Gallegos, Rómulo(rō`mo͞olō gäyā`gōs), 1884–1969, Venezuelan novelist and statesman. Gallegos lived in Spain in voluntary exile from the Venezuelan dictatorship from 1931 until 1935. He returned to his country and was appointed minister of education, being elected president in 1948. In office for only a few months, he was overthrown by a reactionary military coup. He lived in Mexico until his return to Venezuela in 1958. He is best known as the author of the novel Doña Bárbara (1929, tr. 1931), about the Venezuelan plains. The landscape is essentially the protagonist of the novel, in which primitive barbarism is overcome by civilizing influences. Gallegos's other important works are two episodic novels, Cantaclaro (1931) and Canaíma (1935), and La Brizna de Paja en el Viento (1952).
Born Aug. 2, 1884, in Caracas; died there Apr. 5, 1969. Venezuelan statesman, political figure, and writer.
Gallegos was a teacher from 1912 to 1930. From 1931 to 1936 he lived abroad, primarily in Spain. Returning to his country in 1936, he was minister of public education and, from 1937 to 1940, a deputy to the Venezuelan congress. In 1941 he became one of the leaders of the Democratic Action Party. In December of 1947 he was elected president of Venezuela at the head of this party. Gallegos’ government, which had raised taxes on the income of foreign oil companies, was overthrown in November 1948 by a coup d’etat organized by monopolies of the USA. From 1948 to 1958, Gallegos once again lived abroad. He returned to his native land in 1958. He is the author of the realistic novels Doña Bárbara (1929; Russian translation, 1959) Cantaclaro (1934; Russian translation, 1966), Canaima (1935; Russian translation, 1959), and Pobre negro (1937; Russian translation, 1964), all of which portrayed the social conflicts of Venezuelan life. Underlying these novels is a distinctive philosophic artistic conception according to which the main force in the development of society is the struggle between barbarism and civilization. The personified image of nature plays a large role in Gallegos’ novels. He was an advocate of nonviolent methods of rebuilding society.
WORKSObras completas, vols. 1-2. [Madrid, 1958.]
REFERENCESKuteishchikova, V. N. Roman latinskoi Ameriki v XX v. Moscow, 1964.
Dunham, L. R. Gallegos .… Mexico City, 1957.
Damboriena, A. R. Gallegos y la problematica venezolana. Caracas, 1960.
Massiani, F. El hombre y la naturaleza venezolana en Rómulo Gallegos. Caracas, 1964. (Bibliography, pages 221-24.)
Revista nacional de cultura, 1969, no. 188. (A special number dedicated to Gallegos.)
M. S. AL’PEROVICH and V. N. KUTEISHCHIKOVA