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José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi

Other names/titles:
Gender: M
Ethnic origin: White

Biographical details

Born 15 November 1776, Mexico City, his works include El Periquillo Sarniento, (1816, 1825, 1831); El Quijotita y su prima (1819); El negro sensible (1823). Calendario, 1825, is a celebration of women’s achievements (see below). (Arrom, 38)

He edited El Pensador Mexicano, 1812-13. (Ruiz Castañeda, 25)

His works appear in Caillet Bois, Antología de la poesía hispanoamericana (1965); Cruz/ Aldama, Los cimientos del cielo (1988).

In La Quijotita y su prima, pp.5-6, he spoke out against the use of wet-nurses, claiming they harmed the young. He was in favour of women’s participation outside the home, but not in favour of education for the poorer classes. He felt that vocational skills would be of more use to them. His first publication was a poem celebrating Ferdinand VII’s ascension to the Spanish throne. The “perfect wife”: “dedicated herself entirely to pleasing her husband, … recognizing at the same time his superiority and her necessary dependence on him; thus she never asked where he was going or whence he came; neither did she attempt to discover his secrets or keep track of the money he earned; even less did she oppose his wishes in anything, or dissipate in luxury or fashion the sweat of his brow.” Arrom describes this novel as “a reformist tract [that] does not furnish evidence of contemporary Mexican behaviour”; she also claims it was written as a plea for the reform of education. He also called for women to take up vocational training. (Arrom, 2,100-101) Arrom finds his attitude towards women ambiguous: he played lip service to enlightenment ideas, but his female characters in La Quijotita are weak in character: “two malleable sisters, identically raised, take the shape of the contrasting men they married”. He “toyed with the idea of women’s spirituality ‘in some cases’, but could not bring himself to accept it”. (Arrom, 349 note 4.)

He wrote Noticias biográficas de insurgentes mexicanas, reproduced in 1910. (García, 474-478.)

Leona Vicario knew him very well. (Ibarra de Anda, 38)

Described by Coester as "the official pamphleteer of the revolution", (El Pensador Mexicano). He was briefly imprisoned by Viceroy Venegas. In 1824 he wrote "las conversaciones del Payo y del Sacristán". A conversation between two fictional characters about the death of Iturbide. .La Quijotita y su prima., 1819, is the story of a colonel's teaching of a moral conduct to his daughter. Noches tristes tells of his own imprisonment. (Coester, 87-88)

He praised Morelos and gave allegiance to the Cádiz Court. He joined Iturbide's independence party, but encouraged Iturbide to resign as Mexicans preferred a republic. (Palazón Mayoral, 486-487)

Franco describes El Pensador as devoted to the independence cause. He turned to novel writing as a means of combating censorship after being imprisoned several times. He returned to newspapers after independence, becoming editor of the official .La Gaceta del Gobierno. and he founded the .Correo Semanario. in 1826. He was a liberal in favour of equal rights, votes for women and religious freedom. He was excommunicated in 1822 for his Defensa de los Francamasones. (Franco, 21-25)

He died on 27 June 1827, Mexico City.

Life Events

Born 1776He was born in Mexico City on 15 November 1776.
Married 1805He married María Dolores Orendáin in 1805 or 1806.
Other 1812He edited El Pensador Mexicano, 1812-13.
Other 1816He wrote El Periquillo Sarniento.
Other 1819He wrote El Quijotita y su prima.
Other 1822He was excommunicated for his views on freedom of religion.
Other 1823He wrote El negro sensible.
Other 1825He wrote Calendario, a celebration of women’s achievements.
Died 1827He died on 27 June 1827, Mexico City.


Arrom, Silvia Marina, (1985), The women of Mexico City, 1790-1857

Ruiz Castañeda, Carmen, (1987), La prensa pasado y presente en México: catálogo selectivo de publicaciones periódicas

García, Genaro, (1910), Documentos históricos mexicanos

Romero de Valle, Emilia, (1948), Mujeres de América

Coester, Alfred, (1919), The Literary History of Spanish America

Werner, Michael S., (1997), Encyclopedia of Mexico

R.O. Jones, (1973), Spanish American Literature Since Independence


Pamphlet: Calendario


Resource id #49 (6)

Resource id #53 (1)

Resource id #57 (5)

Resource id #61 (8)

Resource id #65 (127)

Resource id #69 (49)

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