Who is Arturo Uslar Pietri?


Arturo Uslar Pietri

Arturo Uslar Pietri
Who is Arturo Uslar Pietri? 2

Arturo Uslar Pietri was a Venezuelan writer, poet, essayist, journalist, broadcaster, and politician. He was born on May 16, 1906, in Caracas and passed away on February 26, 2001, in the same city. Widely regarded as one of the most prominent intellectuals in Latin America and a key figure in contemporary Venezuelan thought and literature, he played a pivotal role in revitalizing the Venezuelan short story genre.

From the age of ten, Uslar Pietri resided in Cagua and Maracay, where he completed his primary education and attended most of his high school years. The time he spent in the valleys of Aragua shaped his perception of rural Venezuela, which became a fundamental element in his short stories. Likewise, his experiences in Maracay influenced his portrayal of General Gómez, a character he later depicted in his novel “Oficio de Difuntos” (1976), using this figure to explore the archetype of the Latin American dictator.

In June 1923, Uslar Pietri published his first story, “El silencio del desierto,” in the magazine Billiken. In October of the same year, he returned to Caracas to study Law at the School of Political Sciences at the Central University of Venezuela. Like many other young people from the provinces, he lived in boarding houses during his early years of study. In January 1924, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the university after submitting a thesis entitled “Everything is subjectivity.” He worked as a clerk in the Federal District Civil Court of First Instance from 1926 to 1929, occasionally taking on the same role in the National Congress.

In September 1928, Uslar Pietri published his first book of short stories, “Barabbas and Other Stories.” On July 29, 1929, he received a Doctorate in Political Science from the Central University, presenting a thesis titled “The principle of non-imposition of nationality of origin.” On August 6, he obtained the title of Lawyer from the Supreme Court of the Federal District. In early September 1929, he traveled to Paris as a Civil Attaché at the Venezuelan Legation. During his time there, from May to September 1930, he wrote “Las lances coloradas,” which was published in Madrid in 1931 and in France in 1933. He embarked on his first trips during those years, visiting places such as Megève, Geneva, Venice, Morocco, Madrid, Toledo, Bruges, Rome, London, Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Karnak, Jerusalem, Damascus, and Beirut.

Upon his return to Venezuela in February 1934, Uslar Pietri briefly served as the President of the Aragua State Supreme Court of Justice. In 1935, his story “La Lluvia” won the Elite literary contest, and he published 88 articles on the political and social events of the time in the recently established newspaper Ahora between January and July. In July, he was appointed Head of the Economy and Finance Section of the Ministry of Finance by Minister Alberto Adriani, a position he held until November 1937. In 1936, he published his second book of short stories, “Red.” In November 1937, he became the Director of Economic Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and from April to July 1939, he directed the Technical Institute for Immigration and Colonization.

While serving in the Public Administration, Uslar Pietri taught Political Economy at the Faculty of Law in the Central University from November 1937 to May 1941. In July 1939, President Eleazar López Contreras appointed him as the Minister of Education. After General Isaías Medina Angarita was elected President in May 1941, Uslar Pietri held various high-ranking government positions, including Secretary of the Presidency of the Republic, Minister of Finance, and Minister of the Interior, until October 18, 1945. In 1943, he played a key role in the establishment of the Venezuelan Democratic Party as part of the Medinista political project. However, after a military coup orchestrated by the Acción Democrática party overthrew Medina Angarita on October 18, 1945, Uslar Pietri was arrested and remained in custody until November 29. His house was ransacked, and his name appeared on the initial list of 127 “presumed criminals for embezzlement” compiled by the Revolutionary Government Junta. The Junta exiled him, and he left for the United States on November 29.

In September 1946, Uslar Pietri began teaching Hispano-American Literature as a visiting professor at Columbia University in the United States. From September 1947 to July 1950, he served as an assistant professor. In 1947, he published his second novel, “El camino de El Dorado.”

