José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi (fehr-NAHN-days day lee-SAHR-dee) had no college education, but he taught himself French, and so came under the influence of French philosophy. In 1819 he commented on Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ideas of education in La Quixotita y su prima (little Miss Quixote and her cousin). In 1812, taking advantage of the short-lived Constitution of Cádiz and its guarantee of freedom of the press, he founded the paper El Pensador Mexicano (the Mexican thinker), a name he subsequently used as his pseudonym. Soon after that he was imprisoned, but over the years he founded a number of other short-lived papers in which he propagated liberal ideas and worked for Mexico’s independence. He also wrote poetry and drama, and in the autobiographical dialogues about his sufferings during the struggle for independence, Noches tristes y día alegre (sad nights and happy day), he introduced Romantic prose to the New World.{$S[A]Lizardi, Jos Joaqu¡n Fern ndez de;Fern ndez de Lizardi, Jos Joaqu¡n}{$S[A]Pensador Mexicano, El;Fern ndez de Lizardi, Jos Joaqu¡n}

Fernández de Lizardi is perhaps best remembered as the author of the first Latin American novel, The Itching Parrot, a title deriving from a pun on the name of the chief character, Pedro Sarmiento, whose schoolboy costume of green coat and yellow trousers earned him the nickname of “Parrot.” This picaresque novel criticized social customs at the...

(The entire section is 405 words.)

José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi Bibliography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Cros, Edmond. “The Values of Liberalism in El periquillo sarniento.” Sociocriticism 2 (December, 1985).

Vogeley, Nancy. “Defining the ‘Colonial Reader’: El periquillo sarniento.” PMLA 102, no. 5 (October, 1987).

Vogeley, Nancy. “A Latin American Enlightenment Version of the Picaresque: Lizardi’s Don Catrín de la Fachenda.” In The Picaresque: A Symposium on the Rogue’s Tale, edited by Carmen Benito-Vessels and Michael Zappala. Newark, N.J.: University of Delaware Press, 1994.

Vogeley, Nancy. Lizardi and the Birth of the Novel in Spanish America. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001.