|Jorge Aliaga Cacho en Kursk, Rusia, agosto de 2013|
Vallejo, your fate is
to screw yourself!’1
16 March 1892: César Abraham Vallejo is born at 96, Calle Colón (now Calle César Vallejo) in Santiago de Chuco, a small Andean town in northern Peru, in the Libertad district, the eleventh child of Francisco de Paula Vallejo Benites (1840-1924) and María de los Santos Mendoza Gurrionero (1850-1918). Though the date is based on André Coyné’s original supposition2, it appears reasonable, even despite the recent claim that Vallejo was born on 7 March 18923.
19 May 1892: Vallejo is baptised in the local Church in Santiago de Chuco4.
1900-1905: Vallejo attends primary school in Santiago de Chuco. As the shulca, or youngest, of the family, Vallejo is a cosseted child; when returning home from school, to warm him up, his mother sucks his toes5.
April 1905-December 1908: Vallejo attends secondary school at the Colegio Nacional de San Nicolás in Huamachuco, a small town in the Libertad region. His nickname is machetón because his nose looks like a machete knife6. He creates a scandal in the village, for which he is severely reprimanded, by disturbing the peace during a funeral wake7.
2 April 1910: Vallejo enrolls in the Faculty of Humanities at La Libertad University in Trujillo, but does not complete the year. He works for a while in the mines of Quiruvilca, a experience he used as a basis for his proletarian novel, El Tungsteno8.
11 April 1911: Vallejo enrolls in the Faculty of Sciences at the Universidad Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, but he is unable to continue his studies for financial reasons.
May-December 1911: Vallejo is employed as a private tutor for the children of the wealthy mine-owner, Domingo Sotil. He stays on the Acobamba estate where he meets Américo España, the Italian anarchist, who may have kindled the revolutionary flame which would burn brightly in years to come9. His first poem, ‘Soneto’, is published during this period; it came out in El Minero Ilustrado (Cerro de Pasco), no. 782 (6 December 1911)10. The poem is dated November 1911. Rather similar in tone and imagery to the section ‘Nostalgias imperiales’ in Los heraldos negros, this sonnet contains early evidence of Vallejo’s verbal ingenuity; line 7 concludes with the neologism ‘soledumbre’.
1912: Works as an assistant cashier on the sugar plantation, Roma, near Trujillo, owned by the Larco Herreras, one of the two big families (the other being the Gildemeisters) who had come to monopolise the sugar industry in Peru after the War of the Pacific. The sight of hundreds of peons arriving at the sugar estate at the crack of dawn and working until nightfall in the fields with only a fistful of rice to live on made a lasting impression on Vallejo.
March 1913: Vallejo re-enrolls in the Faculty of Humanities at La Libertad University in Trujillo. He supports himself with a teaching job at the Centro Escolar de Varones in Trujillo.
March 1914: Vallejo enrolls for his second year at La Libertad. Continues his job at the Centro Escolar.
1914-16: Vallejo begins to publish poems in local newspapers which he would subsequently use as drafts for Los heraldos negros11.
March 1915: Vallejo enrolls for his third year at La Libertad, and also takes some courses in Law. He subsequently gets a post as teacher at the Colegio Nacional de San Juan and, while there, he teaches Ciro Alegría, who would one day publish the novel, El mundo es ancho y ajeno (1941). Alegría later said that he felt there was something profoundly ‘torn’ in Vallejo’s being: ‘From his whole being there flowed a deep sadness12.’
22 August 1915: Vallejo’s brother, Miguel, dies in Santiago de Chuco; Vallejo subsequently wrote an elegy for him, ‘A mi hermano muerto…’ (Cultura Infantil [Trujillo), no. 33 [August 1917), p. 5), which he subsequently revised to include as the third poem of the ‘Canciones de hogar’ section of Los heraldos negros, now entitled ‘A mi hermano Miguel’.
22 September 1915: Awarded his BA in Philosophy and Letters at La Libertad University with a thesis ‘El Romanticismo en la poesía castallana’, which was later published (Trujillo: Tipografía Olaya, 1915), 53 pp.
1915-1916: A number of his poems appear in local magazines, early drafts of Los heraldos negros.
January 1916: Vallejo continues studying law in Trujillo, and continues to support his studies with his teaching post at the Colegio Nacional.
1916-17: Begins a love affair with María Rosa Sandoval who inspires a number of the early love poems; she died tragically young (Espejo, pp. 44-45) of TB13.
December 1916: Vallejo begins to adopt the appearance of a literary dandy, wearing a smart suit and gloves, carrying a silver-capped cane (Izquierdo Ríos, p. 107, 150); his cousin once caught him lying under a tree in the countryside surrounding Santiago de Chuco, banging his head and muttering: ‘I want to write…. I want to write’ (Izquierdo Ríos, p. 50).
1917: Begins his third year of a law degree, and continues to support himself with his teaching job. Starts reading foreign literary journals such as Cervantes, Colónida, La Esfera, and España, which would later inspire him to write avant-garde poetry14.
10 June 1917: In a soirée organised for the painter Macedonio de la Torre Vallejo recites ‘Los heraldos negros’, which would be the eponymous poem of his first collection of poems.
July-December 1917: Vallejo has a passionate love-affair with Zoila Rosa Cuadra (nicknamed ‘Mirtho’ by Vallejo), a fifteen-year old girl; Espejo Asturrizaga believes ‘Setiembre’, ‘Heces’, ‘Yeso’, ‘El tálamo eterno’, and ‘El poeta a su amada’, to have been inspired by this relationship (Espejo, pp. 54-57). Because of the deterioration of his relationship with Mirtho, Vallejo attempts to commit suicide by shooting himself; the gun has only one bullet in the barrel, though, and he survives (Espejo, pp. 56-57).
