Mexican Life-Writing: Agustín Yáñez

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In the history of Mexican Literature, Agustín Yáñez (1904-1980) is remembered principally as the author of the landmark novel Al filo del agua (1947). His successful assimilation and application of the literary techniques of psychological realism drawn from James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), and his use of simultaneity of presentation in emulation of John Dos Passos in Manhattan Transfer (1925) are both characteristic features of his writing in his complex literary critique of religious fanaticism. In this way he remains as a pioneer and innovator in the creative narrative portrayal of the lives and thoughts of those witnessing the outbreak of Revolution in rural Jalisco in 1910. Although Yanez’s life runs in tandem with the century of Revolution and institutional revolution in Mexico, there is still no biography to date available for us to refer to and to discuss. In a tardy honouring of a promise made to his widow Olivia and to his children, as well as to Rafael Olea Franco at Colmex, during various trips to Mexico City, here is the growing seed of the long-promised biography.

  1. Growing up in Revolutionary Jalisco, 1904-1920