The Plain in Flames by Juan Rulfo
(Joe R. and Teresa Lozana Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture)

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Juan Rulfo is one of the most important writers of twentieth-century Mexico, though he wrote only two books—the novel Pedro Páramo (1955) and the short story collection El llano en llamas (1953). First translated into English in 1967 as The Burning Plain, these starkly realistic stories create a psychologically acute portrait of poverty and dignity in the countryside at a time when Mexico was undergoing rapid industrialization following the upheavals of the Revolution. According to Ilan Stavans, the stories’ “depth seems almost inexhaustible: with a few strokes, Rulfo creates a complex human landscape defined by desolation. These stories are lessons in morality. . . . They are also astonishing examples of artistic distillation.” To introduce a new generation of readers to Rulfo’s unsurpassable literary talents, this new translation repositions the collection as a classic of world literature. Working from the definitive Spanish edition of El llano en llamas established by the Fundación Juan Rulfo, Ilan Stavans and co-translator Harold Augenbram present fresh translations of the original fifteen stories, as well as two more stories that have not appeared in English before—“The Legacy of Matilde Arcángel” and “The Day of the Collapse.” The translators have artfully preserved the author’s “peasantisms,” in appreciation of the distinctive voices of his characters. Such careful, elegiac rendering of the stories perfectly suits Rulfo’s Mexico, in which people on the edge of despair nonetheless retain a sense of self, of integrity that will not be taken away.

About Juan Rulfo

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One of today's preeminent essayists, cultural critics, and translators, Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His books include The Hispanic Condition; On Borrowed Words; Spanglish; Love and Language; and Gabriel Garcia Marquez: The Early Years. He is the editor of The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories; The Poetry of Pablo Neruda; the three-volume set of Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories; Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing; The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature; and The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry. Margaret Sayers Peden is an American translator and Professor, she is a Missouri native who was born in 1920. One of the leading translators of her time, Peden has translated more than 40 books and has won numerous prizes and grants. In 2007, she collected a variety of Mexican literature to combine and edit the book Mexican Writers on Writing.
Published September 1, 2012 by University of Texas Press. 140 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The harsh and beautiful landscape of the Mexican countryside is personified, with stories taking places in towns like Corazón de Maria, translated as the heart of Mary, though in the war-torn country, God is decidedly absent, leaving characters with quiet resignation or haunted despair.

Oct 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Plain in Flames (Joe R. a...

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