22 September 1917: The Lima magazine, Variedades, publishes an ironic review of ‘El poeta a su amada’, saying the poem would be best accompanied by an accordeon, and advising those living in Trujillo to tie the author of the poem to a railway track; the article is accompanied by a graphic cartoon15.
January 1918: Enrolls in the Faculty of Humanities at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima.
February 1918: Vallejo strikes up a friendship with Abraham Valdelomar, and, as a result, gradually begins to make a name for himself in Lima’s literary circles. Later Valdelomar offers to write a prologue for his collection of poems, but he falls ill and dies (on 3 November 1919) before he can write it; Vallejo is moved by Valdelomar’s premature death (Espejo, p. 84).
May 1918: Vallejo is offered a teaching post at the prestigious Colegio Barrós in Lima.
8 August 1918: Vallejo’s mother dies of angina in Santiago de Chuco, an event which was to inspire some of Vallejo’s most famous poems (Tr. XVIII, XXIII, XXVIII, LII, LVIII, LXV).
12 September 1918: Vallejo takes over as head of the Colegio Barrós as a result of the sudden, unexpected death of its director.
October 1918 - August 1920: Vallejo has a passionate affair with Otilia; Espejo Asturrizaga refuses to give her surname, but states that she was the sister-in-law of a colleague at the Colegio Barrós. Espejo also surmises that the majority of the love poems of Trilce are based on that tempestuous affair (pp. 116-21). Espejo speculates – using lines 17-18 of Tr. X (‘Y los tres meses de ausencia. Y los nueve de gestación’) – that Otilia was pregnant when she left for San Mateo de Surco, but that Vallejo would never know the truth (Espejo, p. 76).
May 1919: Vallejo is thrown out of the Colegio Barrós as a result of his scandalous affair with Otilia; he refuses to do the decent thing and marry her (see Tr. XXVII), and as a result comes to blows with Otilia’s brother-in-law (Espejo, p. 75). Vallejo now has no job and no money – it was an early indication of Vallejo’s impetuous nature, his tendency to sacrifice security on the altar of personal desire.
23 July 1919: Vallejo’s Los heraldos negros (Lima: Souza Ferreira, 1918), 158 pp. is released and becomes available in Lima’s bookshops. The publication date is delayed as a result of Valdelomar’s dilatoriness, but it allows Vallejo to introduce some later poems, such as ‘Enereida’ and ‘Los pasos lejanos’16.
December 1919: Vallejo is invited – via an intermediary – to meet a young woman in a dark room who makes passionate love to him, but whose identity Vallejo never discovers (Espejo, p. 85).
10 July 1920: Vallejo gives a poetry recital at his old school, the Colegio Nacional in Huamachuco and, because nobody clapped, Vallejo is said to have stated – with amazing egoism for the time – ‘Why don’t you applaud me? I will be greater than Rubén Darío and one day will be proud to see America lying at my feet’ (Espejo, p. 92).
18 July 1920: Vallejo returns to Santiago de Chuco in readiness for the local celebrations of the patron of the village, Santiago (23 July – 2 August 1920).
1 August 1920: The commercial premises of Carlos Santa María in Santiago de Chuco are burnt to the ground. One bystander called Antonio Ciudad is shot by the police, and two policemen (Lucas Guerra and Julio Ortiz) are killed in retaliation by the crowd17. As a result Héctor M. Vásquez, Pedro Lozada, César Vallejo and fifteen others are indicted by the Santa María family. Even a cursory reading of the legal accounts shows that – despite the adroit campaign mounted by the Trujillo intelligentzia based on the idea that a poet de facto can do nothing wrong – Vallejo was directly involved in the events that led to the destruction of the Santa María premises18. Vallejo was at the forefront of the crowd which gathered in the main square in Santiago de Chuco at 5 o’ clock that afternoon, he was heard inciting others to participate in the events, he was seen holding a revolver and, in much of the evidence for the prosecution, he is mentioned as the instigator. After his initial imprisonment in Trujillo, he fled to Europe in order to escape prosecution19.
August 1920: Vallejo, now on the run as a result of being one of the principal accused, hides in Antenor Orrego’s house in Mansiche, just outside Trujillo. While in hiding he has a waking dream experience in which he sees his own death in Paris, surrounded by people he doesn’t recognise (Espejo, pp. 97-98). Obviously caused by the stress of being hunted down by the police, this dream is remarkable since some of the details – though not all of them – were borne out by his death in Paris eighteen years later. This experience inspired arguably his most famous poem, ‘Black Stone on a White Stone’.
6 November 1920: Vallejo is captured by the police and imprisoned in Trujillo Central Jail. While in jail he continues to write, and composes some of the poems which would be collected in Trilce (I, II, XVIII, XX, XL, L, LVIII, LXI), as well as Escalas.
24 December 1920: A selection of Vallejo’s poems wins second prize (50 libras) in the Poesía del Concurso (the first prize being declared void).
26 February 1921: As a result of a publicity campaign orchestrated by the University of Trujillo and other influential people such as the poet, Percy Gibson, Vallejo is released on bail.
30 March 1921: Vallejo moves from Trujillo to Lima.
14 September 1921: Vallejo is appointed to a teaching post in the Colegio Nacional de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Lima.
15 November 1921: Vallejo’s short story, ‘Mas allá de la vida y la muerte’ wins first prize (20 libras) in the competition organised by ‘Entre Nous’.
17 June 1922: Variedades publishes Vallejo’s short story, ‘Mas allá de la vida y la muerte’.
October 1922: Trilce is published by the Talleres Tipográficos de la Penitenciaría in Lima, 121 pp. The title Trilce is inserted to replace the title, Cráneos de bronce, at proof stage. The prologue was written by Vallejo’s literary mentor, Antenor Orrego. The collection elicits no reaction from the local readership.
15 March 1923: A collection of short stories, Escalas, is published by the Talleres Tipográficos de la Penitenciaría, 135 pp.
