Andres Bello - Encyclopedia

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ANDRES BELLO (1781-1865), South American poet and scholar, was born at Caracas (Venezuela) on the 29th of November 1781, and in early youth held a minor post in the civil administration. He joined the colonial revolutionary party, and in 1810 was sent on a political mission to London, where he resided for nineteen years, acting as secretary to the legations of Chile, Colombia and Venezuela, studying in the British Museum, supplementing his small salary by giving private lessons in Spanish, by journalistic work and by copying Jeremy Bentham's almost indecipherable manuscripts. In 1829 he accepted a post in the Chilean treasury, settled at Santiago and took a prominent part in founding the national university (1843), of which he became rector. He was nominated senator, and died at Santiago de Chile on the 15th of October 1865. Bello was mainly responsible for the civil code promulgated on the 14th of December 1855. His prose works deal with such various subjects as law, philosophy, literary criticism and philology; of these the most important is his Grameitica castellana (1847), the leading authority on the subject. But his position in literature proper is secured by his Silvas Americanas, a poem written during his residence in England, which conveys with extraordinary force the majestic impression of the South American landscape.

Bello's complete works were issued in fifteen volumes by the Chilean government (Santiago de Chile, 1881-1893); he is the subject of an excellent biography (Santiago de Chile, 1882) by Miguel Luis Amunategui. (J. F.-K.)

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