Biography of Tomás Blanco (1896-1975)

Poet, Narrator, essayist, historian and Puerto Rican physician, born in San Juan of Puerto Rico in 1896 and died in 1975. The depth and variety of his printed work, he/she is considered as one of the most prominent intellectuals of Antillean culture of the 20th century.

Although his first vocation led him along the path of science to allow you to achieve a university degree in medicine, the truth is that Tomás Blanco was progressively abandoning their pharmaceutical profession to devote itself fully to the essays and literary creation. It was not, however, an author early, since his first printed work dates from 1935, the date on which this medical humanist was about to reach the forty years of age. It was then when his extraordinary essay historical records of Puerto Rico gave the printing press in Spain (Madrid: Imprenta Pueyo, 1935), reflective openwork hondo work in which the author - located, as author of the same, in the Madrid of the second Republic - recalls some significant episodes in the history of his people to try to extract the basic essence of island national idiosyncrasy, always within a populist keys that would spread quickly all Puerto Rican cultural levels during the Decade of the 1940s.

In line with these historical reflections that served as her base setting in the cultural identity of its people, Tomás Blanco became strongly interested in the phenomenon of miscegenation and racial coexistence, to end up holding an original thesis as controversial: according to the essayist from San Juan, slavery implanted in his country by the Spanish conquerors and its various successors had favouredfrom the control imposed by the Catholic disciplines, coexistence among different races, thus giving place to an interesting process of Pacific fusion that could set one of the deeper essences of the Puerto Rican people. These ideas, expressed in his essay entitled the racial prejudice in Puerto Rico (San Juan de Puerto Rico: Puerto Rican authors, 1942 library) built on controversy between those who did not see the role of the Catholic Church when it comes to resolve racial conflicts as clear as Tomás Blanco.

In any case, the interest in miscegenation led to the essayist to analyze African American poetry that had been written in Puerto Rico, matter in which became one of the leading specialists of his time with rigour and sensitivity. Great friend of negrista poet Luis Palés Matos, definitely contributed to a better understanding of his work with another interesting essay on Palés Matos (San Juan de Puerto Rico: Puerto Rican authors, 1950 Library). Subsequently, returned to join essay rigor and creative sensitivity in the beautiful essay entitled the five senses: things our inventory (San Juan de Puerto Rico: Panamerican Book Company, 1955), where he/she offered a beautiful poetic interpretation of the Antillean myths, the passage that evaluated their survival amid the innovations provided by the industrialization process that was developed in the 1950s.

As a poet, he/she left several compositions in which again make clear that effort to define the identity of the island within a cultural autonomy subject to multiple factors of miscegenation, but always proud of its local specificity. Perhaps the best example of his poetic work is the composition entitled "Unicorn on the island", in which returns that constant inquiry in remote Antillean myths.

In his role as Narrator, writer of San Juan gave printed an interesting compilation of his short stories, published under the title of tales without rhyme nor are (San Juan: Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 1970). In all these short stories again beats interest Tomás Blanco in Puerto Rican identity, racial mixing and the cultural interbreeding. In the field of the extensive narration, only published a novel of autobiographical cut, the vates, fantastic delusion for children older than age (San Juan: Editions Asomante, 1949), works that vividly reflects the difficult adaptation of the writer and humanist to the vertigo of modernity.


ARCE DE VÁZQUEZ, Margot. "Tomás Blanco, essayist", in Journal of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (San Juan), VI, 18 (1963), pp. 1-5.

DÍAZ QUIÑONES, Arcadio. "Tomás Blanco: the reinvention of tradition", in Bulletin of the center of historical research (University of Puerto Rico), 4 (1988-89), pp. 147-182.

FRAU, María Antonia. "The Tomás Blanco vates", in Revista de Estudios Hispánicos (Rio PIedras), II, 1-4 (1972), pp. 223-242.

MONSERRAT GÁMIZ, María de el Carmen. "Bibliography of Thomas White", in Tomás Blanco and the vates (San Juan: Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 1986), pp. 315-347.