“Hacienda del Apantle de la Santa Cruz, recuerdos de sus alrededores”
El Zarco, one of the better known novels of the Mexican writer, journalist and professor, Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, was written between 1886 and 1888, and published in 1901. It takes place in the confused period at the end of the Three Year War to the Intervention and describes the adventures of the figure that gives the novel its name and is the head of a group of bandits known as “Los Plateados” (The Silver Ones), responsible for thievery and murders that razed the region.
Its characters, Doña Antonia, a widow always worried about her daughter, the beautiful and ambitious Manuela; Pilar, god daughter of Doña Manuela, who represents humility and mestizo beauty; Nicolas, ironworker of humble origin, and Zarco, lazy and vicious. The novel portrays the life and customs of the Mexican countryside, especially that of Morelos during the Nineteenth Century.
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano
This Mexican writer was born of an indigenous family in Tixtla, Guerrero in 1834. He is considered the father of Mexican literature and master of the second romantic generation. When he was 14 years old he didn’t speak Spanish, official tongue that he couldn’t read or write.
However, at that age he began a dizzying literacy process that would amaze all and sundry. In 1849 he obtained a scholarship and began his studies at the Literary Institute of Toluca. A professor there was precisely the octoroon Ignacio Ramirez, El Nigromante, intellectual and free thinker who would be a minister during the porfirian era and who always defended the indigenous youth. It was there that he became the mentor and friend of Altamirano. The influence of El Nigromante over this youngster caught on fast, in such a way that Altamirano soon showed his attachment to his indigenous roots and the European romanticism, which would finally guide him to the most relevant options of his life.
He studied Law at the College of San Juan de Letran. He decided on a political career, first taking party with the revolutionaries of Ayutla, later fighting against the conservatives during the War of Reform and after that decidedly defending those of Juarez. In 1861 he was elected Representative in Congress. From that position he demanded that the enemy be punished, wielding the banner of the free nation and in 1863 he fought against the Maximilian Empire and the French invasion. He was named colonel in 1865 because of his intervention in the battles of Tierra Blanca, Cuernavaca and Queretaro.
Once the Republic had been restored in 1867, Altamirano dedicated his life to education, literature, and public service. He served as magistrate, president of the Supreme Court of Justice, senior officer in the Ministry of Development and consul in Barcelona (1889) and Paris (1890).
Along with Ignacio Ramirez and Guillermo Prieto, Altamirano created El Correo de México, publication in which he made known and defended his romantic and liberal ideology. In 1869 he also backed the magazine El Renacimiento (The Renaissance), which would bring together and articulate the outstanding writers and intellectuals of the era, with one purpose in common—to awaken literature in general. He died in San Remo in 1893.
Hacienda del Apantle de la Santa Cruz: http://www.facebook.com/delapantle.
Muebles Zeromadera: http://www.ramsol.com