Tomorrow, Friday, Nov 21th, it would have been the Birthday of the great Mexican erudite, Ernesto de la Peña. He would have been 87.
I would like to make a tribute to Ernesto de la Peña. I think that the world needs to know about him.
Ernesto de la Peña was known as the great Erudite of Mexico.
He was one of the greatest men that my country, Mexico ever had and that my country, and also, the rest of the entire world will never have again.
Ernesto de la Peña was an extraordinary man, it was very rare to find a man like him, he knew, with perfection, 33 Languages, he knew about everthing, literature, religion, philosophy, Opera, Art, languages, etymology, and even food and wine.
He was a linguist, an academic, a writer, poet and a language translator. He dedicated his life to the study of the Bible.
Spanish (his Native language), French, German, Sanskrit, Italian, Classical Greek, Latin, Chinese, Russian, English, Hebrew, Arabic, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hungarian, Polish, Japanese and Coptic are just some of the 33 languages that he knew.
Ernesto de la Peña knew Ancient, Classic and modern Languages at the same time. He learned the Greek alphabet at the tender age of 6, at his grandfather’s library.
In many different interviews Ernesto de la Peña said that he learned to speak those languages because of his love for literature. He wanted to read the classics in their original language and he considered himself fortunated of being able to read Homer in Greek, Virgil in Latin, Dante Alighieri in Italian, Dickens, Shakespeare and Sylvia Plath in English, Goethe in German, Victor Hugo, Moliere and Racine in French, Tosltoi, Pushkin and Dostoievsky in Russian.
Ernesto de la Peña studied also classical literature at National Autonomous University of Mexico. (UNAM) His most famous books included The Stratagems of God, published in 1988; The Indelible Borrelli Case in 1992; Mineralogy For Intruders in 1999; and The Transfigured Rose, also released in 1999.
Ernesto de la Peña had a famous radio program, he talked in that program about the many things that he loved, literature, history, opera, Art, religion and I learned so much by listening to his programs.
He also had a tv program named “Operomania”, dedicated to his other great passion (along with literature and languages), the Opera and classical music. He loved Wagner and Mozart specially. And let me say that, his final Opera program that he talked about, before his death, was Wagner’s Ring Cycle in which was Ernesto’s favorite. He also loved Parsifal.
Ernesto de la Peña passed away on September 10 in 2012 at age 84.
Ernesto de la Peña, I will never forget you.
(Ernesto de la Peña, Mexico City 1927-2012)