Spanish American Writers

Writers, varied and numerous were created by the Spanish colonial period. The very first publications dealing with America were the chronicles and histories composed by early explorers and churchmen, which reflected the mood of exhilaration of the period. They were mainly factual reports of feelings and events, and, although seldom of literary distinction, were marked by rough energy and penetration. They contain Columbus’s reports to his sovereigns, the Italian Peter Martyr’s assembling of early reports, along with the letters of Cortes .

Although criticized for its adulation of Cortes, there appeared Lopez de Gomara’s History of the Indies as well as the Conquest of Mexico, a sober recital of occasions. Lopez de Gomara was replied by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, one time soldier under Cort6s, then living in retirement in Guatemala, in his naive and lively “True History of the Conquest of New Spain” (published fifty years after his passing) in which he sought to capture deserved credit for the common soldier. His novel, despite verbosity and its crude syntax, stays the main literary and most readable account of the conquest of Mexico.

The initial critical historian was Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo, whose prolonged journeyings in America yielded Natural History and his General of the Indies, published in 1535. Bartolorne de las Casas, more crusader than historian, wrote his undependable and ponderous History of the Indies, printed in 1575 79.

Garcilaso was born in an Indian mother who was a granddaughter of one, Son of a Spanish soldier and Peru in 1539. Following a boyhood spent at twenty, in Peru Garcilaso went to Spain and spent fifty years on his writing. In Garcilaso we have the initial opportunity to fathom the soul of the mestizo and to get the clash within him between both worlds which gave him life. His writing, the very first notable work of an American-born man of letters, shows him on the defensive against both races whose blood he shared. He then appears to turn against his mom’s tradition in praise of the Spain of his father. He holds a firm place as an interpreter of the mestizo, although Garcilaso’s account of Inca history isn’t regarded highly by modern anthropologists and archaeologists. His La Florida, describing the conquest of the region, is readable and exciting.

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