Demetrio Aguilera Malta Biography


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Demetrio Aguilera Malta was born on May 24, 1909, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. One of the most important aspects of his youth that later influenced his literary production was his contact with the countryside and the peasants on the island of San Ignacio, which was owned by his father. He spent much time there and witnessed the massacre of the workers on the island in November, 1922. In this insular environment, he developed an understanding and sympathy for his surroundings and for the island’s inhabitants, the cholos.

After completing his bachelor’s degree at a school in Guayaquil, he enrolled simultaneously in the law school and in the school of fine arts of Guayaquil University in 1928. He abandoned his studies after two years and in 1930 went to Panama, where he worked for four years as a journalist. In 1936, Aguilera Malta went to Spain to study the humanities at the University of Salamanca, but the Spanish Civil War thwarted his plans and he was forced to return to Ecuador. In 1937, he became a professor at the institution where he received his secondary education and was also appointed subsecretary of public education. He remained in these positions until 1943 and then served several cultural and consular missions in Chile. In 1958, he moved to Mexico. During the course of his lifetime, Aguilera Malta visited almost all the countries of Europe and the Americas. He offered courses and gave conferences in universities in Chile, Brazil, and...

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(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Demetrio Aguilera Malta (ah-gwee-LAHR-ah MAWL-tah) was one of Ecuador’s greatest fiction writers as well as its most famous author. Born in Guayaquil, he studied law at Guayaquil University for two years. He then lived for five years among peoples of indigenous and African descent on the island San Ignacio, one of many islands off the coast of Ecuador. Though he began his career as a poet and journalist, and he wrote screenplays, essays, and nearly a dozen plays, his early experiences on San Ignacio inform the novels for which he is best known.{$S[A]Malta, Demetrio Aguilera;Aguilera Malta, Demetrio}

Aguilera Malta’s first published work (in 1924) was a youthful poem. In that same year he founded Ideal, the first of the literary journals he was to establish. In 1930 Aguilera Malta went to Panama, where he had his own column for the Diario de Panamá and wrote for other Panamanian papers while sending articles back to El Universo in Guayaquil. In 1936 he received a scholarship to study in Salamanca, Spain, but the Spanish Civil War broke out before he could undertake his studies. He allied himself with the Republican cause against dictator Francisco Franco, serving as a reporter of the conflict. Returning to Guayaquil in 1937, he founded his third journal, Trópico, in 1938. From 1937 to 1943 he served as Ecuador’s undersecretary for education, taught in a local high school, and was a visiting professor at universities in Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, and the United States. He served in diplomatic posts in Argentina, Brazil, Chile,...

(The entire section is 647 words.)