Biography of Juan de Dios Peza (1852-1910)

Poet, essayist, dramatist, and diplomat, born in the city of Mexico on June 29, 1852 and deceased in place of origin on March 16, 1910. Man alive liberal convictions and deep love of country, left printed a bright literary legacy in which, on the basis of the traditional aesthetics, he/she extolled some traditional national identity and family values, without falling for this reason in the pathos and the bombast that, for the years in which he/she wrote, dominated the Aztecs letters. Strongly linked to the influence of the Spanish lyric of his time (he lived for many years in Madrid, where it made contact with leading figures of the Spanish intelligentsia from the second half of the 19th century), was accused by the coetaneous Mexican criticism of exceeding the waste of a maudlin verbiage that prevented him to engage with the social, political and cultural interests of his countrymen; However, with the passage of time his literary production is remembered as one of the greatest contributions to Mexican culture time.

Life and work

Born in a well-to-do family that exerted a powerful influence on Mexican of mid-19th century politics (his father was CEO of Maximiliano I and Minister of finance during the imperial period), reacted since his youth against the ideological tenets of their elders (traditionally assigned to the Conservative Party) and showed a strong liberal mood that caused him the enmity of his father. He/She was, however, of his careful academic training, which, added to his innate humanistic vocation, drove you until the national preparatory school, where he/she had the fortune to fall under the guardianship of the writer, journalist and Republican politician Ignacio Ramírez (1818-1879), better known by his literary pseudonym of "The necromancer". This was who, dazzled by the brilliant poetic compositions he/she wrote his young student, strongly supported him in the beginning of his literary career and introduced him in the Aztec cultural landscape through a complimentary carta-prologo which was printed in front of the first volume of verse published by Juan de Dios Peza, presented under the generic title of poems (Mexico(: Edition of the century, 1874).

Shortly before the publication of this directorial debut, the young Juan de Dios Peza had graduated from the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria to enroll then in the National School of medicine, whose classrooms left immediately before the conviction that his true vocation pushed him to the culture of journalism and literary creation. Always lucky in their personal relationships, in his brief period as a student of medicine coincided with another young man who was also called become - despite its brief existence-in one of the precipuas voices of Mexican literature, Saltillo Manuel Acuña (1849-1873), poet who appreciated so far as speaking to him with the term brother to Juan de Dios. In 1873, the suicide of the rebel, an atheist and materialist Acuña - induced by the scorn of the beautiful Rosary of the Peña, to whose physical and intellectual splendor also fell yielded the mentioned Ignacio Ramírez - Juan de Dios Peza plunged into a deep sadness that was partly mitigated by their first professional successes in the field of journalism, reflected in the launching of its literary publication El Bucaro (1873)published by the prestigious Rotary mail trade, which came to appear - still life of the author - the last writings of the late poet saltilleno. Subsequently, his fruitful career within the media led to the management of the world illustrated.

The exit to the street of the aforementioned first poems of Peza coincided with the premiere, on March 22 of that year of 1874, of the initial RAID of the Mexican writer in the domains of Talia, represented under the title of home science. The content of this piece attached to the familiar theme of various compositions collected in poetry, theater, led Juan de Dios Peza began to be known in the forums and literary Cenacle of the city of Mexico as "the poet of the home", remoquete who, with the passing of the years, the author himself commissioned reaffirm with verses like these (which gave forgotten youth disputes between his father and him): "I have at home a sovereign / unique to who worships my soul;" / is your Crown, cano hair / honors it its law and virtue Guide. In slow hours of misery and grief, / full of firm and manly constancy, / keeps the faith with which I spoke of the sky / in the first hours of my childhood. The bitter prohibition and sadness / his soul opened incurable wound; "/ it is an old man, and wears on his head / the dust of the road of life [...]" ("My father").

