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Latin-American Literature


Uruguayan literature has a long and eventful history.

It wasn't until the nineteenth century that Montevideo was able to fully establish itself as the capital of an independent nation, followed by the beginning of the Uruguayan literature. At first, it clearly shared common characteristics with the European literature but it had a more nationalist vision as it was interested to represent what was happening at the time.

Romanticism gets to Uruguay with Esteban Echeverria and other Argentine writers that were escaping from the regime in Argentina and decide to settle in Colonia and Montevideo. Romantic poetry was characterized by having social and political overtones; this movement spread until the twentieth century and had over sixty-five writers who worked over poetry, fiction and drama.

The Generation of 900

Around 1900 comes up the first Literary generation that has great significance within and outside the country. Its members are still considered great exponents of poetry, short fiction and drama, with an outstanding influence of Modernism. The generation maintains large effect beyond the death of its authors and half a century later is retaken by the Generation of 45'.

By mid-century arises "Generation of 45" or "Critical Generation", a group of prominent Uruguayan authors, mostly writers of various genres (though it also included musicians and painters) that emerged artistically from 1945 to 1950. Its members were part of a social, political and cultural phenomenon which had a decisive influence on contemporary Uruguayan intellectual identity. The literature becomes intimate, shows anguish and disappointment, reflecting the universal philosophy and literary trends of te moment. The Generation of 45 made contributions to the Uruguayan culture: it introduced a culture of rigor and solvency in judgment; raised the levels of aesthetical requirements, it attacked ingenuity and conformism. Among its famous members is Mario Benedetti.

The 60's is fraught with social upheavals preceding the coup of 1973 and reflect the state of dissatisfaction with which people lived. Student protests, union strikes, university strikes, and the strong presence of the Liberation Movement Tupamaros are some of the milestones that characterize these years. Literature does not escape these processes, instead it becomes more committed, not only with Uruguay but with an ideology that embraces all Latin America, acquiring a more political and social tone, especially in poetry and theater that turns to a literature of protest. Many authors must go to exile or were imprisoned during the dictatorship of Juan Maria Bordaberry. Dictatorship Civil-Military of the 70's and half of the 80's is a momentous court to Uruguayan Literature, as many authors are banned or exiled, but nevertheless encourages many young people to stand against the regime and develop new discursive voices.


Wikipedia. (2016, April 9). Literatura de Uruguay retrieved from

About Uruguay

Uruguay was founded by the Portuguese explorers who also founded Brazil. However, soon after, Buenos Aires—based Spaniards attempted to extend their control to include the area; after Napoleon conquered Spain, they were able to do so with the support he provided. No sooner did Uruguay free itself from Spain's control than it fell under siege from Brazil. It wasn't until the middle of the nineteenth century that Montevideo was able to fully establish itself as the capital of an independent nation.

But the mid-twentieth century was not as kind to Uruguay; for the last fifty years or so, Uruguay's economy has been in a slow decline and its politics have been very unstable. As the economy slipped in the 1950's, fro example, it generated a Communist reaction, the Tupamaros, which, in turn, prompted a heavy-handed military response. The result of this difficult time was, in part, the militarization of of the nation, and many Uruguayans today are only now recovering economically adn searching for a way back to a more effective democracy.

Located entirely within a temperate zone, Uruguay has a climate that is relatively mild and rarely uniform nationwide. Seasonal variations are pronounced, but extremes in temperature are rare. Uruguay is the second smallest sovereign nation in South America, the landscape features mostly rolling plains and low hill ranges with a fertile costal lowland. A dense fluvial network covers the country, consisting of four river basins and nearly 95% of Uruguay's electricity comes from renewable energy.


   Foster, D. (2002). The Global Etiquette Guide to Mexico and Latin America. (pp. 192-196). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

   Wikipedia. (2016, May 23). Uruguay retrieved from


Mario Benedetti

Mario Orlando Hamlet Ardi Benedetti was born in 1920 in Paso de los Toros, Uruguay, but his family moved to Montevideo when he was only four and that's when he started loving that city. Benedetti had a very hard adolescence, at age 14 he had to leave school to work on a house car parts, then as a stenographer, clerk, journalist, translator and later a public officer. That early contact with the working life allowed him to get to know "the gray world of the offices of Montevideo". With Poemas de Oficina (Office Poems, 1956) Benedetti impact on the development of Uruguayan poetry, introducing thematics that until that moment where considered "non-poetic". From tha moment on, the popularity and diffusion of his work started.

To his intense work of writer and journalist, he joined an active political participation. In 1971 he was one of the founders of the Movement of Independence, that later integrated with the Frente Amplio. But this political career was soon frustrated by the anti-democratic force that was rising. In 1973 a military coup occurs, and Benedetti is obligated to leave the country for political reasons and is exiled in Buenos Aires. After living outside Uruguay for various years and publishing international-acclaimed novels, poems and theater plays, he returns to Montevideo where he died at 88 years of age.


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Oustanding Authors

Juan Carlos Onetti was an Uruguayan Novelist credited with being one of the most important Latin American writers of the 20th century and a vital forebear to the Magic Realism of the 'Latin American Boom'. He is remembered not only as a pioneering writer, but as one of the continent's many political exiles, as he was forced to flee Uruguay in the mid-1970s.

Image retrieved from Google Images

 The Culture Trip. (n.d.) The Private World of Juan Carlos Onetti retrieved from

Horacio Quiroga experienced a life that surpassed in morbidity and horror many of the inventions of his fevered mind. As a young man, he suffered his father's accidental death and the suicide of his beloved stepfather. As a teenager, he shot and accidentally killed one of his closest friends. Seemingly cursed in love, he lost his first wife to suicide by poison. In the end, Quiroga himself downed cyanide to end his own life when he learned he was suffering from an incurable cancer. In life Quiroga was obsessed with death, a legacy of the violence he had experienced. His stories are infused with death, too, but they span a wide range of short fiction genres: jungle tale, Gothic horror story, morality tale, psychological study.

Amazon. (n.d). The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories (Texas Pan American Series) retrieved from

Image retrieved from Google Images

Cristina Peri Rossi (born November 12, 1941) is an Uruguayan novelist, poet, and author of short stories. Considered a leading light of the post-1960s period of prominence of the Latin-American novel, she has written more than 37 works. As a liberal intellectual who was exiled in Spain during the military dictatorship which terrorized Uruguay in the 1970's, Peri Rossi experienced first-hand the alienating and dehumanization received by dictators as struggles against patriarchal power within the nuclear family are juxtaposed to rebellion against paternalistic authoritarian control. She also explores how language and power relations impose a socially constructed identity. Her critique of structures of power links political oppression to psychosexual repression. In her works, Peri Rossi succeeds in creating a whirlwind of despair and self-discovery, impelling us to assess our own individual beliefs and so avoid being entrapped by those who hold power over us. By inviting the reader to see modern society through the eyes of her characters, Peri Rossi uses the technique of defamiliarisation to produce biting satires of today's world.

Amazon. (n.d). Solitaire of Love retrieved from

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