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Mariano Azuela

Mariano Azuela Mariano Azuela[1†]

Mariano Azuela González (January 1, 1873 – March 1, 1952) was a Mexican writer and medical doctor, best known for his fictional stories of the Mexican Revolution of 1910[1†]. He wrote novels, works for theatre, and literary criticism[1†]. He is considered the first of the “novelists of the Revolution,” and he influenced other Mexican novelists of social protest[1†]. His 20 novels chronicle almost every aspect of the Mexican Revolution[1†][2†][3†].

Early Years and Education

Mariano Azuela González was born on January 1, 1873, in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico[1†][2†][4†]. He was the son of Evaristo Azuela, a small but successful rancher, and Paulina Azuela[1†][5†]. Mariano grew up on a small farm owned by his father, which later influenced the settings in many of his fictional works[1†].

Azuela was first admitted to a Catholic seminary at the age of fourteen, but he soon abandoned his religious studies[1†]. He then attended preparatory school in Guadalajara[1†][5†]. He studied medicine at the University of Guadalajara[1†][5†], receiving his M.D. degree in 1899[1†][2†]. After earning his degree, Azuela returned to his hometown of Lagos de Moreno to practice medicine[1†][5†].

Like most young students of his time, Azuela was opposed to the dictatorship of the Porfirio Díaz regime[1†]. His early experiences and education not only shaped his career as a doctor but also influenced his perspective as a writer, leading him to become a critical voice during the Mexican Revolution[1†].

Career Development and Achievements

Mariano Azuela began his writing career with short pieces for the magazine Gil Blas Cómico, where he wrote under the pen name of "Beleño"[1†]. His writing was first published under the heading Impresiones de un estudiante (Impressions of a Student) in 1896[1†]. His first novel, Maria Luisa, was written in 1907, followed by Los fracasados (The Failures) in 1908, and Mala yerba (Weeds) in 1909[1†]. These early novels focused on the theme of fate and depicted the social life of Mexicans during the Díaz dictatorship[1†].

After experiencing the Mexican Revolution first-hand, his writing style became sarcastic and disillusioned[1†]. His first novel with the Revolution theme is Andrés Pérez, maderista in 1911, followed by Sin Amor (Without Love) in 1912, and his most popular, Los de abajo (The Underdogs) in 1915[1†]. He continued to write short works and novels influenced by the Revolution, including El camarada Pantoja (Comrade Pantoja) in 1937, Regina Landa in 1939, La nueva burguesía (The New Bourgeoisie) in 1941, and La maldición (The Curse, published posthumously) in 1955[1†]. These works mainly depict the satirical picture of life in post-revolutionary Mexico, sharply and angrily stigmatizing demagoguery and political intrigue[1†].

In addition to his writing career, Azuela also had a successful medical career. After receiving his M.D. in 1899, he practiced medicine first in his hometown of Lagos de Moreno, and later, after the Mexican revolution, practiced in Mexico City[1†][2†]. He also organized free clinics for the poor[1†][6†].

During his days in the Mexican Revolution, Azuela wrote about the war and its impact on Mexico[1†]. After Porfirio Díaz was overthrown in 1911, Azuela served as state Director of Education of Jalisco under President Francisco I. Madero[1†]. Following Madero’s 1913 assassination, Azuela joined the Constitutionalist cause, which sought to restore the rule of law[1†]. He traveled with the military forces of Julián Medina, a follower of Pancho Villa, where he served as a field doctor[1†]. His participation in the conflict gave him ample material to write Los de abajo (The Underdogs) (1915)[1†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Mariano Azuela’s literary journey began with his first novel, “Maria Luisa,” published in 1907[1†][7†]. This was followed by “Los fracasados” (The Failures) in 1908 and “Mala yerba” (Weeds) in 1909[1†][7†]. These early works primarily revolve around the theme of fate and depict the social life of Mexicans during the Díaz dictatorship[1†].

Azuela’s experiences during the Mexican Revolution significantly influenced his writing. His first novel with the Revolution theme is “Andrés Pérez, maderista” in 1911, followed by “Sin Amor” (Without Love) in 1912[1†]. His most popular work, “Los de abajo” (The Underdogs), was written in 1915 while he served as an army doctor with Pancho Villa[1†][2†]. This novel, which portrays the futility of the revolution, was first published as a serial in the newspaper El Paso del Norte[1†][2†].

Azuela continued to write works influenced by the Revolution, including “El camarada Pantoja” (Comrade Pantoja) in 1937, “Regina Landa” in 1939, “La nueva burguesía” (The New Bourgeoisie) in 1941, and “La maldición” (The Curse, published posthumously) in 1955[1†][8†]. These works primarily depict a satirical picture of life in post-revolutionary Mexico, sharply criticizing demagoguery and political intrigue[1†].

