Mexico's Literary History

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When most people think of Mexican culture, they think of good food, music, and clothing. Although these are major aspects, the culture has also been affected by literature. The history of Mexican literature can be broken down into distinct periods and areas: pre-colonial, colonial, satirical writings, independence, modern, and present day. Each of these areas resulted in famous authors, works, and awards.

To begin with, Mexican literature dates back to pre-colonial times. The earliest works by Indians include the Popol Vuh, sacred books written in the Quiche language by the Maya of Guatemala. Manuscripts of the Aztec empire and dramas by the Inca can also be traced back to this time. These works laid the foundation for Mexico’s unique and rich literary history.

Additionally, the colonial period produced great works. The centers of colonial rule were Mexico City, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, and Bogota. Early texts were chronicles of the conquests and descriptions of these settlements. Christopher Columbus and Hernando Cortes can be credited with much of these writings, although other explorers contributed their findings as well. During this period, authors such as Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Bartolome de la Casas, and Antonio Vierra. This is also when the first notable mentions of poetry are found. The 1500s-1600s were a time of artistic creativity much like that of Spain and Portugal. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a talented Mexican nun, was on the same level with the best European literature. She is known as the first great woman writer, often called the Tenth Muse. Cruz is still well known today for her amazing poetry. Other poets of this time included Juan del Valle y Caviedes, Gregorio de ...

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...velists are doing an excellent job of making sure their culture survives. The books they create are entertaining yet give a reader valuable knowledge of a culture different from their own.


In summation, Mexican literature has added much to the world’s society as a whole. The history of Mexican literature is as unique as the culture itself. It can be broken down into the areas of pre-colonial, colonial, satirical writings, independence, modern, and present day. The authors of both past and present have made sure that Mexican culture will survive through literature. Although Mexico will always be famous for its food, the literature is amazing as well.

Works Cited

Mexico Maps. 13 May 2010. 13 May 2010 .

Semple, Adam. The New Book of Knowledge: Volume L. Danbury: Grolier Incorporated, 2002.
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