Reyes, Alfonso

Reyes, Alfonso

(älfôn`sō rā`yĕs), 1889–1959, Mexican writer, diplomat, and educator. Reyes is generally recognized as one of the greatest Spanish-American writers of his time. After spending several years in Europe, Argentina, and Brazil as a diplomat, he became president of the Colegio de Mexico. Reyes gained international fame for his poetry, narratives, literary criticism, and essays. His Visión de Anáhuac (1917) is a long prose poem. His poetry also includes Huellas [traces] (1922), Romance del Río de Enero (1933), Yerbas del Tarahumara (1934), Golfo de México (1935), and Romances (1945). A classicist both in style and temperament, he brought grace, wit, and prodigious erudition to his essays. His prose works number in the hundreds; some of the most representative are La experienca literaria (1942), El deslinde [the frontier] (1944), Mexican Heritage (in English, 1946), and the series Simpatías y diferencias [sympathies and differences], Burlas literarias [literary spoofs], and Marginalias. His more recent works are Ancorajes (1951), Albores (1960), and A campo traviesa [open country] (1960). The complete works of Reyes were published in 14 volumes between 1955 and 1959.


See his selected essays (tr. and ed. by C. Ramsdell 1964); studies by J. W. Robb (1969), B. B. Aponte (1972).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Reyes, Alfonso


Born May 17, 1889, in Monterrey; died Dec. 27, 1959, in Mexico City. Mexican poet, scholar, and literary critic. President of the Mexican Academy of Language.

Reyes graduated from the law faculty of the University of Mexico in 1913. In 1909 he helped found the Athenaeum of Youth, which aided in the spiritual reawakening of Mexican culture. Between 1913 and 1936 he held a number of diplomatic posts.

Reyes’ first book, Aesthetic Questions, appeared in 1911. The principal theme of his critical and literary works was the historical and cultural process in Mexico and Latin America. These works included Vision of Anáhuac (1917), Similarities and Differences (vols. 1–5, 1921–26), The Demarcation (1944), and X on the Forehead (1952). Reyes also wrote many books devoted to the literature of antiquity and some European literatures, as well as to literary theory and aesthetics. In 1924 he published the dramatic narrative poem Cruel Iphigenia, and in 1952 the collection Poetic Works. He also translated a number of European classics into Spanish, including works by A. P. Chekhov.

Reyes received the National Prize of Arts and Sciences in 1945.


Obras completas, vols. 1–19. Mexico City, 1955–68.
in Russian translation:
“Detstvo.” I nostrannaia literatura, 1960, no. 12.


“A. Reies—prezident Akademii iazyka i literatury.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1958, no. 3.
Marinello, J. Sovremenniki. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from Spanish.)
Kuteishchikova, V. N. Meksikanskii roman. [Moscow, 1971.]
Trend, J. B. A. Reyes. Cambridge, 1952.
Garrido, L . A. Reyes. Mexico City, 1954.
Olguin, M. A. Reyes ensayista: Vida y pensamiento. Mexico City, 1955.
Páginas sobre A. Reyes, vols. 1–2. Monterrey, 1955–57.
Robb, J. W. El estilo de A. Reyes. Mexico City, 1965. (Bibliography on pp. 245–61.)
Siempre, 1970, no. 865. (Contains bibliography.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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