|Born||May 16, 1917
Sayula, Jalisco, Mexico
|Died||January 7, 1986
Mexico City, Mexico
|Occupation||Writer, screenwriter, photographer|
|Notable work(s)||El Llano en llamas, Pedro Páramo|
Juan Rulfo (Spanish: [ˈxwan ˈrulfo] audio (help·info); 16 May 1917 – 7 January 1986) was a Mexican writer, screenwriter and photographer. One of Latin America's most esteemed authors, Rulfo's reputation rests on two slim books, the novel Pedro Páramo (1955), and El Llano en llamas (1953), a collection of short stories. Fifteen of these seventeen short stories have been translated into English and published as The Burning Plain and Other Stories. This collection, includes his admired tale "¡Diles que no me maten!" ("Tell Them Not to Kill Me!").
The Fundación Juan Rulfo, formed by the author's family after his death, holds more than 6,000 negatives of his photographs.
Rulfo was born as Juan Nepomuceno Carlos Pérez Rulfo Vizcaíno in Apulco, Jalisco (although he was registered at Sayula, Jalisco), in the home of his paternal grandfather. After his father was killed in 1923 and after his mother's death in 1927, his grandmother raised him in the town of San Gabriel, Jalisco. Their extended family consisted of landowners whose fortunes were ruined by the Mexican Revolution and the Cristero War of 1926-1928, a Roman Catholic integralist revolt against the government of Mexico following the Mexican Revolution.
Rulfo's mother died from cardiac arrest in November 1927, when he was ten; his two uncles died a year later. Juan Rulfo had just been sent to study in the Luis Silva School, where he lived from 1928 to 1932. He completed six years of elementary school and a special seventh year from which he graduated as a bookkeeper, though he never practiced that profession. Rulfo attended a seminary (analogous to a secondary school) from 1932 to 1934, but did not attend a university afterwards ─ both because the University of Guadalajara was closed due to a strike and because he had not taken preparatory school courses. Instead, Rulfo moved to Mexico City, where he first entered the National Military Academy, which he left after three months and then he hoped to study law at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. In 1936, Rulfo was able to audit courses in literature there because he obtained a job as an immigration file clerk through his uncle, David Pérez Rulfo, a colonel working for the government, who had also gotten him admitted to the military academy.
It was there that Rulfo first began writing under the tutelage of a coworker, Efrén Hernández. In 1944 Rulfo had cofounded the literary journal Pan. Later he was able to advance in his position and he traveled Mexico as an immigration agent. In 1946 he started as a foreman for Goodrich Euzkadi, but his mild temperament led him to prefer working as a wholesale traveling sales agent. This obligated him to travel throughout all of southern Mexico, until he was fired in 1952 for asking for a radio for his company car.
He married Clara Angelina Aparicio Reyes (Mexico City, August 12, 1928) in Guadalajara, Jalisco, on April 24, 1948; they had four children, Claudia Berenice (Mexico City, January 29, 1949), Juan Francisco (Guadalajara, Jalisco, December 13, 1950), Juan Pablo (México City, April 18, 1955) and Juan Carlos Rulfo (México City, January 24, 1964). Juan Rulfo obtained a fellowship at the Centro Mexicano de Escritores, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. There, between 1952 and 1954, he was able to write the two books that would make him famous.
The first book was a collection of harshly realistic short stories titled El Llano en llamas (1953). The stories centered around life in rural Mexico around the time of the Mexican Revolution and the Cristero Rebellion. Among the best-known stories are "¡Diles que no me maten!" ("Tell Them Not To Kill Me!"), about an old man, set to be executed, captured by orders of a colonel who happens to be the son of a man he killed about forty years ago; and "No oyes ladrar los perros" ("You Don't Hear the Dogs Barking"), about a man carrying his estranged, adult, wounded son on his back to find a doctor.
The second book was Pedro Páramo (1955) a short novel about a man named Juan Preciado who travels to his recently deceased mother's hometown, Comala, to find his father, only to come across a literal ghost town─populated, that is, by spectral figures. Initially, the novel met with cool critical reception and sold only two thousand copies during the first four years; later, however, the book became highly acclaimed. Páramo was a key influence of Latin American writers such as Gabriel García Márquez. Pedro Páramo has been translated into more than 30 different languages and the English version has sold more than a million copies in the United States.
The book went through several changes in name. In two letters written in 1947 to his fiancée Clara Aparicio he refers to the title of this work he was writing then as Una estrella junto a la luna ("A Star Next to the Moon"), saying that it was causing him some trouble. During the last stages of writing, he wrote in journals that the title would be Los murmullos (The Murmurs). With the assistance of a grant from the Centro Mexicano de Escritores, Rulfo was able to finish the book between 1953 and 1954; it was published in 1955.
Between 1956 and 1958 Rulfo worked on a novella entitled El gallo de oro ("The Golden Cockerel"), which was not published until 1980. A revised and corrected edition was issued posthumously in 2010. The Fundación Rulfo possesses fragments of two uncompleted novels, La cordillera and Ozumacín. Rulfo told interviewer Luis Harss that he had written and destroyed an earlier novel set in Mexico City.
