Rulfo, Juan Nepomuceno Carlos Pérez Vizcaíno (1917–1986) By Lisi, Laura
Juan Rulfo was a Mexican writer and photographer and is considered one of the most influential writers of Spanish-language literature in the modern age. His literary production is mainly limited to two brief works—a collection of short stories, El Llano en llamas [The Burning Plain], and a novel, Pedro Páramo—which sufficed to assign him a central place in world literature. Rulfo was a man of few words who in his writing attempted to fulfil his ideal of a literary style without ornament. His stories and novel have been described as masterpieces of prose, considered ‘poetic prose’ by some, where direct descriptions are avoided and every word is calculated to depict environments, characters and actions by pure insinuation or allusion to elements that they lack.
Rulfo’s early life was marked by his father’s assassination in 1923 and his mother’s death only a few years later, in 1927. At the age of eight, during the unrest caused by the Mexican Revolution and the anti-clerical measures that led to the Cristero War (1926–29), Rulfo remembers having discovered his love for reading, when the town priest hid his library in his grandmother’s house, to save it from being confiscated by the revolutionary forces.