Biography of Eduardo Blanco (1839-1912)

Narrator, dramatist, military and Venezuelan politician, born in Caracas in 1839 and died in his hometown in 1912. Author of a brilliant literary production that established him as the initiator of the fantasy genre in the Venezuelan brief narrative, is remembered mostly for his splendid novel entitled Zárate (1882), considered the first work of Venezuelan issue and, in a way, the point of departure for subsequent national novel.

Dump in his early youth to the exercise of weapons, at twenty years of age began a brilliant military career that soon placed him among the favorite hostesses of the general José Antonio Páez, whose trust is earned during the course of the Federal war (1859-1863). Already in the last stretch of his eventful life journey, the elderly leader told his young aide-de-camp numerous memories of his old military adventures, which reached many moments of glory and became one of the heroes of the Venezuelan emancipation. In line with these relationships which have emerged from the memory of the old Paez, Eduardo Blanco, far from experiencing the enardecimiento of its military vocation, felt the need to recover the old inclination to literature that had been in his teens, when he/she attended his secondary training school "El Salvador in the world", under the fruitful teaching of the great poet Juan Vicente González. Reminded, then, distant readings of youth that had excited his literary curiosity and his epic hobbies, such as the universal works of Alejandro Dumas and Víctor Hugo, and decided to leave his brilliant military career (which, in a meteoric rise, had taken him to the rank of Colonel of the General staff) to consecrate himself fully to writing.

Thus arose his first literary piece, a story entitled "The number 111" than, published under the pseudonym of "Manlius", he/she was born in 1873 between the pages of the Caracas journal La Revista. The following year, another magazine in Caracas, La Tertulia, unveiled serial a new story of Eduardo Blanco, the romantic soap opera entitled "Vanitas vanitatis", which was followed, from the May 21, 1875, publishing - serial - also his sentimental novel the penitent of the Teatinos, which a few months later would see the light in book format under the new title of a night in Ferrara (Caracas(: Printing press Federal, 1875). At the time, La Tertulia magazine, to the success of these first-time stories of Eduardo Blanco, among its readers revealed the true identity is hiding behind that enigmatic "Manlius" pseudonym.

But his great literary triumph took place on August 2, 1879, the date on which premiered at the Teatro Caracas the dramatic piece entitled Lionfort (Caracas: national printing press of steam from the Opinion, 1879), a drama in three acts, which marked the first successful appearance of Eduardo Blanco in the panorama of the Venezuelan scene. This theatrical piece, which won unanimous praise from critics and spectators, devoted to the Caracas-based writer among the literary figures of his time, recognition that soon was backed by the emergence in the early 1980s of one of his masterpieces, titled heroic Venezuela (Caracas: Imprenta Sanz, 1881). It's a splendid historical narrative that appeared in full consolidation of the State under the auspices of the liberal ideology that dominated in that period, soon became the best emblem of the values that helped forge the Venezuelan national identity. Written in a vigorous style that enhances the plasticity of their narrative sequences and inflamed epic breath that runs through all your pages, this historical Eduardo Blanco narrative appeared, to the thousands of readers who immediately sold out its first print run of 2,000 copies, as an on soflama that extolling the feats of heroes, linked together by their love of country and, at the same time, the devotion that all Venezuelans felt towards them. Thus, to rebuild with the recreation of his exploits the recent past, the Caracas-based writer not only managed to become the magnet of the admiration of all his countrymen, they also achieved a goal that, despite their numerous travails, Antonio Guzmán Blanco-liberal Government had not reached: grant letter from nature to that patriotic feeling that should to Venezuela as a national unitin a time in which any observer, from inside or from outside the borders of the country, could glimpse only a social, political and economic landscape really fragmented, in a territory devoid of internal cohesion and devoid of ideals and common interests that could build that sense of unity.

Despite these achievements, heroic Venezuela cannot be considered an ideological pamphlet, and not a mere relationship of characters and events that, as if it were a historical Handbook, offer the reader a mere rigorous and accurate reconstruction of the nation's recent past. Rather, the masterpiece of Eduardo Blanco should be read as an authentic literary piece in which the plastic dramatization of the facts, the exquisite treatment of language and intent fabuladora of the Narrator (always lucky in the embedding of characters and fictitious situations) triumph over any didactic, methodological or ideological interest.

