Facundo: Or, Civilization and Barbarism (Penguin Classics)
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Ostensibly a biography of the gaucho barbarian Juan Facundo Quiroga, Facundo is also a complex, passionate work of history, sociology, and political commentary, and Latin America's most important essay of the nineteenth century.
moment. With early manhood comes complete independence and idleness. Now begins the public life of the gaucho, as I may say, since his education is by this time at an end. These men, Spaniards only in their language and in the confused religious notions preserved among them, must be seen, before a right estimate can be made of the indomitable and haughty character which grows out of this struggle of isolated man with untamed nature, of the rational being with the brute. It is necessary to see
patriots), this detached party is heterogeneous, not having been conscious of existence until that time, the revolution having served to develop it and make it known. This was the element set in motion by the renowned Artigas. It was a blind tool, but a tool full of life and of instincts hostile to European civilization and to all regular organization; opposed to monarchy as to republicanism, because both came from the city and possessed already order and reverence for authority. This tool was
attest a want of skill on his part. Facundo, faithful to these notions of honor, never mentioned the wound which Dávila had given him. Here ends the history of the Ocampos and Dávilas, and with it that of La Rioja. What follows is the history of Quiroga. That day of evil omen corresponds to April of 1835 in the history of Buenos Ayres—when its country commandant, its desert hero, made himself master of the city. I ought not to omit, since it is to Quiroga’s honor, a curious fact which (1823)
aught besides Cordova exists on earth; it has, indeed, heard that there is such a place as Buenos Ayres, but if it believes this, which it does not always, it asks: “Has it a university? but it must be an affair of yesterday. How many convents has it? Has it such a promenade as this? If not, it amounts to nothing.” “Whose work on jurisprudence do you study?” inquired the grave Doctor Gijena, of a young man from Buenos Ayres. “Bentham’s.” “Whose, sir, do you say? Little Bentham’s?”* indicating
from the crimes of his after-life. On recrossing the Andes, his reflections must have been strange, and anything but pleasant, for the mountain ridge which separated two provinces, was also a dividing line between the two phases of his existence: on one side he had been the chaplain,—the Dominican friar,—on the other, he was the Lieutenant-Colonel Felix Aldao, with an unwedded wife at his side. The people of Mendoza, who had been accustomed to see him with gown and rosary, would now see him with