|Augusto Roa Bastos|
|Born||June 13, 1917 |
|Died||April 26, 2005 (aged 87)|
|Occupation||Writer, journalist, professor|
|Literary movement||Latin American Boom|
|Notable work(s)||Hijo de hombre|
I, the Supreme
|Notable award(s)||Miguel de Cervantes Prize 1989|
Augusto Roa Bastos, (June 13, 1917 – April 26, 2005) was a noted Paraguayan novelist, and one of the most important Latin American writers of the 20th century. Events 1525 - Martin Luther marries Katharina von Bora, against the Celibacy rule decreed by the Roman Catholic Church for Year 1917 ( MCMXVII) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year Asunción (full name Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción) population 1212112 (2002 is the Capital and largest city of Paraguay. Paraguay, officially the Republic of Paraguay ( Spanish: República del Paraguay; Guaraní: Tetã Paraguái) is one of the only Events 1467 - The miraculous image in Our Lady of Good Counsel appear in Genazzano, Italy. Year 2005 ( MMV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Asunción (full name Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción) population 1212112 (2002 is the Capital and largest city of Paraguay. Paraguay, officially the Republic of Paraguay ( Spanish: República del Paraguay; Guaraní: Tetã Paraguái) is one of the only Employment is a Contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. Nationality is a relationship between a Person and their State of Origin, Culture, association Affiliation and/or Loyalty Paraguay, officially the Republic of Paraguay ( Spanish: República del Paraguay; Guaraní: Tetã Paraguái) is one of the only A literary genre is a category of literary composition Genres may be determined by Literary technique, tone, Content, or even (as in the case of fiction The dictator novel ( novela del dictador) is a genre of Latin American literature that challenges the role of the Dictator in Latin American society This is a list of modern literary movements: that is movements after the Renaissance. The Latin American Boom ( Boom Latinoamericano) was a Literary movement of the 1960s and 1970s when the work of a group of relatively young Latin American novelists Hijo de hombre ( Son of Man, 1960 is a novel by the Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos Roa Bastos' first published novel Hijo de I the Supreme (orig Spanish Yo el supremo) is a Historical novel written by exiled Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos. Premio Miguel de Cervantes (the Miguel de Cervantes Prize is awarded annually to honor the lifetime achievement of an outstanding writer in the Spanish language. Year 1989 ( MCMLXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar) Events 1525 - Martin Luther marries Katharina von Bora, against the Celibacy rule decreed by the Roman Catholic Church for Year 1917 ( MCMXVII) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year Events 1467 - The miraculous image in Our Lady of Good Counsel appear in Genazzano, Italy. Year 2005 ( MMV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Paraguay, officially the Republic of Paraguay ( Spanish: República del Paraguay; Guaraní: Tetã Paraguái) is one of the only As a teenager he fought in the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia, and he later worked as a journalist, screenwriter and professor. The Chaco War (1932&ndash1935 was fought between Bolivia and Paraguay over control of a great part of the Gran Chaco region of South America The Republic of Bolivia (República de Bolivia) named after Simón Bolívar, is a Landlocked country in central South America. He is best known for his complex novel Yo el Supremo (I, the Supreme) and for his reception of the Premio Cervantes in 1989, Spanish literature's most prestigious prize. I the Supreme (orig Spanish Yo el supremo) is a Historical novel written by exiled Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos. Yo el Supremo is one of the foremost Latin American novels to tackle the topic of the dictator. A dictator is an Authoritarian ruler (eg Absolutist or autocratic) who assumes sole and absolute power without hereditary ascension such as an Absolute It explores the dictations and inner thoughts of Dr. José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, who ruled Paraguay with an iron fist and no little eccentricity from 1814 until his death in 1840. Dr José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco ( January 6, 1766 &ndash September 20, 1840) was the first leader of Paraguay
