Biography of Nicanor Bolet Peraza (1838-1906)

Narrator, playwright, journalist, politician and Venezuelan diplomat, born in Caracas in 1838 and died in New York (United States of America) in 1906. It was younger brother of the great painter and Illustrator Caracas Ramón Bolet Peraza.


Born in a well-to-do family that would bring you an excellent academic training (was son of the medical doctor Nicanor Bolet Poleo), when hardly one year old had moved in the company of their own until the city of Barcelona, the capital of the Venezuelan State of Anzoategui, where his father had been reclaimed for professional reasons. His childhood and adolescence passed in the town, in a rich cultural environment which allowed doctor Bolet Pennyroyal - man inclined to humanistic curiosities - founding a printing and lithography which soon began to work with enthusiasm the young siblings Nicanor and Ramon. This first work experience tipped decisively in the future writer to the journalistic profession, which became known thanks to the launch of the magazine El Oasis (1856-1858), founded by him and by his aforementioned brother.

But the messy political situation that Venezuela spent the 19th century came to interrupt of Nicanor Bolet youth dedication to the world of printing and the regular Edition. On August 1, 1859, after the so-called "pronouncement of choir", came the outbreak of the Federal war, lifted by Ezequiel Zamora and Juan Crisóstomo Falcón, forcing the young lithographer moving "lead types by lead bullets". After having taken active part in the armed struggle, he/she settled in his native Caracas, and founded there, in 1865 and in collaboration with his brother, the revolving Museum illustrated, a publication that was presented to the Venezuelan readers as a "literary, pictorial newspaper by means of chromolithography". Initially, Bolet Peraza took only address within the Rotary functions; but in one of its numbers, in the absence of the partner that was covering the plot of the article of Customs (at the time, forced presence in all Spanish and Latin American publications genre), was forced to supplement the usual signatory of this section, for which he/she adopted the literary pseudonym of "Abdul Azis" and left stamped his first article, published under the title of "A visit mishaps". It began, as well as eventful as lucky way, the prolific literary career of Nicanor Bolet as a costumbrista writer, modality, which soon came to become the most outstanding figure of the Venezuelan cultural panorama of the second half of the 19th century. This enthusiastic dedication - prolonged for nearly half a century of professional experience as a journalist - one of the most characteristic of the nineteenth-century prose genres has led, in many literary and journalistic manuals, the Caracas-based writer name appear exclusively linked to the customs; However, his literary production progressed by other many generic and thematic trails which reached identical dimensions of quality that in its customs items.

At the end of the Federal war (1863), the victory of the troops in favor of federalism had plunged Venezuela into serious political instability which, despite the strenuous efforts of the winners in order establish democratic egalitarianism, eventually giving rise to the implementation of a pernicious local warlordism that was planting foci war across the country. Amid constant revolutionary proclamations and harsh repressions of the conservative reaction, Venezuela was convulsed by dozens of armed clashes that resuscitated the dormant monster of the civil war, and resulted in a new way the war of most of its inhabitants fore. Among them was Nicanor Bolet, who came to reach the military grade of General and to take an active part in the national policy in his new position of representative in Congress, though it would soon regret this prominence in public life and leave printed juicy satirical reflections that censored and ridiculing the vanity and the interest of those who, as he/she himself had done, thriving at the expense of the citizens to represent ("I made laws, sumptuous others, I was standing or was sitting on the wrong side of what demanding circumstances;") delivering speeches, made proposals, supported reports and voted candidates; I apelé to the people [...], I received applause, they called me to order and he/she picked diets; everything as if it were a true representative of the will of the people").

On April 27, 1870 returned to Venezuela general Antonio Guzmán Blanco, former Vice President of the nation during the mandate of Juan Crisóstomo Falcón. After promoting the so-called "Blue Revolution", the capital of the country he/she took with alacrity and became the new Venezuelan President, thereby giving place to the home of the guzmancismo and its longer-lasting phase in power, the seven years (1870-1877) - later, Guzmán Blanco, he/she would return to govern the country during the five years (1879-1884) and the biennium (1886-1888)-. Bolet Peraza supported, in principle, the new regime, which brought to Venezuela well-founded hopes for peace, stability and prosperity in their first years of implementation. Married, then, with perfect Monagas - daughter of the former President of the José Gregorio Monagasnation, to which is remembered for his historic decree that it abolished slavery in the country - and father of four children, family responsibilities and their dedication to writing not prevented a parliamentary seat on behalf of the citizens of Barcelona, honor that he/she combined with his new position as Secretary of the Congress and its uninterrupted journalistic workthen focused on his position as co-editor of the rotating the National Opinion.

