Don Segundo Sombra

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First edition of the book, 1926.
Segundo Ramírez, who inspired Güiraldes to write the novel.

Don Segundo Sombra is a 1926 novel by Argentine rancher Ricardo Güiraldes. Like José Hernández's poem Martín Fierro, its protagonist is a gaucho. However, unlike Hernandez's poem, Don Segundo Sombra does not romanticize the figure of the gaucho, but simply examines the character as a shadow (sombra) cast across Argentine history. Unlike Martin Fierro, purely an imaginary character, Don Segundo Sombra was loosely inspired by the real life of Segundo Ramírez, a native of the town of San Antonio de Areco in Buenos Aires Province. The life of Don Segundo Sombra made it to the big screen in 1969 in an Argentine production of a film by Manuel Antín.

Ricardo Güiraldes, a friend of Jorge Luis Borges – they both founded the legendary magazine Proa –, managed to develop a simple and modern language, a high quality mixture of literacy and colourful local expressions that earned him a major standing among the best representatives of "criollismo." Even though it may be considered as a continuity with Martin Fierro, more than an extinguished gaucho elegy don Segundo Sombra proposes new ethical examples to a youth that Güiraldes considered disoriented and restless.[1]


  1. ^ Güiraldes, Ricardo. "Don Segundo Sombra".

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