Biography of Francisco Gavidia (ca. 1863-1955)

Poet, Narrator, essayist, dramatist, historian, philosopher, musicologist, speaker, educator, political scientist, literary critic and translator Salvadoran, born on December 29, 1863 in San Miguel (although some of his biographers delayed this date until 1865), and died in San Salvador on September 24, 1955. Aside from the quality of his literary production, by the extent of all its humanistic knowledge is considered as the great Patriarch of Salvadoran literature, and as one of the great figures of universal culture. At the same time, it is one of the most representative models of self-taught progress, from their own efforts, no undeniable gifts intellectuals and their voracious desire to learn got treasure an encyclopedic background that covers almost all disciplines of humanistic knowledge.

Moreover, its presence in the history of Universal literature is not only his own literary creation, since it played a fundamental role in the evolution of the late 19th century Spanish-American poetry, to become very early in one of the main renovators of techniques, style and metrics of poetry written in the Castilian language. So much so, that his knowledge and assimilation of new poetic trends coming from Europe (especially France) Nicaraguan poet decisively influenced the stylistic progression of his friend Rubén Darío, maximum bulwark of American literary modernism. In fact, when both poets were just a few teenagers dazzled by any cultural news from Europe, Gavidia encouraged enthusiastically to his friend Ruben started to cultivate the verse Alexandrian (as in vogue, then, in the France of the Parnassian and Symbolist poets), metric adoption which constitutes one of the stone ashlars of the subsequent modernist work of the universal Nicaraguan Bard.

Anchored in his first youth poems, to the late romanticism that still coleaba in Latin American lands, Francisco Gavidia is devoted to the reading of the contemporary French poets (a few of which would later translate into Spanish) and discovered the greatness of the work of Víctor Hugo, which allowed him to adapt his lyrical ear to most features of the gala lirica metric forms. So, can say that Gavidia was the real forerunner of modernism in Central America, as in his early poems verses (1884) already served some of the main features lexical, rhythmic and metric that, shortly afterwards, would codify and consecrate the aforementioned Dario masterfully.

Subsequently (and, in part, because of its long existence), Francisco Gavidia evolved in particular modulation of his own poetic voice, to the cultivation of a conceptual reflection that reaches its peak in the collection of poems entitled Soteer or land of medals (1949), a modern epic song that, largely, is his masterpiece and his great literary legacy. But that initial romantic stage and this deep lyrical introspection of his provecta age include a copious essays and creative production that went through many different stages and caught multiple aesthetic trends.

Indeed, also in his capacity of playwright knew Gavidia evolve from a late romanticism (or a bialostosky glimpse) present in dramas such as Jupiter (1885) or Ursino (1889), until a clear conceptual epic in dramatic poem entitled La Princess Catalá (1944). On average, are some very different plays each other as count of San Salvador or the God of things (1901), Lucía Lasso or the pirates (1914), the Tower of ivory (1920) or burnish (1931).

As a forerunner of new literary aesthetic, Francisco Gavidia was not limited to their valuable contributions in the genera poetic and dramatic, since also from the field of the brief narrative he/she advocated a recreation of namespaces, and pre-Columbian and colonial, legendary figures in a clear preview of later Indian literature that would succeed in all Latin American countries. This determined breath innovative prompted him, finally, to propose the adoption of a universal language invented by himself, the "Salvador language", which was used to publish some numbers of their famous magazine Kosmos, a publication that is prestigious for its huge international broadcasting. He/She also used this language to compose his famous poem entitled "The flyers", or "Poem in Hexametros to la Gloria Latin American of Santos Dumont". This composition, sharp prefuturista inspiration, is dedicated - as its subtitle-a Brazilian pilot and engineer reza Santos-Dumont, regarded in those years as "The father of aviation", for his exploits made the blimps and the first aircraft controls.

Aside from the aforementioned works, Francisco Gavidia published dozens of titles on the most different materials. Among them, it is obliged to recall the philosophical essay study and summary of the "discourse on method" of Descartes (1901); the literary essay traditions (1901), focused on the homonymous work of the Peruvian writer Ricardo Palma (1901); historical essay entitled 1814 (1905); the family lyric poems volume published under the heading of the book of orange blossoms (1913), where it appeared his famous patriotic poem "Canto to Central America"; the first volume of the collection of his writings, titled works (1913); the Treaty of modern history of El Salvador (published in two volumes, in 1917 and 1918). the study of musical criticism entitled the cancionero of the 19th century (1929-1930), consisting of a collection of his translations of some fragments of the best-known 19th century operas written in French, English, German and Italian; the collection of short stories, tales and stories (1931); the collection of his speeches, studies and conferences (1941); and the narration in verse tale of sailors (1947). In 1974 and 1976 appeared, respectively, the volumes first and second from his complete works, which is collected all his poetic production, while the collection of his dramatic work, published by the perceptive critic Salvadoran Carlos Cañas-Dinarte, came to light in 1999 under the generic title of theatre.

The presence of Francisco Gavidia in El Salvador at the end of the 19th century socio-cultural scene is one of the best exponents of the Hispano-American intellectual committed to the institutional development of its country. In the political arena, was the founder of the parliamentary party (1895); and in the cultural field, founded the magazine andes (1904), and was a member - and, subsequently, director - of the Salvadoran Academy of language, the Academia Salvadoreña de la Historia, and the Ateneo de El Salvador. He/She was also director of primary education (1896), Minister of public instruction (1898), director of the National Library (1906-1919), Professor of the National Institute and of the University of El Salvador, which was awarded the degree of "Doctor Honoris Causa" in 1941. Among many other awards and honors that was recognized their work public, literary and intellectual, he/she was officially honored in 1912 and 1919 by the power Executive from El Salvador, and in 1933 it was declared "he Salvadoran" by the National Assembly. Finally, in 1939 it received unanimous recognition of his countrymen, who crowned him as poet in the main theater of San Miguel, emblematic building that, from then on, bears the name of the honoree writer.


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.