After two years of the publication and the premiere-respectively - his first book of poems and his theatrical debut, Juan de Dios Peza gave the press a new volume of verses, hours of passion (Mexico: Imprenta the future, 1876), book that definitively consolidated its presence among the young values of Aztec poetry. Thanks to this intellectual prestige - reaffirmed every day in their brilliant journalistic work-, in 1878 he/she was sent to Madrid as Secretary of the Embassy of Mexico, at the time headed by the general, and politician of Tuxcueca (Jalisco) Ramón Corona (1836-1889). As soon as it was installed in the capital of Spain, Peza sought to become fully integrated in Madrid intellectual and artistic forums, where immediately had the opportunity to exhibit their creative skills by means of contributions published in the magazine the Spanish enlightenment and American. Exercised, also as a standard-bearer of Mexican poetry in the Iberian Peninsula, and just a year after his arrival in Madrid had already published the Mexican lyre (1876), a valuable anthological selection of poetry of his land. At the same time, he/she became friends with some of the leading figures of contemporary Spanish culture, as a politician and brilliant speaker Emilio Castelar (1832-1899), and the poets Ramón de Campoamor (1817-1901), José Selgas (1822-1882) and Gaspar Núñez de Arce (1834-1903); and it got all this echoes of literary recognition that dragged from his native Mexico is extended by all Spain.

It was, in effect, at the time one of the most celebrated patriotic vates of the Aztec country, where the initial praise generously made by "The necromancer", began to join other criticisms positive from voices as flagship in las Letras mexicanas as Ignacio Manuel Altamirano (1834-1893) and Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera (1859-1895), who, while recognising the ability of Juan de Dios Peza in the handling of a poetic language simple and directIt reproached him you - from the condition of precursor of modernism in the letters Mexican - its dangerous tendency to abuse the easy chauvinism and other thematic content and formal models inherited the worst romantic bombast, and now certainly outdated. Amid the applause and fears that caused his verses among the intelligentsia of the country, Juan de Dios Peza gave to the hollanders a third collection of poems, songs of home (Mexico, 1884), which soon added to the jubilation of many popular readers receiving enthusiastically all his compositions, the two volumes of his complete poems (Mexico, 1886). This global collection of his poetic production, posted by Peza when only had thirty-four years of age, was greeted with jubilation by the legion of little demanding readers who enjoyed his poetry plain and maudlin; but, at the same time, it aroused the anger of those who had already repaired the defects in that designated indulgently Gutiérrez Nájera, and in particular of a considerable part of critics, who deplored the torrential eloquence jingoistic and homely that the writer of the city of Mexico was unable to contain. Among his most severe detractors won the authoritative voice and rotunda of the critic Manuel Puga and Acal ("Brummel"), who, in his study entitled the contemporary Mexican poets (1888), attacked with virulence against obsolete and outdated verses of Juan de Dios Peza, who proposed as the best "that ease of our language" paradigm to produce harmonious phrases that, from your point of view, was "the cause of that abound both in Spain and the Americas poets". And Puga and Acal concluded his judgment on the work of Peza lowering it from the high category of poet to the pathetic condition of balladeer: "I told the poets, I should say the versificadores".

Despite these censures from the finest criticism, Juan de Dios Peza was still enjoying yielded admiration of the plain people, always ready to be moved with verses so plain, local customs and everyday like these: "Juan and Margot, two Angels brothers / that beautify my home with their love, / are entertained with games as human / resembling people from children." While Juan, for three years, is a soldier / and assemble in a weak and hollow shank, / Margot kisses lips of granado / lips of cardboard from your wrist. They look both their Gallic innocent, / and cheerful dream of sweet ties; / He/She who crosses serene between bullets; "/ it, which lulls a child in his arms [...]" ("Guns and Dolls"). Popular recognition was no doubt said which encouraged its intention, already back in Mexico, down to the political arena and present his candidacy to the Congress of the Union, where he/she ended up occupying a seat of Deputy. Served, in addition, other public positions of high responsibility, but he/she never abandoned his literary production, increased at the end of the 1980s with two real holiday verses poems (Mexico: Gallegos brothers, 1888).

