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Martín Fierro's Round and Around

Published in 1872, the national major poem only took that consideration from 1910. A before and after for José Hernandez and the Argentines.

Art and Literature
Martín Fierro

In the Centenary of the May Revolution, Creolism lived a time of splendor. By the first decade of the last century numerous articles, countless works of literature, theatre and art, revalued gaucho and the campaign.  Creole Argentina responded to the alluvional Argentina of immigration . The Moreira and Santos Vega were the mirrors of the Argentine “Doctor: And what is it that is read so eagerly”, appears in “Don Quijano de las Pampas” (1907) by Carlos Pacheco, “Goyo: What do I know! Those things about Gutierrez, Obligado, Pastor Luna, Juan Cuello, Los Brothers Barrientos... all day long screams as if talking to them” All on paper gauchos criminalized, persecuted, convicted, nothing that served to show a civilized face of the campaign, one that could be inspiration for the new Argentines who did not stop getting off the boats. Until the  solution was called Martín Fierro,  in a short rein interpretation that rescued an aspect, a dimension, “melancholic account of the life and adventures of the gaucho... candor as a child (sic), innate altivez and excellent nature... -presenta- injustices of which he is a victim and that impose his life (sic)” visionarily stated La Nación in the obituary of Hernández in 1886, and added El Diario, “the  countryman is called Martín Fierro, as jealousy are called Othelo, love Romeo, doubt Hamlet”  Twenty-five añ the later,   Leopoldo Lugones  at the famous lectures of the Odeon Theatre in 1913, which will then gather in “The Payador”,  before an audience of “decent people ”, would take Hernández's huge poetry to the heights of the western classics of La Iliada or El Quixote. He climbs him on the pedestal of the Greek epics to gaucho, he becomes a hero and, the campaign in a cold print, while the elbow erases the dimensions of Fierro that make it so complex, so uncomfortable, its entry into the homeland symbology. One of the silenced aspects was reflected in this portrait made by his brother Rafael Hernández in a Buenos Aires newspaper that same 1886, “we had the opportunity to see him — José- on his political excursions, surrounded by humble countrymen, who collected his words with affectionate expression andoacute; n, and the fervor that only on solemn occasions is painted in the countenance of those good and primitive men (sic) When Hernández appeared among them they could not contain their enthusiasm and identified the author with the creation of his poem,  they seemed to find themselves in the presence of Martin Fierro,  in the relationship of whose misfortunes and glorious adventures, many had learned to read” A politicized Martín Fierro was orphaned, one that was taken up by anarchists and Peronists rather than by the author's own contemporaries, those remains of liberal federalism of the Interior annexed by Avellaneda and Roca.

“ Martín Fierro occupies the entire territory of rioplatense folklore,” explained Ezequiel Martínez Estrada twenty years from Lugones , and when the gaucho of Hernández was monumental bronze, especially through school institutions, the Gauchescos radio theatrical successes  and nativist centers that resurged with Peronism, “neither history, nor legend, nor tradition, nor any form of popular literature remain once it has spread the Poem. Everything is forgotten, remembering it... Even more: later authors lose with the direct reality of language,  sensorium , even rural things.  The very reality of our plains seems to become a plagiarism of the Poem, and his native men acquire their sayings and even their customs ... Martín Fierro is a superimposed reality, language value” Lugones was the first that made us think that Hernández's gaucho is more real than the true gaucho, a curiosity when he said in a central Buenos Aires theatre while there were no more gauchos in the countryside, there were pawns.

 Precursors of Martín Fierro, Lope de Vega, Lussich and Guiraldes 

Hernández's biographers, from Fermín Chávez to Noé Jitrik, admit that Hernández was not a man of great culture and, at the time of writing the “El Gaucho Martín Fierro” -Ida (1872), between Santa Ana do Livramento and Buenos Aires, lived underground, without too many contacts with the outside. Pursued by the mitric centralist hegemony, Hernández surrenders himself “to kill the fastidio” to the composition of 2316 verses, divided into 13 songs, with a reality that evoked a Buenos Aires gaucho known more than twenty years ago, and adds some prints of gaucho entrerriano and correntino the rebel troops of Lopez Jordan.And it would not be strange, between nostalgia and impatience, to remember childhood in the estate of the Pueyrredón and the songs of Lope de Vega in  El Isidro, jewel of the Spanish Golden Age, common among the labradors and the church of San Isidro.  Lope de Vega's poem anticipates the sententious style and the auction in saying, “That when they were not full/with as many other people's books/as they are leaving behind, /knew the men more/because they studied in less...”; in a pre-announcement of the hernandean gaucho's reluctance to literate culture. And not to mention that Old Vizcacha, Picardy and even Martín Fierro are Americanized derivatives of Spanish picaresque, already mentioned by Miguel de Unamuno.

Before sending the first edition to the press “Pampa”, Hernández receives Uruguayan writer  Antonio Lussich , and they exchange readings. The eastern poet of “Los tres gauchos orientales” does not influence much in a fairly advanced work but, perhaps, forces Hernández to strengthen the political orientation, which is the basis of his militant, seditious stanzas against President Sarmiento. Lussich said, “ Know that the best treasure/ is doing good to the brother (shall the brothers be united with Hernández?) / Today again The nation/Reclose the door/that was only found open/because of our revolution/what to do in trance so hard?/Do you say... or walk of a matrero (Martín Fierro!) Let us clarify that although also the Echeverria of “La captiva” may have given you the desert, and the “Santos Vega” of Ascasubi the mass of gauchesco, people, land and even characters, Hernández proceeds in a very original way that breaks with the traditions of the gauchesca of the moment -and what will come - to give a sociological carnadura to Fierro's actions, a depth and actuality to the words, which are the definitive Silver Bowl of Argentine mythology.

