Pedro Enríquez Ureña

Ernesto Sábato on Pedro Enríquez Ureña in Apologías y rechazos (1979; Buenos Aires: Planeta / Seix Barral, 2003):

Arrieta recuerda con dolor la reticencia y la mezquindad con que varios de sus colegas recibieron al professor dominicano. Esa reticencia y esa mezquindad que inevitablemente manifiestan los mediocres ante un ser de jerarquía acompañó durante la vida a Henríquez Ureña, hasta el punto de que jamás llegó a ser profesor titular de ninguna de las facultades de letras…. Aquel humanista excelso, quizás único en el continente, hubo de viajar durante años y años entre Buenos Aires y La Plata, con su portafolio cargado de deberes de chicos insignificantes, deberes que venían corregidos con minuciosa paciencia y con invariable honestidad, en largas horas nocturnas que aquel maestro quitaba a los trabajos de creación humanística. [Años después le pregunté por qué perdía tiempo en eso], apenaba al ver cómo pasabn sus años en tareas inferiors. Me miró con suave sonrisa, y su reconvención llegó con pausada y levísima ironía: “Porque entre ellos puede haber un futuro escritor.”

I came upon the writings of both Max and Pedro Enríquez Ureña by chance, many years ago, as an undergraduate, and I have been fascinated since. I like Sábato’s commentary on Pedro for a number of reasons, one of which is the discussion of his not having been a specialist. This was apparently the source of some of his academic problems, and he was (disparagingly) called “eclectic.” Sábato says that, rather, he was an “integralista.” Another thing I noted from Sábato’s discussion was that Enríquez Ureña was on an idealistic mission that had nothing to do with careerism, which is why he was able to handle professional circumstances which were less than ideal.

Axé.

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