Usigli, Rodolfo (1905–1979)

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Usigli, Rodolfo (1905–1979)

Rodolfo Usigli (b. 17 November 1905; d. 18 June 1979), Mexican writer. Born in Mexico City, Usigli was the child of European immigrants. His father died when he was young and his ambitious mother raised four children in the difficult period of the Mexican Revolution. Belonging to the lower-middle-class and suffering from extremely poor vision, Usigli was unable to finish secondary school. In spite of his lack of social status and formal education, however, by the 1940s Usigli emerged as one of the leading innovators in Mexican drama and a major advocate for the establishment of a national theatrical tradition. In his efforts to modernize Mexican dramaturgy, he frequently interpreted the symbols and historical events that contributed to the formation of a Mexican national identity. The plays El gesticulador (The Imposter [written 1937, staged 1947]) and Corona de sombra (Crown of Shadow [written 1943, staged 1947]) attest to his concern with understanding Mexico's national cultural identity. In addition to his numerous plays, Usigli also published a psychological-detective novel, Ensayo de un crimen (Trial Run for a Murder [1944]), which was filmed by Luis Buñuel in 1955. Besides being a dramatist, Usigli also worked as a drama historian, university teacher, and diplomat. He died in Mexico City.

See alsoTheater .


Ramón Layera, "Rodolfo Usigli," in Latin American Writers, edited by Carlos A. Solé and Maria Isabel Abreu, vol. 3 (1989), pp. 1033-1042.

Aurora Ocampo, ed. "Usigli, Rodolfo," in Diccionario de escritores mexicanos (1967), pp. 393-395.

Additional Bibliography

Beardsell, Peter. Teatro para caníbales: Rodolfo Usigli y el teatro mexicano. México City: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 2002.

Schmidhuber de la Mora, Guillermo. Apología de Rodolfo Usigli: las polaridades usiglianas. Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico: Universidad de Guadalajara, 2005.

                                   Danny J. Anderson