Carlos Fuentes

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Carlos Fuentes (2002)

Carlos Fuentes Macías (born November 11, 1928 in Panama City , Panama , † May 15, 2012 in Mexico City , Mexico ) was a Mexican writer .


Carlos Fuentes' father was a Mexican diplomat and in the 1930s a. a. Ambassador to Washington . As an adolescent, Fuentes therefore got to know numerous countries in Central and South America as well as the USA, including their culture and literature, and received a highly privileged school education.

In his own first literary attempts was mainly under the influence of Pablo Neruda . At sixteen, Fuentes went to Mexico permanently and completed his secondary education in Mexico City . During this time he worked on the magazine Hoy ( Today ) and received a first literary prize from the Colegio Francés Morelos . He then studied economics in Geneva and law at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City.

After graduating, Fuentes initially worked - like his father - as a diplomat in Chile and Argentina. From 1959 he worked exclusively as a writer and screenwriter .

Fuentes lived in Paris , Venice , London and Mexico City in the 1960s . In the 1970s he worked at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. He also represented his country as ambassador to France from 1976 to 1977 , but resigned when ex-President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz was appointed Mexican ambassador to Spain.

Since 1990 Fuentes lived in Europe , mainly in London , as well as temporarily in the USA, where he was given a teaching position at Harvard University .

Carlos Fuentes died in 2012 and was buried on the Cimetière Montparnasse in Paris, where his children are also buried. The novel Das Gläserne Siegel is dedicated to his son Carlos Fuentes Lemus (1973–1999) .



In his stories , essays and novels, Fuentes dealt with everyday life and the history of Mexico and Latin America, in particular with the independence movements and revolutions of the Central and South American countries. He traced the identity of Central America back to pre-Columbian times and to the Roman roots of Hispanic civilization. As an important and most successful representative of contemporary Mexican literature, he used various stylistic means to depict the inner conflicts and inner turmoil of young Mexican intellectuals. The emancipation of women was his special focus. Later he devoted himself in his novels to the relationship between Europe and America and also took a position on the North-South conflict .

He published his first stories in 1954 in the volume covered days , which became a bestseller in his home country. This also applied to his first novel Landscape in a Clear Light , which was the first to paint a more comprehensive picture of modern Mexico City. Soon he was head of magazines such as Revista Mexicana de Literatura and El Espectador .

In La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962) he criticized Mexican nationalism and Mexico's lack of maturity for democracy. One of his most important and interesting works is the extensive and complex novel Terra Nostra (1975), in which he artfully interweaves Mexico of the present with the history of Mexican colonization. Christoph, Ungeborn gave a description of Mexico in the 1980s and 1990s. The novel The Old Gringo (1985) about the author Ambrose Bierce was filmed in 1989 with Jane Fonda and Gregory Peck with the title Old Gringo .

Stylistically, he had a formative influence on younger Mexican authors. Occasionally, the common thread was lost in the stylistic diversity of his late work.

Fuentes saw himself generally as politically left-wing, initially welcomed the Cuban revolution and often represented the cause of the “little man” and the trade unions in his works. Later he took more conservative positions and a differentiated stance towards the USA, but remained irreconcilable towards George W. Bush , with whom he settled accounts in his collection of essays Contra Bush , published in 2004 . In My Friend Kundera from 1979, Fuentes expresses himself on the relationship between politics and literature:

Since then (sc. The Prague Spring) I have shared the view with the Czech writer, and more after each encounter, that the novel is an indispensable, indispensable part of civilization that we, a Czech and a Mexican, can have in common: one Way of saying things that couldn't be said any other way. At that time (sc. In the ČSSR ) we talked a lot, later in Paris, in Nice, in La Renaudière , when he came to France with his wife Vera and found a new home there, in his homeland, which had returned to "normality" his novels were not allowed to be published or read.

