Monday, April 1, 2013

Jorge Isaacs Gets his Google Doodle

Today's Google Doodle shows a scene from the novel Maria.
Colombian novelist Jorge Isaacs got a bit of attention today thanks to a Google doodle, comemorating the 176th anniversary of his birth.

You've undoubtedly seen Isaacs (born 1837 and died in 1895), and would like to see more of him, since he's on the 50,000 peso bill. (But I'll bet you a fifty that Isaacs' face will be off of there soon after Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies.)

Isaacs' best-known work was the romantic novel Maria, which serves as a sort of historical and social document, thanks to its descriptions of life and social relationships in the 19th-century Valle del Cauca. That sort of romanticism long ago fell out of favor in serious literature, and Maria probably isn't read much anymore except in high school and university literature classes.

Isaacs' home in Cali, crumbling away.

But Isaacs' life may have been more memorable than his novel. The son of a Jewish Englishman from Jamaica, Isaac failed in business and became a soldier, politician and journalist, in addition to novelist and poet. For a brief two months, from February to March 1880, he was even the president of the Sovereign State of Antioquia, which was a part of Colombia despite its name.

While Google has honored Isaacs, Colombia has neglected him. His home in Cali, where he finished writing Maria, is falling to pieces.

(All images come from Wikipedia)

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours
This is a portrait of Jorge Isaacs, not of Mike Ceaser.

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