Purdue University Graduate School
Megi Papiashvili-Dissertation FINAL.pdf (941.71 kB)

The Evolution of Leftism in Peruvian Literature from the 20th Century to the Contemporary Era: José Carlos Mariátegui, José María Arguedas, and Antonio Gálvez Ronceros

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posted on 2023-04-29, 07:41 authored by Megi PapiashviliMegi Papiashvili

Mariátegui, Arguedas, and Gálvez Ronceros represent important leftist voices in Peruvian literature that used their writings as a tool for political and social change. With this scholarship it is my aim to present an in-depth analysis on the origins of leftism in the context of Peruvian literature and the changes it experienced over time. Given the pluralism in the way the concept of leftism is interpreted and understood today, this research also provides a guide on how it should be defined in Peru’s context, given that mere importation of European leftism does not fully explain the unique characteristics of Peruvian leftism. In chapter one, I argue that the José Carlos Mariátegui played a significant role in shaping Peruvian society by championing a form of socially engaged leftist literature that reflected the realities of life for the working class and marginalized communities of Peru. To this day, Mariátegui’s ideas continue to influence leftist writers in Peru and in all Latin America, as well. While his role as a leftist author must not be undermined, this research also addresses the need that exists today to reexamine his figure and highlight the shortcomings that are found in his writings; namely, the underrepresentation of women and racial stereotypes used against Asians and people of African descent. In chapter two, I study the life and work of José María Arguedas who played a significant role in shaping Peruvian literature by giving voice to the experiences of indigenous people and challenging the dominant literary and cultural norms of Peru’s Andean region. His works deal with themes such as identity, culture, and oppression while insisting on a uniquely Andean expression of leftist thought that highlights the importance of indigenous spirituality, customs, and traditions. The final chapter of the dissertation is one of the first works to present an in-depth analysis of the role and writings of a contemporary leftist Peruvian author, Antonio Gálvez Ronceros. Gálvez Ronceros has utilized his work to give a greater representation to Peru’s most marginalized groups, namely Afro-Peruvians, and mestizo campesinos living on Peru’s southern coast. Leftist literature in Peru has played an important role in shaping the country’s political and cultural landscape, and it continues to be an important means of political and social resistance and activism. By analyzing the works of these three authors, we are given a unique opportunity to not only study the origins of leftism in Peru, but to also highlight its evolution over time to better understand its continued influence on Peruvian society.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Languages and Cultures

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Song No

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Paul B. Dixon

Additional Committee Member 2

Marcia Stephenson

Additional Committee Member 3

Yonsoo Kim

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