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The novel María de Jorge Isaacs is considered to be a masterpiece of Colombian romantic literature. Due to its theme and structure, one cannot deny the influence of the French romantic current, but the affair between María and Efraín is inserted in a totally new framework: the nature of Valle del Cauca. The central plot of the novel is the unfortunate romance between two young people: Efraín, son of a rich landowner of the Cauca region, and his cousin María.
The four fundamental themes of romanticism: love, nature, and death structure the framework of this novel. Many autobiographical elements are found in María: the house where the affair is developed was the same one in which the author lived: El Hacienda El paraíso. Isaacs like Efraín, was born and lived in the Valle del Cauca, and was a son of a Jewish father, converted to Christianity, studied in the capital and was a great reader of poetry. Although the history of excellence is a tragic romance, other subtopics also appear that prove the uniqueness of this work such as patriarchal authority, slavery, costumbrism, and nature.