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José María Arguedas


José María Arguedas was born in Andahuaylas, in the South of Peru in 1911. His mother died when he was two years old. His father was a lawyer but often absent. He did not get on with his stepmother or stepbrother so got to know the Indian servants and, as a result, their culture and language. He later joined his father on his travels around the country and this helped him get to know the culture much better, a basis for his subsequent writings. He studied literature and then ethnology at the Universidad de San Marcos. He spent eight months in prison after a protest against an envoy sent by Mussolini, the subject of his novel El Sexto ( the name of the prison). He subsequently became a teacher. In particular he worked in Abancay, with this period becoming the basis for his best-known novel Los ríos profundos (Deep Waters) .

He later became a civil servant, working for the Ministry of Education and other organisations, promoting native Peruvian culture. He had something of a breakdown during this period and though he recovered, he would have further periods of depression. His depression was not helped by some of the criticism against this work. He received psychiatric help but attempted suicide in 1966. He again recovered but finally killed himself in 1969. He left behind a body of work, including novels, stories, poetry (many written in Quechua) as well as works on Peruvian folklore and anthropology. He is now recognised as one of the foremost Peruvian writers. Two of his novels have been translated into English.

Other links

José María Arguedas
José María Arguedas
José María Arguedas: Godfather of Liberationism
José María Arguedas: a Literary Voice for the Indigenous Movement
Arguedas (a series of blog posts on Arguedas)
José María Arguedas (in Spanish)
José María Arguedas (in Spanish)
José María Arguedas (in Spanish)
José María Arguedas (in Spanish)
José María Arguedas, un escritor de culto (in Spanish)
José María Arguedas, a 42 años de su muerte (in Spanish)
José María Arguedas: un escritor que no soportó el mundo (in Spanish)
Arguediana (in Spanish)
La Depresión de José María Arguedas (in Spanish)


1935 Agua. (stories)
1938 Canto kechwa (folkore)
1939 Runa Yupay (story)
1941 Yawar fiesta (novel)
1947 Mitos, leyendas y cuentos peruanos (folklore)
1947 Cusco (travel)
1949 Canciones y cuentos del pueblo quechua (folklore)
1953 Cuentos mágico-realistas y canciones de fiestas tradicionales: Folclor del valle del Mantaro (folklore)
1954 Diamantes y pedernales (novel)
1955 La muerte de los Arango (story)
1956 Puquio, una cultura en proceso de cambio (culture)
1957 Estudio etnográfico de la feria de Huancayo (ethnography)
1957 Evolución de las comunidades indígenas (anthropology)
1958 El arte popular religioso y la cultura mestiza (culture)
1958 Los ríos profundos (Deep Waters) (novel)
1961 El Sexto (novel)
1961 Cuentos mágico-religiosos quechuas de Lucanamarca (folklore)
1962 La agonía de Rasu Ñiti (story)
1962 Túpac Amaru Kamaq taytanchisman. Haylli-taki. A nuestro padre creador Túpac Amaru (poetry)
1964 Todas las sangres [All the Bloodlines] (novel)
1965 El sueño del pongo (story)
1966 Poesía quechua (literature)
1966 Oda al jet (poetry)
1966 Dioses y Hombres de Huarochir (folklore)
1967 Amor mundo (stories)
1968 Las comunidades de España y del Perú (anthropology)
1969 Qollana Vietnam Llaqtaman / Al pueblo excelso de Vietnam (poetry)
1971 El zorro de arriba y el zorro de abajo (The Fox from up Above and the Fox from Down Below) (novel)
1972 El forastero y otros cuentos (stories)
1972 Katatay y otros poemas. Huc jayllikunapas (poetry)
1972 Páginas escogidas (selections from his work)
1973 Cuentos olvidados (stories)
1974 Relatos completos (stories)
1975 Señores e indios: Acerca de la cultura quechua (anthropology)
1976 Formación de una cultura nacional indoamericana (anthropology)
2011 Warma kuyay y otros relatos (stories)
2015 Cuentos religioso-mágicos quechuas de Lucanamarca (folklore)