Palma, Ricardo

Palma, Ricardo

(rēkär`thō päl`mä), 1833–1919, Peruvian scholar and author. Palma abandoned an active early career as a naval officer, journalist, and politician to achieve note as a historian with a book on the Inquisition in Lima (1863). After the War of the Pacific (1879–84) he was in charge of rebuilding the destroyed national library. He made it one of the finest libraries in South America and served as its director for many years. Palma, however, won enduring fame and a unique place in Spanish-American letters as the creator of a new genre, the tradición, or historical anecdote. Part fiction and part historical reconstruction, these sketches and stories about colonial Peru are permeated by wit, love of the past, and all-encompassing imagination. They were published in a long series of volumes, Tradiciones peruanas (1872–1910); some have been translated into English under the title The Knights of the Cape (ed. by Harriet de Onís, 1945).


See study by S. L. Arora (1966).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Palma, Ricardo


Born Feb. 7, 1833, in Lima; died there Oct. 6, 1919. Peruvian writer and journalist.

From 1883 to 1912, Palma was the director of the National Library. He became famous for his stories, historical anecdotes, and legends, published under the general title Peruvian Traditions (vols. 1–12, 1872–1915). In the tradition of costumbrismo, he reconstructed scenes depicting the daily lives and customs of Peruvians under Spanish colonial dominion.


Poesias completas. Barcelona-Buenos Aires, 1911.
Tradiciones peruanas completas. Madrid, 1964.
In Russian translation:
“Vitse-korol’ eretik i khitryi zvonar’.” In Latinskaia Amerika. [Leningrad, 1927.]
“Nakazanie izmennika.” In Liubov’ Bentosa Sagrery: Iuzhnoamerikanskie rasskazy. Moscow-Leningrad, 1930.


Mariategui, J. C. Sem’ ocherkov istolkovaniia peruanskoi deistvitel’nosti. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from Spanish.)
Mamontov, S. P. Ispanoiazychnaia literatura stran Latinskoi Ameriki v XX veke. Moscow, 1972.
Feliú Cruz, G. En torno de R. Palma, vols. 1–2. [Santiago de Chile, 1933.]
Escobar, A. R. Palma. Lima, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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