Roa Bastos' life and writing were marked by military dictators. In 1947 he was forced into exile in Argentina by the Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner, and in 1976 he fled Buenos Aires for France in similar political circumstances. Alfredo Stroessner Matiauda, whose name is also spelled Strössner or Strößner (November 3 1912 Encarnación - August 16 2006 Brasília Buenos Aires is the Capital and largest city of Argentina. It is geographically located on the southern shore of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. most of Roa Bastos' work was written in exile, but this did not deter him from fiercely tackling Paraguayan social and historical issues in his work. Writing in a Spanish that was at times heavily accented with Guaraní words (the Paraguayan indigenous language), Roa Bastos incorporated Paraguayan myths and symbols into a Baroque style known as magic realism. Guaraní are a group of culturally related indigenous peoples of South America, distinguished from the related Tupi by their use of the Guaraní language Magic realism, or magical realism, is an artistic Genre in which magical elements or illogical scenarios appear in an otherwise realistic or even "normal" He is considered a late-comer to the Latin American Boom literary movement. The Latin American Boom ( Boom Latinoamericano) was a Literary movement of the 1960s and 1970s when the work of a group of relatively young Latin American novelists Roa Bastos' personal canon includes the novels Hijo de hombre (1960; Son of Man) and El fiscal (1993; The Prosecutor), as well as numerous other novels, short stories, poems, and screenplays. Hijo de hombre ( Son of Man, 1960 is a novel by the Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos Roa Bastos' first published novel Hijo de
Roa Bastos was born in Asunción on June 13, 1917. Asunción (full name Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción) population 1212112 (2002 is the Capital and largest city of Paraguay. Events 1525 - Martin Luther marries Katharina von Bora, against the Celibacy rule decreed by the Roman Catholic Church for Year 1917 ( MCMXVII) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year He spent his childhood in Iturbe, the provincial town in the Guaita region where his father was an administrator on a sugar plantation. Iturbe is a Town in the Guairá department of Paraguay. Sources World Gazeteer Paraguay &ndash World-Gazetteer  It was here, some 200 kilometres (120 mi) to the south of the Paraguayan capital of Asunción, that Roa Bastos learned to speak both Spanish and Guaraní, the language of Paraguay's indigenous people. Guaraní /gwaraˈni/ (local name avañe'ẽ) is an indigenous language of South America that belongs to the Tupí-Guaraní subfamily of the At the age of ten he was sent to school in Asunción where he stayed with his uncle, Hermenegildo Roa, the liberal bishop of Asunción. 
His uncle's extensive personal library provided the young Roa Bastos with his first exposure to the classical Spanish literature of the Baroque and Renaissance traditions that he would imitate in his early poetry throughout the 1930s and 1940s.  In addition, his uncle's emphasis on the mystical aspects of classic literature would have a profound Roa Bastos' later writings.  His experience of Guaraní social customs and language combined with the traditional Spanish education that he received in Asunción, created a cultural and linguistic duality that would manifest itself in much of Roa Bastos' writing.  His rural upbringing also exposed Roa Bastos to the exploitation and oppression of the indigenous and peasant peoples of Paraguay, which would become a prominent theme in his writing.
In 1932 the territorial Chaco War began between Paraguay and Bolivia and continued until 1935. The Chaco War (1932&ndash1935 was fought between Bolivia and Paraguay over control of a great part of the Gran Chaco region of South America Paraguay, officially the Republic of Paraguay ( Spanish: República del Paraguay; Guaraní: Tetã Paraguái) is one of the only The Republic of Bolivia (República de Bolivia) named after Simón Bolívar, is a Landlocked country in central South America. At some point, perhaps as late as 1934, Roa Bastos joined the Paraguayan army as a medical auxiliary.  The war would have a profound effect on the future writer who said: "when I left for that war I dreamed of purification in the fire of battles. " Instead of glory he found "maimed bodies" and "destruction" which left him to question "why two brother countries like Bolivia and Paraguay were massacring each other", and as a consequence Roa Bastos became a pacifist. 
Directly after the war he worked as a bank clerk and later as a journalist. During this time he began writing plays and poetry. In 1941 Roa Bastos won the Ateneo Paraguayo prize for Fulgencia Miranda, although the book was never published. In the early 1940s he spent significant time on the yerba mate plantations in northern Paraguay, an experience he would later draw upon in his first published novel, Hijo de hombre (1960; Son of Man).  In 1942 he was appointed editorial secretary for the Asunción daily El País.
