Arreola, Juan José

Arreola, Juan José

▪ Mexican writer
born September 21, 1918, Ciudad Guzmán, Mexico
died December 3, 2001, Guadalajara

      Mexican short-fiction writer and humorist who was a master of brief subgenres, such as the short story, the epigram, and the sketch. He published only one novel, La feria (1963; The Fair). His collection of stories Confabulario (1952) has been reprinted in several expanded editions and was translated into English as Confabulario and Other Inventions.

      One of 14 children, Arreola had to leave school at age eight. He tried his hand at several professions, including journalism, teaching, and editing. He also studied acting in Mexico and in France, where he worked as an extra in the Comédie Française from 1945 to 1946. When he returned to Mexico City, he took an editorial position with a respected firm.

      As a writer, Arreola's trademark was his humour, which fluctuated between the witty and the cosmic. He was obsessively drawn to the absurd and enjoyed satirizing modern technology and its monstrous by-products. He sounds at times like a comical and impudent Kafka. One of Arreola's fixations was the absurdity of religious belief and what he denounced as God's unequal relationship to humankind. This is the theme of "El silencio de Dios" ( "God's Silence" ).

      Like Jorge Luis Borges (Borges, Jorge Luis), Arreola cultivated the hybrid subgenre of the essay-story, a combination that lends authority to quite outlandish propositions. "El guardagujas" ( "The Switchman" ) is Arreola's most anthologized piece. It is without question his most representative. A stranded railroad traveler waits for months to board a train that never arrives, only to discover that schedules, routes, and even the landscapes seen from the windows of railroad cars are fake. Some literal-minded readers have interpreted the story as a criticism of the Mexican railroad system, others as an allegory of Mexican society as a whole. The story is both, as well as an allegory of modern technological society and a critique of the entire universe, whose functioning seems to be in the hands of a very minor employee, a switchman who is like an incompetent minor god.

Roberto González Echevarría

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Juan José Arreola — Zúñiga (Zapotlán el Grande hoy Ciudad Guzmán , Jalisco; 21 de septiembre de 1918 Guadalajara, Jalisco; 3 de diciembre de 2001) fue un escritor, académico y editor mexicano. Contenido 1 Biografía 2 Obras …   Wikipedia Español

  • Juan José Arreola — Juan José Arreola, eigentl. Juan José Arreola Zúñiga, (* 21. September 1918 in Ciudad Guzmán; † 3. Dezember 2001 in Guadalajara) war ein mexikanischer Schriftsteller, der vor allem durch sein Werk Confabulario Berühmtheit erlangte. Diese… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Juan Jose Arreola — Juan José Arreola Zúñiga (* 21. September 1918 in Ciudad Guzmán; † 3. Dezember 2001 in Guadalajara) war ein mexikanischer Schriftsteller, der vor allem durch sein Werk Confabulario (1952) Berühmtheit erlangte. Juan José Arreola studierte seit… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Juan José Arreola — Zúñiga, né à Zapotlán el Grande (actuellement Ciudad Guzmán, Jalisco) le 21 septembre 1918 et mort à Guadalajara le 3 décembre 2001, est un écrivain, académicien et éditeur mexicain. Œuvres La Parábola del Trueque (1938) Sueño de Navidad (1941)… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Juan José Arreola — Zúñiga, escritor mexicano, nace en Zapotlán el Grande, Jalisco (Ciudad Guzmán) el 21 de septiembre de 1918. Muere en Guadalajara, Jalisco, el 3 de diciembre del 2001. Fue el cuarto hijo del matrimonio formado por el Sr. Felipe Arreola y la Sra.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Juan José Arreola — Infobox Writer name = Juan Jose Arreola birthdate = birth date|1918|9|21 deathdate = death date|2001|12|3|Juan José Arreola Zúñiga (September 21, 1918 – December 3, 2001) was a Mexican writer and academic. He is considered Mexico s premier… …   Wikipedia

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  • Arreola — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Chris Arreola (* 1981), US amerikanischer Boxer Jesús Alfonso Arreola Pérez (1936–2010), mexikanischer Historiker und Politiker Juan José Arreola (1918–2001), mexikanischer Schriftsteller …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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