Include the “ Don Segundo Sombra” (1926) by Ricardo Güiraldes , before Eduardo Gutierrez's “Juan Moreira” (1880), that only seven months after the appearance of “La Vuelta de Martín Fierro” marked another step, the gaucho of the field in extinction to the city that would eat everything, can be a license that would surely please  Jorge Luis Borges, who did much also to perpetuate the myth of Martín Fierro, the epic of the gaucha race, in stories like “Hombre de la esquina rosada” or “El fin”.  Güiraldes' book would be an introduction to how we should read Martín Fierro, not the malevo and thug of Juan Moreira, renegade of the Law, dreamer, but another who finds the realization in productive work, his freedom as fulfillment of the employer's tasks. Thus he talks with the last councils to the sons of Fierro in the Vuelta, “Man must work, to earn his bread/ because the misery in his eag/ to pursue a thousand modes/ knocks on the door of all/ and enters that of the haragán” And that the rebellion of the gaucho is a state of the soul more than an actionoacute; n direct, “if you are gaucho in the city, you must not move, because you want to go, you will go with your soul ahead like godmother and tropilla”, coins the “Don Second Shadow” The indomitable gaucho has been defeated by the day laborer, the mensu, the swallow worker, last subdued in the anarchic lineage of the Sons of Fierro.

 Disciples of Martín Fierro, Di Benedetto, Malvinas and Pino Solanas 

Martín Fierro's influence on the two thousand is still more current than ever in contemporary authors, the books by  Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, Mariano Blatt, Leo Oyola, Diego Meret and Diego Incardona bring updates from the national hero.  In 2017, the avant-garde publisher Rosarina Iván Rosado published “Teatro Gauchesco Primitivo”, a select group of poets who return Hernández's uncomfortable spirit to the streets of the Buenos Aires suburbs, to the villages, to the impoverished neighborhoods of the country.

 In the eighties Martín Fierro had two laps in hard times in our history . Antonio Di Benedetto, the author of the huge “Zama” from Mendoza,  was arrested by the military, with the courtesy of four shooting drills. And as Hernández, who said he was  being chased by death,  weird, he stayed in a hotel opposite Plaza de Mayo,  Di Benedetto wrote in microscopic lyrics stories that would be published in Spain under the title “Absurds”  It included this edition “Aballay”, a story of a gaucho who never comes down from the horse, trying to atone for a crime, becomes a saint of the campaign, and finds death in a vengeance. With quiet dignity, gaucho assumes  responsibility to society—but  in his own Law. He is no longer the defendant contempt, patriotic symbol, this Martín Fierro approaches the final civilized gaucho of Hernández.

Malvinas also rewrote new chapters in the adventures of Martín Fierro. Mandatory reading book in the Interior, something that still survives in many villages where primary children recite it by heart, was a fundamental company of soldiers in the cold and shiny trenches. As Carlos Gamerro suggests it is difficult not to think about the background of the Hernanedean complaint against forced cam, fighting the Indian, and those kids who played it in a conflict over islands that many could not locate on the map. Even the stakes of 1872 returned in the 1982 “the field dungeons”. The stories of La Ida de Martín Fierro, and several sections of Picardy in La Vuelta, anticipate the conditions of combatants with incredible precision: hunger, misery, mistreatment, useless weapons, summer uniform in the middle of winter, and dishonest profit from officials and officers. Regrettably reality surpassed fiction.

 A decade earlier the director, screenwriter and politician Pino Solanas, who recently died in Paris, with the film “The Sons of Fierro” (1975) would bring Hernandean teachings to the field of political struggle, and Perón=Fierro's return to power.  With fiction, footage from factories and streets (that memorable shot from Siam Di Tella, in front of the Hurricane court!), and hernández's interspersed stanzas, Solanas performs a re-reading from nationalism, in the way of Lugones, but now from the neoperonist left “At the beginning of the seventies,” said Solanas, “two projects were around my head: a recreation of Martín Fierro; and on the other, the lonely resistance that daily workers starred against the military oligarchic system... a symbolic mystique and another daily realist... were the faces of the same story and, over the months, they were amalgamating.” Again, try to bring the story of defeat and resignborn; n Martín Fierro to a sobering place, of victory, but the Argentine reality passed above.  Perón=Fierro kicked out the “unberbes” of the Plaza de Mayo, just meters from where Hernández had supposedly delivered them “The pig lives so fat/and eats even the children”, smiles the Old Vizcacha, epitome of the creole life.

Martínez Estrada aspired to a transfiguration of Martín Fierro, one that surpasses the images of gaucho as a cutter or deserter or anarchist or melancholic payador pawn. One that also overcomes untouchability, and that removes marble, from Hernández's poem. Along these lines we aim to reread the extraordinary Fierro with new ears, new tongues, “And starting to sing/Singing must meet me/even though the earth opens”. It's worth it.

Sources: Martínez Estrada, E.  Death and transfiguration of Martín Fierro. Interpretation essay of Argentine life . Rosary: Beatriz Viterbo Editora. 2005; Feinmann, J. P.  Philosophy and Nation.  Buenos Aires: Legasa. 1986; Prieto, A.  Creolist discourse in the formation of modern Argentina  . Buenos Aires: 21st century. 2006; Gamerro, C.  Facundo or Martín Fierro. The books that invented Argentina . Buenos Aires: South American 2015

Publication Date: 10/11/2020

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martin-fierro Five key stanzas of Martín Fierro
martin-fierro Martín Fierro: national poem

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