Carlos Fuentes  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Carlos Fuentes Macías (November 11, 1928 – May 15, 2012) was a Mexican writer and one of the best-known novelists and essayists in the Spanish-speaking world. He has influenced contemporary Latin American literature, and his works have been translated into English and other languages.



Fuentes was born in Panama City to Mexican parents. His father was a diplomat, and he spent his childhood in various capital cities: Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Washington, Santiago, Quito, and Buenos Aires. As an adolescent he returned to Mexico, where he lived until 1965. He was married to film star Rita Macedo from 1959 until 1973, although he was a habitual philanderer and reportedly, his affairs—which he has claimed included film actresses such as Jeanne Moreau and Jean Seberg—brought her to despair. The couple ended their relationship amid scandal and Fuentes then married journalist and interviewer Silvia Lemus.

Following in the footsteps of his parents, he became a diplomat in 1965 and served in London, Paris (as ambassador), and other capitals. In 1978 he resigned as ambassador to France in protest over the appointment of Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, former president of Mexico, as ambassador to Spain. He has also taught courses at Brown, Princeton, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Cambridge, and George Mason University. He was a teacher at Brown University. He was also a friend of the U.S. sociologist C. Wright Mills, to whom he dedicated his book The Death of Artemio Cruz.

Fuentes fathered three children. Only one of them survived him: Cecilia Fuentes Macedo, born in 1962, now working in television production. A son, Carlos Fuentes Lemus, died from complications associated with hemophilia in 1999 at the age of 25. A daughter, Natasha Fuentes Lemus (born 31 August 1974), died of an apparent drug overdose in Mexico City 22 August 2005, at the age of 30.

Carlos Fuentes received the Four Freedoms Award for Freedom of Speech and Expression in 2006, in Middelburg, the Netherlands.

On May 15, 2012, Consuelo Saizar, the head of the National Council for Culture and Arts, publicly announced the death of Carlos Fuentes at the age of 83. Fuentes died in a private hospital in southern Mexico City from a massive haemorrhage.


When he was 30 years old Fuentes published his first novel, La región más transparente, which became a classic. It was innovative not only for its prose, but also by having Mexico City as its main setting. The novel provides insight into Mexican life, highlighting the mixture of Spanish, indigenous and mestizo, all cohabiting the same geographical area but with different cultures.

The author described himself as a pre-modern writer, using only pens, ink and paper. He asked, "Do words need anything else?" Fuentes said that he detested those authors who from the beginning claim to have a recipe for success. In a speech on his writing process he related that when he began the writing process he began by asking, "Who am I writing for?"

He published Las Buenas Conciencias in 1959. This is probably his most accessible novel depicting the privileged middle classes of a medium-sized town, probably modelled on Guanajuato.Template:Citation needed

His 1960s novels, Aura (1962) and La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962), are acclaimed for using experimental modern narrative styles (including the second person form) to discuss history, society and identity.

In 1967, during a meeting with Alejo Carpentier, Julio Cortázar and Miguel Otero Silva, Carlos Fuentes launched the project of a series of biographies depicting Latin American caudillos, which would be called Los Padres de la Patria. Although the project was never completed, it provided the base for Alejo Carpentier's Reasons of State (El recurso del método, 1974) and various other "dictator novels" (novelas del dictador).

1975's Terra Nostra won the Venezuelan Rómulo Gallegos Prize.

His 1985 novel Gringo viejo, the first United States bestseller written by a Mexican author, was filmed as Old Gringo (1989), starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda.

In 1994, he published Diana, The Goddess Who Hunts Alone, a fictionalized account of his alleged affair with Jean Seberg. However, his account has been questioned several times.

Fuentes regularly contributed essays on politics and culture to the Spanish newspaper El País and the Mexican Reforma. He was an observer of Mexico-U.S. relations and critic of the United States' policies in Latin America. He also wrote Las dos Elenas.

