Miguel Riofrío

Miguel Riofrío Sánchez (Loja, Ecuador, September 7, 1822 – Lima, Peru, October 11, 1879) was an Ecuadorian poet, novelist, journalist, orator, educator, lawyer, and politician. He is best known today as the author of “La Emancipada,” Ecuador’s first novel, which was published in installments in the newspaper La Unión in 1863. Many experts however argue that because the book is usually less than 100 pages long in print, it is really a novella rather than a novel, and that Ecuador’s first novel is in fact “Cumanda” (1879) by Juan León Mera. Nonetheless, Miguel Riofro’s “La Emancipada” has been accepted as Ecuador’s first novel, thanks to the arguments of the well-known and respected Ecuadorian writer Alejandro Carrión (1915-1992).

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Sergio Nuñez

Sergio Núñez Santamaría (Santa Rosa, Ambato, October 7, 1896 – Quito, 1982) was a novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, literary critic and pedagogue. As a poet, he wrote in verse and prose, and was greatly influenced by the modernismo literary movement of Ruben Dario of Nicaragua. In 1918 he published his first poetry book, “Hostias de fuego,” with a prologue by Medardo Ángel Silva. He belonged to the “30 Generation,” a group of authors from the 1930’s Ecuador who used social realism in their fiction to denounce how Indians were treated in Ecuador. His novellas “Juego de hacienda” and “Circunferencia” are considered Indigenista fiction. A private school in Guayaquil bears his name.

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Ricardo Descalzi

Ricardo Descalzi del Castillo (Riobamba, September 22, 1912 – Riobamba, November 29, 1990) was an Ecuadorian novelist, historian, playwright, short story writer, translator, literary critic, university professor and medical doctor. In 1928, he founded the magazine Surcos with his Mejía National Institute classmates José Alfredo Llerena and Arturo Meneses. After graduating from high school in 1932, he published “Ghismondo,” a 100-page novel based on his experiences as a student. He also wrote the novel “Saloya” (1962), a short story collection “Los murmullos de Dios” (1959), and the stage plays “Los Caminos Blancos” (1939), “En el horizonte se alzó la niebla” (1961), and “El huasipungo de Andrés Chiliquinga” (1981). His six-volume “Historia crítica del teatro ecuatoriano” is perhaps his most important work (1968). Among his translations is “Poemas” (1969), a French-to-Spanish translation of poems by Nobel laureate Jean Poilvet Le Guenn. The Tobar Prize was bestowed upon him by the municipality of Quito in 1968. He was a member of the House of Ecuadorian Culture, the National Academy of History, and the Bolivarian Society of Quito, where he served as its vice president.

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Joaquín Gallegos Lara

Joaquín Gallegos Lara was an Ecuadorian social realist novelist, short story writer, poet, and literary critic. He was born in Guayaquil on April 9, 1909 and died in the same city on November 16, 1947. Lara was born with Pott’s Disease, a rare spinal disease which caused paralysis in his legs. Due to his inability to walk, he was unable to attend school and instead devoted himself to self-study at home, in which time he mastered the French, German, Italian, and Russian languages. He was a member of the “Guayaquil Group,” and has been described as the group’s spiritual leader. The book of short stories Los Que Se Van (1930), co-authored with Demetrio Aguilera Malta and Enrique Gil Gilbert, marked the beginning of literary social realism in Ecuador. His most famous novel, Las cruces sobre el agua (1946), deals with the November 15, 1922 massacre of workers in Guayaquil.

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Enrique Gil Gilbert

Enrique Gil Gilbert was an Ecuadorian novelist, short story writer, nonfiction writer, politician and teacher. He was born in Guayaquil Ecuador on July 8, 1912 and died in the same city on February 21, 1973. He was the youngest member of the “Guayaquil Group,” a group of realist writers of the 1930s Ecuador. At only eighteen years of age he co-wrote Los que se van, cuentos del cholo y del motuvio (1930) with Demetrio Aguilera Malta and Joaquín Gallegos Lara – a book which marked the beginning of literary realism in Ecuador.

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José de la Cuadra

José de la Cuadra Vargas (September 3, 1903 – February 27, 1941) is considered one of Ecuador’s greatest authors. De la Cuadra was a social realist novelist who wrote the short story La Tigra (1932) and the novel Los Sangurimas (1939). He was a part of the “Guayaquil Group,” a group of young social protest novelists from Guayaquil, Ecuador, in the 1930s, which included Enrique Gil Gilbert, Demetrio Aguilera Malta, Joaqun Gallegos Lara, and Alfredo Pareja Diezcanseco.

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Jorge Icaza

Jorge Icaza Coronel (Quito, June 10, 1906 – Quito, May 26, 1978) was a novelist, playwright, diplomat and bookstore owner. Icaza is Ecuador’s most famous author, as well as one of South America’s most important literary figures of the twentieth century. Huasipungo (1934), Icaza’s novel about the exploitation of his country’s indigenous peoples by whites, has been translated into over 40 languages, including English, Italian, French, German, Portuguese, Czech, Polish, Chinese, and Russian. El Chulla Romero y Flores (1958), Icaza’s penultimate novel, is concerned with the cultural identity of the Ecuadorian mestizo and is regarded as his best work by many Icazan scholars and critics. It has been translated into more than 20 different languages.

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The Chulla Romero y Flores (1958 Novel) by Jorge Icaza – An English Translation

by Jorge Icaza (1906-1978)

Translated from Spanish by Richard Gabela

Chapter I

Several times a day Don Ernesto Morejón Galindo, Chief-Director of the Bureau of Economic Investigation, abandoned his small office to monitor the attendance of the employees in his charge. Don Ernesto was a man of uneven temperament. Completely uneven. When he was in a good mood, he was the kind to brag about being a Don Juan and make racy revelations about himself, much like a mestizo woman from the vegetable market or a newcomer from the countryside. With graphic and pornographic gestures of a sex addict, he would whisper into the ear of his next confidant: “What a wild night, my dear cholo. I served myself three young ladies. Two of them turned out to be virgins.… He-he-he…All for free.” But when it came time to publicly reprimand his henchmen (as he inwardly referred to his subordinates) he swelled with omnipotence and hurled insults left and right. In times like these, when his domineering arrogance exploded, the most grotesque characteristics of his fat face stood out: his cheeks resembled a pair of pink buttocks, his lips quivered like mud, bilious drool hung between his teeth, a diabolical flame burned in his pupils.

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