In 1944 the British Council awarded Roa Bastos a nine-month fellowship for journalism in London. The British Council is a Public Body of the United Kingdom Government which specialises in educational and development opportunities London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. During this time he traveled extensively in Britain, France and Africa and witnessed the devastation of WWII first hand. He served as the El País war correspondent, notably conducting an interview with General Charles de Gaulle after the latter's return to Paris in 1945. Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle ( ( 22 November 1890 – 9 November 1970) was a French General and statesman who led the Free French Roa Bastos also broadcast Latin American programs at the invitation of the BBC and France's Ministry of Information. 
Throughout this eventful period in his life Roa Bastos continued to write and he was considered a poet of the Paraguayan vanguard.  In 1942 he published a book of poems in the classic Spanish style, which he titled El Ruiseínor De La Aurora (The Dawn Nightingale), a work he later renounced.  He also had plays successfully performed during the 1940s, though they were never published. Of his prolific poetry of the late 1940s only "El naranjal ardiente" (1960; "The Burning Orange Grove") was published. 
In February of 1947 the Paraguayan Civil War broke out and Alfredo Stroessner seized power. The Paraguayan Civil War was a conflict in Paraguay that lasted from March to August 1947. Alfredo Stroessner Matiauda, whose name is also spelled Strössner or Strößner (November 3 1912 Encarnación - August 16 2006 Brasília Roa Bastos was forced to flee to Buenos Aires, Argentina, because he had spoken out against Stroessner and his ally President Higinio Morínigo. Buenos Aires is the Capital and largest city of Argentina. It is geographically located on the southern shore of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Argentina topics. General Higinio Moríñigo Martínez ( 11 January 1897 – 1985 was a Paraguayan dictator General and Political figure. About 500,000 of his fellow Paraguayans left for Argentina at the same time.  Roa Bastos remained in Argentina until just before the establishment of the military dictatorship there in 1976, and he did not return permanently to Paraguay until 1989. He found exile difficult, but his time in Buenos Aires was a prolific period.  Roa Bastos said this in reference to his exile:
I can't complain. . . Exile brought out in me, in addition to a revulsion against violence and against depreciation of the human condition, a feeling for the universality of man. Exile lent me perspectives from which to know my own country from other people's pint of view, and from which to live for the enormity of its misfortune. 
In 1953 the collection of 17 short stories El trueno entre las hojas (1953; Thunder Among the Leaves) was published and circulated internationally, but it was not until the 1960 publication of the novel Hijo de hombre (Son of Man) that Roa Bastos won major critical and popular success. Hijo de hombre ( Son of Man, 1960 is a novel by the Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos Roa Bastos' first published novel Hijo de  The novel draws on the oppressive history of Paraguay from the rule of Dr. Jose Gaspar de Francia in the early 1800s until the Chaco War in the 1930s. Its multiple narrative perspectives and historical and political themes anticipate his most famous work, Yo, el Supremo, written more than a decade later. I the Supreme (orig Spanish Yo el supremo) is a Historical novel written by exiled Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos. Roa Bastos adapted Hijo de hombre into an award winning film in the same year as its publication.
Roa Bastos further established himself as a screenwriter with the screenplay of Shunko (1960), directed by Lautaro Murúa and based on the memoirs of a country school teacher. Lautaro Murúa ( 29 December 1925 Tacna, Chile - 3 December 1995 in Madrid) was a Chilean born In 1961 he once again collaborated with Murúa for Alias Gardelito (1961), which depicted the lives of urban petty criminals and became a major independent film of the nuevo cine movement. Alias Gardelito is a 1961 Argentine Drama film directed by Lautaro Murúa and written by Augusto Roa Bastos and Bernardo Kordon  In 1974 Roa Bastos published his influential masterpiece Yo, el Supremo, the result of seven years' work. I the Supreme (orig Spanish Yo el supremo) is a Historical novel written by exiled Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos. When Jorge Rafael Videla's military dictatorship came to power in 1976, however, the book was banned in Argentina, and Roa Bastos was exiled once again, this time to Toulouse, France. Jorge Rafael Videla Redondo (born August 21, 1925 in Mercedes Buenos Aires) was the dictator and President of Argentina from 1976 to 1981 Toulouse ( pronounced in standard French, and in the local accent ( Occitan: Tolosa, pronounced) is a city in southwest This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics.
