A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 
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 CLEMENTE PALMA
b.1872(?) d.1940
 
  Clemente Palma, son of the well anthologized Ricardo, was born and died in Lima (though he spent many of his intervening years in Europe). The Biblioteca Nacional de Peru gives the year of his birth as 1872 (other sources give 1873) and 1946 as the year of his death. In addition to political, cultural and literary criticism, Palma is best known for three published works of fiction: Malevolent Tales, Malignant Tales, the novella Mors Ex Vita (usually included in Malignant Tales) and the as yet un-englished novel, XYZ noted as one of the earliest efforts of Peruvian science fiction.
Malevolent and Malignant Tales are in the family of contes cruelles certainly Palma, by no means a provincial writer (most of his tales featured European narrators and settings) - was familiar with Villiers and the other French fin-de-sieclist decadents. They are brief, sharp witted and black humored pieces exotically seasoned with black magic, blasphemy, necrophilia, classical mythology and various forms of corruption, catastrophe and disease. The language is poetic, veined with rich erudition and interspersed with recondite vocabulary, in the manner of Rolfe (though much less violet), Heron-Allen, etc.
Palma owes his obscurity not only to the chance factors of birth (Peru rather than Paris or London; obscured in the shadow of a famous father), and language (La Decadence might have had a few token Englishmen, but very few who wrote in Spanish) but through considerable effort on his own part most notably, trashing the work of a young countryman, Cesar Vallejo, in print in Lima. He was an author of the type most admired by Alexander Theroux (his Doctor Crucifer is magnificent): he could draw and paint as well as write.

Malcolm F. Lawrence

 
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