Monday, October 1, 2012

Author Tomas Carrasquilla in the Archivo de Bogotá

Tomas Carrasquilla, altho little-remembered today, is one of Colombia's major writers. An exhibition on now in the Archivo de Bogotá (in the Belen neighborhood just south of La Candelaria) focuses on the best-known aspect of this custombrista writer - his descriptions of the lives and habits of common Colombians.

Carrasquilla's Wikipedia entry argues that the writer is little-remembered because during his long life  (1858 - 1940) spent mostly in rural areas and the city of Medellin, the costumbrismo style fell out of favor and was replaced by modernismo, leaving Carrasquilla appearing out of date.

"One thing has charmed me greatly, and those are the bicycles. What a pleasure seeing these people balanced on those wheels, with that smoothness, that delicacy, that speed and that grace! I can't help be feel a certain envy when I see one of these guys rolling down these streets and passages." 

"Bogotanos drink chicha, a fermented corn drink which Carasquillo called 'scorpions liquor.' "I still haven't accustomed by guts to this infamous liquor which distills into a demented jerkiness and toad's stomach bile."

"And this business of bumping up against the multitude of unknown people is a charm." Carrasquilla went on to say that this isn't a city only for great men.

"No, they worry about any silly person and any gossip or commentary and the details of the most insignificant subject."

The view of Bogotá from the Archivo de Bogotá's second floor. 

A market scene from way back. 

Plaza Bolivar back in Carrasquilla's day. The writer observed that everybody dressed in black. 

The entrance hall of the Archivo de Bogotá.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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