Agustín Yáñez Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Even as a child and adolescent, Agustín Yáñez (yah-NYAYS) had what he later called a “rigorous critical sense” as well as a “sentimental temperament” so intense that it “could not but manifest itself, even exaggeratedly, and ended in coloring his life absolutely.” The characteristics of seriousness, austerity, and preoccupation with artistic form shaped all his literary work.

Yáñez associated himself with other young writers of Guadalajara and founded a literary journal, Bandera de Provincias (provincial banner), the establishment of which was a national event. He received his law degree in Guadalajara and later moved to Mexico City, where he devoted himself to university teaching and writing and held several important public offices.

According to the aesthetic creed of Yáñez, the ideal of art is form. For him, the idea of literary form follows a movement inward, a theory of composition initiated by means of living the reality and then reliving it in the literary work until one completes it in the appropriate verbal form. “I never write—least of all when writing novels—with the intention of sustaining a premeditated thesis, committed to predetermined conclusions.” After intuiting a form, he would develop it until it took on consistency; it was then necessary that he follow it, striving not to falsify characters, situations, and atmosphere.

Yáñez as a writer was very conscious and cognizant of his function. His style is elaborate, reflective, grave, and refined. His knowledge of contemporary philosophy,...

(The entire section is 643 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Brushwood, John S. “The Lyric Style of Agustín Yáñez.” Symposium 26 (1972). Discusses Al filo del agua.

Durand, Frank. “The Apocalyptic Vision of Al filo del agua.” Symposium 25 (1971). Aspects of Al filo del agua are examined.

Harris, Christopher. The Novels of Agustín Yáñez: A Critical Portrait of Mexico in the Twentieth Century. Lewiston, N.Y.: E. Mellen Press, 2000. Argues that the novelist of the Mexican Revolution, who was also a member of the government, was dedicated to economic development, eradication of corruption, and freedom of artistic expression.

Longo, Teresa. “Renewing the Creation of Myth: An Analysis of Rhythm and Image in the ‘Acto preparatorio’ of Yáñez’s Al filo del agua.” Confluencia 4, no. 1 (Fall, 1988). Structure and myth in this novel are reconsidered.

Merrell, Floyd. “Structure and Restructuration in Al filo del agua.” Chasqui 17, no. 1 (May, 1988). Discusses structure and myth in this novel.

Sommers, Joseph. “Genesis of the Storm: Agustín Yáñez.” In After the Storm: Landmarks of the Modern Mexican Novel. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1968. An excellent point of departure for a study of Yáñez.