A fruitful tour of the North of his country inspired him, soon after, the book of memories and impressions poetic Muse of travel (Mexico: Gallegos brothers, 1889), which followed other many volumes of verses and prose that let patent their astonishing fertility literature during the last decade of the 19th century, as home and homeland (1891), monologues (1891), pull the wrench (1891)Memories of a veteran (1891), on the eve of the wedding (1891), memories and expectations (1892) and flowers of the soul and festive verses (1893). Maintained, at the same time, its prestigious playwright with the premiere in Spain of his play the harp of love (1891), and fought an arduous task of compilation and consolidation of the Mexican popular literature expressed in legends and romances, which came from the press at the end of the century under the title of historical, traditional, and fantastic legends of Mexico (Paris streets(: Garnier brothers, 1898), with a foreword by the renowned historian of Guanajuato Luis González Obregón (1865-1938): "white, who only advises / piety acts of love, / let so much pain / a memory in the alley." Put a niche and some flowers, / emblems of their love, / and in the niche Jesús Niño / lost among the doctors, / / and a lamp that was burning / symbol of devotion / inviting prayer / in the night and the day. And year after year run / respects the fact the fame; / and that street is called / «Calle del Niño Perdido» "("street of the Niño Perdido")."

On the cusp of literary celebrity, in 1900 Juan de Dios Peza was appointed Professor of the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, which alternated their teaching assignments with their constant creative activity and a strong will - to manifest in him since the previous decade - gather and compile in book form the numerous writings - usually in prose-that had left scattered in newspapers, magazines, and forewords to present different works of his friends. The brochure gave a collection of personal anecdotes and other texts of different nature under the title of my intimate drawer (Paris/Mexico: library of the widow of ch. Boüret, 1900), and, four years later, picked up the impressions that had caused you their stay in the Iberian Peninsula in the memories of Spain (1904) volume. Much of his novellas - based, some of them in actual episodes starring the own Peza - were collected in memories of my life (1907), and his latest poems were printed in the book entitled leaves of margarita (Mexico: Ballesca, 1910). Left, in addition, an unpublished poems that was twenty years after his disappearance, prefaced by the poet, essayist and literary critic of city of Mexico Luis Gonzaga Urbina (1868-1934), and presented under a heading that can be well synthesized that homely and family line that passes through, as a central thematic hub, all his poetic production: devotional from my grandchildren (1930).

Poet, journalist, political, diplomatic and, above all, writer who tried to live since his youth years delivered squarely to his creative craft (founded Mexico's first society of authors, and President, since 1902, the Mexican artistic and literary Ateneo), Juan de Dios Peza has suffered, in the midst of his overwhelming popularity, several setbacks of fortune that soured his life and cancelled, in his own personal experience, some of the main values exalted continuously in his verses (among the most significant, remember that he/she was abandoned by his wife, in a cruel irony of fate that seemed to mock, as well, "poet's home"). To overcome these adversities, always had the comfort of his office's writer, who absorbed him up to the end of promoting him to prepare, when it had not yet reached the forty years of age, a rigorous Edition of his complete poems which, according to its own intention, should be the only authorized, because it was going to be "directed and arranged" by it. He/She contacted, thus, the prestigious Parisian imprint Garnier brothers and agreed to publish this magna review of his verses in five volumes, according to the following scheme of Edition: the first volume, entitled home and homeland, would contain the compositions of songs from home, Romances, legends and traditions, and the first part of his monologues; in the second, under the title of the harp of love, would go poems from hours of passion, the harp of love and Muse of travel; the third volume, entitled memories and hopes, would meet the contents of poems and Romances, national, as well as the second part of his poetic monologues; the fourth would be which then saw the light under the heading of flowers of the soul and festive verses; and the fifth - while four previous projects became a reality - never published.


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Fernandez, a. J. "Peza, Juan de Dios", in MEDINA, J. R. [DIR]: dictionary encyclopedic of the lyrics of Latin America (DELAL) (Caracas: library Ayacucho/Monte Ávila Editores Latinoamericana: 1995), vol. III, pp. 3746-3748.

MARTINEZ, J. L. The national expression (Mexico: IMP.) University, 1955), pp. 175-179.

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VALLE, R. H. "Bibliography of Juan de Dios Peza", in Bulletin of the Biblioteca nacional (Mexico), 2nd time, V, no. 3 (1954), pp. 3-20.