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Ezequiel Martínez Estrada

Ezequiel Martínez Estrada Ezequiel Martínez Estrada[2†]

Ezequiel Martínez Estrada (September 14, 1895 – November 4, 1964) was a prominent Argentine writer, poet, essayist, and literary critic[1†][2†]. Born in San José de la Esquina, Argentina, Martínez Estrada made significant contributions to Argentine literature and had a profound influence on many younger writers[1†][2†].

Early Years and Education

Ezequiel Martínez Estrada was born on September 14, 1895, in San José de la Esquina, Argentina[1†][2†]. He spent his early years in Goyena, a village in the southern reaches of Buenos Aires province[1†][2†]. At the age of twelve, following his parents’ separation, he moved to Buenos Aires to live with his aunt Elisa and to study at the Colegio Avellaneda[1†][2†].

Despite his limited formal schooling and lack of university education, Martínez Estrada demonstrated an exceptional intellectual capacity[1†][3†]. His formal studies were cut short due to poverty[1†][2†], but he was mostly self-taught[1†]. He began his literary career with essays in the journal Nosotros (“We”) in 1917[1†].

In 1924, Martínez Estrada began teaching literature at the Colegio Nacional of the Universidad Nacional de La Plata[1†][2†][4†]. He continued this role for decades, only losing the job when Juan Domingo Perón rose to power in 1945[1†][2†][4†].

His early years and education played a significant role in shaping his literary career and his critical view of Argentine society[1†][3†].

Career Development and Achievements

Ezequiel Martínez Estrada had a diverse career that spanned over 30 years (1916–46), during which he worked at the Buenos Aires post office while also teaching initially in a preparatory school and later at the university[1†][2†]. Despite being mostly self-taught, he began his literary career with essays in the journal Nosotros (“We”) in 1917[1†][2†].

His first book of poems, “Oro y piedra” (1918; “Gold and Stone”), was followed by “Nefelibal” (1922), “Motivos del cielo” (1924; “Heaven’s Reasons”), “Argentina” (1927), and “Humoresca” (1929)[1†]. These displayed very complex techniques[1†]. Language and imagery are often tinted with humor, conveying a satirical view reminiscent of Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Villegas, the master satirist of Spain’s Golden Age[1†].

In response to the 1930 Argentinian coup by José Félix Uriburu, Martínez Estrada published “Radiografía de la pampa” (1933; X-Ray of the Pampa), the first of a series of rather pessimistic sociological-psychological-historical essays that would make his reputation[1†][2†]. That year, Martínez Estrada received the first of what were to be a series of national literary prizes[1†][2†].

His view of the political and economic crises of the early 1930s and of what he saw as factors contributing to moral and social decay in Argentina led him to write “Radiografía de la pampa” (1933; X-Ray of the Pampa), a comprehensive psychological study of the Argentine character laden with fatalistic overtones[1†]. “La cabeza de Goliat: Microscopía de Buenos Aires” (1940; “The Head of Goliath: A Microscopic Study of Buenos Aires”) treats the people of Buenos Aires and continues the themes of "Radiografía"[1†].

Among the works that made Martínez Estrada a respected critic are “Martín Fierro, Muerte y transfiguración del Martín Fierro”, 2 vol. (1948; “The Death and Transfiguration of Martin Fierro”), “El mundo maravilloso de Guillermo Enrique Hudson” (1951; “The Wonderful World of Guillermo Enrique Hudson”), and “El hermano Quiroga” (1957; “Brother Quiroga”)[1†].