Here is a list of some of his main works:

Analysis and Evaluation

Mariano Azuela’s work, particularly his novel “Los de abajo” (The Underdogs), is considered a significant literary contribution to the narrative of the Mexican Revolution[9†]. His firsthand experiences as a military doctor with Pancho Villa’s forces lent authenticity and depth to his depiction of the revolution[9†][10†].

Azuela’s novels are characterized by a realistic portrayal of the social and political upheavals of the time[9†]. His writing style evolved over time, reflecting his experiences and observations during the revolution[9†]. His later works, such as “El camarada Pantoja” (Comrade Pantoja) and “La nueva burguesía” (The New Bourgeoisie), are marked by a satirical and critical depiction of post-revolutionary Mexico[9†].

Azuela’s work has been the subject of extensive literary analysis. Scholars have noted his use of avant-garde techniques in his lesser-known novels, such as “La Luciérnaga” (The Firefly)[9†]. His narratives are praised for their vivid descriptions and insightful commentary on Mexican society[9†].

“Los de abajo” (The Underdogs) is often highlighted for its critical depiction of the Mexican Revolution. The novel presents a stark picture of the revolution’s impact on the common people, challenging the romanticized narratives of heroism and progress[9†][11†]. The novel’s setting, from the small villages to the mountains of Mexico, serves as a backdrop to the ideological crisis and senseless death brought about by the revolution[9†][11†].

Despite the initial lack of recognition, Azuela’s work gained acclaim over time. 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[9†]. His novels have also been adapted for the stage and screen, further testament to their enduring relevance[9†].

In conclusion, Mariano Azuela’s work provides a critical and nuanced perspective on the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath. His novels, marked by their realism and social critique, continue to be a valuable resource for understanding this pivotal period in Mexican history[9†][11†][12†][10†].

Personal Life

Mariano Azuela was born into a middle-class family in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco[1†][13†]. He married Carmen Rivera, niece of Agustín Rivera, a priest and historian of Lagos de Moreno, in 1900[1†][13†]. Together, they had ten children[1†][13†]. His office became a meeting place for members of the local intelligentsia[1†][13†].

Azuela’s personal life was deeply intertwined with his professional life. After the Mexican Revolution, he continued to practice medicine in Mexico City from 1917 until his death[1†][5†]. His home was not just a space for his family, but also a hub for his intellectual and professional pursuits[1†][13†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Mariano Azuela’s legacy is deeply intertwined with the Mexican Revolution, as he is considered the first of the “novelists of the Revolution” and has influenced other Mexican novelists of social protest[1†][2†][8†]. His novels, which chronicle almost every aspect of the Mexican Revolution, provide a critical and often disillusioned view of the revolution and its aftermath[1†][2†].

Azuela’s works, particularly his most famous novel “Los de abajo” (The Underdogs), have been translated into several languages and continue to be studied and read internationally[1†][2†]. His novels not only depict the realities of war but also provide a satirical picture of life in post-revolutionary Mexico, sharply and angrily stigmatizing demagoguery and political intrigue[1†].

After the revolution, Azuela continued to write and practice medicine in Mexico City from 1917 until his death[1†][5†]. His later novels, including “San Gabriel de Valdivias” (1938), “Avanzada” (1940), and “Sendas perdidas” (1949), further demonstrate his critical perspective on the sociopolitical issues of his time[1†][5†].

In recognition of his contributions to literature, Azuela was awarded the National Prize for Arts and Sciences in the field of literature by the Mexican government in 1949[1†][5†]. His complete works were published in three volumes in 1958-60[1†][2†].

Azuela’s writings remain a significant part of Mexican literature and continue to offer valuable insights into the Mexican Revolution and its impact on society[1†][2†][8†][5†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Mariano Azuela [website] - link
  2. Britannica - Mariano Azuela: Mexican writer [website] - link
  3. Chicago Public Schools - Mariano Azuela Elementary - Mariano Azuela - MARIANO AZUELA ELEMENTARY [website] - link
  4. Encyclopedia.com - Azuela, Mariano (1873–1952) [website] - link
  5. Texas State Historical Association Online - Azuela, Mariano [website] - link
  6. MexConnect - Mariano Azuela [website] - link
  7. Encyclopedia.com - Mariano Azuela [website] - link
  8. Wikiwand - Mariano Azuela - Wikiwand [website] - link
  9. eNotes - Mariano Azuela Analysis [website] - link
  10. eNotes - The Underdogs Critical Essays [website] - link
  11. eNotes - The Underdogs Analysis [website] - link
  12. Cambridge Scholars Publishing - Equestrian Rebels: Critical Perspectives on Mariano Azuela and the Novel of the Mexican Revolution [website] - link
  13. eNotes - Mariano Azuela Biography [website] - link
  14. Infoplease - Azuela, Mariano [website] - link
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