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The Peruvian House of Literature


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Peruvian art and history found here in writing

Translated by Kate Norman — 7 months ago

Original text by Jesus en su tinta

Hello everyone!

I hope that you are all very well.

Today I want to talk to you a bit about a place that is very popular with tourists in my city, even though it is directly in the centre and normally they only take photos of the outside, without ever entering in - even though it is free! I'm talking about the Peruvian House of Literature.

The Peruvian House of Literature is almost 100 years old and is alwasy demonstrating the characteristic colours of Lima: yellow. Although, now they also already changed the colour and it is aquamarine. In the entrance, they usually have information with banners promoting all the literary exhibitions that are occurring at the moment.

Peruvian art and history found here in writing

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A bit of history

This place is known as the Peruvian House of Literature where, in the past it functioned as the central train station for trains that linked the city of Lima with those of the mountains in Huancayo (I didn't have the chance to take this train but it is said that during the trip there are so many beautiful views of the Peruvian sierra). I have been able to see the daily trains bringing minerals to Callao as my house in Lima is only a few feet away from this train and when I go through here on the bus, I see the train and I can hear it from my house.

Peruvian art and history found here in writing

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The culture is not boring and the literature here proves it. This place was known as the "Station of the Helpless" because it used to have a story. This house has approximately 50 columns in a neoclassical style, and today it is also known as "the House of Dreams" as the museum people are focusing on bringing children from their schools to be attracted to literature.

Here I have linked a photo that I took from the inside of the house, down this road you can see on the left the bar cordano, and on the right the Government Palace. If you look further, you can see one of the cathedral towers, these grils keep a French style of Lima that started to change and that still keeps changing! Of course!

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I just love it... Each time I go through the centre of Lima I try to give myself a few extra minutes to come here and see the new things. Now that I am not in my city, I value this art much more and I hope that it can continue being a cultural place for children, just as much as for the residents and visitors.

Who said that reading is boring?

Reading is not boring and the House of Literature will teach you this in a spectacular way with their lecture rooms, their signs, their theatre scripts, and the art that is enclosed here is so beautiful than you will want to stay here for the entire day.

This museum is free and you wont need to pay anything to be able to enter. For those of you who do not know the city, as a reference it is next to the Government Palace in front of the famous Cordano bar. Who you visit the centre, on the right hand side of the Government Palace, you will find a pedestrianised street and it is here that you can find this literature house. After this, I would recommend that you go to the Catacombs of San Francisco (I have spoken about this in another post).

Peruvian art and history found here in writing

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When you enter, you are going to find yourself in front of a large and imposing staircase coming down from above, you are going to appreciate a large stained glass window that, from my point of view, is one of the best in the city. in the center of the museum, down the stairs is a bookstore named "Mario Vargas Llosa". Do you know who he is? He is the first Peruvian to have received a nobel prize for literature, when you come, you will see that the walls are decorated with his life, his career, and some of his works. If I'm being sincere, I haven't read much of his work, I could only recommend one book of his, which is one of his first ones called "Los Cachorros". It tells the story of a child who was castrated by a dog by accident and little by little he begins to grow and tries to overcome the prejudice he experiences (I wont tell you more so that you can read it for yourself). What I can tell you is that inside here you can read books by all different Peruvian authors like the famous Julio Ramón Ribeyro, Cesar Vallejo, Abraham Valdelomar among others.

Here is an image of the main staircase, with its rectangular columns and words engraved on each step, as you can see it is all literature, it is all surrounded by art and this is what I like the most about this place:

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If any of you do not know any Peruvian authors, I suggest you look at getting to know Julio Ramón Ribeyro, one of his novels I like the best is "los gallinazos sin plumas", a short story about the life of two children that went through Lima's garbage and were considered like turkey scavengers that also look for food among the waste of the Rio Rimac.

What I like best about this house is the cute area in front of it where they have created a place to sit and read a book and the history of the city. This cultural hub promotes art and education, I also want to show you this walk that was the last thing that I could do there inside the building in this colourfully Peruvian passage designed with artificial grass. As you will see, both new and old kinds of art are mixed and respected, as the House of Literature seeks to be a lively, striking and attractive place for all its visitors:

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I love to walk through here as eventually, they will always change the exhibitions to different authors and works, as well as giving some story-time sessions for the kids and artistic works.

There is a phrase that I learnt in the House of Literature, “Te leo porque te amo” "I read you because I love you", here you can fine a wide variety of options that you will love just as much as I do. Inside, you can find permanent rooms and temporary ones.

This work of art that I found by surprise outside caught my attention. Do you know what animales there are? I'll show you, they are the famous turkeys made with recycled paper painted with black colours - if you look closely you can see a child was playing with this piece of art, however then the security man came and told her that she wasn't allowed to touch it. This is only for looking and appreciating as it is a homage to Julio Ramón Ribeyro, a storyteller from Peru who I told you about previously and who commented on the similarity between children and the scavenger turkeys. This is a reality in Lima and I hope that the situation with children that work in the streets of Peru can change soon:

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What this place searches for is to generate a connection with literature and this is what I love the most, it is a free place and you don't need to pay for anything, so make sure you visit it. Furthermore, if you study languages and it interests you to learn more about native languages like el quecha or aymara (native Peruvian languages), you can enjoy books here that are written in these languages. Every time I have gone, I have found something new like exhibitions of small sculptures, ancient toys decorated walls from jungle inspiration! It is all an art!

Visit Lima! The city with 9 million inhabitants.

Thank you for reading this article, until next time!

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