Novels such as One Hundred Years of Solitude have awakened English-language readers to the existence of Colombian literature in recent years, but Colombia has a well-established literary tradition that far predates the Latin American boom. In this pathfinding study, Raymond Leslie Williams provides an overview of seventeen major authors and more than one hundred works spanning the years 1844 to 1987. After an introductory discussion of Colombian regionalism and velistic development, Williams considers the vels produced in Colombia's four semi-automous regions. The Interior Highland Region is represented by vels ranging from Eugenio Diaz' Manuela to Eduardo Caballero Calderon's El buen salvaje. The Costa Region is represented by Juan Jose Nieto's Ingermina to Alvaro Cepeda Samudio's La casa grande and Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Cien as de soledad; the Greater Antioquian Region by Tomas Carrasquilla's Frutos de mi tierra to Manuel Mejia Vallejo's El dia senalado; and the Greater Cauca Region by Jorge Isaacs' Maria to Gustavo Alvarez Gardeazabal's El bazar de los idiotas. A discussion of the modern and postmodern vel concludes the study, with special consideration given to the works of Garcia Marquez and More-Duran. Written in a style accessible to a wide audience, The Colombian Novel will be a foundational work for all students of Colombian culture and Latin American literature.
Raymond Leslie Williams is Distinguished Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of California, Riverside.