The Plain in Flames

By Juan Rulfo; Ilan Stavans (Translator); Harold Augenbraum (Translator)
University of Texas Press, Paperback, 9780292743854, 122pp.

Publication Date: September 2012

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Description

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 the Author
JUAN RULFO (1918-1986) was one of Mexico's premier authors of the twentieth century and an important precursor of "magical realism" in Latin American writing.Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. He is the author of many books, including Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language and A Most Imperfect Union. He is also general editor of The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature.Harold Augenbraum is the Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.
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