Mendoza, María Luisa 1938–
Mendoza, María Luisa 1938–
PERSONAL: Born May 17, 1938, in Guanajuato, Mexico; daughter of Manuel Mendoza Albarrán (a lawyer) and María Luisa Romero Ceballos. Education: Attended Universidad Femenina de México, Instituto Nacional de Ballas Artes, and Universidád Nacional Autónoma de Mexico.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Alguilar Altea Taurus Alfaguara SA de CV, AV Universidad 767, Mexico DF, 03100, Mexico.
CAREER: Journalist for national newspapers in Mexico, including Excélsior, Novedades, Universal, and Sol de México beginning 1945; cofounded newspaper El Día, 1960; television commentator, 1972–74, and director of interview program Un Día un escritor (title means "A Writer a Day"), beginning 1980. Institute Politécnico Nacional, professor of Mexican literature; federal deputy, Ninth District of Guanajuato, beginning 1985.
MEMBER: Academia de Artes y Ciencias Cinematogràficas, Asociación de Escritores, PEN Club International, Asociación Internacional de Escritoras.
AWARDS, HONORS: Magda Donato prize for best novel of the year, 1971, for Con él, conmigo, con nosotros tres; Bernal Díaz del Castillo journalism prize, 1972, for Crónica de Chile; Golden Medallion Magdalena Mondragón', Asociación de Periodistas Universitarias, A.C.; Premio Nacional de Periodismo e Información, 1984.
(With Francisco Monterde) Tres conceptosde la critical teatral, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico City, Mexico), 1962.
Qué pasa con el teatro en México?, Editorial Novaro (Mexico City, Mexico), 1967.
Con él, conmigo, con nosotros tres (novel; title means "In Him, in Me, in All Three of Us,"), 1971.
La O por lo redondo (collection of columns), Grijalbo (Mexico City, Mexico), 1971.
(With Edmundo Domínguez Aragonés) Dos palabras dos (title means "Two Words Two"), [Mexico City, Mexico], 1972.
(With Carmen Parra) Libro-Objecto (title means "Book-Object"), 1972.
Crónica de Chile (articles; title means "The Chronicle of Chile"), 1972.
Allende el bravo: los días mexicanos (articles; title means "Allende the Courageous: Mexican Days"), 1973.
Oiga Usted! (articles; title means "Listen!"), 1973.
De Ausencia (novel; title means "The Life of Auscencia Bautista Lumbre"), J. Mortiz (Mexico City, Mexico), 1974.
Rusia (articles; title means "Russia"), 1974.
Las cosas (articles; title means "Things"), J. Mortiz (Mexico City, Mexico), 1976.
Tris de sol, Carmen Serdán (biography; title means "A Bit of Sun, Carmen Serdán"), Departamento Editorial, Secretaría de la Presidencia (Mexico), 1976, reprinted, Gobierno del Estado de Pubela, Secretaría de Cultura (Puebla, Mexico), 1995.
Teatro Juárez, 75 aniversario (title means "The Juárez Theater") 1978.
Retrato de mi gentedad (title means "A Portrait of My People"), SEP, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (Mexico City, Mexico)/Centro Regional Guanajuato-Querétaro, Museo de la Alhóndiga de Granaditas (Guanajuato, Querétaro, Mexico), 1979.
El perro de la escribana o las Piedecasas (novel; title means "The Scribe's Dog"), J. Moritiz (Mexico City, Mexico), 1982.
El día del mar: cuento para niños (title means "The Sea's Day: A Children's Story"), Centro de Información y Desarrollo de la Comunicación y la Literatura Infantiles (Col. Coyoacàn), 1985.
María Luisa Mendoza (interviews), Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Azcapotzalco, Mexico), 1985.
Ojos de papel volando (short stories; title means "Blue Flypaper Eyes"), J. Mortiz (Mexico City, Mexico), 1985.
Trompo a la uña (anecdotes about Mexican history and civilization), Gobierno del Estado de Tabasco (Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico), 1989.
De cuerop entero, Coordiinación de Difusión Cultural, Dirección de Literatura, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ediciones Corunda (Mexico City, Mexico), 1991.
Fuimos es mucha gente, Alfaguara (Mexico City, Mexico), 1999.
(With Antonio Rodíguez) Rudolfo Morales, photographs by Pedro Hiriart, Foundación Ingeniero Alejo Peralta y Díaz Ceballos (Mexico), 2000.
