This article argues that Peruvian writer Luis Loayza’s essay collection El sol de Lima (1974) rewrites the national literary canon of Perú from the ethical perspective of a writer’s devotion to the craft of writing. In his essays, which examine Peruvian authors from colonial times to the twentieth century, Loayza discusses José Carlos Mariátegui’s and Luis Alberto Sánchez’s ideas about Peruvian literature in order to suggest that it has been burdened by a long-lasting and widespread “colonial condition” that can be found at work in modern times and located even in its most prestigious names (Juan de Espinosa Medrano, Ricardo Palma, etc.). Disowning this colonial tradition, Loayza builds a new corpus of writers who, by assuming their literary vocation and an ethics of self-sacrifice, have defeated the sense of being peripheral in certain passages and moments of their work (Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Abraham Valdelomar, Martín Adán, etc.). This tradition created by Loayza does not rest upon fixed notions such as work and author, but is fragmentary and fleeting in nature. According to El sol de Lima, the Peruvian literary canon is not so much a monumental system of great books as an anthology of brilliant textual instants.


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