Juan Jose Arreola

Juan Jose Arreola

– The desire for greatness and pride have led man astray –

  • Considered one of the great Mexican writers of the 20th century
  • Works: Palindroma, Inventory, The fair…
  • Genre: Novel, drama…
  • Awards: National Science and Arts…
  • Parents: Felipe Arreola and Victoria Zuniga
  • Spouse: Sara Sánchez (d. 1940-2001)
  • Children: Claudia, Orso and Fuensanta
  • Name: Juan Jose Arreola Zuniga


Author and essayist considered one of the most important authors of the 20th century in Mexico. His work is characterized by its experimental character, the use of black humor and the questioning of traditional values.

Questions and answers

  • What is the most important work of Juan José Arreola?

-Among his most important works stand out Confabulario (1953), Bestiario (1959) and La feria (1963).

  • When did Juan José Arreola start writing?

-In 1934 he began to produce his first works.

  • What was the first published work of Juan José Arreola?

-He published his first work in 1941, «Christmas Dream».

  • What awards did Juan José Arreola receive?

-Among others, he received the Jalisco Prize for Literature and the Drama Festival Prize from the National Institute of Fine Arts.


“The man who leaves this world without knowing who he is or where he was, is like a fool on the eve”

Juan Jose Arreola


Juan José Arreola was born on September 21, 1918 in Ciudad Guzmán , Jalisco, Zapotlán el Grande.


He was the fourth of the fourteen children of Felipe Arreola and Victoria Zúñiga.

When he was one year old, he received a severe blow to the head, the consequences of which will manifest themselves throughout his life.


Self-taught, he learned to read “by hearsay” and never finished primary school. He held many trades: toilet cleaner, carpenter, baker, cloth merchant, street vendor, worker in a coffee mill and in a chocolate shop, porter, bank collector, stationery clerk. Arreola himself says that between 1930 and 1940 he held more than twenty different trades and jobs.

He worked as a bookbinder in a printing house, where he came into contact with the publishing world. At fifteen, he had read authors such as Baudelaire or Dante .


At the age of seventeen, he suffered a religious crisis that caused him to temporarily lose faith. He began to write some texts, among them some brief memoirs.

In 1936 he arrived in the capital and enrolled in the theater school of the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA). In 1939 his first literary works appeared in the Vigía newspaper .

During 1943 he settled in Guadalajara. He met Juan Rulfo , with whom he had a close friendship.

From 1946 he was a translator, editor and proofreader in the technical department of the Fondo de Cultura Económica , simultaneously working at El Colegio de México, where he remained after being fired from the Fondo de Cultura Económica.


In 1956 they proposed to him to direct a theater company that would be sponsored by Cultural Diffusion of the UNAM, Arreola called it Poesía en voz aloud . They represented works by García Lorca and Ionesco among others.

He did theater with Rodolfo Usigli and Xavier Villaurrutia ; in France , he performed with Louis Jouvet and Jean Louis Barrault .

During the 1960s he created literary workshops and directed important publications: Los presentes, Cuadernos y Libros del unicorn, Mester magazine and the editions of the same name.

Most important works of Juan José Arreola

Considered one of the great storytellers of Mexico, he published Varia Invention (1949); Confabulario (1952), the hour of all (theater, 1954); Bestiary (1958); The fair (novel, 1963, the last work written by him) and The word education (1973, a compilation of his oral interventions).


He received numerous distinctions, such as the 1976 National Prize for Linguistics and Literature , the National Prize for Journalism , the National Prize for Cultural Television Programs or the French government’s decoration as an official of French Arts and Letters .

Marriage and children

In 1940, he married Sara Sánchez. They had three children: Claudia, Orso and Fuensanta.


Juan José Arreola died on December 3, 2001, a victim of hydrocephalus at the age of 83, in Guadalajara , Jalisco, (Mexico).


One of the most outstanding writers of Mexico.

He began writing at a young age and published his first story when he was seventeen years old.

His work covers a wide variety of genres: novel, poetic prose, story, theater…

It had a very important role in literature as it was a forerunner of the literary workshops in Mexico.


Irvin is a freelance writer and blogger with over 5 years of experience in the industry. He specializes in writing about personal finance, technology, and travel. He has a keen interest in the latest trends in these fields and enjoys sharing his knowledge with his readers. John's work has been featured on several popular websites and he has a dedicated following of readers who enjoy his relatable writing style and in-depth analysis. When he's not writing, Irvin enjoys hiking and exploring new places.

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