Although I am not a highly-autobiographical writer, I will myself give you some summary information. I was born in ‘95. At 14 years of age I got into a newspaper as an assistant. Until 1919 I worked in daily journalism, first in “La Prensa,” later in “El Tiempo,” and lastly in “La Razon.” In this last daily we promoted the university reform movement. From 1918, nauseated by Creole politics, I turned resolutely toward socialism, breaking with my first attempts being a literato full of fin-de-siecle decadence and Byzantinism, then in full bloom. From late 1919 to mid-1923 I traveled through Europe. I lived more than two years in Italy, where I married a woman and some ideas. I traveled through France, Germany, Austria, and other countries. My wife and child prevented me from reaching Russia. From Europe I joined with some Peruvians for socialist action. My articles from that period mark the stations of my socialist orientation. Upon my return to Peru, in 1923, in reports, in lectures in the Student Federation, in the People’s University, in articles, etc., I explained the European situation and began my work of investigating national reality following the Marxist method. In 1924 I was, as I have already told you, near to losing my life. I lost a leg and was left very delicate of health. I would surely have already recovered entirely with a restful existence. However, neither my poverty nor my spiritual restlessness permit it. I have not published any more books than those you already know. I have two ready and, in-progress, two more. That is my life in few words. I do not believe that it would be worth making notable; but, I cannot refuse you the information you request. I forgot: I am self-taught. I once enrolled in Letters in Lima, but only with interest in taking an erudite Augustine’s Latin course. And, in Europe I freely attended some courses, but without ever deciding to lose my extra-collegiate, and perhaps anti-collegiate, status. In 1925, the Student Federation nominated me to the University as an instructor in the field that is my specialty; but the Rector’s ill-will and, probably, my state of health, frustrated that initiative.
[From the letter, dated 10 January 1927, from Jose Carlos Mariategui to Enrique Espinoza (a.k.a. Samuel Glusberg), editor of the Buenos Aires journal “La Vida Literaria.” The letter was published for the first time in the May 1930 issue of that magazine, after Mariategui’s death.]
J. C. Mariategui