Roa Bastos, Augusto

▪ Paraguayan writer
in full  Augusto Antonio Roa Bastos 
born June 13, 1917, Iturbe, Paraguay
died April 26, 2005, Asunción

      Latin American novelist, short-story writer, and film scriptwriter of national and international fame.

      Born in a country village, Roa Bastos attended military school in Asunción in 1925 and fought in the Chaco War (1932–35) against Bolivia. While a student, he also gained an appreciation of classical Spanish literature by reading in his uncle's library. His first book of poetry, El ruiseñor de la aurora (1942; “The Nightingale of the Dawn”), which he later renounced, is an imitation of the Spanish masters. The novel Fulgencio Miranda (written 1941) and a number of plays successfully performed during the 1940s were never published. Of a considerable amount of poetry written in the late 1940s, only the pamphlet El naranjal ardiente (1960; “The Burning Orange Grove”) was published.

      In 1947 civil war forced Roa Bastos into exile in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he lived until 1976, serving as cultural attaché in the embassy and working as a journalist. His first collection of short stories, El trueno entre las hojas (1953; “Thunder Among the Leaves”), which he also adapted as a film script, describes the Paraguayan experience with emphasis on violence and social injustice. Roa Bastos began to experiment with magic realism, in which realistic descriptions are enhanced by myths and expressionistic techniques.

      Roa Bastos's novel Hijo de hombre (1960; Son of Man) was an overwhelming critical and popular success. It recreates Paraguay's history from the dictatorship of José Gaspar de Francia early in the 19th century through the Chaco War. By carefully juxtaposing alternate narrative voices, Roa Bastos creates a tension that signals the moral and political stagnation of Paraguay and indicates that the only solution is for the common man to suffer and sacrifice himself for all humanity. In 1960 he adapted the novel for a film, and during the 1960s he wrote other film scripts.

      Stories collected in El baldío (1966; “The Untilled”) treat tenderly and understandingly the problems of Paraguayan exiles. In some of the stories there is a clear indictment of civil war atrocities. The story collections Los pies sobre el agua (1967; “The Feet on the Water”) and Madera quemada (1967; “Burnt Madeira”) rework psychologically and existentially themes used earlier.

      Roa Bastos's most ambitious work, the novel Yo, el supremo (1974; I, the Supreme, in bilingual edition), is based on the life of Francia and covers more than a hundred years of Paraguayan history.

      From 1976 to 1985 Roa Bastos taught at the University of Toulouse II in France. After 1989, when General Alfredo Stroessner (Stroessner, Alfredo)'s dictatorship in Paraguay ended, Roa Bastos moved freely between Paraguay and France. His later novels include Vigilia del almirante (1992; “Vigil of the Admiral”), El fiscal (1993; “The Prosecutor”), and Contravida (1994; “Counterlife”). In 1989 he was awarded the Cervantes Prize.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Roa Bastos, Augusto — (1917–2005)    Paraguayan author, one of Latin America’s most important writers of the 20th century. Born in Asunción into a family of Spanish, French, and Portuguese ancestry, Roa Bastos moved early in the author’s life to Iturbe, near the… …   Historical Dictionary of the “Dirty Wars”

  • Roa Bastos, Augusto — ► (1917 2005) Escritor paraguayo. Es notable su obra narrativa en la que describe la violencia y miseria de su país. Autor de El trueno entre las hojas (1953), Hijo de hombre (1960), Antología personal (1980) y La tierra sin sal (1998), etc. En… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Roa Bastos, Augusto Antonio — ▪ 2006       Paraguayan novelist and poet (b. June 13, 1917, Iturbe, Paraguay d. April 26, 2005, Asunción, Paraguay), penned his masterpiece, Yo el supremo (1974; I the Supreme; in bilingual edition), which recounted the life of the dictator… …   Universalium

  • Roa Bastos — Roa Bastos, Augusto …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Augusto Roa Bastos — (* 13. Juni 1917 in Asunción; † 26. April 2005 ebenda) wird als der größte Romanautor Paraguays und neben Gabriel García Márquez und Mario Vargas Llosa als einer der wichtigsten Schriftsteller Südamerikas bezeichnet …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ROA BASTOS (A.) — ROA BASTOS AUGUSTO (1917 ) Poète, conteur et romancier d’une dimension exceptionnelle eu égard au vide culturel dont souffre son pays, Augusto Roa Bastos possède l’amer privilège d’incarner jusque dans l’exil l’honneur des lettres paraguayennes.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Augusto Roa Bastos — Infobox writer name = Augusto Roa Bastos imagesize = 200px caption = birthdate = birth date|mf=yes|1917|06|13 birthplace = Asunción, Paraguay deathdate = death date and age|mf=yes|2005|04|26|1917|06|13 deathplace = Asunción, Paraguay occupation …   Wikipedia

  • Roa Bastos — Augusto Roa Bastos (* 13. Juni 1917 in Asunción; † 26. April 2005 ebenda) wird als der größte Romanautor Paraguays und neben Gabriel García Márquez und Mario Vargas Llosa als einer der wichtigsten Schriftsteller Südamerikas bezeichnet.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Augusto Roa Bastos — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Augusto Roa Bastos Augusto Roa Bastos Nombre Augusto Roa Bastos …   Wikipedia Español

  • Augusto Roa Bastos — (Asunción, 13 de junio de 1917 26 de abril del 2005), el más importante y traducido (a 25 idiomas) escritor paraguayo y Premio Cervantes …   Enciclopedia Universal

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