16 May 1923: The novel, Fabla salvaje, is published by Colección de la Novela Peruana, 49 pp.
June 1923: The law suit against Vallejo is re-opened in Trujillo.
17 June 1923: Vallejo and Julio Gálvez (Antenor Orrego’s nephew) embark on the steam boat, Oroya, en route to Paris.
13 July 1923: Vallejo and Galvez arrive in Paris. Vallejo would live in Paris – barring a year or so in Spain – until his death. Vallejo’s first three years in Paris are plagued by poverty and lack of permanent accommodation. He cannot afford to buy any new clothes; he sometimes sleeps on park benches;20 whenever he travels on the underground he refuses to sit down so as not to wear out his trousers; when getting off the train he waits until the carriage has stopped in order to avoid wearing out his shoes21.
28 July 1923: Vallejo meets Alfonso de Silva in the Legación Peruana; they become friends and Vallejo accompanies Alfonso to various restaurants where Alfonso plays the violin for a few ‘sous’ to pay for a meal for both of them. Silva stays in Paris until 1930 when he returns to Lima. On hearing of Silva’s death years later (he died on May 7, 1937), Vallejo wrote his famous poem ‘Alfonso, estás mirándome, lo veo...’.22
1923-1929: Vallejo writes the poems which Georgette would later group under the title, Poemas en prosa, in her 1968 facsimile edition of Vallejo’s poetry.
26 October 1923: Vallejo publishes his first article in the Trujillo magazine, El Norte. He would write 37 articles for El Norte (1923-1930).23 As his articles show Vallejo becomes gradually more immersed in the cultural scene in Paris, attending art exhibitions, musical concerts, conversing about art in cafés such as La Rotonde, Dome, Coupole, Select and La Régence, visiting Versailles and Fontainebleau.24
24 March 1924: Vallejo’s father dies in Santiago de Chuco.
September 1924: The Costa Rican sculptor, Max Jiménez, generously allows Vallejo to stay in his studio at 3, rue Vercingétorix. It is in Jiménez’s studio that Vallejo poses for the Spanish sculptor, José de Creeft. In Vicente Huidobro’s house Vallejo meets the Spanish poet, Juan Larrea, and they strike up a friendship. Later on Vallejo also meets Pablo Neruda, who offers the following portrait in his memoirs: ‘Vallejo was shorter than me, he was thinner and more boney. He was also more Indian than me, with very dark eyes and a high, domed forehead. He had a beautiful Incan face saddened by a certain undeniable majesty. Vain like all poets, he liked it when others referred to his Indian features.25’
October 1924: Because of an intestinal haemorrhage Vallejo is hospitalised in the Hôpital de la Charité, an experience which inspires ‘Las ventanas se han estremecido...’ (Poemas en prosa).
Spring 1925: Mariano H. Cornejo, the Peruvian ambassador in Paris, asks Vallejo to tutor his nephews and grand-children. The post is short-lived since one of Cornejo’s nieces dies. Cornejo invites Vallejo to write an elegy for her but, despite the remuneration and favor offered in return, Vallejo declines, thereafter remaining an ‘unofficial writer’ as he was to call himself.26
16 March 1925: Vallejo finds out that he has been awarded a bursary of 300 pesetas per month to study in Spain as a result of Pablo Abril de Vivero’s intercession on his behalf.
2 June 1925: Vallejo learns that he has been offered a monthly commission by the Bureau des Grands Journaux Ibéroaméricains which will alleviate his financial worries for a time.
17 July 1925: Vallejo publishes his first article with the Lima magazine, Mundial. He would eventually write 127 articles for Mundial (1925-1930).27
October 1925: Vallejo goes to Madrid to claim his bursary, though he never intends to study in Spain.
May 1926: He meets Henriette Maisse and they become lovers (their relationship would last for eighteen months). Vallejo lives with Henriette at the Hôtel de Richelieu, 20 rue Molière, in room 19 on the fourth floor.28 This hotel is now called Hôtel Louvre-Rivioli and it has a plaque commemorating the fact that Vallejo once lived there.
7 June 1926: The High Court in Trujillo issues a warrant for Vallejo’s arrest.
July 1926: Vallejo travels to Spain to collect his bursary.
July 1926: The first number of an avant-garde review edited by Vallejo and Juan Larrea, Favorables-París-Poema, is published in Paris.29
10 July 1926: Vallejo publishes his first article with the Lima magazine, Variedades. He would eventually write 41 articles for Variedades (1926-1930).30
October 1926: Second (and as it proved last) number of Favorables-París-Poema is published.31
Winter 1926: Vallejo notices a young girl, Georgette de Phillipart, sewing at the window of the apartment across the road from the Hôtel de Richelieu where he is living with Henriette. Because she sees Vallejo gesticulating, Georgette at first believes that he is a deaf-mute. But one day she hears his voice, and exclaims to her mother that ‘the neighbour opposite can speak!’ From that point onwards Georgette’s interest in her Peruvian neighbour grows.32 Vallejo and Georgette, who is fifteen years old at the time (she was born on January 7, 1908),33 exchange glances and then smiles; they begin seeing each other in the Bois de Boulogne (Domingo Córdoba, p. 213). Once Georgette’s mother, Mme Marie Travers, a seamstress, discovers what is going on, however, she attempts to put an end to the nascent love affair, regarding Vallejo as a ‘drôle d’étranger’ (Domingo Córdoba, p. 213).
10 March 1927: Vallejo travels to Spain.
5 May 1927: Vallejo argues with Georgette and asks Henriette to come back to live with him, as he describes in a letter to Juan Larrea.34 He leaves the Hôtel de Richelieu, and goes with Henriette to live at the Hotel Mary, 32 Rue Sainte Anne (Domingo Córdoba, p. 41).