This brief period of prosperity and relative tranquility in the Venezuelan public life is also reflected in the personal circumstances of Nicanor Bolet Peraza, who, for some time, enjoyed invaluable appreciation in the intellectual and political forums in the country. But then the spurious interests of Guzmán Blanco and his coterie of retainers, became patent that gave rise to a growing opposition movement that had its greatest exponent in figure in the final years of the seven years, and the writings of the Caracas-based journalist. And so, after the fall of the Government of Guzmán Blanco and the coming to power of Francisco Linares Alcántara, Bolet Peraza enthusiastically embraced the policy of the new President and became one of his top aides, which earned him the appointment as Secretary that is say, head - the Ministry of the Interior and justice. From this lofty public office, the writer led to charge a generous and intelligent policy of reconciliation that manifested in the massive return of exiles and the re-establishment of relations with the Church, the country sought a brief period of balsamic stability. And, at the same time, continued displaying their incessant journalistic work, now embodied in the founding of the Liberal Forum, which immediately became the spokesperson of the ideas of the new government body and in the recent mistakes of Guzmán Blanco fustigador whip. Convinced that the guzmanismo was already a painful episode happily closed in the history of Venezuela, Nicanor Bolet was Wroth in the policy of the former President and came to proclaiming Antonio Guzmán Blanco - exile, meanwhile, in Europe — never would when stepped on Venezuelan soil.

But the target countered, capricious and cruelly, the hopeful predictions of the Caracas-based journalist. On November 30, 1878 ensued, unexpectedly, the sudden death of Linares Alcántara, a circumstance that led to the immediate and timely return of Guzmán Blanco, who took the dominant confusion in the political landscape and social Venezuelan to spearhead the movement called "The claim" and take back the power. The implementation of the five-year period (or second period of Government of Antonio Guzmán Blanco) brought the expected pursuit of all those who had censured with acrimony the policy deployed during the seven years, which included one of the most outstanding posts Nicanor Bolet Peraza. Hurry I sobré it by threats that are ahead and on their own, game writer took the path of exile in 1880 and settled with his family in the American city of New York, which should definitely reside for the rest of his life.

The harsh conditions of exile, always painful for those who are forced to suffer it, were much more sanudas in the figure of Nicanor Bolet Peraza, who had not only left behind an enviable status in his native country, but also was forced to start a new life to the forty years of age, full of family obligations and surrounded by a totally distinct company to which he/she had met in Venezuela. Integration and adaptation were foreseen as costly, to begin to overcome obstacles, had to begin to learn the language of their new neighbours, as the dominance of the English language was not hitherto one of the merits which marked the brilliant humanistic career of Bolet Peraza. But, in the midst of such adverse circumstances, the proverbial tenacity of the writer managed to quickly overcome the accumulation of difficulties that has suddenly had lodged in his life career. And so, surprisingly integrated in the novel - to-culture us, soon came into contact with the main journalistic and editorial centres supported by the New York Hispanic origin population, and reached the post of editor at the magazine illustrated in New York, a prestigious publication distributed by all the Spanish-speaking American subcontinent, in which did as a co-editor the exquisite poet and Narrator Salvadoran - born in territory Nicaraguan - Román Mayorga Rivas. Integrated, through articles published within its pages, in the main cultural cenacles of the city more prosperous and flourishing of the new American Empire, he/she made relations with the Hispanic American intellectuals established in this metropolis, as his fellow countryman Juan Antonio Pérez Bonalde and the Cuban José Martí and came to participate in the founding of the solvent Hispanoamericana literary society based in New Yorkwhich held the Presidency during different periods. Result of these contacts with the cream of the intelligentsia of Latin origin were the portrayals that left written about these relevant characters, biographical and critical comments today to calibrate, in all his righteousness, the importance of his deeds and his works (thus, v. gr., on March 14, 1896 gave, in the halls of the Hispano-American literary society(, a swollen encomiastico discourse on the Apostle of Cuban independence, whose dreams of peace and freedom had shared throughout her fruitful friendship on American soil).

