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Biography of Juan Bertis (1837-1899)


Essayist, humanist, latinist, priest, literary critic and Salvadoran University Professor, born in San Salvador in 1837 and died in his hometown in 1899. Leading figure in the American intelligentsia of the 19th century, was one of the great promoters of the development of the philosophy of the arts and Sciences in the Republic of El Salvador.

His most significant action within the history of literature in Central America took place in the last third of the 19th century, when, as director of the prestigious literary magazine La Juventud Salvadoreña, ushered in its pages in a series of publications by a young Nicaraguan poet who was called to erect in the central figure of modernism: Rubén Darío. In addition, the Bertis father met in the magazine - founded in 1889, only one year after Dario had published his first book of poems, blue (1888) - a group of young writers, artists and intellectuals aspire to deeply renew late 19th century American culture and thought. Among them was prominent in the pages of the Salvadoran youth a direct one's own disciple Juan Bertis, the hellenist and latinist Francisco Gavidia, friend intimate the aforementioned Dario Rubén and exquisite and prolific polygraph where has been (was poet, Narrator, essayist, dramatist, historian, philosopher, musicologist, speaker, educator, political scientist, literary critic and translator). Encouraged by the love of the classics the Bertis father had instilled him, Gavidia wrestled to introduce in the Salvadorian lyric of his time the hexametros Greek and Latin; and, at the same time, under the modernist influence of Dario, did you also import to the Castilian poetry then sound and brilliant French Origen made in Central America.

In addition to this important work at the head of the Salvadoran youth magazine, Juan Bertis also stood out for its role in other outstanding cultural publication, the famous repertoire Salvadoran - founded in 1891, whose drafting was a member for a long period. In this magazine collaborated in other Central American intellectuals influenced directly by the example and the teachings of Bertis, as the aforementioned Gavidia and writer, politician and thinker Alberto Masferrer. Within this line of humanist thought opened by the priest of San Salvador, in this publication was paid special interest to the dissemination of the Greek and Latin Classics, but without neglecting other plots of great interest for one so young as the Salvadoran nation; and thus, always under the guidance of Juan Bertis - true promoter of the cultural renewal of its time-editors and collaborators of Salvadoran repertoire also dealt with economics, pedagogy, philosophy, Religion, etc. The great teaching of father Bertis consisted of, mainly, instilling his disciples need to open up to ideas and mentality of the modern times, without losing the respect that deserve you the traditional values (both the aesthetic and the spiritual).

The essay work by Juan Bertis, disseminated in numerous periodicals, was not collected in book form until the mid-twentieth century, when a total of thirty-five articles his came out of the printing press under the title of science and literature (San Salvador: Samuel Dawson Editor, 1941). To gather these scattered texts as valuable as - already at that time-hard to find, publishers had to resort to the newspapers who kept diaries and journals from the end of the 19th century, as well as collaboration invaluable wide Legion of disciples that one and otherwise preserved writings, notes or notes of who had been one of the most loved and admired in the University of El Salvador (whereamong other actions worthy of praise, he founded the first Chair of literature).


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