Work overview


  • 1958: La región más transparente.
    • German edition: Landscape in clear light. Translated from Mexican Spanish by Maria Bamberg. Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, Munich 1981, ISBN 3-423-01611-6 .
  • 1959: Las buenas conciencias.
  • 1962: La muerte de Artemio Cruz.
    • German edition: Nothing but life. Translated from Mexican Spanish by Christa Wegen. Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart 1964 and 8th edition Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1990, ISBN 3-518-36843-5 .
  • Zona Sagrada (1967)
  • Cambio de piel (1967) - Change of skin . German by Christa Wegen. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1990, ISBN 3-499-12398-3
  • Terra Nostra (1975) - Terra nostra . German by Maria Bamberg. Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag dtv, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-423-10043-5
  • La cabeza de la hidra (1978) - The head of the Hydra . From the Mexican Spanish by Maria Bamberg. With an afterword by Hans-Jürgen Schmitt. Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-423-19031-0
  • Una familia lejana (1980) - The Heredias . Novel. Translated from Mexican Spanish by Maria Bamberg. Ullstein, Berlin 1985 ISBN 3-548-20578-X
  • Gringo Viejo (1985) - The old gringo . Translated from Mexican Spanish by Maria Bamberg. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1998 ISBN 3-518-22284-8
  • Cristóbal Nonato (1987) - Christoph, Ungeborn: The past life and the views, the story and the collective experiences of the ingenious child Cristóbal Nonato . Read, reread, read out and for the inclined reader from Mexican Spanish and other idioms brought into understandable German by Maria Bamberg. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1994 ISBN 3-499-13249-4
  • La campaña (1990) - La campaña . Translated by Veronika Schmidt. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1992 ISBN 3-499-13164-1
  • El naranjo o los círculos del tiempo (1993)
  • Diana o la cazadora solitaria (1996) - Diana or The Lonely Huntress . Translated by Ulrich Kunzmann. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1998 ISBN 3-596-13714-4
  • Los años con Laura Díaz (1999) - The years with Laura Diaz . Translated by Ulrich Kunzmann. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2002 ISBN 3-596-14811-1
  • Instinto de Inez (2001) - The glass seal . Translated from the Spanish by Sabine Giersberg. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-596-15940-7
  • La Silla del Águila (2003)
  • Todas las familias felices (2006) - All happy families . Translated by Lisa Grüneisen. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2010, ISBN 978-3-596-17869-8
  • La voluntad y la fortuna (2008)
  • Adán en Edén (2009) Alfaguara, México DF ISBN 978-607-11-0306-2
  • Vlad (2010) Alfaguara, México DF
  • Federico en su balcón (2012) Alfaguara

Volumes of short stories, short stories

  • Los días enmascarados (1954) - Veiled days . Stories. Translated from Mexican Spanish and with an afterword by Maria Bamberg. Manesse, Zurich 1988, ISBN 3-7175-8132-5
  • Aura (1962) - Aura [novella]. Aura: novella & essay in one volume . From the Spanish by Christa Wegen (novella). From the American by Barbara von Bechtolsheim (essay) Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1999, ISBN 3-596-13988-0
  • Cantar de ciegos (1964) - The doll princess ; Twice Elena [new version of Cantar de ciegos]
  • Cumpleaños (1969) - Two short stories. Aura and birthday . Afterword by Juan Goytisolo . Translated by Christa Wegen Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1976 ISBN 3-518-01505-2
  • Chac Mool y otros cuentos (1973) - Chac Mool . Translated from Maria Bamberg. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1990 ISBN 3-499-12390-8
  • Agua quemada (1981) - Scorched water . 4 stories. Translated from Maria Bamberg. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1990 ISBN 3-499-12456-4
  • Constancia y otras novelas para vírgenes (1990) - Constancia and other stories for virgins . From the Mexican Spanish by Veronika Schmidt. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2000 ISBN 3-596-14599-6
  • La frontera de cristal (1995) - The glass border . Translated by Sabine Giersberg. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-596-15940-7 .
    • Another edition: The glass border: a novel in nine stories . Translated by Ulrich Kunzmann. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-455-02064-X
  • Inquieta compañía (2004) - Weird society. Six fantastic stories. Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Grüneisen. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2006 ISBN 978-3-10-020752-4

Essay volumes, non-fiction books

  • La nueva novela hispanoamericana (1969)
  • El mundo de José Luis Cuevas (1969)
  • Casa con dos puertas (1970)
  • Tiempo mexicano (1971)
  • Cervantes o la crítica de la lectura (1976)
  • Myself and others - From me and others (German 1989). Transferred from the American by Barbara von Bechtolsheim. Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart 1989 ISBN 3-421-06511-X
  • Valiente mundo nuevo (Epica, utopía y mito en la novela hispanoamericana) (1990)
  • El espejo enterrado (1992) - The buried mirror. The history of the Hispanic world. From the American by Ludwig Schubert. Revised new edition. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-596-13860-4
  • Geografía de la novela (1993)
  • Nuevo tiempo mexicano (1995)
  • Retratos en el tiempo, junto con Carlos Fuentes Lemus. (2000)
  • Los cinco soles de México . Editorial Seix Barral, 2000 ISBN 950-731-293-5
  • En esto creo (2002) - Alphabet of my life. What I believe in . Translated by Sabine Giersberg. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt 2006, ISBN 978-3-596-16601-5 , ISBN 3-596-16601-2
  • Contra Bush (2004)
  • Lot 68 (2005)


