Demetrio Aguilera Malta, Jose Joaquin, Colonial literature, Cuadra, Olmedo
Colonial literature in Ecuador, like painting of the colonial period, was baroque in style. Baroque literature is characterized by exuberant and often somber emotion presented in an elaborate style rich in imagination and metaphorical imagery. By 1800 Ecuadorian literature came under the influence of neoclassicism and later romanticism. The neoclassical style emphasized common sense, moderation, reason over emotion, and elegance over brevity. Romanticism stressed reliance on the imagination and subjectivity of approach, freedom of thought and expression, and an idealization of nature. Jose Joaquin de Olmedo, one of the first neoclassic poets of Latin America, was also active in Ecuador's struggle for independence. Juan Montalvo, perhaps the most respected of all Ecuadorian authors, is known for his political essays.
The best-known Ecuadorian writers of the 20th century include Jorge Icaza Coronel, a scathing novelist with a leftist political slant, whose most famous novel is Huasipungo (1934; translated 1962); Jose de la Cuadra, a short-story writer; and Alfredo Pareja Diez-Canseco, Demetrio Aguilera Malta, Enrique Gilbert, and Humberto Salvador, all of whom were writers preoccupied with the struggle for social justice.
Quito, the least changed of any of the old colonial capitals of South America, is a fine example of early Spanish architecture. All the arts in colonial days were inspired by the church and reflected the baroque style prevalent in Europe. Many of the churches of Quito are now art galleries as well as places of worship; they contain priceless paintings, altarpieces, woodcarvings, statues, and adornments.
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