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Reyes Ochoa, Alfonso (1889–1959)

Reyes Ochoa, Alfonso (1889–1959)

Alfonso Reyes Ochoa (b. 17 May 1889; d. 27 December 1959), Mexican essayist and intellectual. The son of prominent nineteenth-century politician General Bernardo Reyes, Alfonso studied in Mexico City. In 1909 he cofounded the famous Ateneo de la Juventud, an intellectual society, and in 1913 he graduated from the National University, where he had served as secretary of the graduate school and where he later became a founding professor of Spanish language and literature. To survive financially as a writer, Reyes pursued a career in the foreign service, occupying posts in France, Spain, Argentina, and Brazil, and spent most of his life abroad, at one time working under José Ortega y Gasset. Although lacking a political or ideological focus, his writing helped develop the intellectually inward concentration on Mexican identity continued by Samuel Ramos and Octavio Paz. He was a candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature, and was awarded Mexico's National Prize of Arts and Sciences in 1945. Reyes contributed to Mexican intellectual institutional development as first president of the Colegio de México (1939–1959). He presided over Mexico's prestigious Academy of Language shortly before his death.

See alsoAteneo de la Juventud (Athenaeum of Youth); Colegio de México.


Alfonso Reyes, Obras completas, 24 vols. (1955–1990).

Universidad De Nuevo León, Páginas sobre Alfonso Reyes (1955).

Alfonso Reyes, "Mexico in a Nutshell" and Other Essays (1964).

James Robb, El estilo de Alfonso Reyes (1965).

Barbara B. Aponte, Alfonso Reyes and Spain (1972).

Pedro Henríquez Ureña and Alfonso Reyes, Epistolario íntimo, 1906–1946 (1981–1983).

Additional Bibliography

Arenas Monreal, Rogelio. Alfonso Reyes y los hados de febrero. Mexicali: Universidad Autónoma de Baja California; and Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2004.

Enríquez Perea, Alberto, compiler. Alfonso Reyes en la casa de España en México (1939 y 1940). Mexico City: El Colegio Nacional, 2005.

Enríquez Perea, Alberto, compiler. Días de exilio: Correspondencia entre María Zambrano y Alfonso Reyes, 1939–1959 y textos de María Zambrano sobre Alfonso Reyes, 1960–1989. Mexico City: Taurus: El Colegio de México, 2005.

Gutiérrez Girardot, Rafael. Tradición y ruptura. Bogotá: Debate: Random House Mondadori, 2006.

Pineda Franco, Adela Eugenia and Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado, editors. Alfonso Reyes y los estudios latinoamericanos. Pittsburgh, PA: Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana, Universidad de Pittsburgh, 2004.

Popovic Karic, Pol, Fidel Chávez Pérez and Paulette Patout, editors. Alfonso Reyes, perspectivas críticas: Ensayos inéditos. Monterrey: Tecnológico de Monterrey: Feria Internacional del Libro; and Mexico City: Centro de Investigaciones Humanísticas: Plaza y Valdés, 2004.

                                            Roderic Ai Camp

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