Venezuela’s first major author was Andrés Bello, one of Latin America’s most important cultural personalities in the 19th century. The politician and freedom hero Simón Bolívar had an extensive political and socially oriented literary production.
The romance was first and foremost represented by the lyricist José Antonio Maitín (1804-1874). Gonzalo Picón-Febres (1860-1918) made his mark on his realistic novel El sargento Felipe (1899), while Manuel Díaz Rodríguez (1871-1927) was one of the foremost novelists of the Spanish-American ” modernist” movement. It is primarily within this genre that Venezuela’s writers have asserted themselves.
Rufino Blanco Fombona (1874-1944) wrote realistic novels with political tendencies, while Teresa de la Parra (1895-1936) wrote poetic novels built on childhood impressions. The most prominent authors, however, are Rómulo Gallegos, famous for Doña Bárbara (1929, Norwegian translation in 1941), Arturo Uslar Pietri, who wrote the historical novel Las lanzas coloradas (1931), and Miguel Otero Silva, known for Las casas muertas (1954). Other novelists include Ramón Díaz Sánchez, Guillermo Meneses, Salvador Garmendia and Luis Britto García. An excellent essayist was Mariano Picón-Salas.
The “Modernista” movement did not gain much input from Venezuela’s lyricists. It was replaced by the “1918 generation”, with poets such as Andrés Eloy Blanco (1896-1955) and Jacinto Fombona Pachano (1901-1951), by the group around the journal Viernes, where Vicente Gerbasi belonged, and by the “1942 generation”, represented by, among others, Ida Gramcko. Among the postwar poets are Juan Liscano, Juan Sánchez Peláez and Rafael Cadenas. Both Meneses and Gramcko have also written plays.
From the years after World War II, novelists such as Gustavo Díaz Solís, Óscar Guaramato, Oswaldo Trejo, Salvador Garmendia and Adriano González León, the poets Luis Pastori and José Ramón Medina, and the playwrights Román Chalbaud, Rafael Pineda and Isaac Chocrón can be mentioned.