In Toulouse Roa Bastos taught Guaraní and Spanish literature at the University of Toulouse. The University of Toulouse ' is a consortium of universities and other institutions of higher education and research named after one of the earliest universities established  Although he had been allowed to visit Paraguay to work with a new generation of Paraguayan writers, starting in 1970, he was again barred from entry in 1982, for purportedly engaging in subversive activities.  There is however, little evidence that he participated in sectarian politics of any kind.  In France, Roa Bastos faced the second forced relocation of his life, but he also won a new readership for his work during this time. Helen Lane's English translation of Yo, el Supremo, I, The Supreme, published in 1986, was greeted with widespread acclaim in the English-speaking world. However, in France, Roa Bastos' writing focus was primarily academic, and his literary output did not match that of his time in Argentina. In 1985 Roa Bastos left his post at the University of Toulouse.  Following the downfall of the oppressive Alfredo Stroessner regime in 1989, Roa Bastos returned to Paraguay at the request of its new leader Andrés Rodríguez. Andrés Rodríguez Pedotti ( June 19, 1923 - April 21, 1997) was the President of Paraguay from February 3, 
Following the toppling of the Stroessner regime, Roa Bastos won the Premio Cervantes (Cervantes Prize), awarded by the Spanish Royal Academy in partnership with the Spanish government, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Spanish-language literature. Premio Miguel de Cervantes (the Miguel de Cervantes Prize is awarded annually to honor the lifetime achievement of an outstanding writer in the Spanish language. The Real Academia Española (“Royal Spanish Academy” the RAE, is the official royal institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language It was at this time that Roa Bastos began to frequently travel between Paraguay and France. .  In 1991, representing Paraguay, Roa Bastos signed The Morelia Declaration "demanding the reversal of the ecological destruction of the planet. " It was at this time that Roa Bastos again became an active novelist and screen writer.
In 1991 Roa Bastos adapted Yo, el Supremo for the screen. His first novel since Yo, el Supremo, Vigilia del admirante (1992; Vigil of the Admiral) was published in 1992, and El fiscal (1993; The Prosecutor) the following year. Although neither of his later novels had the impact of his earlier work, El fiscal is considered an important work. Roa Bastos died on April 26, 2005 in Asunción from a heart attack. Asunción (full name Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción) population 1212112 (2002 is the Capital and largest city of Paraguay. He was survived by his three children, his third wife, Iris Giménez, and a reputation as one of Latin American's finest writers. 
Hijo de hombre (1960; Son of Man), Roa Bastos' first published and award winning novel, represents his definitive break with poetry. Hijo de hombre ( Son of Man, 1960 is a novel by the Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos Roa Bastos' first published novel Hijo de .  It is seen as a refined "outgrowth" of his earlier works of short fiction such as El trueno entre las hojas (1953), which also dealt with themes of political oppression and social struggle in Paraguay.  This novel portrays the conflict between the governing élite and the oppressed masses in Paraguay from 1912 until just after the end of the Chaco War with Bolivia in 1936. Elite (also spelled Élite) is taken originally from the Latin, eligere, "to elect"  Like his later Yo, el Supremo, Hijo de hombre draws upon a series of Paraguayan legends and stories dating back to start of Dr. Francia's dictatorship in 1814. 
Hijo de hombre builds upon a system of Christian metaphors as part of the Neobaroque concept of Magic Realism, in order to examine the pain of being Paraguayan. Magic realism, or magical realism, is an artistic Genre in which magical elements or illogical scenarios appear in an otherwise realistic or even "normal"  This novel contrasts two figures: Miguel Vera and Christobal Jara. Vera narrates the odd chapters, although he might also be the narrator of all nine chapters (this is unclear).  He is a well-to-do and educated romantic supporter of revolution, who is unable to take real action to support his ideals and in the end betrays them (not unlike Judas). .  Jara, on the other hand, is an uneducated "son of man" who becomes a Christ-like leader for Paraguayan people through action and strength of character. Although it was a massive critical success, Roa Bastos remained dissatisfied with the work for a number reasons.  It was fourteen years before he published another novel.
