Family Photographs: Relationships Among the Generations

Rudolfo Anaya (1937- )

Bless Me, Ultima


  • Born in Pastura, New Mexico, of Mexican-American parents.
  • Injured as a child in a diving accident, from which it took years to recover his mobility.
  • Educated at University of Mexico.


  • Taught English at various New Mexico schools, including University of Albuquerque and University of New Mexico.
  • Won a Quinto Sol literary award for his first novel, Bless Me, Ultima, in 1972 and became recognized as one of the foremost Chicano writers. Now, sometimes called, the "godfather of Chicano literature."

Major Writings

Bless Me, Ultima (1972)
Heart of Aztlan (1976)
Tortuga (1979)
Lord of the Dawn: The Legend of Quetzalcoatl (1987)
The Silence of the Llano, short stories (1982)
The Adventures of Juan Chicaspatas, poetry (1985)
Cuentos Chicanos: A Short-Story Anthology, edited with A. Marquez
Zia Summer and A Rio Grande Fall, detection fiction (1996)
Jalamanta: A Message from the Desert (1996)

Critical Sources and Reviews

Magical Realism

The following "definition" appears in the course description for Social and Magical Realism in American Literature (Instructor: Hardack; College: Bryn Mawr). The course focuses on "the ways in which realism and social criticism interact with a magical tradition or aesthetic in the context of American minority experience:"

Magical realism argues for the erasure of a variety of hard borders-between characters, the natural and the supernatural, the explicable and inexplicable, and in some cases between cultures. As a result, it also allows for the remapping of a variety of social geographies. When Silko, for example posits the connection between ancient past and present day, between Asian Jungle and American Southwest, she also argues-like Gerald Vizenor and Gloria Anzaldua, who make useful secondary referents for her work-for a radical reconceptualization of what constitutes American identity. We might finally come to call magical realism a literature of new world transubstantiation, where thoughts can become reality, the supernatural the quotidian, and the "reality" of the once-marginalized more fantastic than the descriptions of those who claimed to have "discovered" them.

Retired Discussion Series

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