Blest Gana, Alberto

Blest Gana, Alberto

(älbār`tō blĕst gä`nä), 1830–1920, Chilean novelist. He is considered the principal 19th-century Spanish American realist. Although as a diplomat he spent much of his life abroad, his novels, both social and historical, depict Chilean scenes. In both Aritmética en el amor (1860) and Martín Rivas (1862, tr. 1918), his masterpiece, he attacked the mores of the aristocracy and the upper middle class. His novel Durante la reconquista (1897) concerns the Chilean revolt against Spain.

Blest Gana, Alberto

 

Born May 4, 1830, in Santiago; died Nov. 11, 1920, in Paris. Chilean writer and one of the first Chilean novelists.

Blest Gana was in the diplomatic service from 1871 to 1895. His first works were the novel Deceptions and Disappointments (1855) and others close to romanticism; later, he moved on to realism. In the novels The Arithmetic of Love (1860), Martin Rivas (1862; Russian translation, 1963), The Rake’s Ideal (1863), and other novels influenced by H. de Balzac, he portrayed the life of Chilean society. These novels made up an original “human comedy of Chile.” The historical novel During the Reconquest (1897) reveals the heroic deeds of the people in the war of independence from Spain in the early 19th century. Blest Gana’s later novels of social satire, On Foreign Soil (1904) and Estero the Mad (1909), show a pessimistic outlook on reality.

REFERENCES

Silva Castro, R. Alberto Blest Gana, 1830–1920, 2nd ed. Santiago de Chile, 1955.
Rojas, M. Blest Gana y sus mejores paginas. Santiago, 1961.
Poblete, V. H. Genio y figura de A. Blest Gana. Buenos Aires, [1968]. (Contains a bibliography.)

Z. I. PLAVSKIN