Mariano Azuela Analysis

Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Apart from his long fiction, Mariano Azuela (ahs-WAY-lah) also tried his hand at theater and biography. He wrote three plays, Los de abajo, a dramatization of the novel of the same title that had its premiere in 1929; Del Llano Hermanos, S. en C., based on Los caciques and staged in 1936; and El búho en la noche (pb. 1938), based on El desquite, which never reached the stage. He also wrote biographies: Pedro Moreno, el insurgente (1932) and El padre Don Agustín Rivera (1942). All these works were made available in volume 3 of Azuela’s complete works, put out by the Fondo de Cultura Económica in Mexico City in 1960. Some of Azuela’s novels have made their way to the big screen, but it was only the film version of Los de abajo (1940), directed by Chano Ureta, with musical accompaniment by Silvestre Revuelta and camera work by Gabriel Figueroa, which met with any real acclaim.

Mariano Azuela Achievements

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Mariano Azuela’s masterpiece, Los de abajo (The Underdogs), is an important work on the Mexican Revolution. Though largely unrecognized by the literary establishment in his early years, Azuela was showered with literary honors in later life. He was awarded the Premio de Letras by the Ateneo Nacional de Ciencias y Artes in 1940, and he became a member of the Seminario de Cultura Mexicana and of the Academia de la Lengua in 1942. He was one of the founding members of the Colegio Nuevo in 1943.

Mariano Azuela Bibliography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Griffin, Clive. Azuela: “Los de abajo.” London: Grant and Cutler, 1993. An excellent study of Azuela’s masterpiece The Underdogs, with separate chapters on the historical backdrop to the Mexican Revolution as well as on realism, characterization, and structure.

Herbst, Gerhard R. Mexican Society as Seen by Mariano Azuela. New York: Ediciones ABRA, 1977. Studies eight of Azuela’s novels and deduces his vision of Mexican society. Shows that although Azuela became embittered once Pancho Villa, whom he supported, was defeated, he nevertheless maintained a faith in the common person.

Leal, Luis. Mariano Azuela. New York: Twayne, 1971. Leal, a prominent scholar of Latin American literature, provides an overview of Azuela’s life and work with insightful comments on Azuela the person and Azuela the writer.

Martínez, Eliud. The Art of Mariano Azuela: Modernism in “La malhora,” “El desquite,” “La Luciérnaga.” Pittsburgh, Pa.: Latin American Literary Review, 1980. A study of Azuela’s lesser-known novels. Particularly good is the chapter on The Firefly, which discusses the novel chapter by chapter and shows how Azuela uses avant-garde techniques to enhance his message. Martínez argues that The Firefly is Azuela’s best novel.


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