Cesar Vallejo

Vallejo, César

César Vallejo (sā´sär väyā´hō), 1895–1938, Peruvian poet. Vallejo was one of the most influential yet least imitated figures of modern Spanish-American letters. He identified himself with the sufferings of the underprivileged and dedicated himself to the cause of social progress. Himself a cholo—a mestizo of native and white origin—he was deeply distressed by the exploitation of indigenous people. His poems in Heraldos negros (1918) blend symbolism and caustic observation in terse classical form. He was imprisoned on false charges of political rebellion in 1920; in jail he wrote a part of Trilce (1922). The book is somber and tragic in tone and dramatically experimental in form. These early works mainly reflect his concern with Spanish-American subjects. In 1923 he went to Europe in self-imposed exile, espoused Marxist causes, and aligned himself with the Republicans in the Spanish civil war. He also wrote Tungsteno (1931), a moving novel about native peoples. Vallejo made a meager living from journalism and died in poverty. Two volumes of his work were published posthumously, Poemas humanos (1939) and España, aparta de mi este cáliz [Spain, let this cup pass from me] (1940). Both reflect his later concerns with European themes. His Complete Poetry, both in Spanish and in English translation, was published in 2007.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Poem on the Edge of the Word: The Limits of Language and the Uses of Silence in the Poetry of Mallarme, Rilke, and Vallejo
Dianna C. Niebylski.
Peter Lang, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Vallejo's Poemas Humanos: Language and Silence as Expressions of Despair " begins on p. 129
Tungsten: A Novel
Robert Mezey; Caesar Vallejo.
Syracuse University Press, 1988
The Catastrophe of Modernity: Tragedy and the Nation in Latin American Literature
Patrick Dove.
Bucknell University Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "The Catastrophe of Modernity: Vallejo's Trilce between Indigenism and the Avant-Garde"
A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets
John Pilling.
Heinemann, 1982
Librarian’s tip: "Cesar Vallejo (1892-1938)" begins on p. 225
Postcolonial Perspectives on the Cultures of Latin America and Lusophone Africa
Robin Fiddian.
Liverpool University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Cesar Vallejo begins on p. 103
Poetry: Cesar Vallejo
Hirsch, Edward.
The Wilson Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 4, Autumn 1995
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