Yo, el Supremo (I, the Supreme) is a fictionalized account of the nineteenth-century Paraguayan dictator José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, who was also known as "Dr. Dr José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco ( January 6, 1766 &ndash September 20, 1840) was the first leader of Paraguay Francia". The book's title derives from the fact that Francia referred to himself as "El Supremo" or "The Supreme. " The first in a long line of dictators, The Supreme was a severe, calculating despot.  He ruled absolutely from 1814 until his death in 1840, and is a unique figure in Latin American history. The goal of his rule mirrored that of the Jesuits who had ruled Paraguay for much of its history before him: to keep the Paraguayan people and their customs pure by protecting them from the corrupting influence of European and other outside forces.  In Yo, el supremo, Roa Bastos is also fundamentally concerned with the power (and the weakness) of writing itself: its plot revolves around the dictator's efforts to uncover who has been forging his signature on a series of pasquinades discovered around the capital, and his relationship with his secretary, Patiño, to whom he dictates his thoughts and orders, but whom he never fully trusts. Pasquinade refers to an anonymous Lampoon, whether in verse or in prose
The novel itself is "an exceptional cultural phenomenon. " It has been suggested that it "[is] more immediately and unanimously acclaimed than any novel since One Hundred Years of Solitude, [and the] strictly historical importance [may] be even greater than that of García Márquez's fabulously successful creation. " Yo, el supremo has contributed widely to a number of different genres and styles. It belongs to the genre of novelas de dictadores or dictator novels, and also to the Latin American Boom, a literary movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The dictator novel ( novela del dictador) is a genre of Latin American literature that challenges the role of the Dictator in Latin American society The Latin American Boom ( Boom Latinoamericano) was a Literary movement of the 1960s and 1970s when the work of a group of relatively young Latin American novelists  Yo, el supremo is also an important milestone in the evolution of the historical novel genre.  "Yo, el supremo weaves a plethora of formats into a single work: history, novel, sociological essay, moral philosophy, biographical novel, revolutionary pamphlet, testimonial documentary, poetic prose, autobiographic confession, ideological debate over literary limits, and linguistic treatise on the limits of verbal expression. "
Ruy Díaz de Guzmán's Anales del descubrimiento, población y conquista del Río de la Plata, is considered one of the most important antecedents to Roa Bastos' writings.  Guzmán, a Paraguayan explorer of Guaraní and Spanish heritage, wrote extensively about the geography of Paraguay using mythical descriptions of the landscape and the Guaraní language. The most important precursor to Roa Bastos, however, is Rafael Barrett (1876–1910), whose writings incorporated many of the important themes and writings styles that Roa Bastos would later master including: Spanish-Guaraní bilingualism, magic realism, the revision of Paraguayan history, social literature, exploration of collective memory and the universe of poetic symbols.  Barrett's essay "Yo que son los yerbales" is a severe critique of the exploitation of workers on yerba mate tea plantations. Roa Bastos spent part of the early 1940s documenting this same issue and there is much speculation about the role of "Yo que son los yerbales" in the creation of his first major novel Hijo de hombre. .  The Uruguayan writer Horacio Quiroga is another important predecessor. Horacio Silvestre Quiroga Forteza (b Salto - Uruguay, December 31, 1878 – Buenos Aires - Argentina, February 19 
Roa Bastos was an exponent of the Neobaroque style that brought Latin American literature to the fore internationally in the mid 20th century.  Among others, the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda is also associated with this school of writing. Chile, officially the Republic of Chile ( Spanish:) is a country in South America occupying a long and narrow Coastal strip wedged between the Pablo Neruda ( July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) was the pen name and later legal name of the Chilean writer and politician The style uses a complex system of metaphors that are often very closely tied to the land, flora and culture of the particular writer, especially in the case of Roa Bastos. Magic realism is a Neobaroque concept that applies such systems of metaphor to otherwise realistic settings (Yo, el Supremo being a notable example of the form). Magic realism, or magical realism, is an artistic Genre in which magical elements or illogical scenarios appear in an otherwise realistic or even "normal"  The Neobaroque style was used by many Paraguayan writers in exile after 1947 and until the 1980s.  At the core of much of the work from this group are ideas of political freedom and the emancipation of their homeland. 
