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 Available in English for the first time, the greatest essays and speeches of the 19th-century Latin American educator, politician, and scholar, a leading figure in building a humanistic post-colonial tradition in Latin America. The pieces included here cover a range of subjects, from public education to historiography to language studies. Bello (17811865), who was born in Venezuela, spent many years abroad. While living in Europe, Bello launched several journals intended for a Latin American audience, focusing on the means of constructing the region's new nations. His goal, presented in the prospectus included here, was to aid Latin America in ``completing its process of civilization,'' a task he pursued for the next 40 years, especially after returning to Latin America. His epic poem ``Allocution to Poetry'' praises the continent's natural beauty and stimulated others to pursue a distinctly Latin American tradition in letters. His essay on Spanish grammar rejects the dependence on Latin in the pedagogy of the day and stresses the application of logic to teaching, understanding, and applying grammatical rules. Writing as the rector of the Colegio de Santiago, and later as the first rector of the University of Chile, Bello stresses the importance of public education in the construction of a working democracy, and argues that morality (``inseparable from religion'') must be a key theme in education. As a member of the Chilean Congress, Bello drafted the nation's civil code, which attempts to clarify issues surrounding property and contracts in the context of a new civil society. Bello, a reveler in archives, passionately argues that history is at its core ``the science of humanity,'' yet another way of supplying nations with vital ideas. As a teacher he provided an apt example of what academic disciplines could contribute to society. And as a writer and thinker he did a good deal to wean Latin America off its stance of intellectual servility to the Old World.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-19-510545-1
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997