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The Shadow of the Strongman

The Shadow of the Strongman

(La sombra del Caudillo)

Martín Luis Guzmán
Edited and Translated by Gustavo Pellón

September 2017 - 280 pp.

Format ISBN Price Qty
Cloth (no dust jacket) 978-1-62466-628-5
$55.00
Paper 978-1-62466-627-8
$19.00
Examination 978-1-62466-627-8
$3.00

Quick Overview

"Guzmán was uniquely qualified to offer his critique of the Mexican political scene. His resume reveals a man who lived the Revolution as military commander, advisor, confidant, emissary, politician, academic, and writer. The style of The Shadow of the Strongman borrows from each of those diverse experiences to become, in many ways, a mixed genre that hovers between novel and biography, invention and history. Great reading for anyone interested in Mexico. The novel is not easy to translate. Guzmán is writing about political and historical events that require realistic accuracy while also incorporating complex and poetic descriptions of people and places. Pellón is to be congratulated for his translation that understands this duality." —Douglas J. Weatherford, Brigham Young University

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A searing novel of the post-1910 Mexican revolutionary era that itself challenged the Mexican political establishment, Guzmán's The Shadow of the Strongman (La Sombra del Caudillo) stands beside Azuela's The Underdogs (Los de abajo) in the pantheon of Mexican fiction. Unmasking the years of political intrigue and assassination that followed the Revolution, the novel was adapted in the 1960 film La Sombra del Caudillo, which was banned in Mexico for thirty years.

 

Reviews:

"It was about time someone translated this novel! While Guzmán's Eagle and the Serpent has received considerable attention, his Shadow of the Strongman has remained unjustly ignored. It is, in my opinion, one of the best political novels in Latin America, and Pellón's translation is outstanding. He manages to convey the implicit violence and tension in the language in the original Spanish, in a highly readable translation.
    "Pellón has established himself as one of the best translators of Latin American Literature working at this time, and this new translation is one more example of his outstanding work."
    —F. Javier Cevallos, Framingham State University

"[Guzmán] throws the cruel spotlight on all the treachery, the sycophancy, and corruption of generals, politicians, and labor leaders; here is oil graft, murder, plotting, the vileness of the local political and military scenes pinned down by the dagger of truth . . . from the façade gilded with fine words regarding the freeing of the peasants to the grimy back stairs of Mexico’s political edifice."
    —Carleton Beals, in Saturday Review of Literature (1930)

"Guzmán was uniquely qualified to offer his critique of the Mexican political scene. His resume reveals a man who lived the Revolution as military commander, advisor, confidant, emissary, politician, academic, and writer. The style of The Shadow of the Strongman borrows from each of those diverse experiences to become, in many ways, a mixed genre that hovers between novel and biography, invention and history. Great reading for anyone interested in Mexico.
    "The novel is not easy to translate. Guzmán is writing about political and historical events that require realistic accuracy while also incorporating complex and poetic descriptions of people and places. Pellón is to be congratulated for his translation that understands this duality."
    —Douglas J. Weatherford, Brigham Young University

"At last, an English translation of Martín Luis Guzmán's great novel of the Mexican Revolution! Readers will be intrigued not only by Guzmán's representation of authoritarianism and personalism, but also his nuanced and lyrical descriptions of Mexico City in the 1920s. Pellón's translation is a marvelous piece of work."
    —Jürgen Buchenau, University of North Carolina at Charlotte 

"Pellón's translation of Martín Luis Guzmán's The Shadow of the Strongman is rigorous, poetic, and timely. Readers familiar with the Mexican Revolution will delight in Pellón's deft translation of Guzmán's language; readers who are new to the subject will be treated to an incredible look into the past, and perhaps learn lessons for the present and future."
     —Vinodh Venkatesh, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

 

Contents:

Translator’s Preface
Chronology of Martín Luis Guzmán’s Life
Chronology of the Mexican Revolution
Key to Characters in the Novel and Their Historical Models

The Shadow of the Strongman

Appendix:

  • Historical and Literary Context of The Shadow of the Strongman
  • The Mexican Revolution, The Shadow of the Strongman in the Context of the Revolution
  • Literary Considerations
  • Guzmán’s View of the Revolution

Recommended Readings
Glossary
Related Texts

 

About the Authors:

Martín Luis Guzmán (1887 - 1976) was a Mexican journalist and novelist who served under Pancho Villa, and was the author of a five-volume biography of Villa.

Gustavo Pellón is Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at the University of Virginia.