"¡El mismo indio está hablando!": Sobre el intercambio epistolar entre Hugo Blanco y José María Arguedas

Translated title of the contribution: "The same indigenous is talking!": On the epistolar exchange between Hugo Blanco and José María Arguedas

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Abstract

At the end of the 1960s, a brief but meaningful epistolary exchange developed between two of the most significant actors of the literary and political arenas in Peru: the writer José María Arguedas and the political peasant leader Hugo Blanco ("Correspondencia...", 1969). Born into misti or "white" families, and afterwards turned into spokespeople of the indigenous Andean groups, Arguedas and Blanco exchanged three letters, written in Quechua, marked by a noteworthy tenderness and intensity, even taking into account the abundant and impassioned epistolary corpus of the writer (Forgues, ed. 1993; Murra and López-Baralt, eds. 1996; Pinilla, ed. 2007; Pinilla, ed. 2011a, 2011b; Westphalen, comp. 2011). Almost fifty years later, and after a series of interviews with an octogenarian Hugo Blanco, we address in this paper the subjective meaning of those texts, written in a context signaled by extreme changes in Peru, in Arguedas' political thought as well as in his private life. It was a period marked by distinctive life-and-death experiences for both actors. While a prison sentence for twenty-five years had relieved Blanco of the possibility of death penalty three years before the exchange, Arguedas decided to commit suicide few days after the communication. We will explore how the letters reflect both biographical moments and will characterize the main features of this brief epistolary relationship, among which we stress the construction of indigenous authenticity (Bucholtz 2003) by means of using Quechua and praising the interlocutor's face. The latter trend is clearly summarized by a statement pronounced by a euphoric Arguedas after reading Blanco's letter: "¡He is an Indian! ¡A pure Indian!" (Vidales 1975). This exclamation was echoed by the peasant leader, when he recalled, in his second letter, what he had thought after reading Los ríos profundos: "¡There it is, carajo, the real Indian is speaking now!".

Translated title of the contribution"The same indigenous is talking!": On the epistolar exchange between Hugo Blanco and José María Arguedas
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)147-159
Number of pages13
JournalDialogo Andino
Issue number57
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018

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