Biography of Enrique A. Laguerre (1906-VVVV)

Narrator, playwright, columnist, and Puerto Rican educator, born in Moca's olive neighborhood (in the Western region of Puerto Rico) in 1906. Considered one of the great utopian reformers of the American continent, has left printed a valuable literary testimony that pursuing the modernization of all the Antillean geographical area through literacy and education of its people. His sincere identification with the everyday problems of his compatriots (especially, the inhabitants of rural areas) Enrique A. Laguerre have turned into one of the most beloved writers of his people, who on several occasions has unanimously endorsed his nomination as candidate for the Nobel Prize for literature.


Born in the bosom of a wealthy family (was the son of Doña Antonia Vélez and don Juan Laguerre, possessors of a plantation of coffee in which the young Henry grew, and which would then take abundant material for her fiction narratives), he/she did his primary and secondary studies in Isabela and Aguadilla, where soon stood out for his great intellectual gifts and his extraordinary interest in the humanistic disciplines. Thus, soon began to collaborate in some cultural (such as index and Revista de las Antillas) periodic publications which, at the time that opened it its pages, woke him his Puerto Rican conscience and sense of attachment to the soil that had seen him birth.

In 1924, with only eighteen years of age, the bouncy Enrique Laguerre began to teach by their geographical environment as a rural teacher, title that had obtained in Aguadilla after following the training courses taught by Doña Carmen Gómez Tejera, who was discovered great intellectual skills, who caught you interest in letters and who directed his steps towards the path of literary creation. After several years of experience in small rural schools, in 1932 Enrique Laguerre completed his studies at the University of Puerto Rico, and four years later was awarded the medal Menéndez Pidal, who came to recognize him as the best student of Philology between all those who are graduating that year of 1936.

His professional career decidedly oriented towards the field of education, experienced a remarkable public development from 1937, when Laguerre became one of the editors of the scripts that are underpinned the public radio programmes called School of the air, an innovative literacy program released by the Puerto Rican Government and its Department of instruction through the airwaves. For four years he/she remained in his position at this school of the air, alternated the work performed there with the preparation of a new university degree. Finally, in 1941, he/she graduated as master of Arts from the University of Puerto Rico, and that same year began to teach during the Alma Mater, which would carry on teaching for over thirty years (1941-1972).

However, his determined effort of literacy (which, within their personal ideology, was part of an altruistic purpose of modernization of Antillean wide) was not interrupted as a result of this income in the teaching staff of the University of Puerto Rico. Thus, in 1949 he/she moved to the United States of America to pursue a doctorate at Columbia University, and back to his native island applied the new knowledge acquired in the American classroom to a new literacy proposal that became one of the leading specialists in this matter from all Latin America. So, in 1951 UNESCO appointed him Coordinator of the Regional Centre for educational development in Pátzcuaro (in the Mexican State of Michoacán), where Laguerre developed an intense work of literacy and modernization which became one of the most popular figures of the place.


His reformist attitude, as clearly can be seen from the above so far, was the start of the modernization of Latin America extensive literacy of all its inhabitants, with special attention to those who until then remained forgotten in rural areas. These reformist ideas of Enrique Laguerre were well captured in all his literary production, which, in general, can be understood as a utopian vision of modernizing development. From this perspective, the narrative of Laguerre can be considered direct heiress of the literary proposals of other established authors of the novelistic hispanoamericana, as Venezuela's Romulo Gallegos or Colombian José Eustasio Rivera, who advocated the need to "conquer" the "forgotten" interior rural from the various South American Nations in their works. But against the ideological line of nationalist accent that is easily seen in the proposals of these two masters, Enrique Laguerre presents a physical space in which the nation State does not become a political entity claimed in his writings. Thus, his reformist postulates progress within a manifest ambiguity which, on the one hand, to pursue the autonomy for an area called Puerto Rico, while that other misses to isolate, from a clearly nationalist consciousness, the true idiosyncrasies of his people (at the time, reduced to the contradictory status of "Free associated State").

Belonging to the so-called "generation of the thirty", the narrative production of Enrique A. Laguerre aims, such as that of the rest of his fellow career literary, constitute a founding body which, on the basis of rural backwardness, culminates in a developed and modern space. Its first delivery at the printing press was the novel flare (Aguadilla: Tip.) Fidel Ruiz, 1935), which was awarded by the Institute of Puerto Rican culture the following year of its publication. Subsequently, Enrique Laguerre centered its objective on the problems affecting the working class of the canaveral, reflected in a second novel that went out under the title of Solar Montoya (San Juan de Puerto Rico: printing Venezuela, 1941). These extensive stories followed them other two novels of inquiry about the identity of the Puerto Rican: February 30 (San Juan: library of Puerto Rican authors, 1943), in which Laguerre tells the life of a bland being waiting for the day that has never come, and surf the (San Juan: library of Puerto Rican authors, 1949), an extraordinary recreation of life in Puerto Rico between 1870 and 1898.

In 1951 he/she saw light a new fictional installment of Laguerre, the fingers of the hand, and five years later went out the novel entitled La ceiba in the pot (San Juan: Puerto Rican authors, 1956 library), which came to put an end to the first cycle of narrative writer of Moca, where its argument is intended to show the culmination of the process of domestication of the rural space started with flare. Something warns other two later novels that they serve as a link between this first phase and the second phase of his narrative production: the labyrinth (1959) and runway without River (1962).

Later saw the light of other novels of Laguerre as fire and air (1970); The benevolent masters (1980), which the author regarded as one of his best stories; Private hell (1987); By the mouth of snails (1990), focused on the Cuban presence in Puerto Rico; The twins (1992), in which the author ripped from an Indian legend to return to the subject of the Earth; and free bow on heavy seas (1997). In general, as formal characteristics common to all his novels can designate expressive simplicity, the ease in the handling of language and the abundance of descriptions of the Puerto Rican landscape. For the sum of virtues encrypted both in form and content of his novels, Enrique Laguerre has become the story of the letters of Puerto Rico as the author who laid the foundations of the modern Island narrative.

In his role as storyteller, writer of Moca presented the originality of placing their stories numerous characters from his novels, which managed to set up a solid literary universe held by different connections established between their different works. In addition, characterized by the importance which they charged the children, tales of Laguerre saw the light in multiple collections as the titled fallen man, the man who returned, roots, the enemy, etc. He/She was also responsible for an anthology of Spanish stories, as well as some theatrical pieces that never reached the fame of her narratives.


CASANOVA SÁNCHEZ, Olga. The social criticism in the novelistic works of Enrique Laguerre (Río Piedras: University Ed., 1975).

GARCÍA CABRERA, Manuel. Laguerre and its poles of Ibero-American culture (San Juan: library of Puerto Rican authors, 1978).

GONZÁLEZ, José Luis. Literature and society in Puerto Rico (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica [col. 'Tierra Firme'], 1976).

IRIZARRY, Estelle. Enrique A. Laguerre (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982).

Francisco MANRIQUE CABRERA. History of Puerto Rican literature (San Juan de Puerto Rico: Cultural Ed., 1975).

ALVAREZ, Josefina RIVERA. Dictionary of Puerto Rican literature (San Juan de Puerto Rico: Instituto de Cultura, 1979).

ALVAREZ, Josefina RIVERA. Puerto Rican literature. Its process over time (Madrid: Parthenon, 1983).