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(Rómulo Gallegos Freire;) Caracas, Venezuela, 1884-1969) novelist and Venezuelan politician. Rómulo Gallegos did University studies surveying and law at the Universidad Central of his country, but did not finish them. Employee of railroads and teacher in private schools, became Assistant Director of the Normal School and director of the Liceo de Caracas (1922-1928).
The dictator Juan Vicente Gómez appointed Senator for the State of Apure in 1931, but his democratic convictions made him expatriate and resign. In 1935, dead dictator, Rómulo Gallegos returned to Venezuela, and in 1936 was appointed Minister of education in the Government of López Contreras, a charge he also resigned for the same moral scruples.
In 1947 he was elected President of the Republic, but he was overthrown the following year by a military junta headed by Carlos Delgado Chalbaud. Exiled again in Cuba and Mexico, Rómulo Gallegos returned to his country to release this dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958.
At the beginning of Narrator, Rómulo Gallegos published adventurers (1913), a collection of short stories. He continued to work the last plot (1920), a novel that reeditaría in 1930 under the title of Reinaldo Solar, history of the decline of an aristocratic family through its last representative, in which you can see his friend Enrique Soublette, with whom he founded in 1909 the dawn magazine.
He wrote after the climber (1925), with a female character, Victoria Guanipa, ambitious and unscrupulous. Doña Bárbara (1929) is a true epic which has as scenery the Venezuelan Plains. Cantaclaro (1934) is the novel by a popular singer that runs through villages and fields. Canaima (1935) narrates the rude existence of a few landowners on the banks of the Orinoco. Subsequently he published Black poor (1937), the stranger (1942), about the same land (1943), the wisp of straw in the wind (1952), position in life (1954) and the maiden and the last Patriot (1957), work is that would get the national literature prize.
There is unanimity in pointing Doña Bárbara (1929) as the most important of the works of Rómulo Gallegos, as she starts a bright time for all South American novels: the of the great native stories (devoid of any European influence) whose axis is constituted from events and fascinating characters from an unexplored environment : the Highlands, the plain and the enormous jungles of America. It staged the old opposition between civilization and barbarism, tax tradition of liberal humanist of the 19th century, through the use of a symbolisation of characters, environments and descriptions which may, at times, seem schematic, but that is a great narrative efficiency.
More that a traditional or folk, novel Doña Bárbara is a great epic native, animated at times by a splendid strength lyric. Everything in it spins and moves on a fascinating space, the Venezuelan Plains, from whose bosom, hard and brave, men and women, agitated by the more complex emotions emerge. The boundless inspiration of Rómulo Gallegos joins here an original and unique, art which describes these classic characters in Venezuelan literature and of the continent: Santos Luzardo, Pajarote, not Pernalete, Mujiquita, El Brujeador Marisela and, of course, Doña Bárbara, disconcerting and pathetic symbol that Gallegos novel the more revealing figure is.
Doña Bárbara is simple but exciting. Santos Luzardo, a ranger who has lived much of his life in the city, return to Savannah to retrieve the properties of his family. There you must deal with a wild and fascinating, dangerous beasts, infected world where man is seen in the permanent need to dominate nature to survive. No less complicated will be the challenge of confronting a rural society governed by old traditions, authoritarianism and arbitrariness. Saints must also fight against those who seek to take over their land, as it is the case in neighboring Doña Bárbara, a woman without scruples, adventurous and enigmatic, attractive and maleficent, landowner who extends his power throughout the area.
The young and impetuous Santos Luzardo cannot succumb to the charms of this sensual and powerful female who in turn falls for him. Finally, with the help of some loyal pawns, the forces of good to triumph over evil, peace returns to reign in the Savannah and Doña Bárbara ends up leaving the place. Santos marries his cousin Marisela, a girl wild and tender at the same time.
Doña Bárbara symbolizes the primitive and complex soul of the dominant female, and at the same time the spirit of the Earth. For this reason it is not possible to say that it is good or bad; It acts in accordance with his instincts which enslave it and infuse it its obstinate and elemental power. Opposite, Santos symbolizes the civilising spirit that struggles and triumphs of his powers, inflamed and sustained by the love of the earth itself to uselessly dona Barbara wants to keep subject to his gloomy greed.
In fact, the triumph of Santos Luzardo (which in the end is given by the flight of dona Barbara, in a gesture of tragic resignation), does not come to be anything other than the triumph of the Earth, which will definitely be devoted Luzardo, defending it from its many enemies, and bringing to it his noble purposes of Justice and humanity. This is in brief synthesis the Foundation of this masterful work that, by its content and its many beauties, is one of the most valuable creations of the American literature of all time.