Martin Rivas: A Novel

Martin Rivas: A Novel

Martin Rivas: A Novel

Martin Rivas: A Novel

Synopsis

Arguably the most widely read work of Chilean Literature, Martin Rivas (1862) by Alberto Blest Gana (1830-1920) is at once a passionate love story and a keenly observed portrait of the manners and customs of nineteenth-century Chile. Martin Rivas, an impoverished but ambitious young man from the northern mining region of Chile, 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. A poor provincial, Martin perceives his situation to be hopeless, so he immediately sets about improving his financial and social station. Along the way, he bears witness to the wide range of social and moral strata within Chilean society. Filled with unerring social portraits, animated dialogue, and sharply drawn characters, Martin Rivas is an engagingly spontaneous and a charmingly romantic novel that illustrates the enriching influences that romanticism had on nineteenth-century Chilean literature. This distinguished edition includes an introduction by Jaime Concha, situating the novel in historical context and providing both important biographical information on the author and a subtle literary analysis of the text.

Excerpt

The Library of Latin America series makes available in translation major nineteenth-century authors whose work has been neglected in the English-speaking world. The titles for the translations from the Spanish and Portuguese were suggested by an editorial committee that included Jean Franco (general editor responsible for works in Spanish), Richard Graham (series editor responsible for works in Portuguese), Tulio Halperin Donghi (at the University of California, Berkeley), Iván Jaksić (at the University of Notre Dame), Naomi Lindstrom (at the University of Texas at Austin), Francine Masiello (at the University of California, Berkeley), and Eduardo Lozano of the Library at the University of Pittsburgh. The late Antonio Cornejo Polar of the University of California, Berkeley, was also one of the founding members of the committee. The translations have been funded thanks to the generosity of the Lampadia Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

During the period of national formation between 1810 and into the early years of the twentieth century, the new nations of Latin America fashioned their identities, drew up constitutions, engaged in bitter struggles over territory, and debated questions of education, government, ethnicity, and culture. This was a unique period . . .

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