June 1927: Vallejo travels to Madrid to collect his bursary, staying with Xavier Abril in the latter’s apartment on Calle de la Aduana. While there he meets Juan Domingo Córdoba and they become good friends (Domingo Córdoba, p. 35). Domingo Córdoba travels with Vallejo back to Paris, staying in an apartment near the hotel where Vallejo and Henriette are living; while there Domingo Córdoba witnesses a heated argument between Vallejo and Henriette (Domingo Córdoba, p. 43).
1927-1928-1929: Vallejo begins studying Marxist theory, and acquires books from L’Humanité, a left-wing bookstore in Paris. He reads works by Marx, Trotsky, Engels, Plekhanov, Luxembourg, Liebknecht, Lenin, Riazanov, Bukharin, Kurella, Stalin and Lissargaray (Domingo Córdoba, pp. 165-66). Initially – like many of the French surrealists – a Trotskyist, Vallejo gradually begins to adopt a more hard-line Stalininst approach.35 But Vallejo does not spend all of his time studying. On one occasion, when drunk, Vallejo insults and nearly comes to blows with a group of Argentinians in a night-club, and – when driving around in a coupé taxi with Domingo Córdoba and two of the More brothers36 – he stands up and shouts obscenities at bystanders (Domingo Córdoba, pp. 123-25).
1928-1935: Vallejo composes and types up the undated poems of Poemas humanos.37
July 1928: As a result of his bad health Vallejo is advised by his doctor to go to the countryside to recuperate. Accompanied by Henriette and Juan Domingo Córdoba, he stays in the house of Monsieur Nauty in Ris-Orangis (Seine-et-Oise) not far from Paris (Domingo Córdoba, pp. 204-10).
8 September 1928: Vallejo learns that the Peruvian Government has granted him free passage back to Peru. Vallejo accepts the money but spends it instead on a lavish tour of Europe.
19 October 1928: Vallejo leaves for Moscow. His itinerary is Paris-Berlin-Moscow-Budapest-Berlin-Paris, arriving back in Paris on 27 December 1928.
12 November 1928: Georgette’s mother dies, leaving Georgette with an inheritance of 280,000 francs (Domingo Córdoba, p. 144).
December 1929: Vallejo meets Georgette by chance in a charcuterie and she tells him her mother has died. They decide to get back together. Vallejo asks Domingo Córdoba if he will act as go-between and persuade Henriette to leave. Domingo Córdoba refuses; instead Georgette talks to Henriette. As a result Henriette is out of the picture for good (Domingo Córdoba, pp. 213-14).
29 December 1928: Vallejo, along with Armando Bazán, Juan J. Paiva, Eudocio Ravines, Jorge Seoane and Demetrio Tello, set up a Peruvian Socialist Party cell in Paris, and write to inform José Carlos Mariátegui - who had recently (7 October 1928) founded the Peruvian Communist Party in Lima – of their actions.
January 1929: Vallejo moves into Georgette’s apartment. Georgette has a mysterious (prophetic) experience when Vallejo first stays overnight in her apartment; when folding up Vallejo’s suit she feels as if she is folding up a dead man’s clothes.38
February 1929: Vallejo and Georgette move into a new apartment on an adjoining road, 11, Avénue de l’Opéra.
3 February 1929: Vallejo begins publishing articles in El Comercio, Lima’s most prestigious daily. He would publish 23 articles in El Comercio (1929-1930).
July 1929: Vallejo, Georgette and Domingo Córdoba travel to Brittany to stay at Plouamanach (Côte-du-Nord). While there, Vallejo and Domingo Córdoba – neither of them strong swimmers – nearly drown while going for a swim in the sea (Domingo Córdoba, p. 188).
August 1929: Domingo Córdoba accompanies Vallejo to a clinic where Georgette will have an abortion (Domingo Córdoba, pp. 227-28).
19 September 1929: Vallejo sets off on his second trip to the Soviet Union, this time with Georgette. Their itinerary, which has something of the Grand Tour about it, was:
Paris-Berlin-Leningrad-Prague-Cologne-Vienna-Budapest-Trieste-Venice-Florence-Rome-Pisa-Genoa-Nice-Paris. While in Moscow Vladimir Mayakovsky takes Vallejo to see Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin.Vallejo and Georgette also visit Lenin’s tomb in Red Square.
2 January 1930: Vallejo sends Luis Alberto Sánchez three poems in a letter: ‘Piedra negra sobre una piedra blanca’, ‘Altura y pelos’ and one other (title not given) (Ángel Flores, pp. 105-06).
February 1930: The fortnightly review, Bolívar, set up by Pablo Abril in Madrid, begins to publish Vallejo’s ‘Un reportaje en Rusia’, which would subsequently be brought together in Vallejo’s travelogue, Rusia en 1931.
9 April 1930: Second edition of Trilce published by José Bergamín, at Gerardo Diego’s suggestion, in Madrid (Compañía Iberoamericana de Publicaciones, 206 pp.). Bergamín writes a warm, insightful prologue.
May 1930: Vallejo travels to Spain with Georgette. He meets up with Gerardo Diego, Rafael Alberti, and Pedro Salinas in the Café de Recoletos (Domingo Córdoba, p. 189). He receives 1,500 pesetas in royalties for the second edition of Trilce (Domingo Córdoba, p. 145). Vallejo goes with Domingo Córdoba to Salamanca to meet Miguel de Unamuno but the meeting never materialises (Domingo Córdoba, p. 189).
2 December 1930: As a result of his political activities Vallejo is expelled from France, and is given until 29 January 1931 to leave.
29 December 1930: Vallejo and Georgette leave Paris and go to Madrid where they live in a modest house on Calle del Acuerdo.
14 April 1931: King Alfonso XIII abdicates and the Spanish Republicans come to power; Vallejo, though, is unimpressed and remarks to Georgette that a bloodless revolution is not a true revolution.39
1931: Vallejo begins translating writing for various newspapers such as La Voz, and doing commissioned translations (such as Henri Barbusse, Elevación [Madrid: Ulises, 1931], and Maycel Aymé, La calle sin nombre [Madrid: Editorial Cenit, 1931]).40 He joins the Spanish Communist Party and begins teaching Marxist-Leninist theory in clandestine cells.
