Spanish American literature

Late-Twentieth-Century Literature

The state of Spanish American letters from the middle to the end of the 20th cent. was extremely rich, especially in the novel and poetry. Both genres received great critical acclaim outside the Spanish-speaking world and were widely translated into English and many other languages. Guatemala's Nobel Prize–winning Miguel Angel Asturias combined mythological and social themes in works such as The President (1946; tr. 1963) and The Bejeweled Boy (1961; tr. 1972). Cuba's Alejo Carpentier captured the world of magic and superstition in The Lost Steps (1953; tr. 1956) and The Harp and the Shadow (1979; tr. 1990), and gave the name of magic realism to the rich and influential blend of the ordinary and fantastic that characterized many Spanish American novels of the 1960s and later. Meanwhile, Mexico's Juan Rulfo recreated a poetic world of reality and fantasy in Pedro Páramo (1955; tr. 1959).

The Argentine Jorge Luis Borges' philosophical allegories (including Ficciones [1944; tr. 1962]) brilliantly combined the real with the fantastic, and his younger compatriot Julio Cortázar gained renown for Hopscotch (1963; tr. 1966), his masterpiece of experimental fiction. Carlos Fuentes of Mexico is one of the most eminent modern novelists ( The Death of Artemio Cruz [1962; tr. 1964, 1991]), along with Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru ( The Green House [1966; tr. 1968]), and, most of all, the 1982 Nobel Prize–winner Gabriel García Márquez of Colombia ( A Hundred Years of Solitude [1967; tr. 1970]).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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