Biography of Manlio Argueta (1935-VVVV)

Poet, novelist, and Salvadoran University Professor, born November 24, 1935 in San Miguel. By its strong presence in the so-called committed generation, it has become one of the most important figures of the letters and thought Central American socio-political in the second half of the 20th century.

Encouraged from a young age by a marked literary vocation and a marked sense of social conscience, Manlio Argueta studied law in the University of El Salvador, although then it definitely oriented toward the field in poetic creation. The outbreak in the Salvadoran literary scene took place in the mid-1950s, when his composition entitled "Canto to Huistaluexitl" won the first prize in the Juegos Florales de San Miguel convened in 1956 by the society of teachers "Alberto Masferrer". Since then, his name has been present in all Salvadoran poetic circles, where has been awarded in many other competitions. Among their best titles of poetry, it is obliged to point out the following volumes: A man for the homeland, on the side of the light and the animal between the legs.

Within this fruitful activity linked to the evolution of the literature of his country, Manlio Argueta became a prominent member of the famous circle literary Universitario Salvadoreño, where shared efforts and distinctions with authors of the likes of Roque Dalton Garcíaand Roberto Armijo, José Napoleon Rodríguez Ruiz, José Enrique Silva, Jorge Arias Gómez René Arteaga. Previously, Argueta had already been included in its own right within a Salvadoran literary movement much more broad and heterogeneous, the so-called generation committed, which, clearly influenced by the philosophical tenets of Sartre and interested in all the social, cultural and political circumstances of Central America, included numerous writers active during the Decade of the 1950s. Among the components of this interesting generational group were also José Roberto Cea, Waldo Chávez Velasco, Mercedes Durand, Orlando Fresedo, Rafael Sosa Góchez, Italo López Vallecillos, Álvaro Menéndez Leal, Alfonso Quijada Urías, together with other personalities from the letters of the Salvadoran Eugenio Martínez who, Irma Lanzas, Mauricio de la Selva, Armando López Muñoz, Jorge. A. Cornejo, Tirso channels, Ricardo Bogrand, Hildebrando Juárez, and the aforementioned poet, essayist and playwright Roberto Armijo.

In the Decade of the 1960s, Manlio Argueta abandoned the cultivation of poetry to devote himself to narrative fiction. His first foray into this genre couldn't have been more fortunate, since it won the novel "Casa de las Américas" prize in its call for 1967. It's the narrative entitled Red Riding Hood in the red zone, work which was followed that same year of 1967, a new romantic release appeared under the title of the Valley of the hammocks. Posted in Buenos Aires (Argentina) by the Editorial Sudamericana, this second novel of Argueta was awarded with the first prize "American novel", convened by the Central-American University Superior Council.

Following these dazzling success as a novelist, Manlio Argueta was consecrated to the teaching in Costa Rica, where, for more than twenty years (between 1972 and 1993), taught literature and creative writing at two public universities, which also assumed the functions of coordinator of artistic and cultural exchanges among Nations of Central America. During this lengthy and fruitful period of teaching, he visited as a guest professor, numerous faculties in Europe, Canada and United States, where he taught and lectured on American literature. Particularly outstanding was his period of teaching at the Chair of literature contemporary of San Francisco State University, in the United States. These extensive cultural relations have become his work one of the most widespread Salvadoran literary values abroad: has been published in the leading publishers of Spain and Latin America (Argentina, Costa Rica, etc.), studied in the departments of Latin-American literature of the best universities in the world.

But his dedication to teaching did not prevent him to cultivate literary creation. In 1980 he gave to press another excellent novel, a day in the life, which won the UCA editors narrative award, and in a short time, was translated into ten languages (German, Danish, French, English, Italian, Hebrew, Dutch, Russian, Swedish, and Ukrainian). The diffusion of his work in other languages reached its peak with the following novel published, entitled Cuzcatlán. Where beat the South Sea, work which, together with the aforementioned a day in the life, was immediately poured into English and published in New York and London. Manlio Argueta is also author of a book for children published in the United States in a bilingual edition hispano-inglesa, and a selection of his poems poured into English under the heading of Portrait of El Salvador.

Abandoning the teaching in Costa Rica, Manlio Argueta returned to his native country, where soon resumed his literary activity to the printing a new narrative installment entitled miracle of peace (San Salvador: Ediciones Istmo, 1995). This work was followed two years later, which to date (1999) is his latest novel: century of or (g) ro (San Salvador: Directorate of publications and printed, 1997). Its permanent relationship with media intellectuals and academics from all over the world has enabled him, in place of origin, access to the position of Director of national affairs and international of the University of El Salvador.


RODS-DINARTE, Carlos. School dictionary of Salvadoran authors (San Salvador: National Council for culture and art [CONCULTURA], Directorate of publications and printed materials, 1998).

J. R. Fernández Cano.