Biography of Xavier Abril de Vivero (1905-1990)

Poet, essayist and Narrator Peruvian, born in Lima on November 4, 1905 and died in Montevideo (Uruguay) on January 1, 1990. Connoisseur of the best classical tradition of Peruvian letters and, in general, Hispanic-American, was one of the most notable figures of the avant-garde in Peru, where all his work was awarded with the national prize for literature (1986).

He attended his primary and secondary studies at the German school of Lima, one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the Peru with brilliance. After being linked to such school for more than ten years (1911-1923), completed his training at the Lima Institute, where he/she specialized in the study of Spanish literature.

In 1926, at the age of twenty-one, he/she crossed the Atlantic for the first time to expand their knowledge in the school of fine arts of San Fernando (Madrid), where he/she was enrolled in the academic year of 1926-1927. Upon his return to Lima, he/she began his studies at the Faculty of Sciences economic of the University national most of San Marcos; but he/she soon admitted that he/she was more interested in art and letters in the arcana of economic science, so it did not hesitate to abandon this career to return to Europe and establish, on this occasion, in French territory, where had the opportunity to come into contact with the most representative of the avant-garde voices.

His love for Spanish culture prompted him to return to the Iberian Peninsula, where, fully integrated into the artistic, literary and intellectual forums of the time, he/she remained until the outbreak of the Civil War. Shortly after arriving for the second time in Spain, the printing press in Madrid was his first volume of poems, published under the suggestive title of Hollywood. Contemporary Tales (Madrid, 1931); and, before his departure, published his poetic second installment, an anthology entitled hard labour, 1926-1930 (Madrid, 1935).

Back in his native Peru, which had returned in his flight from a Spain at war, Xavier Abril, published his third book of poems, discovery of the dawn (Lima, 1937). Then, after more than ten years of residence in its homeland, returned to let his countrymen to settle in Montevideo (1948), a city in which, with the passage of time, would end up playing a diplomatic charge: that of cultural attaché of the Peruvian Embassy in Uruguay (1958-1990).

Away from poetic creation since his departure from Spain, Xavier Abril remained, however, an intense literary and intellectual as essayist, particularly fruitful activity during its first years of stay in Montevideo. Already in his native Lima had devoted a first critical approach to the work of one of his favorite poets, his compatriot César Vallejo, which had established deep friendship ties long ago, when both were in Spain, mercy to the mediation of the brother of the Peruvian scholar, Paul nursery April. This first critical work of Xavier Abril, published under the title of César Vallejo, Anthology (1943), was followed by many other studies of the same author focused on that Crest figure of universal poetry of the 20th century, as graduates Vallejo, testing of critical approach (1958), two studies: Vallejo and Mallarmé (1960), César Vallejo or poetic theory (1963), and Exegesis trilcica (1981).

Multiple as a literary creator, rigorous and prolific essayist, expert on Spanish and Latin American poetic tradition, and enthusiastic supporter of the avant-garde literature (particularly the French, that he/she met first-hand during his stay in France), April he/she believed to see in the verses of Vallejo a depth and quality only comparable to that achieved by Mallarmé in French letters. In this sense, the Peruvian scholar postulated that César Vallejo was, without a doubt, the poet more original and innovative literature written in Spanish in the first half of the 20th century, opinion that it gave rise to many disputes between other critics and philologists less excited about the lyrical rupture and renewal of the great author of Trilce.

Not be circumscribed, however, the inquiry critical of Xavier Abril to the life and work of his admired Vallejo, since it also deeply poetic production of another eminent figure of the contemporary Peruvian letters, José María Eguren. April, always steeped in the latest French currents, identified in Eguren verses a major entry route of symbolism in early twentieth century American poetry, and so did note in his brilliant study entitled the dark Eguren. Symbolism in America (1979), a work awarded with the national prize of literary essay (in his edition of 1979).

Splendid connoisseur, in short, all the fashions, trends and currents explored by American poets that were expressed in the same language, Xavier Abril, published in 1956 an interesting anthology of American poetry that remains an essential reference for the poetry in the first half of the 20th century Spanish scholar. True, in addition, to this fruitful historical tradition of the Letras hispánicas, also read with enjoyment and advantage the verses of some classics as notable as the Archpriest of Hita, Jorge Manrique, Francisco de Quevedo and Luis de Góngora. They all admired the powerful domain of the word which, with full intellectual rigor, knows reflect deeper emotions and more pure feelings of the soul, but using a strict control of expressive resources (something which, with different connotations, tried to apply always to his own poetic creation). And, in what refers to his devotion to the forefront, is detected also in April verses the powerful imprint of psychoanalysis - so fruitful in some currents most significant of this great transgressive, such as surrealism and the Dada-movement, and the presence of elements of unconscious constant that are the legacy of its multiple readings of the great French authors and, at the same time, the product of his own need to seek an expression appropriate to their deepest concerns.

Poetic work

As obsessed poet to introduce the main innovative avant-garde elements in the course of the best tradition, Xavier Abril can be considered the best representative of modernity in contemporary Peruvian poetry. Already in his first poetic delivery, Hollywood. Contemporary Tales (1931), patents are those two lines of work (and avant-garde) that would run the rest of his work in verse. Even at the theme level shines that game of contrasts and complementary winks between the classic and the contemporary, because while the chosen city to appear in the privileged frontispiece of the title is the Mecca of American cinema (and all the elements of modernity that the seventh art and its industry are implicit), other themes and motifs clearly reflect the grounds of numerous readings of the past that allow April to rooting the spirit of the avant-garde in the secular Spanish tradition. In this sense, has been compared his work with other such innovative Latin American authors and, at the same time, so respectful with the legacy of tradition as Octavio Paz, who, after numerous refreshes breaking of his own literary language, eventually finding a peculiar and original voice of undeniable classic nuances.

Humor is one of the basic ingredients of poems and texts in prose of Hollywood. Contemporary stories, which comes in addition to the exaltation of joyful urban space, now conceived as stage where it is possible to give free rein to the aesthetic excesses of modernity (and not as those cities parnasianas and decadent, touched by a languid and marmoreal beauty, sang the modernist poets). But the modern city of this directorial debut of Xavier Abril also is a space where he/she began succeed hurry, acceleration, social and ultimately panic, that harsh and inhospitable bustle that seems inherent in the contemporary city.

The great innovative boldness in this first collection of poems, Xavier Abril became - in a similar trend to the many poets Spanish and Latin American, including most of the generation of 27-to a progressive internalization of the elements which integrated disconcerting and the spirit of rebellion. In his following collections of verses, hard work (1935) and discovery of the dawn (1937), this transgressive desire ceases abruptly appear in forms to address, with greater subtlety, content, mostly those who allude to the complex social and political reality of the time (as well as your admired César Vallejo, Xavier April expressed solidarity with the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War). Other topics "human", oblivious to the process of dehumanization that postulate for the "pure poetry" of Valery, was at the base of many avant-garde currents, they begin to open a gap in the poems of April (for example, the universe family, present also in Vallejo's Trilce, thinking about his own death or remembrance of things lost in the more distant past).


BRETON, André. "About Xavier Abril", in Rev. AMAUTA (Lima), III, no. 18 (1928).ROMUALDO, Alejandro. "Discovery of April: man station", in Rev. Heroic creation (Lima), no. 4 (1971).