Biography of Andrés Bello (1781-1865)

Andrés Bello.

Writer, humanist and Latin American politician, born in Caracas on November 29, 1781 and died in Santiago de Chile on October 15, 1865.


Formed around the classical Greek and Latin writers and the Spaniards of the Siglo de Oro, also latin and French. Later, in the Universidad Real y Pontificia de Caracas, he/she did studies of philosophy, law and medicine, which failed to finish due to lack of resources. However, it was essentially a self-taught high intellectual capacity.

Beautiful is the most representative figure of the Chilean and Hispano-American cultural advance in the first half of the 19th century. Admired and followed the libertarian poetry of Lord Byronand Victor Hugo. It was a determined advocate of purity and property of the Spanish language and yet hosted the popular twists in so far as these do not collide with the traditional terms in use. A time was devoted to private education, and had as a disciple to Simón Bolívar. It also gave him time to practice the poetic creation, which showed a strong neoclassical influence.

As a result of the beginning of the independence process in 1810 (independence of the Spanish America) moved to London as Secretary of the delegates of the Venezuelan Government, Simón Bolívar and Luis López Méndez Board, managers of support or neutrality of the British Government against the revolution. He/She there he/she married María Ana Boyland who died prematurely, leaving her two sons, Carlos and Francisco. The reverses of the emancipation movement and his new family responsibility was placed in a difficult economic situation which could overcome in part thanks to the teaching of latin and French, languages who had studied with dedication. He/She returned to marry Isabel Antonia Dunn, who had numerous offspring. In 1822 he/she began working at the legation in Chile and then in the Colombia. Despite its economic woes, his intellectual activity was intense in those years: related to writers and thinkers, studied Greek, worked in journalism and revised documents of different types. In 1823, with the Colombian García del Río, published the American Library Journal or miscellany of literature, arts and Sciences, and in 1825 the magazine American repertoire, both to spread the events and culture of Latin America. There appeared his articles and poems under the generic title of Silvas Americanas, address to the poetry - fragments of a poem about America - and the famous ode "Agriculture of the torrid zone". The situation in his country was far from improving and Bello could return, so he/she offered his services to Chile and accepted the request of the Ambassador Mariano Egaña - son of Juan Egaña- made on behalf of President Pinto, of the position of Chief Clerk of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after eighteen years in England.

On June 25, 1829, at the age of 47, he/she settled in Chile. From his new position, Bello began a fruitful intellectual, cultural and political work that would leave deep footprints in the country. He/She was rector of the University of Chile from 1843, charge for which was re-elected three consecutive times. He/She was also a Senator in 1837 and 1855 at the time which was constituted in key editor of the Chilean Civil Code, based on the Napoleonic. Also published several works of jurisprudence and international law. He/She was director and editor of El Araucano, ministerial newspaper founded by Diego Portales in 1830, in which he/she published numerous articles on education, philosophy and theatre. In 1842 he/she Amado with the Río de la Plata Domingo Faustino Sarmiento on issues of language, aesthetics and politics. He/She dealt with the language through numerous studies. Excels his grammar of the Castilian language (1847), which earned him to be appointed to corresponding of the Spanish language Academy, and its archeology and metric, the two most original works that have been made in our language on this subject. He/She wrote also a commentary on the criterion of Balmes, and a study on El Cantar de Mio Cid.

In 1843 began to publish his work in the magazine the twilight philosophy of understanding, which just posted complete after his death, in 1881. Designed as a text book, but made in an innovative way, it has as an object of research a much broader than mere human understanding field, since it includes to metaphysics. Of this work he/she says José Gaos , which is "the most important manifestation of the Latin-American philosophy influenced by German idealism before European". The Government ordered the publication of the Fifteen volumes of his complete works, which began to appear in 1881.

Bello also devoted time to the literature by way of studies, translations and creations in which imitated the classics and romantics, showing a broad domain of both artistic expression. Very known became his imitation of a Victor Hugopoem entitled "The prayer by all". Among his creations are also: a 'Ode to September 18', a hymn Biobío, Elegy "The fire of the company" and the poem "The outlaw", which was left unfinished. It also gave a strong boost to the Chilean theatre with his critical comments to the representations and their suggestions actors in El Araucano. In this sense, the merit of being the creator of theatrical criticism he/she shares with José Joaquín de Mora . Translated "Teresa" of Alejandro Dumas , and instilled in his disciples the taste by the adaptation of foreign works. His knowledge of the Greek Theatre and the Latin, analysis of the works of Plautus and Terence, reading Lope and Calderón, gave sufficient strength to weigh in on the matter. It would reach his best literary achievements in translation and paraphrase, from English and French, poems and dramas mostly. His translation of the "Orlando in love" Bolyar, which was nonetheless published in 1862 in the mail on Sunday was incomplete.

According to Naín Nómez, "perhaps Andrés Bello was not a great poet, but he/she was the first who taught to respect the art, to think clearly, and to turn to the same not as landscape or nature, but as felt beauty and practical activity". A very important aspect of its activities was its teaching function and the interest that felt by the pedagogy. He/She was convinced that the spiritual cultivation and instruction are based on the well-being of the individual and the progress of society, reason why always fostered the study of letters and Sciences. Beautiful proposed the opening of 'Normal school of preceptors' and the creation of "Courses Sunday" for workers. Many of his educational ideas are in the Inaugural speech that began the work of five new faculties in the University of Chile on 17 September 1843.

He died on October 15, 1865 dies Andrés Bello at the age of eighty-four, after having lived thirty-seven in Chile. Nationality was granted by "Law of special grace". Opposite the Central House of the University of Chile has been erected a marble statue, Chilean sculptor Nicanor Plaza. Their influence was not reduced to its time, but it would be momentous in the political and cultural life of Chile and America long after his death.