Adolfo Vienrich, Tarma’s Radical Intellectual: 1867–1908

  • Fiona Wilson
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


Adolfo Vienrich abandoned his privileged life as a scientist and intellectual in the capital to return home to Tarma and join the radical movement. He has already featured in the two previous chapters that focused on the Provincial Council. For Vienrich, safeguarding municipal autonomy and struggling against state centralism were his deepest political concerns. Now, in this chapter, I move Tarma’s leading radical intellectual to center stage. The range of Vienrich’s passions and encyclopedic knowledge were not unusual for an intellectual of his time living in a capital city, but for a small town pharmacist, they were extraordinary. His interests embraced European political philosophy; scientific thought, especially biology and medicine; Latin American history; new thinking in education and pedagogy. Yet later generations would remember him first and foremost as a pioneering specialist in the Quechua language and collector of indigenous fables, for example, Cornejo Polar (1989). In Vienrich, we find a curious bifurcation with regard to the way he has been remembered: occasionally as a radical leader, but for the most part as Peru’s first folklorist.


Municipal Authority Literary Circle Radical Party Universal Education Master Craftsman 
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© Fiona Wilson 2013

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  • Fiona Wilson

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