Roa Bastos started out writing poetry in the Spanish Renaissance and Baroque traditions. Later he took on "a new sensibility" in response to the poetry of Valle-Inclán, Juan Ramón Jiménez, and García Lorca. Ramón María del Valle-Inclán y de la Peña ( Vilanova de Arousa, Galicia, Spain, 28 October 1866 — Santiago de Juan Ramón Jiménez Mantecón ( Moguer, Spain, 24 December, 1881 – Santurce, Puerto Rico, 29 May, 1958 Federico García Lorca' ( 5 June 1898 &ndash 19 August 1936) was a Spanish Poet and dramatist also remembered as  However, it is as a prose-fiction writer Roa Bastos has built his considerable reputation, particularly through his novels.  Roa Bastos' novels blend the present and past by creating scenes with myths from pre-colonial times and Christian legends, developing a special kind of Magic Realism, although there are significant stylistic variations between his major novels. 
The majority of Roa Bastos' work was written in exile owing to the oppressive political condition of his country, at a time when Paraguay was one of the least culturally, economically, and politically developed countries in Latin America. Thus, much of Roa Bastos' important writing is an attempt to "capture the tragic essence, the 'inner weakness' as well as the inner strength of his country's people. " His work reveals an intense preoccupation not only with contemporary Paraguay but with its history, looking back to the beginning of the 19th century and the rule of Dr. Gaspar de Francia (whose life is the focus of Yo, el Supremo).  While key historical figures and events interest Roa Bastos, it is the impact of these "socio-historical roots" on "the nature of the masses" that forms the central theme of his literary work. 
His writing deploys symbols and multiple narratives that build on the collective memory of the Paraguayan people.  Hijo de hombre, for example, constructs an "alternative history of popular movements" out of the people's recollections and symbols.  The intertextual novel Yo, el Supremo is particularly representative of this technique, both in its construction and narrative.  In El Fiscal (1993), a third novel about the abuses of political power—this time focusing on Stroessner's régime—Roa Bastos again offers an alternative to the accepted versions of events in Paraguay and challenges "the intelligibility of history". To this end he weaves elements of fantasy and metafiction into his narratives. 
Roa Bastos believed that it was the role of the writer to directly engage in the interpretation of both contemporary and historical events. Rather than be the objective "chronicler", he thought the writer should engage morally with the social problems depicted in the writing.  According to Roa Bastos, ”literary activity has come to signify the necessity for facing up to a destiny, the will to enlist in the vital reality of a collectivity, in its true moral context and social structure, in the complex relationships of a contemporary reality – that is to say, by projecting themselves toward a universal world of man. ” Thus, one of the major themes in the writing of Roa Bastos is a deep and universal humanism, with a particular focus on suffering
Undoubtedly, Roa Bastos' own experiences played a significant role in his emphasis on human suffering. As a young man he fought in the Chaco war between Bolivia and Paraguay, an event he portrayed in Hijo de hombre. Later he saw the devastation of WWII at first hand in Europe, the violent strife of 1947 in Paraguay, and the rise of the Argentinian military dictatorship in 1976. His collection of short stories published in 1953, El trueno ebtre las hojas, set the stage for Hijo de hombre and Yo, el Supremo with its dark portrayal of devastating political struggle and oppression.  Two decades later, Yo, el Supremo was published, providing a prime example of Roa Bastos' idea of the engaged writer. It offered an unflattering, fictionalized account of the final thoughts and ramblings of Paraguay's first dictator, at a time when Paraguay was under the stranglehold of a regime that adopted many of the same policies of oppression and isolationism.  Roa Bastos was not alone in using literature to engage in contemporary events during the Latin American Boom period. In the 1960s and 1970s, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and others adopted the same approach.  Together, these writers created the Dictator novel genre. The dictator novel ( novela del dictador) is a genre of Latin American literature that challenges the role of the Dictator in Latin American society
As is customary for most Paraguayans of peasant or working class origins, Roa Bastos learned to speak Spanish and Guaraní from birth.  Both Spanish and Guaraní are the official languages of Paraguay (the latter is primarily an oral language). Although Guaraní remains the "popular" language spoken at home and on the "street", Spanish is the language of official business and of power.  The preservation and widespread use of an indigenous language after centuries of European immigration is unique in Latin America, and Guarani remains a symbol of Paraguayan nationalism and an "important vehicle for interpreting the country's reality".  This is the legacy of the Jesuits who ruled Paraguay in the 18th century and used Guarani (instead of Spanish or Latin) to spread Christianity throughout Paraguay. 
