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Miguel Ángel Asturias

Biography

Miguel Ángel Asturias was born in 1899 in a suburb of Guatemala City. His father was a lawyer and his mother a teacher. The family moved to Salamá because Asturias’ father refused to convict students protesting against the Estrada Cabrera regime but they later moved back to Guatemala City. Asturias studied law at the Universidad de San Carlos. He was also involved in demonstrations against Estrada Cabrera. After a new military government took power, a paper he had helped found criticised the government and Asturias was forced to leave the country. He lived first in London and then in Paris, studying the Popol Vuh and other Native American texts. His early writing was poetry though he also wrote his critically acclaimed Leyendas de Guatemala [Legends of Guatemala], a collection of stories and legends he had heard as a child.

In 1933 he returned to Guatemala, working as a journalist. Though much of his published writing at its time was poetry, he had already written much of El Señor Presidente (The President; El Señor Presidente), though it was not published till 1946. He was elected as a deputy to the national congress in 1942 and later become a diplomat, holding various ambassador posts. His second novel, Hombres de maíz (Men of Maize), was published in 1949 but received less critical acclaim at the time, though was later recognised as being a great novel. In 1953, he was appointed ambassador to negotiate with rebels in El Salvador, who were trying to overthrow the Guatemalan government. When the rebels succeeded, Asturias was again forced to flee the country and was stripped of his citizenship. He lived in Argentina, Venezuela and Italy, working as a journalist and writer till a more moderate government was elected in 1966 and he was able to return to Guatemala and was appointed ambassador to France. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1967. He later lived in Spain where he died in 1974.

Apart from being the greatest writer of his country, he will be remembered both for elevating the status of the native population of his country and recognising their myths and legends and incorporating them into his writing.

Other links

Miguel Ángel Asturias
Miguel Angel Asturias
Lost in the Maize
His grave
Miguel Angel Asturias (in Spanish)
Miguel Ángel Asturias (in Spanish)
Miguel Ángel Asturias (in Spanish)
Miguel Ángel Asturias (in Spanish)
Miguel Ángel Asturias (in Spanish)
Miguel Ángel Asturias (in Spanish)
La biografía no escrita de Asturias (in Spanish)
Estudios Criticos sobre Miguel Angel Asturias (in Spanish)
Interview (in Spanish)

Bibliography

1923 Sociología guatemalteca: El problema social del indio (Guatemalan Sociology: The Social Problem of the Indian)
1925 Rayito de estrella (poetry)
1928 La arquitectura de la vida nueva
1929 La barba provisoria
1930 Leyendas de Guatemala
1935 Émulo Lipolidón (poetry)
1935 Fantomima (poetry)
1936 Sonetos (poetry)
1939 Alclasán (poetry)
1942 Con el rehén en los dientes: Canto a Francia (poetry)
1943 Anoche, 10 de marzo de 1543 (poetry)
1946 El Señor Presidente (The President; El Señor Presidente) (novel)
1949 Poesía: Sien de alondra (poetry)
1949 Hombres de maíz (Men of Maize) (novel)
1950 Viento fuerte (UK: Cyclone; US: Strong Wind) (novel)
1951 Ejercicios poéticos en forma de soneto sobre temas de Horacio (poetry)
1952 Alto es el Sur: Canto a la Argentina
1952 Carta aérea a mis amigos de América
1954 El papa verde (The Green Pope) (novel)
1955 Bolívar: Canto al Libertador (poetry)
1955 Soluna: Comedia prodigiosa en dos jornadas y un final (drama)
1956 Week-end en Guatemala
1957 La audiencia de los confines
1958 Messages Indiens
1959 Nombre custodio e imagen pasajera (poetry)
1960 Los ojos de los enterrados (The Eyes of the Interred) (novel)
1960 Las estrellas, las rosas, y la lámpara, prosas escritas entre 1927 y 1930: Unas palabras de Miguel Ángel Asturias
1961 El alhajadito (The Bejeweled Boy)
1963 Mulata de tal (UK: The Mulatta and Mr. Fly; US: Mulata) (novel)
1964 Rumania, su nueva imagen
1964 Teatro: Chantaje, Dique seco, Soluna, La audiencia de los confines (drama)
Milan Sonetos de Italia Instituto Editoriale Cisalpino, 1965)
1965 Clarivigilia primaveral
1967 El espejo de Lida Sal (The Mirror of Lida Sal: Tales Based on Mayan Myths and Guatemalan Legends)
1967 Torotumbo; La audiencia de los confines; Mensajes indios
1969 Comiendo en Hungría (Sentimental Journey around the Hungarian Cuisine) (with Pablo Neruda)
1969 Maladrón
1969 Hector Poleo
1971 Trois des quatre soleils (Spanish edition Tres de cuatro soles published 1977)
1971 El problema social del indio y otros textos,
1971 Novelas y cuentos de juventud
1972 América, fábula de fábulas y otros ensayos
1972 Viernes de dolores
1972 Juárez
1980 Sinceridades
1981 El hombre que lo tenía todo, todo, todo; La leyenda del Sombrerón; La leyenda del tesoro del Lugar Florido
1993 El árbol de la cruz
1999 Miguel Ángel Asturias, raíz y destino: Poesía inédita (1917-1924)
1999 Con la magia de los tiempos
2000 Cuentos y leyendas
2000 Los Cuentos del Cuyito (includes: La maquinita de hablar (The Talking Machine) (first published as part of El alhajadito (The Bejeweled Boy), 1961) (children’s)