Queer Places:
Suardi, Santa Fe, Argentina

Alberto Nin Frias 1.jpgAlberto Teodoro Antonino Augusto Nin Frías (9 November 1878 – 27 March 1937) was a Uruguayan writer, teacher and journalist. As a diplomat of his country he resided in the United States, Brazil, Chile and Argentina,where he settled in the province of Santa Fe until his death. He was the great-grandson of the wealthy Spanish merchant seaman Antonio Nin y Soler. In the 1920s writers more openly homosexual were not able to deal with the topic in their works. These include the conservative dramatist Jacinto Benavente, the chronicler of Madrid life Pedro de Répide, the short story writer Antonio de Hoyos y Vinent, and the music critic and historian Adolfo Salazar. Many Spaniards escaped to Paris, among them Gregorio Martinez Sierra and Marta Martinez Sierra and the composer Manuel de Falla. Little magazines, such as Grecia of Adriano del Valle, Mediodia of Joaquin Romero Murube, and Renacimiento of Martinez Sierra, remain incompletely studied. Even into the 1920's the situation for homosexuals was oppressive, as can be seen from the reticence of the Espasa-Calpe encyclopedia and the comments of Gregorio Maranon. It was foreigners living in Spain, the Uruguayan Alberto Nin Frías, the Chilean Augusto d'Halmar, and the Cuban Alfonso Hernández Catá, who published the first books on the topic.

Alberto Nin Frías was born on November 9, 1878 in the city of Montevideo, capital of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay. His parents were Dr. Alberto Nin y Nin (1853 – 1919) who was a lawyer member of the Supreme Court of Justice of the same country, founder of the Chair of Criminal Law and diplomat in Europe, and his wife and second cousin Mati Fríaldes Nin (born 1855). The paternal grandparents were Juan Nin y González (born ca. 1813) and his cousin and spouse Silveria Nin y Alagón (born ca. 1820), and the maternal grandparents were Matilde Nin Reyes (born ca. 1830) and Manuel Frias Avila (born ca. 1818). Therefore, the paternal great-grandparents were the two Spanish-Catalan merchant marine brothers, the older Juan Nin y Soler who married María Joaquina González Tejera, and the youngest, Esteban Nin y Soler, who married Juana Eusebia Alagón. His maternal great-grandfather was the other merchant marine brother Antonio Nin y Soler, who was an intellectual, wealthy businessman and owner of the ship El Federico who had settled in the Rioplatense Banda Oriental of the Buenos Aires, mayor by 1810, having met the Creole Benita Reyes del Villar, whom he married in 1813, specifically in the still Spanish governorate of Montevideo. In the already liberated city of the same name, capital of the new Eastern Province, they had their two sons and when they returned to Europe in 1825, two of their daughters would be born in Marseille. Upon definite return to Montevideo they had the youngest they would call Leopoldina (b. 1832).​ Due to his father's profession, he lived part of his childhood and adolescence in various cities around the world, including London, where he settled at eight years old, and later Brussels and Bern. He returned to Montevideo around 1898, a city in which he worked as a writer, teacher, librarian, journalist, and where it would be linked to the cultural environment of those years, in which figures such as Julio Herrera and Reissig, María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira, Carlos Vaz Ferreira, José Enrique Rodó, among others, were highlighted. Years later, he left his homeland again serving as a diplomat and alternated his life in different cities such as Washington, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile, where he befriended Gabriela Mistral, and Buenos Aires. His literary work deals with topics as varied as English literature, the tree, religion, Greece, customs and eroticism. His book Created Homosexualism and Alexis or the meaning of the homosexual temperament (the actual title of the book is Alexis or the meaning of the temperament Uranus, 1932, Madrid: Morata) are his most widespread works. He died in poverty in the city of Suardi, located in the Argentine province of Santa Fe, under the protection of the Spanish-born priest, Pedro Badanelli.

After almost six decades since his death, his life and his literary work, particularly related to homoerotism, has begun to be the subject of study and analysis, being referenced in works such as Historias de la vida privada in Uruguay by Hugo Achugar edited in 1998, Amor y transgression by José Pedro Barrán edited in 2001, Carla Giaudrone's 900 degeneration edit in 2005, Fernando Loustaunau's play Diary of a Dying Democrat edited in 2006, and a study of his friendship and correspondence with Gabriela Mistral, published in 2017 by Elizabeth Horan.

In 2007 the commune of Suardi gave him a tribute in which a plaque was discovered that reads: Captivate by sweetness. Always grow in truth and beautiful. To attract by the noble example, the splendor of thought, the purity of a faith and the magnet of goodness.


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