Biography of Pedro Geoffroy Rivas (1908-1979)

Poet, Narrator, anthropologist, essayist, linguist and Salvadoran journalist, born in Santa Ana on September 16, 1908, and died in San Salvador on November 10, 1979. Poet rebellious and controversial Narrator, by the extent and depth of their vast humanistic knowledge has become the history of letters Central America as one of the most brilliant and influential of the Salvadoran cultural landscape intellectuals.

Born in a family landowner of Santa Ana, possessing large coffee plantations, the young Pedro Geoffroy rejected the possibility of staying in the field at the head of the family farm to move to San Salvador, where he began to pursue higher studies in medicine. But his innate humanistic vocation, strongly tilted toward the side of literary creation, soon induced him to leave the classrooms of the University of El Salvador to focus their attention on other subjects and places.

So, in 1931 he moved to Guatemala, and from there he went to Mexico, whose National Autonomous University formalized your registration to study law (discipline in which graduated in 1937) and, subsequently, anthropology and Linguistics. Increasingly more interested in studies of letters, specialized in knowledge and research of Mesoamerican indigenous languages, at the time beginning to collaborate regularly in some media of the Aztec country.

Still in Mexico, correspondent member of the literary group became a crucible, located in his hometown of Santa Ana, and on his return to El Salvador, in the company of some journalists and writers from the defunct new journal, founded the Rotary Tribune (1944), newspaper whose address would assume years later, mutant and its headwaters in free gallery. Involved, as well, in the main movements of the intellectual, ideological and artistic vanguard of his country, Pedro Geoffroy was forced to take the road to exile after the fall of the Government of general Maximiliano Hernández Martínez. He returned to settle in Mexico, now in the company of his recent cell family, and lived there for more than one decade, until he was able to return back to El Salvador to take up a Chair at the University where his academic training had begun.

Since then, the literary and intellectual dimension of his work became in the mirror and encouraging a whole new generation of Salvadoran writers that admirers alike for its aesthetic audacity and rebelliousness socio-political, Pedro Geoffroy became one of his most influential mentors. Indeed, his political ideas (insitas in Socialist current) and his literary works (disseminated not only through his books, but also through numerous articles and essays published in some prestigious media as Crucible, leaf, the University and culture, magazines and newspapers Social reform, the newspaper of today and the mentioned free Tribune) were the spur that moved for some time young Salvadoran writersgrouped first in the famous University literary circle, and subsequently in the no less famous committed generation. Years later, when much of these young creators complained of the work and the ideas of Pedro Geoffroy Rivas, the already-veteran poet and fighter from Santa Ana attended many polemics with renewed ardor was convened, which made him a spirited dissident characterized by independence of his ideas and the vehemence that defend them. However, despite their rabidly independent positions and their multiple clashes with all spheres of social, political and cultural power, Pedro Geoffroy was elected member of the Academia Salvadoreña de la Lengua, and officially recognized as the great creator and ideologue that ultimately was, thanks to the national prize for culture, arts-oriented modeHe fell on his person in 1977.

Unfortunately, his impulsive, vehement and unsystematic character - always ready to go with new texts where its presence - was necessary he left a wealth of dispersed or unpublished material in numerous periodicals of all the Central American area. To try to cover this gap in the history of the Salvadoran letters of the 20th century, at the end of the Decade of the 1970s the National Library of El Salvador funded a project to recover and systematize all his literary and journalistic work disseminated in the media, project that yielded its first results in a valuable album-bibliographic work published in 1979 in the magazine shelves (San Salvador(, no. 2, pp. 21-25). Almost ten years later, the work of the young Salvadoran investigator Luis Alvarenga has resulted in a splendid collection of the essays and articles by Pedro Geoffroy Rivas, published by the Directorate of publications and forms of the National Council for culture and art (CONCULTURA) under the title the magic root (1988).

Among the rest of his printed work, stand out some poems of extraordinary value for the study of the evolution of aesthetic ideas in the field of Latin American poetry of the 20th century. It is titled works course (1934), songs in the wind (1936), only love (1963), Yulcuicat (1965), the grandsons of the jaguar (1977), life, passion and death of the antihero (1977) and verses (1979). In addition to these poetic titles, Pedro Geoffroy Rivas left printed in life a literary essay as important as my uncle Alberto Masferrer (1953), and several linguistic treatises the scope of toponymy nahuat de Cuscatlán (1961), the nawat de Cuscatlán (1969), the Spanish spoken in El Salvador (1969) and the Salvadoran language (1979).


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.