List of works


Short stories

  • Los días enmascarados (1954)
  • Cantar de ciegos (1964)
  • Chac Mool y otros cuentos (1973)
  • Agua quemada (1983) ISBN 968-16-1577-8
  • Dos educaciones. (1991) ISBN 84-397-1728-8
  • Los hijos del conquistador (1994)
  • Inquieta compañía (2004)
  • Las dos Elenas
  • El hijo de Andres Aparicio



  • Todos los gatos son pardos (1970)
  • El tuerto es rey (1970).
  • Los reinos originarios (1971)
  • Orquídeas a la luz de la luna. Comedia mexicana. (1982)
  • Ceremonias del alba (1990)


  • ¿No oyes ladrar los perros? (1974)
  • Pedro Páramo (1968)

Further reading

  • Magic Lens. The Transformation of the Visual Arts in the Narrative World of Carlos Fuentes. Lanin A Gyurko (New Orleans: University Press of the South, 2010).
  • The Shattered Screen. Myth and Demythification in the Art of Carlos Fuentes and Billy Wilder. Lanin A Gyurko (New Orleans: University Press of the South, 2009).
  • Lifting the obsidian mask : the artistic vision of Carlos Fuentes. Lanin A Gyurko, 2007
  • Mexican Writers on Writing. Margaret Sayers Peden (Trinity University Press, 2007).
  • Carlos Fuentes' The death of Artemio Cruz (Modern Critical Interpretations). Harold Bloom, 2006
  • Fuentes, Terra nostra, and the reconfiguration of Latin American culture. Michael Abeyta, 2006
  • Carlos Fuentes's Terra nostra and the Kabbalah: the recreation of the Hispanic world. Sheldon Penn, 2003
  • The narrative of Carlos Fuentes : family, text, nation. Steven Boldy, 2002
  • Carlos Fuentes, Mexico and modernity. Van Delden, Maarten, 1998
  • The postmodern Fuentes. Helmuth, Chalene, 1997
  • Specular narratives : critical perspectives on Carlos Fuentes, Juan Goytisolo, Mario Vargas Llosa. Roy Boland, 1997
  • The writings of Carlos Fuentes. Williams, Raymond L, 1996
  • A Marxist reading of Fuentes, Vargas Llosa, and Puig. Durán, Víctor M, 1994
  • Author, text, and reader in the novels of Carlos Fuentes. Ibsen, Kristine, 1993
  • Carlos Fuentes : life, work, and criticism. González, Alfonso, 1987
  • Carlos Fuentes. Faris, Wendy B, 1983
  • Carlos Fuentes, a critical view. Brody, Robert, 1982
  • The archetypes of Carlos Fuentes: from witch to androgyne. Durán, Gloria, 1980
  • Carlos Fuentes (Twayne World Authors Series). Guzmán, Daniel de, 1972
  • El mito en la obra narrativa de Carlos Fuentes, Francisco Javier Ordiz, 2005
  • Los signos del laberinto : Terra nostra de Carlos Fuentes, Carmen V Vidaurre Arenas, 2004
  • Países de la memoria y el deseo : Jorge Luis Borges y Carlos Fuentes, Carmen Perilli, 2004
  • Carlos Fuentes : perspectivas críticas, Edith Negrín, 2002
  • Carlos Fuentes desde la crítica, Georgina García-Gutiérrez, 2001
  • El lenguaje que somos : Carlos Fuentes y el pensamiento de lo hispanoamericano, Estela Marta Saint-André, 2001
  • Los escritos de Carlos Fuentes, Raymond L Williams, 1998
  • Carlos Fuentes : 40 años de escritor, José Francisco Conde, 1993
  • Interpretaciones a la obra de Carlos Fuentes, Ana Maria Hernández de López, 1990
  • Fabulación de la fe : Carlos Fuentes, Fernando García Núñez, 1989
  • La obra de Carlos Fuentes : una visión múltiple, Ana María Hernández de López, 1988
  • Lo fantástico en los relatos de Carlos Fuentes : aproximación teórica, Gladys Feijoo, 1985
  • El cuento mexicano contemporáneo : Rulfo, Arreola y Fuentes, Bertie Acker, 1984
  • La narrativa de Carlos Fuentes, Aida Elsa Ramírez Mattei, 1983
  • Los disfraces : la obra mestiza de Carlos Fuentes, Georgina García-Gutiérrez, 1981
  • Nostalgia del futuro en la obra de Carlos Fuentes, Liliana Befumo Boschi, 1974
  • Aproximación a la literatura del mexicano Carlos Fuentes, Luján Carranza, 1974
  • Carlos Fuentes y la realidad de México, Fidel Ortega Martínez, 1969
  • Constancia: Y Otras Novelas Para Virgenes, 1990

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Carlos Fuentes" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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