The stated purpose of this slender volume is to shed light on the life and work of José Joaquín de Mora in Bolivia in the period shortly after independence. It does not, however, neglect his career in other nations.
Mora, a Spanish liberal, was a versatile literary figure. Possessing boundless energy, wherever he travelled he founded and edited newspapers and journals, established schools, translated foreign works, wrote textbooks in several disciplines, composed poetry and drama, taught and somehow found time to dispute politics. Because of his extreme liberal position he fled Spain in 1823 to avoid the repression of Ferdinand VII. After the fall of Bernardino Rivadavia, who first called him to South America in 1827, he lost the patronage of the Buenos Aires government, and he was also driven from Chile (where he had written the liberal constitution of 1828) following the conservative victory in 1830. In 1834 he was invited to journey to Bolivia from Peru. There, in addition to his customary spate of activities, he became secretary to General Andrés Santa Cruz, who was then in the midst of forming the Peru-Bolivian Confederation.
Written in appealing Spanish, this little book successfully compresses much about Mora into fifty pages of text. Nonetheless, one remains with the desire to know more about this literary dynamo and the condition of the South American republics when he roamed through them as a sort of itinerant scholar. The book concludes with a brief anthology of his verses, containing South American themes.