Eduardo Hudtwalcker Barrios (BAHR-yohs), who wrote about many facets of abnormal psychology, had a varied background. His father, a Chilean army officer, died when Eduardo was a small boy; Eduardo’s Peruvian mother then took him to her native country, and he spent his childhood there. When he was fifteen, he was sent to a military school in Chile, but he had no desire to follow in his father’s footsteps and, after running away from the school, began a series of haphazardly chosen occupations. Among other things, he worked as a bookkeeper in a Chilean nitrate mine, as a rubber worker in Peru, as a weight lifter in a circus, and as a traveling salesman selling stoves in Buenos Aires. During this period, he found time to study the humanities in Chile and Peru, and for a time he lived in a Franciscan monastery. These formative years, strikingly reminiscent in themselves of a picaresque novel, furnished Barrios with an inexhaustible fund of themes and with the broad experience of humanity essential to psychological insight.
His literary career began with a volume of short stories that was printed in Iquique, Chile. Becoming interested in the theater, he wrote several plays, among them a satire on bureaucracy, Por el decoro (for the good of the office); several fantasies, the first of which was Lo que niega la vida (what life denies); and Vivir (to live), a psychological tragedy that many consider to be his best play. By this...
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