Jorge Isaacs: The Heartbeat of Colombian Literature”

OV Digital Desk

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Jorge Isaacs (1 April 1837 – 17 April 1895) was a Colombian writer, politician, and soldier. His only novel, María, became one of the most notable works of the Romantic movement in Spanish-language literature.

Life and Career

Isaacs was born on 1 April 1837 in the city of Cali, in southwestern Colombia, to a family of Jewish origin. He began his education at a Jesuit school in Popayán and later studied at the Colegio Nacional de Bogotá. In 1856, he traveled to Europe, where he studied literature, philosophy, and the arts in Paris, Brussels, and London.

Upon his return to Colombia, Isaacs settled in his family’s hacienda in the Cauca Valley, where he wrote “María.” The novel, published in 1867, tells the story of Efraín, a young man who falls in love with his cousin María, and their doomed romance in the midst of the Colombian civil war of the 19th century.

“María” was an immediate success and is considered one of the most important works of Colombian and Latin American literature. The novel has been translated into many languages and has been adapted to film, theater, and other media.

In addition to his literary work, Isaacs was also involved in politics. He was a member of the Colombian Congress and served as governor of the province of El Cauca. He was also an advocate for the rights of indigenous people and worked to improve their living conditions. Isaacs died in Ibagué, Colombia, on 17 April 1895, at the age of 58. He is remembered as one of the most important writers of 19th-century Latin America and a key figure in Colombian literature.

Award and Legacy

Jorge Isaacs’ novel “María” is considered a classic of Latin American literature and has had a significant impact on Colombian and international culture. The novel is widely studied in schools and universities, and its themes of love, family, and national identity continue to resonate with readers today.

Isaacs’ contributions to Colombian literature have been recognized with several awards and honors. In 1887, he was awarded the Order of Boyacá, one of Colombia’s highest honors, for his political and literary achievements. In 1955, the Colombian government established the Jorge Isaacs Prize for Literature, which is awarded every three years to a Colombian writer who has made significant contributions to the country’s literary tradition.

Isaacs’ legacy extends beyond his literary work. He was also a political figure and a social activist who advocated for the rights of indigenous people and worked to improve their living conditions. His commitment to social justice has inspired generations of Colombians and Latin Americans to fight for a more equitable society.

In conclusion, Jorge Isaacs’ contributions to Colombian literature and culture have had a lasting impact on the country and the region. His legacy as a writer and social activist continues to inspire new generations to explore the complex themes of love, family, and identity in their own work and to fight for social justice and equality. On 1 April 2013, Google celebrated Jorge Isaacs’ 176th Birthday with a doodle.