Mexico Literature

The death in 1986 of J. Rulfo (see in this Appendix), master of the Hispano-American novel of the sixties and seventies and whom everyone now recognizes as one of the greatest narrators of the 20th century not only in Mexico but in all of ‘Spanish-speaking America, and the awarding of the Nobel Prize in 1990 to the great poet and essayist O. Paz (see this Appendix), mark the boundaries between the near twentieth-century past and the new achievements and achievements of Mexican literature. Alongside Rulfo and Paz, it is necessary to remember a writer, author mostly of short stories and novels, who had already revealed himself since the end of the 1950s and who had and still has a fairly attentive audience in Italy: C. Fuentes (see in this Appendix).

After the book that gave him deserved fame, La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962) and other novels of vast commitment, recently Valiente mundo nuevo (1990) and, written directly in English, Myself with othersSelected essays (1988) have been added.), or The buried mirror / El espejo enterrado (1992; published simultaneously in both languages). Aura and El gringo viejo have had a film adaptation (respectively The witch in love, by D. Damiani, 1966; and Old gringo, 1989, starring G. Peck). A Fuentes must therefore recognize a distinct physiognomy apart, thanks also to its strong presence on the international scene, almost on par with Paz.

Alongside these prominent exponents, it should be remembered, although so far little known outside of Mexico, JJ Arreola, born as Rulfo in 1918 and as Rulfo in the state of Jalisco. The short story, often built on a sort of paradoxical invention or bitter satire of society, marks his work, the center of which is the book Confabulario total (1962 n, 3 ; trans. It., 1993), while in only one novel, La feria (1963), he attempted a more extensive and complex narrative.

In the last twenty years, besides Rulfo, other illustrious writers have disappeared: the poet J. Gorostiza (1901-1973), the narrators J. Revueltas (1914-1976), A. Yáñez (see in this Appendix), as well as I. Arredondo (1982), J. Ibargüengoitia (1928-1983) and C. Valdés (1928-1991).

Author of valid theatrical works, Ibargüengoitia has revealed a very lively temperament as a writer and a multiple capacity for narrative invention, passing from the satirical chronicle of the never enough (and often rhetorically) celebrated revolution (Los relámpagos de agosto, 1964; trad. It., 1973) to criminal chronicle (Las muertas, 1977; trans. It., The case of dead women, 1989), from the grotesque vision of the history of a dictator (Maten al león, 1969; trans. It., 1987) to demythification of a national hero, the priest Mexico Hidalgo (in his latest novel, Los pasos de López, 1982).

Ibargüengoitia is one of the many exponents of the very varied Mexican narrative landscape. A whole series of literary suggestions as well as a series of different visions belong to him: what we could define Kafkaesque and post-surrealism, expressionism, magical realism and the search for the unconscious; or, on the other hand, the horror story, the transcription of a legend or an ancient myth, the utopian genre or the one aimed at the future.

More than any other, in this panorama we highlight the imposing work of F. del Paso (1935), the most solid and also one of the most famous of today’s Mexican writers, unjustly unknown in Italy. His are three large-scale novels: José Trigo (1966), where the life of a city is reconstructed with mastery of details and minute events, through a railway station and centering everything on a single character, whose name gives the title to the book; Palinuro de México (1977), where the experimental elements and the intertextuality of his writing appear even more accentuated and where what has been called “the saga of an antihero” of our times is narrated, with all the historical insights that matter requires; and Noticias del imperio (1988), long monologue by Empress Charlotte, wife of Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg, to be considered one of the best-designed historical novels of our time. Del Paso was among other things awarded in France (1990) as the best foreign writer.

Among the narrators also translated into Italy stands S. Elizondo (b.1932), author of Farabeuf, or la crónica de un instante (1965; trans. It., 1970), an experimental novel, inspired by a photograph of a Chinese torture of the last century, with strong influences of the French nouveau Roman and G. Bataille. But in later works Elizondo was unable to keep the promises that could have been hoped for from that book; yet two of his other works are equally worthy of note: the novel El grafógra foand the essay writings of Cámera lúcida (1984). Another writer recently translated into Italy is H. Aridijs (b.1940), a poet with a strong structure and temperament, and narrator of historical re-enactments with the flavor of a picaresque novel, like 1492Vida y milagros de Juan Cabezón de Castilla (1985; trad. It., 1992) and Memorias del Nuevo Mundo (1988).

On the other hand, S. Pitol (b.1933), author mostly of short story books (starting with Tiempo Cerca, 1959), in which he pours out both the memories of his life in the South of the Mexico vast experience as a diplomat or as a reader (and even as a translator, even from Russian and Polish), with an elegance of writing that places him in an excellent position in the panorama we are drawing. Vals de Mefisto (1984; trad. It., 1991) has been translated by him, but his narrative production is extensive, recently enriched by the collection of short stories Cuerpo presente (1991) and the novel La vida conyugal (1991).

A recently discovered writer H. Aguilar Camín (n. 1946), editor of the magazine Nexos and the author of a novel, Morir en el golfo (1985; trans. Trans., Dying in Veracruz, 1993), that enrolled in so-called current of ” new realism ”, and presents all the typical ingredients of the ” genre ”: description of the cynical power games around oil, of workers’ and trade union struggles, with flashes of narration of individual and amorous relationships, the all traced using an almost cinematographic technique.

Although born in Guatemala in 1921, A. Monterroso, who has lived in Mexico since 1944 and participates in the capital’s activities and cenacles, is now considered a full-fledged Mexican writer.

The short story (sometimes very short) and with a humorous flavor, which in Mexico has many followers, has found in Monterroso a follower or perhaps even an inventor of valuable and very tasty quality for conciseness and frankness, with many echoes of refined readings and fertile literary sympathies. Particularly significant in this sense appear the volumes Obras completas y otros cuentos (1959; trad. It., 1992); La oveja negra y demás fábulas (1969; trad. It., 1980); Movimiento perpetuo(1972; trans. It., 1993); Lo demás es silencio. La vida y la obra by Eduardo Torres (1978; trans. It., 1992).

With A. Mastretta (b. 1949) we finally enter the dense group of writers who illustrate Mexican literature in a special way; Two books of her have so far been translated: the hilarious novel Arráncame la vida (1988; trans. it., 1988), an affair, set in the post-revolutionary years, of an unscrupulous and strong woman, and the tender and often touching stories, some very beautiful, by Mujeres de ojos grandes (1990; trans. it., 1992). But female fiction, or rather written by women, is also very rich, and includes high-ranking authors, even if not yet known among us: for example. E. Garro (b.1920), choreographer, journalist, dramatic author, film screenwriter, who has published a novel of great importance and suggestion, Los recuerdos del porvenir (1963), where the small town of Ixtepec is configured as a microcosm of alienation and injustice, and various volumes of stories, including La casa junto al río (1983). Garro is also the author of numerous plays, as will be seen below. Two other writers of marked personality and value are also the aforementioned I. Arredondo, who excels in the short story – and proof of this is her only three books, La señal (1965), Río subterráneo (1979) and Los espejos (1988) – and finally E. Poniatowska (b.1933), which owes its great prestige and even fame to a capital book of recent Mexican literature, La noche de Tlatelolco (1970), where by making simple people talk she managed to convey the drama and tragic reality of the massacre of the Piazza delle Tre Culture in Mexico City in October 1968; she is also the author of two novels of considerable narrative power, Hasta no verte, Jesús mío (1969) and La flor de Lys (1987), as well as the fictionalized biography (1992) of the Italian photographer T. Modotti, who lived in Mexico in the thirties .

Mexico Literature