10 Great Ecuadorian Literary Works

David Holt

Some most outstanding Ecuadorian literary works They are Huasipungo  by Jorge Icaza, Dust and ash by Eliécer Cárdenas, Maria Jesus by Medardo Ángel Silva, Seven moons, seven serpents by Demetrio Aguilera Malta, among others.

Ecuador, a neighboring country to Argentina and Chile, the birthplace of poets and writers such as Benedetti or Cortázar, is also a literary reference in the South American continent. Writers such as Jorge Enrique Adoum or José Queirolo, were born in Ecuador.

Some of them have crossed borders with literary works of the stature of Requiem for the Rain, or The tree of good and evil, poetry written by Medardo Ángel Silva in 1918.

Ecuadorian literature has been expanding in recent years, taking as a reference the most outstanding contemporary works from Spanish-speaking countries.

Unpublished works, such as the literary works of Pablo Palacio, show the great literary and cultural enrichment that Ecuador transmits to the world through its prose.  Deborah or Life of the hanged man They areworks of this writer that in his time did not reach the sufficient attention or the necessary diffusion.

Classic poets of the time of the War of Independence, such as Julio Zaldumbide, set a point of reference for other writers.

You may also be interested in seeing a list with the 8 most recognized Ecuadorian poets in history.

10 important works of Ecuadorian literature

1- Huasipungo - Jorge Icaza

Jorge Icaza is a popular writer who narrated the Andean indigenous culture of Ecuador in his works. His work Huasipungo, Originally published in 1960, it narrates the class struggle that took place at the time.

It develops arbitrariness and modern slavery by the Ecuadorian landowner class. Jorge Icaza tells us about the class division in which the popular sectors were overwhelmed by the ruling class and the introduction of liberalism in Ecuador.

two- The Sangurimas - Jose de la Cuadra

José de la Cuadra was born in Guayaquil on September 3, 1903. Versatile in law, journalism and literature, he gives us a literary work in the style of One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Originally written and published in 1939, The Sangurimas is the story of a powerful Ecuadorian family full of myths and legends typical of the time.

Full of mysticism, esotericism and intertwined stories that reveal even how Nicasio Sangurima had made pacts with the devil.

3- Maria Jesus - Medardo Angel Silva

This young writer, about whom a mystery is woven about his death at age 21, was born in 1919. In the style of María de Jorge Isaacs, Silva delivers his little novel of ten chapters in which he tells the melancholic story of a man injured returning to the field.

There he finds the joy he longed for that he missed in the city, which he described as a place of bad men..

A poetic story in which a small love story unfolds between the narrator and María, a nice fifteen-year-old daughter of a revolutionary.

4- To the coast - Luis Alfredo Martinez

Luis Alfredo Martinez was a political writer with a marked career and liberal ideas. In 1904 he introduced his book To the coast, a literary work that contrasts with the conservative customs of the time, showing a rebellious romantic face between Luciano and Mariana.

It is a critical narrative with the religion and customs of the time. The history of each of the characters in this novel is blurred through the narrative, taking an unforeseen variation.

Salvador, the main protagonist, manages to marry Consuelo, and after several years of love and happiness the story takes an unexpected turn.

5- The Catalinaires - Juan Montalvo

Literary work polished by Juan Montalvo, who was born on April 13, 1832. He is considered by a large part of Ecuadorian intellectuals one of the greatest illustrators in the country and a benchmark of the country's critical and political literature..

In his work The Catalinaires, Juan Montalvo unscrupulously fights the dictatorship of Ignacio de Veintemilla, which he classifies as tyrant and corrupt.

6- Dust and Ash - Eliecer Cardenas

Novel written by Eliécer Cárdenas, who was born in 1950 in Cañar, Ecuador.

Polvo and ash is a popular novel in the Ecuadorian culture, in which the majority feeling of the population of the time is revealed.

Naún Briones is a peasant warrior who faces the exploitation of the fief towards the peasant. Cárdenas surrounds the main character in a semantics of romanticism, realism and mysticism, which reflects what would be the true feeling for the time. It is a contemporary work.

7- The way of the sun - Jorge Carrera Andrade

Jorge Carrera Andrade is an Ecuadorian writer and poet born in Quito in 1903. In his most transcendental work he is The way of the sun.

The poet tells us the history of Ecuador through poetry, in which each chapter becomes a popular tale that intertwines struggles, stories and indigenous characters of the Republic of Ecuador.

8- Seven moons, seven serpents - Demetrio Aguilera Malta

Demetrio Aguilera Malta was a renowned Ecuadorian writer and filmmaker, whose birth dates back to 1909.

Of the same genre of One hundred years of loneliness, This novel tells the story of an infant named Candelario Mariscal.

The chronicle takes place in the town of Santorontón, a place full of mysticism and that is managed to combine with reality by giving bits of literary fantasy. It is a work of recognized cultural value in Ecuador.

9- Exiled in the verse - Luis Alberto Costales

Luis Alberto Costales was a notable Ecuadorian writer and philosopher, as well as a poet.

Exiled in the verse is a work in which the author transmits his most fanciful thoughts, revealing the Ecuadorian culture through poetry.

Luis Alberto Costales reflects his life stories in this poetry, turning it, according to the same author, into an extension of his mental lineage.

10- Cumandá - Juan Leon Mera

From the writer Juan León Mera, Cumandá is a romantic novel that tells the story between Carlos and the protagonist.

Through this literary work, Juan León Mera combines romanticism with the cultural and indigenous problems that were experienced at the time, also recounting the exploitation of the indigenous by the indigenous himself.


  1. Medardo Ángel Silva (1918). Maria Jesus. Quito. The Total Book Foundation.
  2. Mera, Juan León (1983). Cumandá or a drama between savages. Quito: Popular Cultural Promoter.
  3. Universal Virtual Library. Editorial del Cardo. library.org.ar.
  4. Montalvo, Juan (1966) Las Catalinaires. Latacunga: Editorial Cotopaxi.
  5. Ribadeneira, Edmundo (1968). The modern Ecuadorian novel. Quito: House of Ecuadorian Culture.

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