Encouraged by the excellent reception given to this historical narrative (which, in just two years, required five editions), Eduardo Blanco collected the following year of its emergence two first-time stories titled "The number 111" and "Vanitas vanitatis" - to which now branded with a small variation, more in line with the correct Latin expression - in the volume entitled fantastic tales: Vanitas vanitatum and number 111 (Caracas(: Printing press Bolivar, 1882). That same year gave to press the two volumes of his extensive novel Zarate (Caracas: Imprenta Bolivar, 1882), which increased its enormous popularity and awarded him the honorable title of creator of the Venezuelan national novel. It is a characteristic of romantic prose narrative, whose originality lies in that the figure of its protagonist, the Bandit Zarate, perfectly reflects the idiosyncrasies of the Creole population.

In the mid-1990s, on the occasion of the annals organized to commemorate the centenary of the Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho Antonio José de Sucre, Eduardo Blanco gave a new collection of short stories, presented under the title of the nights of the Pantheon to the hollanders (Caracas: El Cojo typography, 1895), which followed, after a long decade of publishing - although not creative silence - the third extensive novel of the Caracas Narratortitled Fauvette (Caracas: Imprenta Bolivar, 1905). Between the publication of both works, the former aide of José Antonio Páez left prints several stories within the pages of the magazine El Cojo illustrated, parts, grouped into two series under the headings of "Epic traditions" and "Old stories", saw the light in the form of printed volume in 1912, a few days after the death of the writer of Caracas. In this posthumous book, entitled epic traditions and old tales (Paris: library P. Ollendorff, 1912), were collected in the first series some stories as memorable as "Manuelote", "between Centaurs", "The gardener of the bullet", "Classic date" and "Cannon fodder"; and, in the second series, other stories so praised by critics and readers as "Intimate Drama", "Claudia", "Annella" and "la ceiba".

Mirla Alcibiades, studious of the singular literary production of Eduardo Blanco, has been able to synthesize the richness and variety of topics of his work in four modes covering entirely generic plots and exploited by the writer of Caracas contents: the "narrative historical or reference historical" (in which are contained the novel heroic Venezuela, some of the stories of the nights of the Pantheon(, and short pieces "Manuelote", "between Centaurs", "The gardener of the cartoon" and "Classic date"); the "stories of national concern, almost always in the folk form" (where Zarate novel and some stories have place as "Cannon fodder", "la ceiba" and "Intimate Drama"); works "itself romantic, by his will to cultivate loving conflict" (as the drama Lionfort and "Claudia" and "Annella" stories); and specifically fantastic narrative, "one that exploits the oneiric, the irrational, the gruesome, in scenarios that [Eduardo Blanco] puebla de fantasmas, Mephistopheles and death" (reflected in titles such as fantastic tales: Vanitas vanitatum and number 111 and the nights of the Pantheon). In the light of this excellent subject classification of the work of Eduardo Blanco, quoted researcher found, within the diversity of heterogeneous contents that characterize it, a constant that is repeated with astonishing faithfulness in all of his writings: the permanent opposition - so expensive to the romantic taste - of values antagonistic as "libertad-opresion", "fidelidad-traicion", "razon-sinrazon" or "materialismo-cristianismo".

It should be remembered, finally, before concluding this bio-bibliographical sketch of the Caracas-based author, the public dimension of a man committed to the policy of its time as it was Eduardo Blanco, who held the positions of Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1900 and 1905, and Minister of public instruction between 1905 and 1906.

Bibliography.

ALCIBIADES, Mirla: "white, Eduardo", in MEDINA, José Ramón [dir. literary]: encyclopedic dictionary of the lyrics of America latina (DELAL), Caracas: library Ayacucho/Monte Ávila Editores Latinoamericana, 1995, pp. 640-643.

BARNOLA, Pedro Pablo: Eduardo Blanco, creator of the Venezuelan novel. Critical study of its novel "Zárate", Bogotá: Pontificia Catholic University Javierana, Faculty of philosophy, letters and pedagogy, 1954.

KEY-AYALA, Santiago. Eduardo Blanco and the genesis of "Heroic Venezuela" (Caracas: Tipografia Americana, 1920).

I SUBERO, Efraín [DIR]: contribution to the bibliography of Eduardo Blanco 1838-1912, Caracas: Universidad Católica Andrés Bello [School of letters, literary Research Center] / editions of the governorship of the Federal District, 1971.

VV. AA.: Coronation of don Eduardo Blanco, Caracas: lithograph and trade typography, 1911.

J. R. Fernández Cano.