Peruvian literature began during the 16th century when Garcilaso de la Vega, son of a Spanish conqueror and an Inca princess, wrote his Comentarios reales de los Incas (1609; Royal Commentaries of the Incas, 1869), a vivid historical chronicle about the Inca culture and empire. Another important writer of the colonial period was 17th-century satirist Juan del Valle y Caviedes. The foremost writers of the 19th century were Manuel González Prada, who wrote social criticism, and Ricardo Palma, who composed a collection of historical and legendary tales about Peru’s past.
In the 20th century there was an abundance of poets and prose writers. Among them are Ventura García Calderón, a diplomat who was also an essayist; José Carlos Mariátegui, a Marxist political essayist; and the poets José Santos Chocano, César Vallejo, and José María Eguren. Ciro Alegría, in his famous El Mundo es ancho y ajena (1941; Broad and Alien is the World, 1973), has produced one of the finest novels treating the plight of the indigenous peoples in Latin America. Novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, one of the leading experimental writers in Latin America, has an international reputation. The theater has played an important role in the cultural life of Peru since 1568, when the first play in the country was presented in the plaza of San Pedro in Lima.
During the colonial period, the Jesuits promoted dramatic productions, and 18th-century viceroy Manuel de Amat was a leading patron of the theater.
The country’s leading playhouse and concert hall is Lima’s Municipal Theater. Sebastián Salazar Bondy and Enrique Solari Swayne were the most important 20th-century playwrights.
Some of the most important libraries in Peru are located in the larger cities and are affiliated with the major universities. Within the various libraries of the National University of San Marcos in Lima are more than 450,000 volumes. The National Library (1821), in Lima, houses more than 3.2 million books and other items. "Peru" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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