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Asturias, Miguel Ángel


Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


Miguel Ángel Asturias is best known for his novels The President (1946, about life under a ruthless Latin American dictator) and Men of Maize (1949, about the fights between the native Indians of Guatemala and the land-exploiting farmers), and his “Banana Trilogy,” about the Latin American banana industry: The Strong Wind (1950), The Green Pope (1954), and The Eyes of the Interred (1960). Influenced by Indian and Spanish folklore as well as frequent political and social upheavals, he achieved worldwide fame through his novels, poetry, and short stories. His writings often blend Mayan myth and folklore with surrealism and satiric social commentary, and demonstrate his compassion for those unable to escape political or economic domination. Asturias's incorporative use of Mayan ethnology as an overarching theme in many of his works has enriched his writing, lending it authenticity and conviction. Praised for his commitment to social causes and his innovative use of myth, legend, and surrealist techniques, Asturias is considered an early practitioner of magical realism. For Asturias, magic and reality were not contradictory, and he saw a direct relationship between magical realism and the indigenous mentality. He believed that what some people may see as “magic,” is quite “real” in the eyes of his native Mayan people. He blends myth, history, and fiction in such a way that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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