— Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2013 —
El Pensador Mexicano’s Prescient Exposé of Santa Anna as Dictator
144. [FERNÁNDEZ DE LIZARDI, José Joaquín (attributed)]. Las Esperanzas de D. Antonio siempre el mismo, or sea diálogo entre el autor y D. Antonio. [Colophon] México 1821 Primero de la Independencia. Imprenta (contraria al despotismo) de D. J.M. Benavente y Socios.  2-8 pp. 8vo (22 x 15.4 cm), unbound sheets, as issued. First page lightly foxed in blank margins and a bit wrinkled, overall very good. Scarce.
First edition. Castillo Negrete, Mexico en el siglo XIX, Vol. 16, p. 256, #33 (Folletos, 1821). Garritz, Impresos Novohispanos, 1808-1821 #4592: “Sobre el peligro de que la arbitrariedad y el despotismo cobren nuevas formas acordes con las nuevas leyes.” González Obregon, Fernández de Lizardi, p. 78, #88 (Folletos 1821). Mathes, La Imprenta en el Imperio Mexicano 1821-1823 #45 (at press). Oviedo y Pérez Tudela, Los folletos de Fernández de Lizardi, p. 6. Steele, Independent Mexico: A Collection of Mexican Pamphlets in the Bodleian Library, p. 82, 32. Sutro, p. 146 (supplement). Not in Medina or Palau.
This literary dialogue, supposedly between Fernández de Lizardi (under his well-known pen name “El Pensador Mexicano”) and Antonio López de Santa Anna, mocks the latter’s political ambitions. The work is bitterly critical of Santa Anna, especially his views of the rule of law and freedom of press:
Lizardi clearly recognized Santa Anna’s dictatorial tendencies long before they manifested themselves in more destructive ways.
Fernández de Lizardi (see herein & Eladio Cortés, Dictionary of Mexican Literature, pp. 223-226), who is generally credited with penning the first Spanish American novel, was actually more actively engaged in creating pamphlets like the present one. The novel was a slower, clumsier, and more expensive way to express his ideas, but pamphlets, like newspapers, were more immediate, direct, and candid. Printer José María Benavente was active in Mexico City from 1814 to 1821, first in partnership with Juan Bautista de Arizpe and then on his own, sometimes, as is the case here, with other people whose names are unknown.
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