Montalvo, Juan

Montalvo, Juan

(hwän môntäl`vō), 1832–89, Ecuadorean essayist and political writer. A champion of liberalism and a master of political invective, he showered fiery anathemas on the tyrant Gabriel García Moreno and later on the dictator Ignacio Veintimilla. Montalvo's first polemics appeared in his own journal, El cosmopolita (1866–69). Exiled in 1879, he went to France. The publication of his Catilinarias in 1880 made him famous. Endowed with a lucid and inquisitive intellect and a strong, quasi-romantic temperament, Montalvo turned his vivid style to a variety of historical, philosophical, and cultural themes. The essays in Siete Tratados (1882) and in Geometría moral (1902) are often speculative and introspective. Montalvo also wrote a witty sequel to Don Quixote, entitled Capítulos que se le olvidaron a Cervantes [chapters Cervantes forgot] (1921). Montalvo was a dedicated champion of democracy. Many consider him unrivaled as a stylist in 19th-century Spanish letters.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Montalvo, Juan


Born Apr. 13, 1832, in Ambato, Ecuador; died Jan. 1, 1889, in Paris. Ecuadorian writer and journalist.

Montalvo studied law at the Central University of Ecuador in Quito. After the reactionary coup d’etat of 1869, he headed the liberal opposition. Montalvo lived as an emigre in Colombia and France. He was important to Ecuadorian literature as the creator of antityrannical political prose and as a brilliant stylist. Montalvo published his works in antigovernment newspaper-leaflets, which he printed himself; for example, El Cosmopolita (1866–69), in which he condemned despotism and corruption, the military dictatorship, and the crimes of the church and the ruling classes. Montalvo’s essays Seven Treatises (1882) and Moral Geometry (published 1902), which combined militant journalism with romantic individualism, were important for the development of social thought in Latin America. Montalvo was one of the first in Ecuador to defend the rights of the Indians.


Obras escogidas. Quito, 1948.
Prosas. [Havana, 1968.]


Mamontov, S. P. “Literatura Ekvadora.” In the collection Ekvador. Moscow, 1963.
Guevara, D. C. Quijote y Maestro: Biografia novelada de J. Montalvo, Quito, 1947.
Barrera, I. Historia de la literatura ecuatoriana. Quito, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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