This is a biographical study of Jose Carlos Mariategui, one of Latin America's greatest literary figures, which is organized around the Lima scandal of 1917. At the time he was a young journalist of 23, an autodidact intellectual with an insurrectionary character. The scandal erupted when he led a small group to the General Cemetery where a dancer gave her interpretation of Chopin's Funeral March. Although the participants wished to have an artistic experience, the reaction of the Lima elite was negative: the performance was viewed in terms of "lewdness" and "desecration," the participants were arrested, placed in prison, their case was forwarded for criminal prosecution, and the daily newspapers made the most out of the incident. This study focuses on the scandal in the context of Peruvian society in 1917. It examines the roots of Mariategui's rebellion by exploring his manner of dealing with lameness and physical mutilation, the desertion of his family by his father and Mariategui's search for a father figure, his humble Andean roots on his mother's side, and his ambivalence—half yearning, half hostility—toward his father's elite social sector. Throughout the work Mariategui's writings are quoted as illustrations and supplements to points made in the text. The object is to answer the questions: Why a dance? Why a cemetery? And why a dance in a cemetery?—by looking at patterns of repetition in Mariategui's life. The study becomes a psychobiography as well as a literary one.
History, Americas, Central-America,