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MarĂ­a Josefa Acevedo de GĂłmez

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

Biographical details

She was born on 23 January 1803, her father was José Acevedo y Gómez, “El Tribuno del Pueblo” (1775-1817) one of the leaders of Independence who played an important part in the events of 20 July 1810 in Bogotá. The family was pure Spanish descent, coming from the peninsular at the end of the 18th century from San Gil, Charalá, Santander. She was the aunt of the Colombian poets, Ernesto and Adolfo León Gómez (1853-92 and 1857-1927). She educated them after they were left orphaned at a young age. She married Dr. Diego Fernando Gómez (b.1786) from a noble Spanish family – he could have been her father’s cousin. Her poems include “Una tumba de los Andaquíes” and “Santa Helena”. Theatrical works include La Coqueta Burlada, Mal de Novios, and En Busca de Almas. She died on 19 January 1861. (Ardila A., 471-72; 553-558).

A didactic writer, who wrote about politics, history, customs and manners. Her verses are said to reflect clarity, simplicity and a little lyricism in a delicate and sentimental style.

Her works include, Tibacuyo. Poetry: Recuerdos nacionales, poesías de una Granadina (1854); Oráculo de las flores y de las frutas (1857).
Novels: El triunfo de la generosidad sobre el fanatismo polĂ­tico; Mis recuerdos de Tibacui (1855); El soldado; La vida de un hombre; Amor conyugal; Valerio o el calavera; Angelina; La caridad cristiana; El pobre Braulio.
Others: Cuadros de la vida privada de algunos granadinos (1861); Mis ideas; Catecismo republicano; Ensayos sobre los deberes de los casados; Tratado sobre economía doméstica (1848); Deberes de la mujer casada; Economía política; Biografía del Gral José Acevedo Tejada; Biografía de Vicente Azvero; Biografía del Doctor Diego Fernández Gómez; Biografía de Luis Vargas. (Sánchez López, )

Carlos José Reyes describes her as a patriotic writer. Quotes from “Santa Fe”: “¡Cuántos viejos darían el resto de su anchacosa vida, y por añadidura, la de tres o cuatro de sus hijos y nietos, porque existiera Santa Fe tal como era antes del año de 1810!” He describes her style as ironic, sardonic and meeting both aging defenders of colonial life and defenders of independence in the search for a national identity. “Todas nuestras esperanzas y alegrías, todos nuestros duelos y regocijos nos venían del otro lado del océano. ¡Nada era nacional para nosotros! Hasta las telas y alimentos se llamaban de Castilla cuando tenían alguna superioridad.” (Zea, 185-186.)

The daughter of Catalina Sánchez de Tejada, born in Bogotá in 1803 and sister of Teresa, Eusebia, Catalina and Concepción Acevedo de Gómez. Her father was executed by the royalists in 1817. She went into exile with her mother and suffered poverty. They returned to Bogotá in 1819. Her poems address Morillo's "terror" of 1816 onwards. She also wrote historical essays. She married Diego Fernando Gómez. She died in Pasca in 1861. (Monsalve, 236-237)

Her first published work, Ensayo sobre los deberes de los casados, escrito para los ciudadanos de la Nueva Granada was dedicated to the youth of both sexes ("dedicada a la juventud granadina de ambos sexos"). Its first publication circulated Bogotá in 1845, was reprinted five times, and still appeared in the Bogotá newspapers in 1880. In 1848, Tratado de economía doméstica para uso de las madres de familia y de las amas de casa, was published by la Inprenta Gaitán de Bogotá. Its author had the initials J.A. de G. Quotes José María Vergara y Vergara: "No fue dichosa en su matrimonio, pero fue fiel a sus deberes." In 1854, on presenting one of her books she commented on her life (quoted below as text). Shortly after the assassination attempt on Bolívar in September 1828, Diego Gómez was accused of complicity and was exiled to Turbaco, near Cartagena for three years. Acevedo de Gómez had a child in his absence and when he returned they separated. He became an alcoholic and she retired to live at the hacienda El Choco on the edge of the jungle. Among her works are several biographies, including that of her father and her brother José Acevedo Tejada. She was the first Colombian woman to write theatrical works, none have been preserved, but witnesses say that they were presented in her family home before literary people of the times such as Vargas Tejada, Rufino Cuevo and others. Quoting Acevedo de Gómez, Londoño claims that her Ensayo sobre los deberes de los casados was motivated by the "funesto cuadro" that married life offered in many cases. She gives separate advice for men and for women. She directs her advice to women to "la infortunada e interesante mitad del jénero humano". She notes that of women's duties, "ninguno es tan sagrado e indispensable como la fidelidad" and "nadie podrá negar que la infidelidad de una mujer es de una trascendencia mayor I de mui funestos resultados". For this reason women should take care not to appear in public "con otros que no sean su marido o su hermano o algún sujeto que esté fuera del alcance de cualquier sospecha". Women should not correspond with men for any reason. Their only confidante should be their husbands and they should tell all their fears, desires and hopes. The husband's role was of natural protector, chief of the home, and he had the right to know all his wife's secrets. He must avoid romantic and intimate encounters with other women. She identifies sweetness and compliance as distinctive female virtues. Above all, to keep domestic peace, women should be "complacientes y dociles", be kind and patient with everyone and if her husband is unfaithful, she should be patient and "sufrir con dignidad y resignación las muchas penas que cercan su sexo". The most noble revenge, she adds, is "conservar una conducta inmaculada". (Londoño, 306-310)

Her Obras completas are held in the British Library, London.

Davies underlines that her work has been neglected by academics and that Acevedo is thus "poorly recognised". She provides a detailed analysis of Acevedo's poems and prose of her family, and her essays on domesticity. (Davies et al, 183-209)

Life Events

Born 1803Born 23 January 1803.
Other 1817Her father was executed by the royalists.
Other 1819She returned to Bogotá after the victory of Boyacá.
Died 1861Died 19 January 1861

References

Ardila A, Hector M., (1984), Hombres y letras de Colombia

Sánchez López, Luis María, (1985), Diccionario de escritores colombianos

Zea, Gloria, (1988), Manual de literatura colombiana

EchavarrĂ­a, Rogelio, (1997), Antologia de la poesĂ­a colombiana

Monsalve, José D, (1926), Mujeres de la independencia

Velásquez Toro, Magdala; Reyes Cárdenas, Catalina; Rodríguez Jiménez, Pablo, (1995), Las mujeres en la historia de Colombia

Davies, Catherine, Brewster, Claire and Owen, Hilary, (2006), South American Independence. Gender, Politics, Text


Publications

Poem: Una tumba en los AndaquĂ­ez

Speech: Discurso

Pamphlet: Treatise


Links

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Resource id #43 (36)

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Gendering Latin American Independence

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email: Catherine.davies@nottingham.ac.uk