7 March 1931: His novel, El Tungsteno – the last few chapters of which were typed up on Domingo Córdoba’s typewriter in Madrid in January (Domingo Córdoba, p. 134) – is published by Editorial Cenit in Madrid, 205 pp.
July 1931: His travelogue Rusia en 1931: reflexiones al pie del Kremlin is published by Ediciones Ulises in Madrid, 268 pp. Re-printed twice in four months, the book becomes something of a best-seller. José Macedo remembers how it was advertised everywhere in Madrid, on the Puerta del Sol, the Calle de Alcalá and along the Gran Vía (quoted in More, p. 86). Vallejo does not make much money from the book, however, since the publishers refuse to pay him royalties for the second and third printings of the book (Domingo Córdoba, p. 145).
27-30 October 1931: Vallejo attends the International Writers’ Congress in Moscow as an invited delegate.
November 1931: Vallejo begins writing a second book on the Soviet Union, ‘Rusia ante el Segundo Plan Quinquenal’ which is rejected by various publishers. It will be published by La Editora Gráfica years after his death in Lima in 1965.
25 January 1932: Georgette goes to Paris to sell her apartment. While in Paris she claims to have received two letters from Vallejo, who is still in Madrid, one of which dated 29 January 1932, describing his work on El arte y la revolución: ‘Estoy corrigiendo El arte y la revolución. Me parece que es un libro muy, muy bien. Me gusta mucho.41’ This letter may be fictitious since it is not reproduced and is used as the main evidence with which to rebut Juan Larrea’s argument; a consultation of the manuscripts of El arte y la revolución and Contra el secreto profesional, now held in the Biblioteca Nacional, suggests that the titles for the collections were coined by Georgette rather than Vallejo.42
January 1932: Vallejo goes with Lorca to see Camila Quiroga to discuss the possibility of one of his plays being performed in Madrid, but without success.43
12 February 1932: Vallejo crosses the frontier illegally and joins Georgette in Paris. He is told that he will allowed to remain in France if he desists from political activity, and reports to the Prefecture monthly.
12 August 1932: Vallejo reports to the Prefecture in Paris.
20 August 1932: Vallejo reports for a second time to the Prefecture.
June 1933: Vallejo publishes ‘Un grand reportage politique: Que se passe-t-il en Amérique du Sud au pays des Incas ?’, in the magazine Beaux-Arts.
20 August 1933: Vallejo reports for a third and final time to the Prefecture, after which his residency in France is legalised.
6 February 1934: Vallejo attends a left-wing demonstration against Croix de Feux in Paris.
11 October 1934: Vallejo and Georgette get married in Paris.
1934-1936: Vallejo writes two plays, Colacho hermanos and La piedra cansada, but is unable to get a publisher interested in them.44 Vallejo and Georgette move to a little hotel at 64, Avenue du Maine, near to the Rue de la Gaité. They often have lunch at the Cercle François Villon, an association for unemployed intellectuals (Aula Vallejo 11-12-13, p. 141). They pawn many of Georgette’s possessions during this period, including an antique mirror (More, pp. 22-24). Vallejo often goes to a nearby workingman’s bistro called Le Lion, where the beer, which has always been Vallejo’s favorite drink,45 is very cheap. Vallejo is such a regular customer there that, although a glass of beer usually costs eighty centimes, the proprietor lets him have a drink for seventy centimes (More, p. 58).
25 December 1935: Vallejo writes to Juan Larrea asking him to enquire whether José Bergamín has received – via Rafael Alberti – his offer of ‘my publishable book of poems'46, which is likely to be the poems of Poemas en prosa and the undated poems of Poemas humanos.
28 February 1936: Vallejo publishes ‘Récentes découvertes au pays des Incas’, Beaux-Arts, no. 165, p. 1.
16-18 July 1936: The Spanish Civil War breaks out and Vallejo is caught up in the cause. He begins writing articles in support of the Republic, and often goes to the Montparnasse station to hear the latest news from the front line.
11 September 1936: Vallejo publishes ‘L’homme et Dieu dans la sculpture incaïque’, Beaux-Arts.
15 December 1936: Vallejo leaves Paris to visit Barcelona and Madrid; while in Madrid he visits the front line. Begins writing the first drafts of the poems which would come together as España, aparta de mí este cáliz, often using an individual battle as inspiration for the poem.
31 December 1936: Vallejo returns from the front line to Paris.
4-8 July 1937: Vallejo attends the Second International Writers’ Congress for the Defense of Culture held in Valencia and Madrid (Ehrenberg called it a ‘moving circus’). As the official Peruvian delegate, Vallejo gives a speech in Madrid, ‘La responsabilidad del escritor’, which was later published in El Mono Azul, no. 4.47
4 September 1937: Vallejo helps to found the Ibero-American Committee for the Defense of the Spanish Republic and its bulletin, Nuestra España, but he is sidelined because of his Trotskyist sympathies.48
3 September – 8 December 1937: Writes dated poems of Poemas humanos and España, aparta de mí este cáliz (the Civil War Poems). Vallejo asks René Mossisson if he can use his typewriter and, in the latter’s hotel room in Rue Daguerre, Valleo types up the poems (More, p. 69). Every day for three months, Vallejo reads to Georgette the poems he has typed up during the day (¡Allá ellos, allá ellos, allá ellos!, p. 107).
13 March 1938: Vallejo falls ill, and takes to his bed. His symptoms become more worrying (¡Allá ellos, allá ellos, allá ellos!, p. 117).
24 March 1938: Vallejo is transferred to the Clinique Générale de Chirurgie (Villa Arago); various tests are carried out by the doctors – including an eminent specialist, Dr Lemière – but they are unable to agree on the cause of his illness.
