Writing San Martín

Martín Kohan

NON FICTION. ADRIANA HIDALGO EDITORA, 2005. 320 PAGES.

What aspects must a life contain, and how should that life be retold, for that person to become a revered national hero? This book is a critical study of the ways in which the canon of Argentine history has chronicled the life of José de San Martin, making him into the undisputed Father of the Nation: a historical phenomenon; the founder of a national identity. Reading these texts, from Sarmiento, Juan María Gutiérrez and Bartolomé Mitre to Ricardo Rojas, it becomes clear how a national hero and a national identity become mutually reinforcing. The symbolic effectiveness of this vast work of the national imagination can be seen today, even affecting how we see ourselves as individuals. As San Martín was written, accounts of his life made him into something more than a hero: they made him a national hero; and then they made him something more than a national hero; the Father of the Nation. These tales provide the foundation for beliefs, consolidate values, invent imaginations and define identities. One tells the tale of the life of José de San Martin and creates a powerful image of what it is to be Argentinian. But this book doesn't ask what it means to be Argentinian, because that question already belongs to the realm of national identities. This book asks how it was that the question came about: origin myths, the construction of a founding father, and the veneration of a perfect hero.           

PUBLISHED BY: Spanish ADRIANA HIDALGO EDITORA

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