At the end of the Decade of the 1980s, thanks to his prolific literary and journalistic work developed in the United States of America, the exiled Nicanor Bolet Peraza could be considered Venezuelan citizen greater international projection. Of ahi que, in 1888, the new President of the Government of his native country, Juan Pablo Rojas Paúl - first civil that it held the position of leader in Venezuela in more than a half-century, appoint you Minister Plenipotentiary and extraordinary submitted in Washington, where the renowned writer played high diplomatic missions in the service of their fellow citizens (such as that which led you to the first International American Conference(, in which proposals from the U.S. Government, addressed the dispute around the territorial limits of the British Guiana, which kept Britain and Venezuela). For courage, firmness and clarity displayed by Bolet Peraza to put on the table of the international community conducted by the British invasion of the Venezuelan soil, the name of the now bright diplomat returned receivables, among their fellow citizens, the former prestige of which had enjoyed years ago in his role as public.

After the success obtained by these efforts in Washington, Caracas writer returned to his New York home and continued to deliver to their journalistic duties, which now moved him to found a new magazine of enormous interest and spread, the three Americas, published in New York City between 1893 and 1896. By that time, when proven merit as a legatee had also provided the office of consul of the Republic of El Salvador in the American metropolis, was held in Venezuela the centenary of the birth of the José Gregorio Monagas, former President of the nation antiesclavista - as already indicated above - and father-in-law of Nicanor Bolet Peraza. The Caracas-based journalist was invited to participate in solemn events convened for May 4, 1895, which allowed him to return to his home country for a brief period of time, after three long years of absence. After accepting the invitation of the current Venezuelan President, Joaquín Crespo, attended the commemoration events and again moved with the contemplation of their land and the observation of those habits of his compatriots that had Catalan Psalter in its literary articles, but decided to return to his residence in the United States of America, where his life was definitely managed. After little more than one decade, the death surprised him in New York, the day 25 March 1906, when he/she was next to meet the sixty-eight years of age.


Traditional articles of Nicanor Bolet Peraza (i.e. those parts that, in life, won most prestigious literary him) were collected in a splendid volume published compilation, twenty-five years after his death, under the title of articles for customs, and literary (Barcelona [Spain]: Editorial Araluce, 1931). Later, some of these articles and other journalistic writings of Caracas writer saw the light between the pages of anthology of local custom festivity Venezuelan (Caracas: Venezuelan Popular Library, 1940), work selected and prefaced by the writer, literary critic and University Professor of Mérida (Venezuela) Mariano Picón Salas. Innumerable texts which Bolet Peraza left scattered in journals and Rotary Venezuelans and Americans include many works collected in journalistic and literary selection (Caracas: line Aeropostal Venezolana, 1953), as well as in the book entitled Nicanor Bolet Peraza (Caracas: Academia Venezolana de la Lengua, 1963).

However, the Caracas-based writer not only used pages of the media to publish articles of customs and political commentary. In its condition of excellent prose writer, gave to light some magnificent stories in different Rotary and magazines, among which it is forced to remember the story "Metencardiasis", published in September 1896 in the magazine the three Americas, work that not only highlights the splendid skills of Bolet Peraza for prose fiction, but makes its author one of the writers pioneered the cultivation of the fantastic in Venezuelan literature story. It also triumphed from the political and cultural galleries that frequented throughout his life, in the complex genre of oratory, literary speeches and political proclamations that designated him as one more facundos Latin American speakers of the 19th century (remember, the purpose, cited his speech delivered in New York, to the members of the Latin American literary societyin praise and remembrance funeral of the recently deceased of José Martí).

In addition, Nicanor Bolet distinguished himself in his time as a playwright, with comedies and dramas as celebrated by the critics and the public Venezuelan as lack of good bread cakes (Caracas: printing of the National Opinion, 1873), traditional comedy in one Act, and struggles of home (Id. ID., 1875). Moreover, cultivated the essay genre in the revolution of Labor (1901), the epistolary in letters gredalenses (New York: library of the three Americas, [s.d.]) and the geographical description in impressions of journey (New York: Las Novedades, 1906).


Diaz SEIJAS, Pedro: The ancient and the modern Venezuelan literature, Caracas: Armitano, 1966, pp. 191, 206, 392 and 396.

ORIHUELA, Augusto: The three Americas and modernism, Caracas: Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos Rómulo Gallegos, 1983.

PICÓN FEBRES, Gonzalo: The Venezuelan literature in the century XIX, Buenos Aires: Ayacucho, 1947, pp. 282-283.

PICÓN SALAS, Mariano: "foreword", in anthology of Venezuelan local custom festivity, Caracas: Venezuelan Popular Library, 1940, p. 102.

RATCLIFF, Dillwyn F.: The prose of fiction in Venezuela, Caracas: editions of the library of the Universidad Central de Venezuela, 1966, pp. 59-60.

TEJERA, Felipe: Venezuelan profiles, Caracas: President of the Republic, 1974, pp. 349-352.

J. R. Fernández Cano.