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Rudolfo Anaya

Rudolfo Anaya is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico and award-winning author of numerous books including the classic Bless Me, Ultima. He has received myriad awards and honors for his work including the  National Humanities Medal (2015), the National Medal of Arts (2001) and the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement from the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes (2012). He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the Southwest has served as an inspiration for his writing throughout his life.

Aztlán: Essays on the Chicano Homeland

Aztlán - Essays on the Chicano Homeland

"During the Chicano Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, the idea of Aztlán, homeland of the ancient Aztecs, served as a unifying force in an emerging cultural renaissance. Does the term remain useful? This expanded new edition of the classic 1989 collection of essays about Aztlán weighs its value. To encompass new developments in the discourse the editors have added six new essays."

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The Sorrows of Young Alfonso

The Sorrows of Young Alfonso

"'The world is full of sorrow,' Agapita whispered to Alfonso.

Did she stamp those words into his destiny?

The story of Alfonso, a Nuevo Mexicano, begins with his birth, when the curandera Agapita delivers these haunting words into his infant ear. What then unfolds is an elegiac song to the llanos of New Mexico where Alfonso comes of age. As this exquisite novel charts Alfonso’s life journey from childhood through his education and evolution as a writer, renowned Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya invites readers to reflect on the truths and mysteries of the human condition.

Because Alfonso 'didn’t write his own biography,' it falls to his childhood friend, the anonymous narrator here, to tell his story, through a series of letters addressed to a mysterious figure named K. The narrator depicts young Alfonso caught between dual influences: his beloved, devout Catholic mother, Rafaelita, and the folk healer Agapita. After suffering a terrible accident that leaves him physically handicapped, Alfonso faces intellectual crises during his university years, all of which move him down the path of his destiny.

In describing these events, the 'old man' writing the letters interweaves Alfonso’s experiences with fragments of his own life and of the New Mexican llano that both men have called home. The trajectory of Alfonso’s life in turn mirrors the history of New Mexico and the turbulent beginnings of the Chicano movement in which the young protagonist plays a trailblazing role.

As story builds upon story, the commonality of traits among the narrator, his subject, and perhaps Anaya himself appears more than coincidental. Permeated by Anaya’s trademark religious and mythological imagery, The Sorrows of Young Alfonso is a luminous meditation on memory, reality, and the human experience."

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The Essays

The Essays

" In his essay 'The New World Man,' Rudolfo Anaya writes, 'I stand poised at the center of power, the knowing of myself, the heart and soul of the New World man alive in me.' Best known for his novel Bless Me, Ultima, which established him as one of the founders of Chicano literature, The Essays illustrates Anaya’s gift for storytelling and his deep connection to the land and its history. These intimate and contemplative essays explore censorship, immigration, urban development, the Southwest as a region, and personal identity. In 'Aztlan: A Homeland Without Boundaries,' he discusses the reimagining of the modern Chicano community through ancient myth and legend; in 'The Spirit of Place,' he explores the historical connection between literature and the earth. Some essays are autobiographical, some argumentative; all are passionate. A must-have for Anaya fans and readers of Chicano literature, this book will also appeal to anyone eager to explore contemporary America through fresh eyes."

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Department of English Language and Literature
Humanities Building, Second Floor
MSC03 2170
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Phone: (505) 277-6347
Fax: (505) 277-0021

english@unm.edu