15 April 1938 (Good Friday): Vallejo dies at 9.20 am in the Villa Arago clinic. The death certificate records intestinal infection as the cause of death, but this has not prevented incessant speculation as to the ‘real’ cause of death, including malaria, syphilis, exhaustion, spiritual martydom – given the day he died – even that Vallejo died as a result of grief caused by the Spanish Civil War.49 Though she has lived with him for years, even Georgette is surprised to find the wealth of unpublished papers Vallejo leaves on his death; Anais Nin remembers how her Gonzalo More, one of Vallejo’s very close friends, once told her that Vallejo rarely showed his poetry to others: ‘Gonzalo tells me how Vallejo never showed his poetry, that he had tons and tons of it all over his room that nobody had ever read. And that he told in one poem, how he would die on All Saints’ Day, and then that day came and he did die.50’ The papers Georgette discovers consist of (i) autographs of the posthumous poems which Georgette would attempt to publish in 1978-79, and later destroy; (ii) typescripts of the posthumous poems which Georgette would later publish in facsimile in 1968, and donate to the Hogar Clínica San Juan de Dios; (iii) manuscripts/typescripts of Vallejo’s plays which she would later publish in 1979, donating most to the Biblioteca Nacional and some to the Library of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú; 51 (iv) the typescript of ‘Rusia ante el segundo plan quinquenal’ which would be published in 1965; (v) a collection of typewritten essays which she would edit and use to produce two collections of essays, El arte y la revolución and Contra el secreto profesional, published in 1973; the typescripts were later donated to the Biblioteca Nacional.
16 April 1938: Georgette has a death mask of Vallejo created.
18 April 1938: Burial in the Montrouge Cemetery; homilies given by Louis Aragon, Antonio Ruiz Vilaplana and Gonzalo More. The tomb stone lists Vallejo’s year of birth incorrectly as 1893.
1939: Georgette publishes Poemas humanos in Paris, an edition which included all of the posthumous poems (including the war poems).52
9 February 1940: An edition of España, aparta de mí este cáliz overseen by Emilio Prados is published by Editorial Séneca in Mexico City.53
May 1951: Georgette travels on the steam boat Reina del Pacífico from Paris to Lima with Vallejo’s manuscripts. She is met as she steps off the boat in Callao by, inter alia, Raúl Porras Barrenchea and Sebastián Salazar Bondy.54 She remains in Lima.
1957-1958: As a result of Raúl Porras Barrenchea’s intervention, Georgette is granted a modest monthly allowance of 2,700 soles from the Ministry of Education.55
1965: Rusia antes el segundo plan quinquenal is published in Lima.
1968: Georgette publishes a facsimile edition of the typescripts of the posthumous poetry, now divided up as Poemas humanos, Poemas en prosa, and España, aparta de mí este cáliz.56 Her pension from the Ministry of Education is unexpectedly curtailed.57
1970: Georgette returns to Paris to oversee the transfer of Vallejo’s remains to a new resting place. His remains are exhumed and transferred to Montparnasse cemetery (12th division, 4 North, No. 7), close to Baudelaire’s grave, where he told Georgette he would like to be buried. Vallejo’s birth date is now listed correctly as 1892; Georgette has a section from one of her poems – ‘j’ai tant neigé / pour que tu dormes’ inscribed on the tomb.58 Vallejo’s grave soon becomes a place of poetic pilgrimage.
1974: With the proceeds from book royalties Georgette purchases and moves into an apartment at no. 5241-301, Avenida Arequipa in Miraflores, Lima.59
1973: Georgette edits and publishes Vallejo’s essays, El arte y la revolución and Contra el secreto profesional, in Lima. She subsequently donates the typescripts to the Manuscripts section of the Biblioteca Nacional, Lima.
1976-1978: Georgette has a number of problems with translators and editors who produce new editions of Vallejo’s work in various languages.60
1978: The major English translation by Clayton Eshleman is published, César Vallejo: The Complete Posthumous Poetry (Berkeley: University of California Press), which wins the prestigious National Book Award.
1978: A copy of the Spanish edition of España, aparta de mí este cáliz is discovered by Pedro Lastra Salazar and Juan Gilabert in the Montserrat Monastery near Barcelona.61
1978-1979: Georgette attempts to publish the autographs of the posthumous poems with Ángel Rama in his Ayacucho Series but the project falls through.62
1979: Georgette publishes Vallejo’s theatre.63 The typescripts and manuscripts are shared between the Biblioteca Nacional and the Library of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
1979: Georgette is partially paralysed and lives from now on at the Maison de Santé in Lima.
1983: Georgette donates some of Vallejo’s belongings including his passport to the Library of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
1983: Georgette donates the typescripts of the posthumous poems to the Hogar Clínica San Juan de Dios, Lima.64 Since there is no sign of the original autographs (or, indeed, Vallejo’s death mask), it must be assumed that Georgette destroyed them at around this time.
5 December 1984: Georgette dies in the Maison de Santé, Lima.
1995: After his momentous discovery of a photocopy of the original autographs of the posthumous poems among Ángel Rama’s private papers in Montevideo, Juan Fló publishes an article describing the autographs, announcing his discovery.65
1997-2004: Fifteen volumes of Vallejo’s complete works are published by the press of the Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú, under the stewardship of Ricardo Silva-Santisteban and Salomon Lerner Febres, including the poetry, the narrative, the drama, the correspondence, the articles, and the translations.
2003: Edition of Vallejo’s autographs published by Tamesis and La Católica University Press; Autógrafos olvidados, eds Juan Fló and Stephen Hart (London-Lima: Tamesis-La Católica, 2003).