Gabriel García Márquez has said that he felt blocked as a novelist after writing his first four books and that it was only his life-changing discovery of Pedro Páramo in 1961 that opened his way to the composition of his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude. He noted that all of Rulfo's published writing, put together, "add up to no more than 300 pages; but that is almost as many and I believe they are as durable, as the pages that have come down to us from Sophocles".
A selection of Rulfo's photographs, accompanied by essays by Carlos Fuentes and others, has been published under the title of Juan Rulfo's Mexico.
From 1954 to 1957, Juan Rulfo collaborated with "La comisión del rio Papaloapan", a government institution in charge of helping the socioeconomic development of the settlements along the Papaloapan River and from 1962 until his death in 1986, he worked as editor for the National Institute for Indigenous People.
- Lecturas rulfianas / Milagros Ezquerro, 2006
- Tríptico para Juan Rulfo : poesía, fotografía, crítica / Víctor Jiménez, 2006
- La recepción inicial de Pedro Páramo / Jorge Zepeda (Editorial RM-Fundación Juan Rulfo, México, 2005. ISBN 84-933036-7-4)
- Entre la cruz y la sospecha : los cristeros de Revueltas, Yáñez y Rulfo / Angel Arias Urrutia, 2005
- Estructura y discurso de género en Pedro Páramo de Juan Rulfo / Alba Sovietina Estrada Cárdenas, 2005
- Voces de la tierra : la lección de Rulfo / Felipe Garrido, 2004
- Mito y poesía en la obra de Juan Rulfo / María Luisa Ortega, 2004
- La ficción de la memoria : Juan Rulfo ante la crítica / Federico Campbell, 2003
- Juan Rulfo / Núria Amat, 2003
- Análisis de Pedro Páramo, Juan Rulfo / César Pérez P, 2003
- Homenaje a Juan Rulfo / Dante Medina, 2002
- Perfil de Juan Rulfo / Sergio López Mena, 2001
- Revisión crítica de la obra de Juan Rulfo / Sergio López Mena, 1998
- Juan Rulfo / Alberto Vital Díaz, 1998
- La sociedad en la obra de Juan Rulfo / Magdalena González Casillas, 1998
- Rulfo en su lumbre : y otros temas latinoamericanos / Jaime Mejía Duque, 1998
- Juan Rulfo, el eterno : caminos para una interpretación / Anita Arenas Saavedra, 1997
- Juan Rulfo : la naturaleza hostil / Antonio Aliberti, 1996
- Recopilación de textos sobre Juan Rulfo / La Habana, Cuba : Centro de Investigaciones Literarias, 1995
- Los caminos de la creación en Juan Rulfo / Sergio López Mena, 1994
- Juan Rulfo : la lengua, el tiempo y el espacio / Gustavo C Fares, 1994
- Juan Rulfo, del Páramo a la esperanza : una lectura crítica de su obra / Yvette Jiménez de Báez, 1994
- Juan Rulfo y el sur de Jalisco : aspectos de su vida y obra / Wolfgang Vogt, 1994
- El laberinto y la pena : ensayo sobre la cuentística rulfiana / Rafael José Alfonzo, 1992
- Imaginar Comala : el espacio en la obra de Juan Rulfo / Gustavo C Fares, 1991
- Rulfo y el dios de la memoria / Abel Ibarra, 1991
- Rulfo, dinámica de la violencia / Marta Portal, 1990
- Mexico: Juan Rulfo Fotógrafo, 2001 : The Spanish language edition of his photographs with essays by the same authors as the volume above, but written in Spanish.
- Inframundo: El México de Juan Rulfo / 1st ed. 1980, 2nd ed. 1983 / Versions in Spanish and English with essays. Published in 1980/83 by Ediciones del Norte in Hanover, NH
- Juan Rulfo: Letras e imágenes, RM, 2002. The book is outlined in: http://www.clubcultura.com/clubliteratura/clubescritores/juanrulfo/letrasimagenes01.htm
- Rulfo's date of birth is under dispute. His official web site (Clubcultura.com[dead link]) gives his year of birth as 1917; after 1937, however, it was often listed as 1918 because he had given the wrong date to get in the military academy that his uncle directed.   
- es:El gallo de oro (novela)
- Harss, Luis and Barbara Dohmann, Into the Mainstream: Conversations with Latin-American Writers.
- Janney, Frank (Ed.) (1984). Inframundo: The Mexico of Juan Rulfo. New York: Persea Books.
- Interview with Teresa Gómez Gleason, in: Juan Rulfo (1985). Jorge Ruffinelli. ed. Obra completa (2nd ed.). Fundación Biblioteca Ayacucho. p. 214.
- Works by or about Juan Rulfo in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- ¡Diles que no me maten! - Sound recording of reading ¡Diles que no me maten! with Juan Rulfo Voice
- "Asombro por Juan Rulfo" - Transcription of a speech given by Gabriel García Márquez on 50th anniversary of El Llano en llamas, 18 September 2002.