Mexican literature (like all culture in general) acquired, after the revolution of 1910, but above all in the last twenty years, an expressive and human tradition, a responsibility, a physiognomy. The universities are now very numerous and the ruling class participates in a notable way in the cultural movement (it is enough to mention the so-called “generation of 1915”, a literary cultural group from which men such as Lombardo Toledano and J. Torres Bodet emerged); finally, social and political problems are generally felt and widespread.
The awakening of the century first assumes the aspect and rigor of philosophical, critical and historical investigation. Personalities such as Antonio Caso, a Bergsonian philosopher who died in 1946, author of important philosophical, historical and aesthetic essays (from Fl concepto de la Historia Universal of 1923 to El Acto ideatorio of 1934); like José Vasconcelos; as Alfonso Reyes; as Jesús T. Acevedo. These last three thinkers and writers (who have made school among the last generations of critics were, together with Enrique González Martínez, Ricardo Gómez Robelo, Julio Torri, Alfonso Cravioto and others, the animators of the movement of the “Ateneo de the Juventud “, or, as it was later called, of the” Ateneo de México “, a fundamental element in the formation of modern Mexican culture and literature. Under the influence of this movement and under the poetic and stylistic guidance of Rafael López and E. González Martínez, several poets developed: Roberto Argülles Bringas (died in 1915), whose work not collected in volume testifies to a bold and new expressive research; Manuel de la Parra (died in 1930), who is affected by Visiones Lejanas, 1914; Eduardo Colín, author of La vida intacta, 1916; Alfonso Cravioto, author of El alma nueva de las cosas viejas, 1921; and others.
The movement of literary magazines had a significant importance in Mexico, albeit to a lesser extent than in other countries. After the Revista Moderna and Nosotros, 1912-1914, come Pégaso, from 1917, and México Moderno, 1920-23; while among the general culture magazines El maestro, La antorcha and La falange, which followed the ideological line of Vasconcelos and the poetic approach of E. González Martínez, were established within the years 1921 to 1925. But it is from the Contemporáneos magazine, 1928-31, that the most notable personalities of opera, as well as of contemporary Mexican theater and painting emerged. It introduced in Mexico the European fashions of ultraism and futurism (which took the name of the “Estridentist” movement) and de-provincialized, with the knowledge of modern French and Spanish aesthetic currents, the Mexican literary environment. Among the writers who came out of this experience, a separate place must be assigned to four poets: Jaime Torres Bodet; Enrique González Rojo, who died in 1939, and whose collection Elegías romanas was published posthumously, 1941; Bernardo Ortíz de Montellano, translator of Rilke and Eliot, author of Trompo de stai colores, 1925, and finally, of El sombrerón, dramatic fantasies, 1946; and José Gorostiza, cultured and intelligent lyricist, author of Canciones para cantar en las barcas, 1925. But, on the other hand, we should also remember the most “modern” and most daring of the many poets who came out of the ranks of Contemporaieos: Carlos Pellicer, “poet of the senses”, author of numerous lyrics reminding Rubén Darío; Xavier villaurrutia, author of Nocturnos, 1933, also in the manner of Rubén Darío and the Spanish Juan Ramón Jiménez, and then of highly original theatrical works; Salvador Novo, cordial humorist, passed through various experiences up to aesthetic criticism and mature news in Nueva Grandeza Mexicana, 1946, etc. Among the most recent poets stands out Octavio Paz, a revolutionary poet, robust personality, whose book Raíz del Hombre, 1937, left a strong mark in the public opinion of his country. Also worth mentioning are the lyrics by Alfonso Gutiérrez Hermosillo, who died in 1935; those of the rebel poet Efraín Huerta; by Jorge González Durán, author of Ante el polvo y la muerte, 1945; by the Catholic Manuel Ponce and the poet Carmen Toscano. For Mexico 2005, please check ehealthfacts.org.
Although Taller and Tierra Nueva died in 1942, the living magazines América, Tiras de colores, Pan, etc., collect interesting testimonies.
As rich as lyric and perhaps more original than it, in some respects at least, is contemporary Mexican fiction. We can also distinguish some currents: that of the novel of the environment and of revolutionary inspiration, that of a social character, “colonialism”, “indigenism”, “popularism” of the Mexican “corridos”, etc. Alongside the naturalist narrative of Mariano Azuela and Martín Luis Guzmán, we must remember that of Artemio de Valle – Arizpe delle Leyendas mexicanas, 1943, and the prose of his Espejo del tiempo (1948), that of the famous Los fusilados, 1934, by Cipriano Campos Alatorre; that of costume descriptor Martín Gómez Palacio; that expert of Genaro Estrada, Pero Galín, 1926; that of the stories by Julio Torri, in De fusilamientos, 1940; that of Mauricio Magdaleno, Teodoro Torres, Genaro Fernández Mac Grégor, and many others. Among the best-known storytellers abroad: José Eustasio Rivera, author of La Vorágine, 1938 (Italian translation, Milan 1941), and José Rubén Romero, popular writer, known for the character Pito Pérez, and author of a autobiographical operetta, written in a sober style, Rosenda, 1946. Among the young: José María Benites, author of Ciudad, 1942; Francisco Rojas González, author of La negra Augustias, 1944; Alberto Quiroz.
Over the last thirty years, Mexican theater has developed its own physiognomy and gathered new and fresh energies and sources of inspiration. In addition to the works, now consecrated, by José F. Elizondo, Carlos Díaz Dufoo, Víctor Manuel Díez Barroso, all of whom died in recent years, the “Teatro de Orientación” by Celestino Gorostiza and the works by Rodolfo Usigli should be remembered (to remember Corona de sombra, 1943), writers who also came out of the literary experience of Contemporáneos.