Juan de la Rosa: Memoirs of the Last Soldier of the Independence Movement

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Nataniel Aguirre (1843-1888) was a statesman and active participant in shaping Bolivian politics and economics. His novel, Juan de la Rosa (1885) functionalizes the memories of the last soldier of the Wars of Independence. The story is told as the reminiscences of Colonel de la Rosa whose memories take him back to his childhood on the eve of Independence and his youth fighting in the Bolivian army. Jaun grows up an orphan and his individual struggle allegorizes the national quest for a modern identity. The novel exemplifies 19th-century thinking on racial issues and offers an unusual perspective on the Independence period. Sergio Waisman's recent translation of Ricardo Piglia's Nombre Falso won the Meritorious Achievement Award in the 1995 Eugene M. Kayden National Translation Contest.