaceta de Caracas, and Andrés Bello was appointed its first editor.
In these years of intense official activity began to take shape their taste for history, historiography and the grammar, which was early captured in his summary of the history of Venezuela, extraordinary first outbreak in which are already present the principles guiding humanist of his future work; in his translation of the art of writing of Condillac, printed without their consent in 1824, and mostly in one of its founders grammatical studies: Spanish conjugation times ideological analysis, work that began to write to 1810 and which would be published in Chile in 1841.

The London exile (1810-1829)

The decisive moment in the life and intellectual career of Andrés Bello was the decision of the patriotic Board, as a result of the events of April 19, 1810, send to London a diplomatic mission with the task of achieving accession by the English Government to the cause of the recent and fragile Declaration of Venezuelan independence. On June 10 of that year sailed in the English Commander of the general Wellington members of the mission designated by the Board, Simón Bolívar and Luis López Méndez, whom Andres Bello escorting as a translator.
Bello was unaware that that journey that began then would move away forever from his hometown, and that the city was heading to, London, would be their permanent residence for the next nineteen years. The first important event of his new London life stood also at the meeting with a great man: Francisco de Miranda. Upon arriving in the British capital on July 14, the three members of the mission were accommodation, advice and help from Miranda, who, in turn, decided to join the independence process traveling to Caracas.
On 10 October, date of his departure from London, Miranda left installed in his house in Grafton Street Lopez Mendez and Andrés Bello, who would reside there until 1812. Bello had access to the splendid library of the hero, which occupied an entire floor. When the July 5, 1811 declared the independence of Venezuela, both were appointed as representatives of the new secessionist Government in the English capital, position he lost to reconquer the Spanish power a year later.
He then began to Bello, who could not return to Venezuela under penalty of prosecution to court military treason, a long period of economic hardship, which lasted for a decade. He had bad luck in the efforts initiated to achieve a charge and a salary. Thus, in 1815, his application for a post on the Government of Cundinamarca was intercepted by the troops of Pablo Morillo and never reached its destination, and his subsequent offer of services to the Government of the United Provinces of the river of the Plata, despite being accepted, never took effect, since he was unable to move to Buenos Aires.
Meanwhile, was living work piece: it gave private lessons in French and Spanish, transcribed manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham and served as institutor of the sons of William Richard Hamilton, Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, since it achieved thanks to his friendship with José María Blanco White, the great Seville intellectual exile in the United Kingdom and sympathizer with the American independence cause.

Andrés Bello
But this was also a formative period of great intellectual wealth to Bello. Actively joined the circle of Spanish emigrants, all Liberals, and some of them, like White, great writers, who made London their refuge during the absolutistic two waves in Spain. On the other hand, never left Andrés Bello study and accumulate knowledge. His numerous essays production over the years, are precisely his philological works, written or conceived and initiated in London, some of which will acquire over time the condition of classics.
Beautiful combined its scientific and critical research in these years of economic hardships, with literary activities. The best of his production in this field is coded in his poetic compositions, particularly in its two large silvas: address to the poetry, which gave to the printing in 1823, and celebrated the Agriculture of the torrid zone, published in 1826. Inside a flawless neo-classical mold, Bello poured into them, for the first time in the history of letters, large American topics, from the exaltation of the independentist exploits until the song to the fruitfulness of the nature of the continent.
Another remarkable facet of training that Bello was given to itself in these years is related to international law. Skills which had accumulated as a civil servant of the Spanish Crown, he could add in these years of intense study knowledge background of changes and developments that had been taking place in this area as a result of the Napoleonic wars, the independence of America, and the Congress of Vienna. Beautiful adopted the liberal conception of the State, of the English utilitarians, whose principal theorist, Jeremy Bentham, became the source of their institutional and political thought.
No less important was the fourth front to which Bello directed his studies and activities. The exemplary work of advertising carried out by White in the English capital during those years certainly served as a model, and after working in El Censor Americano with articles in defense of the independence cause, actively participated, together with Juan García del Río, in the edition of the journals American Library (1823) and American repertoire (1826-1827) , within the framework of the activities of the American Society of London, who helped found.
In the sphere of his private life, also the London years meant for Andrés Bello the assumption of full maturity. In May 1814 he married Mary Ann Boyland, for twenty years, with whom he had three children and widow who in 1821. Three years after this tragic event, married second wife Elizabeth Antonia Dunn, also of twenty years, who accompanied him to the end of his days and gave him no less than twelve children, three of them born in the English capital.
Two years before his second marriage failed Bello, finally, return to play in a position of official responsibility, to be named interim Secretary of the Legation of Chile in London, in charge of Antonio José de Irisarri. Together with Irisarri had collaborated with El Censor Americano in 1820, and was set between them a friendship based on mutual respect for intellectual.
Now Andres Bello achieved outstanding honors his work and appointments to posts of relief and political importance: one year before being elected as a member of the National Academy of Bogotá, in 1826, he had been in charge of the Secretary of the Legation of Colombia in London, in which you just two years later amounted to Chargé d'affaires , and in 1828 he was named consul general of Colombia in Paris, shortly before receiving the order, by the Colombian Government, the maximum diplomatic representation of the country the Court of Portugal. But he preferred to go to Chile with his family.

