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Biographies that shine with their own light

Biographies allow us to get closer to characters to understand certain historical moments in light of their prominence. There are all kinds of them and there is no exclusive way, narratively speaking, of writing them.

The play Galileo Galilei, by Bertolt Brecht, can say much more than any biography about this inventor and astronomer, but it only tells part of his life. Ultimately, we can excuse the author; It is a dramatic work.

Among the readings for which I have a predilection are novels. Fiction, stories or the way they are written are decisive for entering other lives, imaginary or not. This is how I came to Giordano Bruno, who is part - as a theory or thesis - of those parallel worlds in the novel A Man in the Dark, by Paul Auster.

I looked for a biography about this historical figure who tried to elude the Inquisition and I found Giordano Bruno, the Unrepentant Heretic, by Michael White. With this, you can not only delve into the monk's life but also how knowledge about the Earth and the universe took on another vision because the political and religious elites - Catholic, to be precise - took positions in favor of the geocentric thesis of Aristotle.

I had a similar reading with Maja mia, the biography that the journalist Ernesto Villegas Poljak wrote about his mother on the occasion of this year, March 12, the centenary of her birth.

Also read the literary criticism about the same book Chronicle of all
by Cosimo Mandrillo

I say similar because through the life of Maja Poljak, Villegas gives a detailed context of the time that her mother had to live and, with her, humanity, in the first instance, due to the crimes that were carried out with World War II, the background of both Croats, Yugoslavs and Germans. The migration of the latter to Venezuela in the 19th and 20th centuries and their participation with the Nazi party.

Everything related is faithfully referred to with sources that he sought in newspapers and books, printed and digital. Each piece of information and political positions are the portrait of a time that intersects with the birthdays of Maja, Yanka, her younger sister or her mother Klara.

He does not skimp on placing Maja's writings published under the pseudonym María Vera in the weekly Here it is, the propaganda organ of the Communist Party in the 40s. There he published the advances of the USSR and allies on fascism in Europe and it seemed that He wrote from the scene of the events.

In this work, the biographer portrays his mother with her own brilliance as a communist militant and journalist forged in the newsrooms. Her father Cruz Villegas is also portrayed with his political positions, his militancy and the characteristic humor of these lands.

Ernesto Villegas Poljak believes that what best defines him is the word journalist. This is how he presents himself in private, in public and in the books he has published. Considered that the role of writer does not fit him because he does journalism through interviews, chronicles and reports.
However, those who write biographies from the field of journalism venture into the literary journalism genre. What is literary is essentially that narrative techniques are used, which it also shares with journalism. It is an “invitation made to the writer to embrace the fascinating task of perpetuating the memories and career of a famous or anonymous person,” says Brazilian journalist Francisco de Assis, in an essay published in the academic Quorum magazine of the University of Zulia. .

Biography is the “part of literary journalism that deals with the narrative about a certain character. He is the common thread of the entire plot. The events, no matter how important they are, are just satellites. “Everything revolves around the story of a life,” says Felipe Pena.

However, without theorizing, Ernesto Villegas Poljak with his biography Maja mia, confirms that through his mother's life, “satellites” are fundamental to understanding the past, present and future of humanity.

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