Antonio Acevedo Hernandez (8 March 1886 – 1 December 1962) was a Chilean writer. Hernandez was a self-taught novelist, playwright and writer whose works include theater, novels, short stories, literary and journalistic chronicles, essays, poetry and popular Chilean folklore. He created over 840 works, including the plays Almas perdidas, El Vino triste, La Sangre, and El Rancho. He was awarded the Premio Nacional de Teatro in 1936. His work, along with that of authors like German Luco Cruchaga and Armando Moock, marked the beginnings of Chilean dramaturgy.
Hernandez was the son of Juan Acevedo Astorga (one of the soldiers of the War of the Pacific) and Maria Hernandez Urbistondo. After having spent his early years in Tracacura, he moved to Temuco. When he was a little over 10 years, he went into the woods in the area, where loggers taught him mastery of weapons. He was illiterate until he moved to the city of Chillan, where he entered the Escuela Taller, studying the art of carpentry. However, his precarious economic situation forced him to work carrying out multiple trades (woodcutter, charger, vendor fairs and carpenter). He stayed in school for a year and learned to read and write.
At sixteen years old Hernandez decided to move to Santiago. To achieve this, he walked four days without eating until reaching Linares, where an acquaintance of his father gave him a passage to the capital. At that time, in Santiago the 900 literary generation flourished, which involved important Chilean literary figures such as: Pedro Antonio Gonzalez, Carlos Pezoa Veliz, Fernando Santivan, Pedro Prado and Juan D'Halmar. However, Hernandez did not become linked so much with this generation as with the movement driven by Luis Emilio Recabarren.
As a result of the commitment he made with this social movement, in 1903 he participated in the port strike in Valparaiso, then, in a railway strike in Caleta Abarca, and another in 1905, in the capital. It was within these movements that he met, in 1913, Domingo Gomez Rojas, who read his work and was excited to present it in theaters. This would be the initial step in a progressive massification of his dramaturgy.
While writing and offering his works to theaters, he had to continue working as a clerk in stores, at the Civil Registry and even doing some boxing matches. However, he was afterwards hired by the Pellicer theater company to sweep dressing rooms, run errands for artists, to be a prompter, vigilante, "text arranger", or whatever was needed. From then on, every year his productions increased, as well as the advancement of the Chilean theater in the country.
His difficult years and arteriosclerosis caused him to gradually lose his mental faculties until his death.
Sus funerales fueron grandiosos. Lo unico grandioso que tuvo en su vida. Masas de gentes se apostaron en las calles y arrojaron flores al paso del feretro. Despidieron sus restos en el Campo Santo representantes de todas las condiciones politicas y ramas sociales, recibiendo asi su cuerpo sin vida los honores de los mas grandes, de aquellos que muchas veces quisieron negarle el derecho a la vida.
(English) His funeral was grandiose. The only grandeur that there was in his life. Masses of people were stationed on the streets and threw flowers as his coffin passed. Representatives of all the political and social branches bid goodbye to his remains in the Campo Santo, thereby his lifeless body received the greatest honors, of those who often wanted to deny him the right to life.
Hernandez's work sought, first, to abandon the frequent imitation of theater performances that were in vogue at the time (operettas and light comedies, among others), so his background was often autobiographical. His proletarian reality formed the cornerstone of each of his creations. Therefore, most of his works speak about exploitation, marginalization, alcoholism, violence, and social problems of farmers, miners, laborers and manufacturers. His texts were influenced by both the folklore and popular religion, as well as by his own, often intuitive, reading of texts, ranging from the classics, to productions framed in ideological currents of socialism and anarchism. Acevedo Hernandez ventured into this kind of socially engaged theater before the publication of El teatro politico (The political theater) by Erwin Piscator in 1929 and El pequeno Organon (Little Organon) by Bertolt Brecht in 1948.
The police force intervened in performances of his works repeatedly, either by censorship or because they caused unrest within the theater; on one occasion, during the premiere of Los deportados (The deportees) in 1931, someone from the audience shot an actor who was portraying a cop.Almas Perdidas (1917). Three-act comedy (1918).
Piedra Azul (1920). Novel.
La Cancion Rota (1921). Novel
La raza fuerte (1924).
la hija de todos (1926).
Arbol Viejo (1927). Three-act comedy
Cain (1927). Biblical
Manuel Luceno (1927). Adventure Novel.
Camino de flores (1929).
De pura cepa (1929).
Croquis chilenos (1931). Editorial Zig – Zag.
Las Santiaguinas (1931).
Por el atajo (1932). Dramatic comedy in four acts.
La cancion rota (1933). Three-act drama.
Los cantores populares chilenos (1933). Editorial.
Cardo negro (1933). Three-act comedy.
Angelica (1934). Three-act comedy.
El libro de la tierra chilena (1935).
Joaquin Murieta (1936). Six-act drama.
Las aventuras del roto Juan (1938).
Algo de lo que Ud. ha cantado y canta (1939).
Canciones populares chilenas (1939).
La leyenda de la felicidad (1943). Editorial Zig – Zag.
Pedro Urdemales (1947). Novel. Cultural editorial.
Leyendas chilenas (1952). Editorial.
La cueca: origenes, historia y antologia (1953). Editorial.
Retablo pintoresco de Chile (1953).
El triangulo tiene cuatro lados (1963).