Arreola, Juan José (1918–2001)

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Arreola, Juan José (1918–2001)

Juan José Arreola (b. 21 September 1918, d. 3 December 2001), Mexican writer. Born in Ciudad Guzmán in the state of Jalisco, Arreola received the prestigious Premio Xavier Villaurrutía in 1963 for his only novel, La feria (The Fair, 1963). He has also written drama but is best known for his innovation in the short story and other short prose forms. His major collections of stories and prose pieces include Varia invención (Various Inventions, 1949), Confabulario (Confabulary, 1952), Palindroma (Palindrome, 1971), and Bestiario (Bestiary, 1972). Together with writers such as José Revueltas and Juan Rulfo, Arreola's works move Mexican literature beyond a parochial consideration of nationalistic themes and address Mexican identity in the context of universal human truths and archetypes. Through the use of humor, satire, irony, fantasy, and linguistic playfulness, he has explored themes such as religiosity, the absurd, materialism, the commercialism of the United States, and relations between the sexes. He has also played an influential role in Mexican literature as the director of writing workshops and as the editor of two important literary series in the 1950s, Cuadernos del unicornio (The Unicorn's Notebooks) and Los presentes (Those Present).

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Yulan M. Washburn, Juan José Arreola (1983).

Russell M. Cluff and L. Howard Quackenbush, "Juan José Arreola," in Latin American Writers, vol. 3, edited by Carlos A. Solé and Maria Isabel Abreu (1989), pp. 1229-1236.

Additional Bibliography

Arreola, Orso. El último juglar: Memorias de Juan José Arreola. México: Editorial Diana, 1998.

Paso, Fernando del. Memoria y olvido: Vida de Juan José Arreola, 1920–1947. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2003.

                                   Danny J. Anderson