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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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