By Stephen Hart
University College London
1 This is how the Spanish journalist, Fernando Ibáñez, later killed in the Spanish Civil War, used to greet Vallejo; Juan Larrea (ed.), Aula Vallejo 11-12-13 (Córdoba: Universidad Nacional, Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades, 1974), p. 193.
2 André Coyné, ‘Apuntes biográficos de César Vallejo’, Mar del Sur (Lima), 8 (November-December 1949), n.p.
3 Oswaldo D. Vásquez Vallejo, Abraham Vallejo: ascendencia y nacimiento (Trujillo: Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, 1992), p. 20.
4 Antenor Samaniego, César Vallejo: su poesía (Lima: Mejía Baca and P.L. Villanueva, 1954), pp. 14-15.
5 Francisco Izquierdo Ríos, César Vallejo y su tierra, 3rd ed. (Lima: Villanueva, 1972), p. 151.
6 Izquierdo Ríos, p. 144.
7 Juan Espejo Asturrizaga, César Vallejo: itinerario del hombre (Lima: Mejía Baca, 1969), p. 24.
8 When I visited Santiago de Chuco in December 1981, however, I was told that Vallejo worked in Tamboras and not Quiuvilcas which is a copper mine.
9 Esteban Pavlotich, ‘El paso de Valejo por los Andes centrales del Perú’, Aproximaciones a César Vallejo, ed. Ángel Flores (New York: Las Américas, 1971), I, pp. 129-33 (p. 133).
10 César Vallejo: Soneto, estudio preliminar de Edmundo Bendezú Aibar, edición y notas de Hugo Arias Hidalgo (Lima: Universidad Ricardo Palma Editorial Universitaria, 2003), 14 pp.
11 For a comparison of the early drafts with the final versions, see César Vallejo: poesía completa, ed. Ricardo Silva-Santisteban, 4 vols (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 1997), I, pp. 65-237; and César Vallejo: poemas completas, ed. Ricardo González Vigil (Lima: Petroperú, 1998), pp. 37-161. See also César Vallejo: obra poética, ed. Américo Ferrari (Madrid: Colección Archivos, 1988), which has excellent notes.
12 ‘El César Vallejo que yo conocí’, in César Vallejo, ed. Julio Ortega (Madrid: Taurus, 1974), pp. 155-70 (p. 162).
13 Jesús Fernández Palacios, ‘Georgette, la mujer del retrato’, p. 281.
14 Roberto Paoli, ‘En los orígenes de Trilce: Vallejo entre modernismo y vanguardia’, Mapas anatómicos de César Vallejo (Florence: Casa Editrice D’Anna, 1981), pp. 31-50; Jorge Cornejo Polar, ‘Vallejo y la vanguardia: una relación problemática’, Estudios de literatura peruana (Lima: Banco Central de Reserva del Perú, 1998), pp. 169-90.
15 Georgette de Vallejo, ¡Allá ellos, allá ellos, allá ellos! (Lima: Zalvac, 1978), p. 10.
16 Coyné, p. 107, n. 42; and Ángel Flores, ‘Cronología de vivencias e ideas’, in Aproximaciones a César Vallejo, I, pp. 25-128 (p. 43).
17 Germán Patrón Candela, El proceso Vallejo (Trujillo: Universidad de Trujillo, 1992), pp. 160-63.
18 Germán Patrón Candela, El proceso Vallejo (Trujillo: Universidad de Trujillo, 1992) publishes all of the existing court proceedings.
19 Stephen Hart, ‘Was César Vallejo Guilty as Charged?’, Latin American Literary Review, XXVI:51 (1998), 79-89.
20 Armando Bazán, Dolor y poesía (Lima: Biblioteca Universitaria, 1958), pp. 42-48.
21 Ernesto More, Vallejo en la encrucijada del drama peruano (Lima: Librería y Distribuidora Bendezú, 1968), pp. 26-27.
22 Ricardo González Vigil, César Vallejo (Lima: Editorial Brasa, 1985), pp. 82-83.
23 See articles in Artículos y crónicas completos, ed. Jorge Puccinelli, 2 vols (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2002).
24 Juan Domingo Cordoba V., César Vallejo del Perú profundo y sacrificado (Lima: Jaime Campodonico, 1995), p. 45.
25 Pablo Neruda, Confieso que he vivido: memorias (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1974), p. 93; my translation. This complimentary portrait of Vallejo contrasts with the rivalry Neruda clearly felt for Vallejo’s work years later. When visiting Clayton Eshleman in New York City in 1966, Neruda made a point of saying that ‘Vallejo never wrote any poetry after he left Peru’ (e-mail from Clayton Eshleman to author; 17 August 2005).
26 ‘Una gran reunión latinoamericana’, Mundial, no. 353 (18 March 1927); see Artículos y crónicas completos, ed. Jorge Puccinelli (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2002), I, pp. 396-99.
27 Artículos y crónicas completos, ed. Jorge Puccinelli, 2 vols.
28 Jesús Fernández Palacios, ‘Georgette, la mujer del retrato’, p. 281.
29 Artículos y crónicas completos, ed. Jorge Puccinelli, II, Anexos.
30 Artículos y crónicas completos, ed. Jorge Puccinelli, 2 vols.
31 Artículos y crónicas completos, ed. Jorge Puccinelli, II, Anexos.
32 Jesús Fernández Palacios, ‘Georgette, la mujer del retrato’, p. 282.
33 ‘Testimonio de la Escritura de Testamento Ortorgada por Georgette Maria Phillipart Travers Viuda de Vallejo’ (7 September 1979; Fs. 14,151); Hogar Clínica San Juan de Dios, Lima.
34 César Vallejo: correspondencia completa, ed. Jesús Cabel (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2002), p. 234.
35 Stephen Hart, ‘Was César Vallejo a Communist? New Light on the Old Problem’, Iberoromania, 22 (1985), 95-120.
36 The two More brothers on this occasion were Carlos and Ernesto; Vallejo would get to know the third More brother, Gonzalo, later on. Ernesto wrote a memoir on Vallejo – Vallejo en la encrucijada del drama peruano (Lima: Librería y Distribuidora Bendezú, 1968) – while Gonzalo gave a homily at Vallejo’s funeral (see below).