Contributor to Mujeres que cuentan: siete escritoas mexicanas de su puño y letra, Ediciones Ariadne (Mexico), 2000. Contributor to periodicals, including Vida Literaria.
SIDELIGHTS: Considered a leading figure in contemporary Mexican writing, María Luisa Mendoza has worked in journalism and broadcasting, and has also written fiction. Her work challenges old-fashioned and conformist values, and is distinguished by its irreverence and its eroticism.
The daughter of a genteel mother and liberal lawyer father, Mendoza received a traditional education in her home province of Guanajuato. In her teens, she moved to Mexico City, a stimulating metropolis where exciting new ideas were just beginning to take hold. She studied interior design, stage design, and Mexican literature, but began a career in newspaper work to make ends meet after her father died, leaving her without financial support. In 1954, Mendoza began writing for the tabloid El Zócalo. She quickly found additional work with other papers, moving beyond the society news most often assigned to women journalists and taking on interviews, drama criticism, and reporting. Critics felt Mendoza's writing became more daring and openly critical of accepted ideas during this period, which earned the writer positions with such reputable papers as Excélsior, Novedades, El Universal, and El Sol de México. By 1960, Mendoza had co-founded the newspaper El Día; the column she wrote for this paper, "La O por lo redondo," established her reputation as an independent thinker and a feminist.
In 1968, Mendoza earned a scholarship from the Centro Mexicano de Escritores that enabled her to focus full-time on writing. Her first novel Con él, conmigo, con nosotros tres, appeared three years later. The book was a huge popular success and earned Mendoza the Magda Donato prize for best novel of the year. A monologue, the novel recounts the events and ramifications of the bloody suppression of the student protest in Tlatelolco on October 2, 1968. The book combines elements of confession and a larger historical awareness, interweaving memory and tradition, sexuality, family history, and political consciousness.
Her novel De Ausencia deals with a more personal theme—the erotic life of a miner's daughter who refuses to allow her world to be circumscribed by petty ideas of morality. Mendosa's third novel, El perro de la escribana o las Piedecasas, has been described as a partly autobiographical account of a woman's life, structured as a series of memories of the various houses in which she has lived. Her volume of short stories, Ojos de papel volando, is seen as a book in which the writer strives to expand her stylistic choices.
Though she is highly respected as a writer of fiction, Mendoza has achieved equal renown as a critic and journalist. Among the subjects to which she has devoted her attention are cultural and political issues in the Soviet Union, Cuba, Chile, and her native country; popular culture, including soap operas; and the position of women. Indeed, her biography Tris de sol, Carmen Serdàn, which recounts the life of a revolutionary woman who opposed Porfirio Díaz's control in early twentieth-century Mexico, is seen as a particularly important articulation of Mendoza's feminist ideals. Mendoza has also worked frequently in television since the early 1980s; in her interview program, Un día un escritor—later renamed Un día un mexicano—she interviews leading Mexican writers and intellectuals.
Mendoza has been active in a number of intellectual endeavors beyond her own writing. A professor of Mexican literature at the Instituto Politécno Nacional, she is also a member of several writers' organizations. In addition, during her tenure as federal deputy for the Ninth District of Guanajuato, which began in 1985, she has served on numerous cultural committees in Mexico.
Though perhaps best known in her native Mexico, where critics have likened her work to that of such leading writers as José Donoso, Manuel Puig, and Silvina Ocampo, Mendoza has received increasing recognition from international critics. She is admired as a daring writer who has brought linguistic innovation and a sense of personal freedom to the Mexican novel.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Casa de las Americas, April, 1991, Aralia López Gonzáles, "Nuevas formas de ser mujer en la narrativa contemporánea de escritoras mexicanas," pp. 3-7.
Chasqui: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana, February-May, 1983, Dolly J. Young and William D. Young, "The New Journalist in Mexico: Two Women Writers," pp. 72-80.
Nexos, November, 1999, Angeles Mastretta, "Fuimos es mucha gente," pp. 31-32.
Revista Iberoamericana, July-December, 1985, David William Foster, "Espejismos eroticos: De Ausencia, de María Luisa Mendoza," pp. 657-663.
Texto Critico, January, 1997, María Dolores Bolívar, "De Ausencia: la modernidad y la topografía accidentada del patriarcado en la región minera de México," pp. 49-57.