Jorge Icaza Coronel (Quito, June 10, 1906 – Quito, May 26, 1978) was a novelist, playwright, diplomat and bookstore owner. He was and is Ecuador’s most famous writer and one of South America’s most important literary figures of the 20th century. Icaza’s novel Huasipungo (1934), about the exploitation of his country’s indigenous by its whites, has been translated into over 40 languages, including English, Italian, French, German, Portuguese, Czech, Polish, Chinese and Russian. Icaza’s penultimate novel El Chulla Romero y Flores (1958), was concerned with the cultural identity of the Ecuadorian mestizo, and is regarded by many Icazan scholars and critics as his best novel. It has been translated into over 20 languages.
Jorge Icaza’s literary career began as a playwright. His plays include El Intruso in 1928, La Comedia sin Nombre in 1929, Cuál es in 1931, Sin Sentido in 1932, and Flagelo, which was published in 1936. After his 1933 playscript, El Dictador, was censured, Icaza turned his attention to writing novels about the social conditions in Ecuador, particularly the oppression suffered by its indigenous people.
With the publication of Huasipungo in 1934, Icaza achieved international fame. The book is one of the best known Indigenist novels (Indigenist literature is a literary trend that deals with the indigenous peoples of Latin America and their problems). Fragments of the book first appeared in English translation in Russia, where it was welcomed enthusiastically by Russia’s peasant socialist class. Jorge Icaza was later appointed Ecuador’s ambassador to Russia. (1973-1977).
The first complete edition of Huasipungo was translated into English in 1962 by Mervyn Savill and published in England by Dennis Dobson Ltd. An “authorized” translation appeared in 1964 by Bernard H. Dulsey, and was published by Southern Illinois University Press in Carbondale, IL as “The Villagers”.
Icaza married the theater actress Marina Moncayo in 1936 with whom he had a daughter named Fenia Cristina Icaza Moncayo in 1934. He met Moncayo while writing plays for the National Theater Company (Compañía Nacional de Teatro). Icaza and Moncayo remained married until his death in 1978.
Jorge Icaza died of cancer at the age of 71 on May 26, 1978 in Quito, Ecuador.
A short documentary about Jorge Iacaza.
Huasipungo in English translation
Fragments of the book first appeared in English translation in Russia, where it was welcomed enthusiastically by Russia’s peasant socialist class. The complete edition of Huasipungo was first translated into the English language in 1962 by Mervyn Savill and published in England by Dennis Dobson Ltd. An “authorized” translation appeared in 1964 by Bernard H. Dulsey, and was published in 1964 by Southern Illinois University Press in Carbondale, IL as The Villagers. Read a preview of Dulsey’s English translation here.
|Year of Publication||Literary work||Genre||Notes|
|1929||La comedia sin nombre||Play|
|1931||¿Cuál es? y Como ellos quieren||Play|
|1933||Barro de la sierra||Short Story|
|1934||Huasipungo||Novel||Read it for free here.|
|1935||En las calles||Novel||Read it for free here.|
|1936||Flagelo||Play||Read it for free here.|
|1937||Cholos||Novel||Read it for free here.|
|1942||Media vida deslumbrados||Novel|
|1958||El chulla Romero y Flores||Novel|
|1961||Obras escogidas||Selected works|