Social and Political Thought In The Early Narrative Of Rómula Gallegos

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This dissertation is a study of the essays and short stories written by Rómulo Gallegos in the early years of the twentieth century. It traces his social and political ideas which were set forth in his essays and transferred into the early narrative work of the author. The essays and short stories, presented chronologically according to their date of publication, represent his successive works. Gallegos' ideas derive from the corruption of his native Venezuela ruled by anarchy and dictatorship. Born in Caracas in 1884 under the dictatorial regime of Cipriano Castro, Gallegos first attracted a reading public in 1906 with his collection of essays published originally in the literary journal La Alborada. The essays, from the obscure files of this long dead periodical, constitute the symposium entitled Una posición en la vida, 1954. Showing the influence of nineteenth century European and Latin-American positivism, these essays set forth his fundamental social and political beliefs and reforms . Another dictator, Juan Vicente Gómez, put an end to this literary activity by closing the review. Gallegos then made his debut as a short story writer, publishing more than thirty stories in the literary periodicals entitled El Cojo Ilustrado, La Revista, Actualidades, and La Novela Semanal. In these stories, the patriotic preoccupations of the essays come to life. Eventually Gallegos became a novelist, establishing himself as a major writer of Spanish-American fiction. He is noted for his intention to effect reform and for his interest in the traditions and the national soul of the Venezuelan people. This dissertation shows the trends started in the essays, applied to the short stories, and developed to a larger scope in the novel.