Arturo Uslar Pietri

Arturo Uslar Pietri bigraphy, stories - Venezuelan diplomat and writer

Arturo Uslar Pietri : biography

16 May 1906 – 26 February 2001

Arturo Uslar Pietri (Caracas, May 16, 1906 – February 26, 2001), was a Venezuelan intellectual, lawyer, journalist, writer, television producer and politician.


Arturo Uslar Pietri was born in Caracas in a house on the Romualda to Manduca street, number 102, on May 16, 1906. He was the eldest son of the marriage between the general Arturo Uslar Santamaría and Helena Pietri Paúl. Among his ancestors are Johann von Uslar, a German who fought in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and in the Venezuela’s independence. Uslar Pietri was raised in that house and in Maracay (Aragua), where he published some stories in teen magazines.

His childhood and teenage years were framed by the Venezuelan provinces: Los Teques, Maracay, Cagua. In 1915, he met a fellow who exerted a significant influence on him and who would share his intellectual growth: Carlos Eduardo Frias. He studied political science at the Central University of Venezuela in the Venezuelan capital city.


Uslar Pietri was an early reader of modernist and symbolist writers as Eugenio de Castro, Gomez Carrillo, Rémy de Gourmont, Darío, Lugones, Herrera y Reissig, Horacio Quiroga, Valle Inclán, and his initial writing was marked by these developments.

In 1925 his perspectives changed: intellectual contacts with other university students, new sources of reading, the Russian realists, Andreyev, Gogol, especially the common book of those students: Saschko Jigouleff. Furthermore, the Revista de Occidente, published in Madrid by Ortega y Gasset, and a sort of briefing for the learning of the new aesthetic, avant-garde European literatures, Guillermo de Torre (3).

From 1925 on, there was an increasing production of texts and publishing. His writing on poems was abundant for someone who only picked them up in a book at the height of his literary career: Manoa, (1972). The first stories began to spread about the same time (4). The life of that 20 year-old writer was already defined. Before the outbreak of the small intellectual skirmish against Valve, Uslar had published a dramatic text, later reprinted in the magazine: "E ultreja"(5). In 1927, a year before writing the editorial manifesto Valve, he had published a theoretical essay on avant-gardism (6). The intellectual had familiarity with the principles of Spengler’s philosophy. This was the premier of the energetic prose and the power of dialectical argumentation that has not abandoned the essayist. Gongora quoted him alongside Goya, Whitman, Mallarmé, Wilde, Lautreamont, Rimbaud, Marinetti, Cocteau, Picasso, Tzara, Huidobro. He wasn’t oblivious to the problems of plastic, so palpable in all of his work. The most surprising thing is that this essay was written to refute reticent youth views on the avant-garde, exposed by none other than Cesar Vallejo.

The 1927 essay displays a precise knowledge of American literary events on the part of Uslar Pietri. He considered Dario y Herrera and Reissig precursors of new forms, a statement that recent criticism has been corroborated. He also knew the importance that the work of José Juan Tablada had for the germinal moment of our avant-garde, "whose entertainment does not pale in comparison to the Caligrammes of Apollinaire." In other paragraphs he recounts his familiarity with the evolution of the Spanish American avant-garde, of which he states: Mexican stridentism, Indian vendrinism, Silva Valdés Uruguayan nativism, Huidobro’s creationism and the controversy over it with Reverdy. Such evidence in an essay prior to the appearance of raised Valve rectification. Uslar Pietri himself has repeatedly argued that those years of his literary initiation were very little and fragmentary information managed by him and his colleagues (7). If so, no fragmentary information can be inferred that the aesthetic had not clearly connected with the Venezuelan movement what was happening in other parts of the continent. The best evidence is provided by Uslar. In the polemical texts outlined above regarding Valve, excluding the three who posted thoughtful notes Gabriel Espinosa, there is no other page as pithy and management concepts richest testing Uslar Pietri, produced, insist before the publication of the magazine.