“(1909-1966) Peruvian novelist. Frequently at odds with the repressive regimes of his government, Alegria lived in exile in Chile from the age of twenty-five. All his major works deal with the lives of Peruvian Indians, although, rather than drawing individual heroes, he deals with entire Indian communities, creating a kind of aggregate protagonist. In his first two novels, La serpiente de oro (1935; tr The Golden Serpent, 1963) and Los perros hambrientos (1936), set on the river Maranon and in the high Andes, respectively, he describes the hard-fought struggle for survival against the massive forces of nature. In his best-known novel, El mundo es ancho y areno (1941; tr Broad and Alien Is the World, 1941), the white man, not nature, is the adversary, as an entire Indian community in northern Peru is displaced by the scheming of a greedy landowner. His other novels include Duelo de caballeros (1963) and Lazaro (1973). An edition of his Novelas completas was published in 1964.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.