Chile, final homeland (1829-1865)

Andrés Bello departed from London on February 14, 1829, aboard of the English Brig Grecian, and whereon soil which would become their final homeland in Valparaiso, on June 25. Except for brief stays in this port and the Finance of the race, in San Miguel de el Monte, he lived until his death in the Chilean capital, Santiago. Bello's performance in this country traces the arc upward of one of the most brilliant public and institutional races that could conceive of an American of his time.
Immediately, upon arrival, was appointed senior officer of the Ministry of finance. The following year he began the publication of El Araucano, organ of which he was editor until 1853, and was commissioned as a rector of the Colegio de Santiago. But the pedagogic passion of Bello, started in his teens Caracas, led him to tutoring at home, from 1831. They have reached us the texts of their courses, dedicated to the study of Roman law and constitutional. Bello was always convinced that spiritual cultivation and instruction are based on the well-being of the individual and the progress of society, reason by which never ceased to promote the study of letters and Sciences; He proposed the opening of normal schools of preceptors and the creation of courses Sunday for workers.
It also gave a strong boost to the Chilean theatre with his critical comments to the representations and their suggestions actors in El Araucano. In this regard, it shares with José Joaquín de Mora the merit of being the creator of theatrical criticism. He translated Teresa of Alexandre Dumas and instilled in his disciples the taste by the adaptation of foreign works. His knowledge of the Greek Theatre and the Latin, the analysis of the works of Plautus and Terence and reading Calderón and Lope gave him enough strength to say on the matter.
Another appointment, Member of the Board of education, preceding their admission by the Chilean Congress to full citizenship, on October 15, 1832. Two years later he worked as a senior officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a role that took until 1852, and in 1837 he was elected Senator of the Republic, a position he retained until his death. In the last years of his life, his vast knowledge in the field of international relations led to his being chosen to referee disputes between Ecuador and United States (1864) and between Colombia and Peru (1865), the latter honour who was forced to decline for health reasons, being already severely ill.

Andrés Bello (detail of a portrait
Raymond Monvoisin, 1844)
Generous recognition that Chileans paid him to Bello during the thirty-six last years of her life filled with satisfaction. But among all of them, it may be assumed that which may arise from political power, but others, not were the dearest for a man, animated by a civilizing project like yours, which can be summed up in the words used by Arturo Uslar Pietri to refine it: "a commitment tenacious of uniting science and knowledge to tell the American people where they came from ", with what resources they had and the panorama of the world that played them assert themselves and act".
Unlike so many of its most illustrious contemporary Americans, Andrés Bello was not a man who ambicionara collect honors and power, and instead saw the advancement of education and the lights of the young American republics, as well as the consolidation of the regulatory institutions of their newly conquered freedom, the best service that could pay him to America. Uslar Pietri said it in his own way: "In his law firm in Chile, in his chair, in his poetry, in his prose, in his word, was doing America a Venezuela, a Chile, a Mexico largest and most enduring that demagogues and guerrillas tried to achieve in the painful excitement of their riots and assaults".
By that time who lived as the crowning of the long years of efforts from his London exile was that brought the opening of the University of Chile, in 1843, whose laws he had drafted a year before and whose Chancellor took joyful, being re-elected while he lived. Speech by Andrés Bello in that occasion offers a compendium of his pedagogical ideas and a guide for the orientation of higher education.
Similarly, the publication of its immense grammatical studies on the Spanish language initiated in the United Kingdom must have been an occasion of joy, which had its climax with the grammar of the Castilian language intended for use by the Americans, published in Chile in April 1847. At this point of his career, Bello continued researching, writing and publishing works of great scientific and practical interest: principles of law (1832) is the first work published in Chile, and that after clean-up, expand and transform, in 1844, in a classic principles of international law.

