Juan Montalvo

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Juan Montalvo
Born Juan María Montalvo Fiallos
April 13, 1832
Ambato, Ecuador
Died January 17, 1889 (1889-01-18) (aged 56)
Paris, France
Occupation Writer
Nationality Ecuadorian
Literary movement Romanticism
Notable works Las catilinarias (1880), Capítulos que se le olvidaron a Cervantes (1868), Siete Tratados (1882)

Juan María Montalvo Fiallos (April 13, 1832 in Ambato – January 17, 1889 in Paris) was an Ecuadorian author and essayist.


Born in Ambato to José Marcos Montalvo and Josefa Fiallos, he studied philosophy and law in Quito before returning to his hometown in 1854. He held diplomatic posts in Italy and France from 1857 to 1859. A political liberal, Montalvo's beliefs were marked by anti-clericalism and a keen hatred for the two caudillos that ruled Ecuador during his life: Gabriel García Moreno and Ignacio de Veintemilla. After an issue of El Cosmopolita viciously attacked Moreno, Montalvo was exiled to Colombia for seven years. Moreno's assassination was attributed to Montalvo's writings. He was a dedicated champion of democracy and an enemy of the writer Juan León Mera.

In the late seventies Juan Montalvo was twice exiled to France, remaining there from 1879, as punishment for Las catilinarias (1880), the work that made him famous throughout intellectual circles in the United States, Europe and the rest of Latin America. Alongside full length books, Montalvo was an accomplished essayist, and his Siete Tratados (1882) and Geometría Moral (published in 1902, after his death) were popular in Ecuador and were banned by Veintemilla.

He also wrote a witty sequel to Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote, called Capítulos que se le Olvidaron a Cervantes ("Chapters Cervantes Forgot"), published posthumously in 1895. He died of tuberculosis in Paris. His mummified body now rests in a mausoleum in his birthplace of Ambato.


Juan Montalvo's father was Marco Montalvo Oviedo of Guano, and his mother was María Josefa Fiallos y Villacreces of Ambato. Montalvo was the youngest of 7 siblings: Francisco, Francisco Javier, Mariano, Alegría, Rosa, Juana and Isabel. Montalvo married María Guzmán Suárez in Ambato on October 17, 1868 and had two children with her. In 1882 he met Augustine Contoux with whom he had one child.[1]


  • Las catilinarias (1880)
  • Capítulos que se le olvidaron a Cervantes (1868) - Montalvo's only novel
  • Libro de las pasiones (published posthumously in 1935) contains the dramas La Leprosa, Jara, Granja, El Descomulgado and El Dictador
  • Siete Tratados (1882)
  • Geometría Moral (published posthumously in 1902)
  • Judas (1872)

Literary and political magazines founded by Montalvo

  • La Razón (1848)
  • El Veterano (1849)
  • La Moral evangélica (1854)
  • El Espectador (1855)
  • El Cosmopolita (1865)
  • El Regenerador (1872)