Widely acknowledged as the first Chilean novel, Martin Rivas (1862) by Alberto Blest Gana (1830-1920) is at once a passionate love story and an optimistic representation of Chilean nationhood. Written shortly after a decade of civil conflict, it is an indispensable source for understanding politics and society in nineteenth-century Chile. The hero of the story is Martin Rivas, an impoverished but ambitious youngster from the northern mining region of Chile, who is entrusted by his late father to the household of a wealthy and influential member of the Santiago elite. While living there, he falls in love with his guardian's daughter. The tale of their tortuous but ultimately successful love affair represents the author's desire for reconciliation between Chile's antagonistic regional and class interests. Indeed, many critics have interpreted Martin Rivas as a blueprint for national unity that emphasizes consensus over conflict. In addition to providing commentary about the mores of Chilean society, Blest Gana documents the enormous gap that existed between the rich and poor classes. An invaluable text for its portrayal of contemporary social, political, and class conditions, Martin Rivas illustrates the enriching influence that romanticism had on nineteenth-century Chilean literature.
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Martin Rivas: a novelUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
A Chilean statesman, mathematician, and writer, Blest Gana (1830-1920) founded the Latin American documentary social novel and dashed off impressive prose works that mined the strata of Santiago ... Read full review
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Page xii - Culture and Nation in Iberoamerica," organized by the editorial board of the Library of Latin America. We received substantial institutional support and personal encouragement from the Institute of Latin American Studies of the University of Texas at Austin. The support of Edward Barry of Oxford University Press has been crucial, as has the advice and help of Ellen Chodosh of Oxford University Press. The first volumes of the series were published after the untimely death, on July 3, 1997, of Maria...