  • Todos los gatos son pardos (1970)
    • All cats are gray . Translated from the Spanish by Karin Kersten and Caroline Neubaur . Playmarket-Theaterverlag Jacobs u. Kersten, Berlin 1976 [reproduced as a manuscript]
  • El tuerto es rey (1970)
  • Los reinos originarios: teatro hispano-mexicano (1971)
  • Orquídeas a la luz de la luna (1982)
  • Ceremonias del alba (1990)

Filmography (selection)

  • Las dos Elenas (1964) [screenplay for the short film, director: José Luis Ibáñez]
  • Un alma pura (1965) [script for the film based on a story]
  • Las dos Elenas (1965) [Screenplay for the film based on the story]
  • La strega in amore (1966) - Witch of Love [Italian film adaptation of Aura ; Director: Damiano Damiani ]
  • Pedro Páramo (1967) [co-author]
  • Tiempo de morir (1985) - Time to Die [script based on Gabriel García Márquez ]
  • Old Gringo (1989)
  • El espejo enterrado / The Buried Mirror (1994) [text and moderation; Documentation series on Spanish civilization]
  • Mexico (2000) [Documentation]


  • Bärbel Bohr: The examination of the history, culture and literature of Europe in the work of Carlos Fuentes . Kovac, Hamburg 1998 ISBN 3-86064-798-9
  • Robert Brody, Charles Rossmann (eds.): Carlos Fuentes: A critical view . Austin, TX, 1982.
  • Barbara Dröscher, Carlos Rincón (ed.): Carlos Fuentes' Worlds: Critical Readings . edition tranvía, Verlag Walter Frey, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-925867-71-6 .
  • Gladys Feijoo: Lo fantástico en los relatos de Carlos Fuentes. Aproximación teórica . New York 1985
  • Daniel de Guzmán: Carlos Fuentes . New York 1972
  • Kristine Ibsen: Author, text and reader in the novels of Carlos Fuentes . Peter Lang, New York etc. 1996, ISBN 0-8204-3701-8 ISBN 0-8204-2127-8 .
  • Susanne Igler: Eroticism and horror: seduction by Eva podrida in Carlos Fuentes' aura and “Tlactocazine, del jardín de Flandes” . In: Eva Katrin Müller, Holger Siever , Nicole Magnus Eds .: Aging Processes: Tire - Obsolete - Renew. Contributions to the 18th Colloquy for Young Scientists in Romance Studies . Romanistischer Verlag, Bonn 2003, pp. 101–117
  • Babette Kaiserkern: Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez and the film . Peter Lang, Bern 1996, ISBN 3-631-48827-0 .
  • Thorsten Kieren: Silent grandiosity: the blocked temporality of resentment in Carlos Fuentes' work . Shaker, Aachen 2005 ISBN 3-8322-3944-8 , also in the DNB (PDF)
  • Ute Kopka: Carlos Fuentes: Ways to the literary capture of Latin American realities . (Leipzig, Univ., Diss., 1993).
  • Stephan Leopold: The novel as a shift. Studies on myth, intertextuality and narratology in "Terra nostra" by Carlos Fuentes . Gunter Narr, Tübingen 2003.
  • Gesine Müller: The boom authors today: García Márquez, Fuentes, Vargas Llosa, Donoso and their departure from the great identity-creating designs. Vervuert, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-86527-134-0 .
  • Rosa María Sauter de Maihold: Del silencio a la palabra: mythical and symbolic paths to identity in the stories of Carlos Fuentes. Peter Lang, Bern 1995 ISBN 3-631-48742-8 .
  • Opening speech at the international literature festival in Berlin. ( Memento of February 27, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) In: taz , 2005.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Carlos Fuentes is dead . Spiegel Online , May 15, 2012
  2. ^ Honorary Members: Carlos Fuentes. American Academy of Arts and Letters, accessed March 10, 2019 .
  3. Fuentes, preface to Milan Kundera, La vida está en otra patre, Barcelona 1979, in the original Spanish
  4. ^ Kunzmann in the translator database of the VdÜ , 2019
  5. ^ Giersberg in the translator database of the VdÜ, 2019
  6. Francisco Peregil: Interview with Fuentes, in El País , May 14, 2012 (Spanish), accessed on May 14, 2012
  7. ^ Bechtolsheim in the translator database of the VdÜ, 2019