Rufino Blanco Fombona

“(1874-1944) Venezuelan novelist, short-story writer, poet, and essayist. Blanco-Fombona was an exile during the long dictatorship of Juan Vicente Gomez, returning to Venezuela after the latter died in 1935. His writing reflects his angry dismay at the stupidity, iniquity, and sordidness that he seemed to find everywhere. Accordingly his novels are weakened by bits of heavy-handed social satire and political propaganda. They include El hombre de hierro (1907), which depicts the triumph of evil over virtue; El hombre de oro (The Man of Gold, 1916), which exposes the venality and incompetence of Venezuelan politicians; and La mitra en la mano (1927), the story of an ambitious priest, a character that has been called a Venezuelan Elmer Gantry. Cuentos americanos (1904) and Dramas minimos (1920) are his best-known collections of short stories. His poetry, which includes the collections Pequena opera lirica (1904) and Cantos de la prision y del destierro (1911), shows the influence of modernism. Among his other works are Letras y letrados de Hispano-America (1908) and Grandes escritores de America (1917), literary criticism; La lampara de Aladino (1915), autobiographical sketches; and El conquistador espanol en el siglo XVI (1922), a study of the Spanish conquistadors. Blanco-Fombona also edited the letters of Simon Bolivar, and he edited and published several series of great American books.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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