“Ignacio Manuel Altamirano: (1834-1893) Mexican novelist and poet. A full-blooded Indian, Altamirano was an adherent of Benito Juarez and fought against the French intervention in Mexico. In 1869, he founded Renacimiento, a review to encourage literary activity, almost moribund after fifteen years of turbulence. He became the mentor of the younger generation, to whom he advocated the importance of creating a literature rooted in national life. His poetry consists of a single volume of Rimas (1880), written before 1867 and notable for its description of the Mexican landscape. Altamirano’s preoccupation with purely Mexican themes and customs is also evident in the prose works for which he is best known: Clemencia (1869), a love story set against the background of the French intervention; La navidad en las montanas (1870), a novelette; and El Zarco (1901), a novel dealing with bandits in the state of Morelos.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.