Andrés Bello
This work followed the principles of orthology and metric, in 1835; in 1841, the poem fire L'azienda, regarded in Chile as the first local manifestation of romanticism; a Latin grammar, in 1846; a cosmography, in 1848; a history of literature, and in 1850 and in 1852, twenty-two years after its writing accompanied by Juan Egaña, the culmination of which is undoubtedly his most daunting work, true overview of his conception of the liberal State, whose implementation advocated across America: the Civil Code of the Republic of Chile, the Chilean Congress approved in 1855.
These texts should add a philosophy of understanding, published posthumously in 1881. On his deathbed in agony, on in fever, Bello musitaba incomprehensible words. Those who were inclined to pick them up could decipher some: in his last hour, recited verses of the encounter of Dido and Aeneas in the Aeneid in latin.

Works of Andrés Bello

In the first half of the 19th century, when the colonial period is on track to its final eclipse, there are three essential figures in the history of the formation of Venezuelan nationality: Simón Rodríguez, Andrés Bello and Simón Bolívar. While it is true that the latter, in addition to notable writer, was primarily responsible for the political independence of the country, the first two were its spiritual independence. The figure of Andrés Bello is less "family" that Simón Rodríguez, and this distance is perhaps due to this sort of niche where the Venezuelan official culture has been placed. However, it is impossible to subtract merits to the work of this distinguished humanist.
Excellent poet, philologist illustrious, scholar estimable, diplomatic discreet, political thinker and weighted singular, Andrés Bello represented the aspiration to cultural independence of Latin America, and was a tireless polygraph: his complete works include twenty volumes. Already reviewed the extraordinary civic work he played in Chile, where he lived from 1829 until his death: among other things, drafted the Civil Code of this nation and founded the University of Santiago.
In this city he published his important grammar of the Castilian language designated for the use of American (1847), a work which revolved more important controversies on Spanish America throughout the second half of the 19th century. Another of his brilliant pieces, worthy of a careful re-reading, is his keynote speech at the University of Chile. In terms of style, it is one of the highest moments of his prose and, moreover, shows that no branch of knowledge was alien to his knowledge.

Poetic works

As a poet, the current evaluation of your work gives you a more documentary than literary importance. Andrés Bello possessed extensive poetic scholarship, as well as a thorough knowledge of the craft, but lacked the creative gift. In the background (and despite the fact that, as it says Picón Salas, was romantic at times), Bello could never leave cast of neo-classicism that had formed, and is formerly a right-handed versificador as a true poet. His vast and unfinished Silva of the torrid zone agricultural (fruit of your stay in London between 1810 and 1829) is a tangible sign of American passion.
A natural way to classify the poems of Andrés Bello is to separate the original poems of translations or imitations. Thus, in a group we find imitation poems, translated or versioned, The Djinns, the sadness of Olimpio, prayer for all, Moses saved from the waters and ghosts, under the influence of Víctor Hugo. It is because you also a translation in verse of the in love with Orlando. As a philologist, Andrés Bello was applied to the renovation of the Poem of the Cid, work that left unfinished. Started in 1823, his version of the Poem of the Cid or exploits of mio Cid is a masterpiece of erudition and good taste, being perhaps that has contributed most to spread his name.
Constitute the original part of their production pieces such as the field and the banned. The field is a species's eclogue. In the outlaw, Bello mixes humor with poetry: the Knight Azagra, descendant of warriors, walk here in free-for-all, like a new Socrates, with a modern Xantipa. His two most important poems are address to poetry (1823) and Silva to the Agriculture of the torrid zone (1826). Both were published in the London Magazine which edited Bello: the American Library and the American repertoire, respectively.
Address to the poetry (1823) comes to be, with its two silvas, the most outstanding work of Andrés Bello. In the first silva, the author invites poetry to leave Europe for the prodigious world discovered by Christopher Columbus, and the poet praises the great beauties of American nature. Later, Bello celebrates the feats of war the war of independence. In the Silva to the Agriculture of the torrid zone (1826) Urges Americans to peace, advising them bartered arms for the labrador tooling. A rich, colorful style, characterized in general throughout their production.

