Biography of Augusto Roa Bastos (1917-2005)

Poet, storyteller and Paraguayan novelist born in Asunción on May 13, 1917 and died in the same city on April 26, 2005. His novel I, the Supreme is, in all likelihood, next to other famous Chronicles of desolation, cruelty, and injustice, one of the most lucid visions of contemporary Latin America. Alongside this work, stand out among the whole of his creative production Thunder among the leaves (1953) and son of man (1960).

The first test that the Paraguay had awakened from its long cultural drowsiness caused by the Chaco War was the publication, in 1952, of the slug, Gabriel Casaccia, which produced a memorable scandal in literary environments in the country.

Year following Roa Bastos published his first work, a collection of short stories entitled the Thunder among the leaves (1953). Against the relative passivity of the attitude of Casaccia and its emphasis on the topic of frustration, Roa Bastos, from the outset, denounces violence and social injustice that prevail in the country, deI who had to exiIiarse in 1947.

But in the midst of the apparent harshness of these 17 stories, already an effort to overcome the purely documentary becomes also evident. The distinguished critic Rodríguez-Alcalá, in a long review of the volume emphasizes not only the virulence of the protest, but also the experimentalism that dominates the storytelling technique.

In 1960 he/she wrote son of man, a story that ranges from 1910 to 1936, with flashbacks that lead them to the beginning of the last century and a finish that could put us in 1947. Travels, Roa novel, through an extended period of time in the history of Paraguay, using the myths, legends, symbols and nature as the center of the story.

In 1974 I, the Supreme, the most important novel of Roa Bastos appeared and which catapulted him to the more universal consideration.

I, the Supreme, Roa Bastos, more mature and perhaps less excited, creates a book that belongs to the type of ironic and destructive literature of its own power to convey the illusion of something true.

According to the author himself, said "eI blurring of a line Cronoiogica in Ia narration, Ia abolition of the borders of time and space were the procedures that were imposed on me as the most effective for not locking it in a certain historical time frames and transcend it to a significance that could get into the present reader".

I the Supreme complies, therefore a triple purpose: inquire about the nature of the regime of the France doctor (José Francisco Rodríguez Francia, 1756-1840, dictator of Paraguay in the 19th century), and so diving into the permanent intrastory of the Paraguay; investigate, once again, on the possibilities of the novel, among other things, the possibility of further widening its boundaries; and finally, through statements, contradictions, paradoxes and puns of the dictator, questioning, for Supreme stimulation of the reader, the expressive possibilities of the language itself.