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is a 19th century political novel written by the exiled Argentine author José Marmol
José Mármol was an Argentine journalist, politician, librarian, and writer of the Romantic school.Born in Buenos Aires, he initially studied law, but abandoned his studies in favor of politics. In 1839, no sooner had he begun to make a name for himself than he was arrested for his opposition to...
. First published serially in the Montevideo weekly, Amalia
(1851) became Argentina's national novel. Along with Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
Domingo Faustino Sarmiento was an Argentine activist, intellectual, writer, statesman and the seventh President of Argentina. His writing spanned a wide range of genres and topics, from journalism to autobiography, to political philosophy and history...
Facundo: Civilization and Barbarism is a book written in 1845 by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, a writer and journalist who became the seventh president of Argentina...
can be seen as an early precursor to the Latin American dictator novel
The dictator novel is a genre of Latin American literature that challenges the role of the dictator in Latin American society. The theme of caudillismo—the régime of a charismatic caudillo, a political strongman—is addressed by examining the relationships between power, dictatorship,...
through its strong criticism of caudillo Juan Manuel de Rosas
Juan Manuel de Rosas , was an argentine militar and politician, who was elected governor of the province of Buenos Aires in 1829 to 1835, and then of the Argentine Confederation from 1835 until 1852...
, who ruled Argentina with a strong fist from 1829 to 1852.
Set in post-colonial Buenos Aires, Amalia
was written in two parts and is a semi-autobiographical account of José Mármol that deals with living in Rosas's police state. Mármol's novel was important as it showed how the human consciousness, much like a city or even a country, could become a terrifying prison. Amalia
also attempted to examine the problem of dictatorships as being one of structure, and therefore the problem of the state "manifested through the will of some monstrous personage violating the ordinary individual's privacy, both of home and of consciousness."