Philological works

But perhaps the philologist has been as the most enduring facet of the personality of Bello. Already he has alluded to his reconstruction of the Poem of the Cid; We must now review its work principles of orthology and metric of the Castilian language, published in Santiago de Chile in 1835. The first part, the archeology, which analyzes the prosodic bases of the Spanish and the usual vices of pronunciation, especially in Latin America, today is considered aged to modern studies of Phonetics, which have completely renovated this discipline.
But metric, which is the work of a scholar and a poet, still full now. Hermosilla and Sicily, representing the neoclassical approach wanting all trance to see in Castilian verse succession of long and short syllables (i.e. a shadowing of the Greek and Latin feet), Andrés Bello raised the real foundations of the Castilian verse: "after having read carefully - says - not just what has been written on this subject I decided on the opinion that I seemed to have more clearly in their favor the testimony of the ear".
Bello was based in the ear and, also, in the practice of good poets. And as well as it deslatinizó the gramática castellana to analyze the true grammatical system of their language, banished the Castilian metric (as Pedro Henríquez Ureña) the ghost of syllabic quantity that had dominated throughout the 18th century. Bello studies put the Castilian verse on its syllabic and acentuales bases.
The Royal Spanish Academy, who had appointed to honorary member Bello in 1851, accepted its principles in agreement on June 27, 1852 and asked permission to take his work, reserving the right to record it and correct it. Of greater importance is still his grammar of the Castilian language (1847), work renewal of revolutionary simplicity, imbued with common sense and brilliant intuition that characterized the life and work of this simple and illustrious man.

Legal and philosophical works

The philosophy of understanding was published posthumously as first of all fifteen volumes of the works of don Andres Bello, Edition sponsored by Chile that saw the light from 1881. Parts of this work appeared from 1843 in the magazine El Araucano, consists that Bello was in possession of his basic ideas on philosophy since that time. Designed as a text book, but made in an innovative way, it has as an object of research a much broader than mere human understanding field, since it includes to metaphysics.
First escotista training, with tendencies to fisicomatematica science, that prevailed when Bello studied in Caracas (1797), and sensista nuance, to the Condillac, then mainstream even among the religious, Bello stressed increasingly preferences by idealism Berkeley style, imbued with a spiritualism very to the Cousin. The initial training on the ideas of Escoto you saved, apart from the reverent separation of faith and reason, love and cultivation of pure logical grammar and mathematical logic, which are found in the second part of the Philosophy of the understanding and which are chronologically independent of the first trials in mathematical logic of Boolean. The work won high praise from Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, who in 1911 it would judge "the most important possessing American literature in its kind".
At the legal level, Andrés Bello law principles (1832) illustrate his condition ready and able lawyer, renowned politician and internationalist who plays important public offices in Chile and whose services are requested by the United States for arbitration in a matter of limits, and also by Peru and Colombia. Most influential would be still his work as editor of the Chilean Civil Code of 1852, enacted in 1855 legal body that regulates the relations of private life among people. In effect since 1857, a code was model for various South American Nations, and did not need a first reforms until 1884.
In 1840, 1841 and 1845 it had appointed committees draw up draft of Civil Code, but inevitably had ended up succumbing to the magnitude of the company dissolved without achieving any result. Andrés Bello, Member of the last, continued on its only such work, until completed, could present it in 1852 to the Government, which ordered its printing and appointed a review committee chaired by the President himself, Manuel Montt. Accomplished this task, the project was submitted for approval to the National Congress. On 14 December 1855 he promulgating as the law of the Republic to begin to rule on January 1, 1857.
The new code wisely aligned the ancient law of Rome and Spain with the new principles of the French revolution set in the Napoleonic code. Unlike the eccentricities that committed some Governments in the region, such as the Andrés Santa Cruz, which in its time had arranged the translation and promulgation of the Napoleonic code for Bolivia, Andrés Bello knew how to adapt to the American cultural reality the European legal tradition. For this reason, it was adopted as other American Governments and in Chile is still existing, though, obviously, with significant changes.
Extracted from the website: Biografías y Vidas
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