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Pedro Balmaceda


Pedro Balmaceda Toro was a Chilean writer and journalist, considered the promotor of the Modernismo school in Latin America. Pedro Balmaceda was of Basque descent.

He was born in Santiago, the son of Jose Manuel Balmaceda Fernandez and of Emilia de Toro Herrera. Since a very early age he suffered from a severe spinal deformation when his nanny accidentally dropped him while he was just a few months old. This deformity was compounded with a heart ailment that eventually caused his death. His physical infirmities permeated his vision of the world and gave him a high regard for physical beauty that was to shape his writings.

His importance though is not to be found in his writings, but in his ability to identify and promote new artistic talents. His salons, some of which were held at his private apartments, some at the presidential palace of La Moneda while his father was president, were the most important cultural gathering points of the time. He also promoted the creation of the old Ateneo de Santiago. In 1886, he met Ruben Dario, then a lonely, awkward, poor and unemployed 19 years-old immigrant, at the editorial room of the La Epoca newspaper, where he was a collaborator, and soon both became fast friends. From the very beginning Balmaceda became his mentor and protector. He introduced Dario to the Parnassian and Symbolist poets in his library: Leconte de Lisle, Catulle Mendes, Gautier, Beaudelaire and Verlaine. He financed the publication of his book Abrojos (1887), and was the main support behind Azul (1888).

Related websites

Short biography

On the relationship between Dario and Balmaceda

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Pedro Balmaceda


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