While Roa Bastos wrote primarily in Spanish, the interplay between these two languages is an essential part of his style. His bilingualism gives Roa Bastos a much greater range of language to work with, but also creates tension between an internationally recognized language and one that is obscure and fiercely Paraguayan.  Roa Bastos has described the relationship between the two languages as "an almost schizophrenic split not only on communicational levels of the spoken language, but also and quite particularly in the literary language. "
Over the course of his career, Roa Bastos received a diversity of honors and distinctions. In 1941 he won the Ateneo Paraguayo Prize for his (unpublished) novel Fulgencio Miranda.  This first award was followed by a British Council fellowship for journalism that enabled him to travel to Europe during World War II. In 1959 Roa Bastos won the Losada prize for his first published novel Hijo de hombre. The adaptation of this novel, for which he wrote the screenplay, won best film in the Spanish language and first prize of the Argentine Instituto de Cinematografia the following year.  His most prestigious awards were a 1971 John Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for creative writers, and in 1989, the Cervantes Prize, an award given by the Spanish government for lifetime achievement, and Spanish language literature's most prestigious prize. Roa Bastos donated most of his prize money to provide easier access to books in Paraguay. 
The writing of Roa Bastos spans four countries, six decades, and countless genres. In his lifetime he made important contributions to Latin American Boom writing, to the related Dictator Novel, and to the Nuevo Cine film movement through screenplays like Alias Gardelito (1961).  Roa Bastos' influence can be found in the works of many foreign post-boom writers, including Mempo Giardinelli, Isabel Allende, Eraclia Zepeda, Antonio Skármeta, Saul Ibargoyen, and Luisa Valenzuela. Isabel Allende Llona, (born in Lima, Peru; 2 August 1942 is a Chilean American Novelist. Antonio Skármeta (born Esteban Antonio Skármeta Vranicic is a Chilean writer born November 7, 1940 in Antofagasta, Chile Luisa Valenzuela (b November 26, 1938, in Buenos Aires, Argentina) is a postmodern novelist and short story writer  The most important author to come out of Paraguay, he also remains highly influential for a new generation of Paraguayan authors.  Roa Bastos' relationship with his country, unbroken by over 40 years of exile, was considered so important that in 1989 he was invited back by Paraguay's new president, Andrés Rodríguez, following the collapse of the Stroessner regime. Andrés Rodríguez Pedotti ( June 19, 1923 - April 21, 1997) was the President of Paraguay from February 3, 
Even before Yo, el Supremo, Roa Bastos was considered part of the "the pantheon of great writers" by some critics, due to Hijo de hombre.  However, it was the former work that cemented his place as a significant literary figure. According to Juan Manuel Marcos, Yo, el Supremo "anticipates many of the post-boom writing techniques" such as "the carnivalization of historical discourse, transtextualization, and parody".  Mexican literary great, Carlos Fuentes has called Yo, el Supremo one of the milestones in Latin American literature.  While his reputation rests on his novels, Roa Bastos' achievements in film, creative writing, and journalism add further substance to his legacy.