Thursday, October 20, 2005, 4:00PM
Center for Government and International Studies
(CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St.)
"The USA from a Latin American Viewpoint"
Carlos Monsiváis is Mexico's leading cultural critic, and
Mexico City's greatest living chronicler. He has written extensively
and in evocative journalistic detail about Mexican history, culture
and politics. He was born May 4, 1938, in Mexico City, and studied
philosophy, economics and literature at the Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de México.
Monsiváis's main publications are collections of literary
journalism-in fact, he has pioneered the genre of "nueva
crónica," which often has been compared to the "new
journalism" of the United States. The first collection, Días
de guardar (Days to Remember, 1970), chronicled the 1968
student movement in Mexico. Amor perdido (Lost Love,
1977) is more sprawling, treating Mexican popular culture, famous
communists, high society, the Mexican hippie movement, and Mexican
cultural history more generally. Escenas de pudor y liviandad
(Scenes of Power and Frivolity, 1981), about Mexican romantic
life, won the Jorge Cuesta Literary Award. He wrote about the organization
of Mexican society in Entrada libre (Free Pass, 1987),
and about consumerism in Mexico City in Los rituales del caos
(The Rituals of Chaos, 1995).
Monsiváis won Spain's Premio Anagrama de Ensayo, as
well as the Anagrama International Literature Prize for Aires
de familia: Cultura y sociedad en América Latina (Family
Pedigree: Culture and Society in Latin America, 2000),
which treats Hollywood, TV, mythology and folklore in Latin America
from 1880 to 1920. Additionally, he has edited books on art and
poetry, and written biographies of Mexican artists and writers,
including Amado Nervo, Salvador Novo, and Jorge Cuesta. A selection
of Monsiváis's essays, Mexican Postcards (1997), is
available in English translation.
Other honors include the National Journalism Award (1977),
the Mazatlán Prize for Literature (1987), the Manuel de Buendía
Prize for Literature (1988) and the Francisco Zarco Journalism Award
(1995). Carlos Monsiváis lives in Mexico City.