Rosario Castellanos (1925-1974)
The Nine Guardians
- Born in 1925 in Mexico City; spent much of her childhood at her family's sugar and
coffee plantations in Comitan, Chiapas, a small town near the border between Mexico and
- Received a graduate degree in philosophy from National University, Mexico City, in 1950;
studied aesthetics at University of Madrid, Spain
- Married philosopher Ricardo Guerra in 1958; one child; divorced 1971.
- Died of accidental electrocution in 1974 in Tel Aviv, Israel, was(ironically) buried in
the rotunda of Illustrious Men in Mexico City.
- Worked with Indian theater groups and the Indigenous Institute of San Cristóbal early
in her career; taught journalism and literature at National University, Mexico City for a
large part of the sixties and early seventies and served as a visitng fellow at the
Universities of Wisconsin, Indiana, and Colorado.
- Served as Mexican ambassador to Israel, 1971-74.
- Writing reflected a life-long commitment to the plight of the Native Indians, fuelled by
an awareness, from childhood experience, of their mistreatment by the Europeanized Mexican
- Also a strong feminist, whose consciousness of the social/economic gulf between the
powerful and powerless in her country was complicated by her awareness of the
disempowerment of women in both traditions.
- Although best known for her fiction, also wrote poetry, plays, and essays.
- Won numerous awards for her writing culminating in her being named "Woman of the
Year" in Mexico and receiving the Premio Carlos Trouyet award for her entire oeuvre
in 1967 and the Sourasky Prize for Literature in 1971. Balún-Canán (The
Nine Guardians) voted best novel of the year in 1957.
Selected Writings (*indicates a work available in English
*Balún-Canán (novel), 1957. Tr. as The Nine
Guardians by Irene Nicholson, 1959.
Poemas (1953-1955) (poetry), 1957.
*Ciudad Real (short stories), 1960. Tr. as City of Kings by Robert S.
Rudder and Gloria Chacon de Arjona, 1992.
Livida luz (poetry), 1960.
Oficio de tinieblas (novel), 1962.
Los convidados de agosto (short stories), 1964.
Materia memorable (nonfiction), 1969.
Album de familia (novella and short stories), 1971.
*Poesia no eres tu; obra poetica, 1948-1971 (poetry), 1972. Bilingual edition
published as Selected Poems of Rosario Castellanos, tr. by Magda Bogin, 1988.
El eterno femenino (play), 1975.
A Rosario Castellanos Reader, tr by Maureen Ahern, 1988.
Another Way to Be: Selected Works, tr. and ed. by Myralyn F. Allgood, 1990.
Critical Sources and Reviews
- Biographical and critical information in the following Gale publications:
Contemporary Authors, Volume 131, Contemporary Authors, New Revision
Series, Volume 58, and Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 66.
Gale Literary Database (Contemporary Authors Online) can be accessed online
through a subscribing library at www.galenet.com.
Other Gale resources include the Dictionary of Hispanic Biography; Dictionary
of Literary Biography, Volume 113 (contains portrait); Dictionary of
Twentieth Century Culture, ed. Peter Standish, Volume 4: "Hispanic Culture of
Mexico, Central America, and the Carribbean;" Hispanic Literature Criticism,
Volume 1; Hispanic Writers; and Major Twentieth Century Writers.
Retired Discussion Series