37 Stephen Hart, ‘The Chronology of César Vallejo’s Poemas humanos: New Light on the Old Problem’, Modern Language Review, 97.3 (2002), 602-19.
38 Aula Vallejo 11-12-13, ed. Juan Larrea, p. 204.
39 Georgette de Vallejo, ¡Allá ellos, allá ellos, allá ellos!, p. 40.
40 Vallejo’s translations have been re-published, César Vallejo: traducciones completas, ed. Rosario Valdivia Paz-Soldán (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2003), 2 vols.
41 Georgette de Vallejo, ‘Apuntes biográficos sobre Poemas en prosa y Poemas humanos’, Visión del Perú, eds Washington Delgado & Carlos Milla Batres (Lima: Editorial Milla Batres, 1969), pp. 169-92 (p. 174). This sentence is also quoted by Ángel Flores, p. 117.
42 Stephen Hart, ‘César Vallejo y sus espejismos’, Romance Quarterly, 49.2 (2002), 111-18 (pp. 114-15).
43 Vallejo describes the visit in a letter to Juan Larrea dated 27 January 1932; Correspondencia completa, ed. Jesús Cabel (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2002), p. 413.
44 Georgette de Vallejo, ¡Allá ellos, allá ellos, allá ellos!, p. 86.
45 Felipe Cossío del Pomar, ‘Con César Vallejo en la otra orilla’, Cuadernos Americanos, CLXXXVIII.3 (May-June 1973), 199-205 (p. 201).
46 César Vallejo: correspondencia completa, p. 439.
47 Artículos y crónicas completos, ed. Jorge Puccinelli (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2002), II, pp. 967-73.
48 Georgette de Vallejo, ¡Allá ellos, allá ellos, allá ellos!, pp. 100-05.
49 Stephen Hart, ‘Vallejo’s « Other » : Versions of Otherness in the Work of César Vallejo’, MLR, 93.3 (1998), 710-23 (pp. 711-12). Vallejo’s medical records have been published in Acta Herediana: Revista de la Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, segunda época, vol. 12 (October 1991-March 1992), 75-87.
50 The Diary of Anais Nin (1934-1939), vol. 2 (New York: Harvest/HBJ Book, 1970), p. 295. The reference to All Saints’ Day is incorrect, since this is likely to be an allusion to ‘Black Stone on a White Stone’ which mentions a Thursday in Autumn.
51 Stephen M. Hart and Jorge Cornejo Polar, César Vallejo: Research Bibliography (Woodbridge : Boydell and Brewer, 2002), pp. 19-21.
52 Poemas humanos (1923-1938), eds Georgette Vallejo & Raúl Porras Barrenchea (Paris : Les Éditions del Presses Modernes au Palais-Royal, 1939), 159 pp.
53 César Vallejo: poesía completa, ed. Juan Larrea (Barcelona: Barral, 1978), p. 197.
54 Jesús Fernández Palacios, ‘Georgette, la mujer del retrato’, p. 285.
55 Jesús Fernández Palacios, ‘Georgette, la mujer del retrato’, pp. 285-86.
56 César Vallejo : obra poética completa: edición con facsímiles, ed. Georgette de Vallejo (Lima : Francisco Moncloa Editores, 1968).
57 Jesús Fernández Palacios, ‘Georgette, la mujer del retrato’, p. 286. Clayton Eshleman informs me that the pension was awarded by the Ministry of Education to Georgette in exchange for Vallejo’s papers and it was cut because she refused to hand the Vallejo archive over (e-mail to author; 22 August 2005).
58 Georgette Phillipart Travers de Vallejo, ‘Toi ma vie’, ll.5-6, Masque de Chaux: Máscara de cal (Trujillo: Instituto de Estudios Vallejianos, 1997), p. 94.
59 Jesús Fernández Palacios, ‘Georgette, la mujer del retrato’, p. 287.
60 In the collection of manuscripts (mainly correspondence by and to Georgette) held at the Hogar Clínica San Juan de Dios, a picture emerges of Georgette’s fraught negotiations with various translators and editors around the world. Letters are to various parties including G. de Cortanze, S. Yurkievich, E. Ballón Aguirre, T. Hermans, O. Giddle, G. Jenebelly, M. Vagenhende, A. Schellekens, J.F. Azaïs, R. Marty, H. Podesta, A. Miro Quesada, J. Wilson Izquierdo, E. Villanueva, J.C. Comín, inter alia. I am grateful to Hmno Torres for allowing me sight of these manuscripts. Of interest also is Georgette’s will dated 7 September 1979, naming Fernando Szyszlo as the executor.
61 España, aparta de mí este cáliz. Poemas (Barcelona: Ediciones Literarias del Comisariado, Ejército del Este, 1939), 64 pp. See Tomas G. Escajadillo, ‘Se encontró la primera edición de España, aparta de mí este cáliz’, Runa, 7-8 (July 1978), 15-17.
62 Juan Fló, ‘Introducción’, in César Vallejo: autógrafos olvidados, eds Juan Fló & Stephen Hart (London: Tamesis, 2003), pp. 1-30.
63 César Vallejo: teatro completo, ed. Enrique Ballón Aguirre (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 1979), 2 vols.
64 The typescripts are available for consultation by personal application to Hermano Alejandro Torres Espinoza, currently Director of the Hogar Clínica San Juan de Dios.
65 Juan Fló, ‘Acerca de algunos borradores de Vallejo: reflexiones sobre el surgimiento de la novedad’, Nuevo Texto Crítico, 8 (1995-1996), 93-127. I record my gratitude to Clayton Eshleman for his very helpful suggestions based on the first draft of this chronology.