Yáñez Santos Delgadillo, Agustín (1904–1980)

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Yáñez Santos Delgadillo, Agustín (1904–1980)

Agustín Yáñez Santos Delgadillo (b. 4 May 1904; d. 17 January 1980), Mexican novelist and public figure. Of the many novels and literary studies Agustín Yáñez produced, he is best remembered for his focus on the regional qualities of his native culture in the small, rural towns of Jalisco, in western Mexico. Al filo del agua (On the Edge of the Storm), his best-known work in this genre, was first published in 1947 and is considered an outstanding example of a historical novel depicting, in the words of critic John Brushwood, "the reality of Mexico on the edge of the Revolution." Brushwood considers it a turning point in Mexican literature.

Yáñez was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, the child of modest, extremely religious parents. A law school graduate, he quickly joined the intellectual scene, after first involving himself with the Cristero Rebellion, a religious uprising against the government. He moved to Mexico City, where he taught at the National University and served at a number of administrative posts. After holding several minor posts in the federal government, he became governor of his home state (1953–1959). He became a speech writer for President Adolfo López Mateos, who appointed him assistant secretary of the presidency (1962–1964). In 1964, he became secretary of public education. Unlike many intellectuals, Yáñez did not surround himself with disciples, although he gave his time to intellectual institutions as president of the Seminar of Mexican Culture (1949–1952) and the Mexican Academy of Language (1973–1977).

See alsoCristero Rebellion; Literature: Spanish America.


John S. Brushwood, Mexico in Its Novel (1966).

Agustín Yáñez, Obras escogidas (1968).

Barbara Graham, "Social and Stylistic Realities in the Fiction of Agustín Yáñez" (Ph.D. diss., University of Miami, 1969).

Alfonso Rangel Guerra, Agustín Yáñez (1969); Mester 12 (1983), entire issue.

Additional Bibliography

Arias Urrutia, Angel. Entre la cruz y la sospecha: los cristeros de Revueltas, Yáñez y Rulfo. Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2005.

Harris, Christopher. The Novels of Agustín Yáñez: A Critical Portrait of Mexico in the 20th Century. Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen Press, 2000.

Marquet, Antonio. Archipiélago dorado: el despegue creador en la obra narrativa de Agustín Yáñez. Mexico City: Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, 1997.

                                        Roderic Ai Camp