From 1960 to 1962 he worked with the Cuban government publishing house Casa de las Américas[1†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Ezequiel Martínez Estrada was a prolific writer, and his works spanned various genres including poetry, essays, and literary criticism[2†][1†]. Here are some of his main works:

Martínez Estrada’s works displayed very complex techniques[2†][1†]. His language and imagery were often tinted with humor, conveying a satirical view[2†][1†]. His view of the political and economic crises of the early 1930s and of what he saw as factors contributing to moral and social decay in Argentina led him to write Radiografía de la pampa[2†][1†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Ezequiel Martínez Estrada was a leading figure in post-Modernismo Argentine literature, influencing many younger writers[1†][2†]. His works often had political undertones, and he was a confirmed anti-Peronist[1†][2†]. His writings displayed very complex techniques, with language and imagery often tinted with humor, conveying a satirical view[1†][2†].

Martínez Estrada’s works represented a search for the essence of Argentina’s soul[1†][3†]. He called on the Argentines not merely to evaluate their past but also to change the way in which they assessed it[1†][3†]. His view of the political and economic crises of the early 1930s and of what he saw as factors contributing to moral and social decay in Argentina led him to write Radiografía de la pampa[1†][2†]. This comprehensive psychological study of the Argentine character was laden with fatalistic overtones[1†][2†].

His work La cabeza de Goliat: Microscopía de Buenos Aires treats the people of Buenos Aires and continues the themes of Radiografía[1†][2†]. Among the works that made Martínez Estrada a respected critic are Martín Fierro, Muerte y transfiguración del Martín Fierro, El mundo maravilloso de Guillermo Enrique Hudson, and El hermano Quiroga[1†][2†].

In conclusion, Martínez Estrada’s works provide a critical analysis of Argentine society and character. His writings, while often political, offer a profound exploration of the Argentine soul and its complexities[1†][2†][3†].

Personal Life

Ezequiel Martínez Estrada was born in San José de la Esquina, in Santa Fe Province, and spent his early years there and in Goyena, a village in the southern reaches of Buenos Aires province[2†][4†]. In 1937, he bought a farm in Goyena[2†][4†].

In 1907, his parents separated, and he went to live with his aunt Elisa in Buenos Aires[2†]. It appears that his formal studies were cut short due to poverty[2†]. By 1914 he was working at the central post office in Buenos Aires; he would remain in Buenos Aires until retiring in 1946[2†].

In 1921, he married the Italian-born artist Agustina Morriconi[2†]. She subordinated her career and unquestioned talents to his; she was, by all accounts, the muse of much of his poetry[2†].

During the Perón years, Martínez Estrada suffered from an extremely disabling form of neurodermatitis, quite possibly psychosomatic[2†]. After the fall of Perón, his health recovered[2†].

Martínez Estrada went into self-imposed exile from Buenos Aires to Bahía Blanca and from there to Mexico and Cuba[2†][3†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Ezequiel Martínez Estrada left an indelible mark on Argentine literature and thought[1†][2†]. His writings, often political in nature, provided a critical analysis of the Argentine character and society[1†][2†]. His work, which spanned poetry, essays, and literary criticism, was influential to many younger writers[1†][2†].

Martínez Estrada’s critical perspective extended beyond his native Argentina. In his later years, he closely identified with the Cuban revolution and Fidel Castro[1†][6†]. His writings during this period reflect his evolving political thought and his deepening anti-imperialist stance[1†][2†][6†].

Despite his confirmed anti-Peronism, Martínez Estrada’s work transcended political divisions and continues to be studied and admired for its depth and complexity[1†][2†]. His legacy is that of a leading figure in post-Modernismo Argentine literature, a respected critic, and a voice of conscience in turbulent times[1†][2†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Britannica - Ezequiel Martínez Estrada: Argentine author [website] - link
  2. Wikipedia (English) - Ezequiel Martínez Estrada [website] - link
  3. Encyclopedia.com - Martínez Estrada, Ezequiel (1895–1964) [website] - link
  4. The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia - Ezequiel Martínez Estrada [website] - link
  5. Duke University Press - Hispanic American Historical Review - Prophet in the Wilderness: The Works of Ezequiel Martínez EstradaX-Ray of the Pampa [website] - link
  6. Wikiwand - Ezequiel Martínez Estrada - Wikiwand [website] - link
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