Who is Elena Garro?

Elena Garro (1916-1998) is a writer whose career has been over-shadowed by her tumultuous relationship with her one-time husband Octavio Paz. I wrote about her novel Los recuerdos del porvenir (first published in 1963 and translated into English by Ruth L. Simms as Recollections of Things to Come) in my first book. Los recuerdos del porvenir is an experimental novel set during the Cristero Rebellion (1926-9), an armed conflict between radical Christians and the Mexican state.  The town as narrator opens the novel, as follows:

“Aquí estoy, sentado sobre esta piedra aparente. Sólo mi memoria sabe lo que encierra. La veo y me recuerdo, y como el agua va al agua, así yo, melancólico, vengo a encontrarme en su imagen cubierta por el polvo, rodeada por las hierbas, encerrada en sí misma y condenada a la memoria y a su variado espejo. La veo, me veo y me transfiguro en multitud de colores y de tiempos. Estoy y estuve en muchos ojos. Sólo soy memoria y la memoria que de mí se tenga”


Garro was brought to mind when I came across this interview by Tanya Huntington with Sandra Messinger Cypess, discussing the latter’s monograph, Uncivil Wars: Elena Garro, Octavio Paz, and the Battle for Cultural Memory. I have yet to read it, but have found Messinger Cypess’ other contributions to the field to be significant and insightful. For those who are interested in getting a sense of Garro and Messinger Cypess’ scholarly research, here’s the link to the interview: http://www.literalmagazine.com/english_post/elena-garro-octavio-paz-and-the-battle-for-cultural-memory/ It is an excellent taster of what was a very complicated relationship between two very significant figures in Mexican literature.

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