In June 1949, he started writing his column called “Pizarrón” in the newspaper El Nacional. He continued writing the column for 50 years, with occasional breaks. In July 1950, he returned from exile and declined offers to serve as an ambassador in Washington. Instead, he distanced himself from politics and assumed the role of the director of the “Literary Paper” in the newspaper El Nacional until January 1953. He also joined the board of directors of ARS Publicidad and resumed his teaching activities as a professor of Venezuelan literature at the Central University of Venezuela until July 1953.

At ARS, Uslar Pietri collaborated with a group of writers and journalists, including Carpentier and Guillermo Meneses. Together, they created cultural programming for radio and television under his guidance. In November 1953, he launched his cultural program called “Human Values” on television, which he hosted until 1985. In 1953, the first edition of his Selected Works was published, and the following year, he received the National Literature Prize for his work “Las nubes.” In March 1958, he was elected as an Individual Member of the National Academy of Language with a controversial speech titled “Venezuela and its Literature.”

Following the overthrow of General Pérez Jiménez’s government on January 23, 1958, Uslar Pietri resumed active participation in national politics. In the December 1958 elections, he was elected as a senator for the Federal District as an independent candidate on the Democratic Republican Union’s lists. In August 1960, he became an Individual Member of the National Academy of History with a speech titled “The Rescue of the Past.”

In July 1963, he launched his presidential candidacy and secured 16.1% of the national vote in the December elections. In February 1964, he founded the National Democratic Front and served as its general secretary until 1968 when he resigned. Through this party, he was re-elected as a senator in subsequent elections until 1973, after which he withdrew from partisan political activities, leading to the dissolution of the party.

From 1969 to 1974, Uslar Pietri served as the director of the newspaper El Nacional. In 1971, he received the National Journalism Award and the Miguel de Cervantes Hispano-American Press Award for his article titled “The Expelled from Civilization,” which defended Spain’s contributions to universal culture and responded to English art critic Kenneth Clark. In 1972, he published his first book of poetry, “Manoa.” In May 1975, he was appointed as the Permanent Ambassador Delegate of Venezuela to UNESCO, actively serving in this position until June 1979. During his second extended stay in Paris, he dedicated time to literary creation, writing and publishing “Oficio de Difuntos,” as well as various collections of short stories and essays. He also worked on his novel “La isla de Robinson,” which was published in 1981 and earned him the National Literature Award for the second time in 1982.

In October 1990, Uslar Pietri received the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, and the following year, he was awarded the Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize for his work “La visita en el tiempo.” On January 4, 1998, he published his final article in his weekly section “Blackboard,” announcing his retirement as a writer.

Barrabás and other stories (1928):

  1. Barrabás
    Red. Stories (1936):
  2. The rain
  3. The sowing of garlic
  4. The dance of the Count of Orgaz
  5. Gavilán Colorao
  6. The will-o’-the-wisp
    13 La negramenta
    Thirty men and their shadows (1949):
  7. The drum dance
  8. The blue fly
  9. The heretics
  10. The rooster
  11. The deer
  12. The Misa de Gallo
  13. Maichak, the man from the river
    Fourteen Venezuelan stories (1969):
  14. The steer tied to the boom
  15. King Zamuro
  16. Simeón Calamaris
  17. The neighbor
  18. A world of smoke
    Barrabás and other stories (Barcelona, ​​Bruguera) (1978):
  19. The retraced path (1978)
    The neighbor and other stories (1978):
  20. The second death of Don Emilio
  21. The enemy
  22. The mule
    The red spears and selected stories (1979):
  23. Me I’m Martin
    The Winners (1980):
    The Adventures of Telemachus
    The Archangel’s Feather The
    Backward Path
    Sitting Bull
    The City
    Another Face, Another Name
    When I Grow Up
    The Question
    An Open Pit
    Uriel’s Wife
    The Miracle
    A Broken Mirror
    The Winners
    (Chapters 1) and 2):
    The red spears (1931)
    The road to El Dorado (1947)
    The visit in time (1990)
    Essays :
    The other America (1974)
    The wizard of Guatemala (1979)
    Magical realism (1986)
    America Was Not Discovered (1994)

Famous Writers Around the World https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pietri-arturo-uslar

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