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Juan Rulfo,
in full Juan Nepomuceno Carlos Pérez Rulfo Vizcaíno, (born May 16, 1917,
Acapulco, Mexico — died January 7, 1986, Mexico City), Mexican writer who is
considered one of the finest novelists and short-story creators in 20th-century
Latin America, though his production—consisting essentially of two books—was
very small.

Because of
the themes of his fiction, he is often seen as the last of the novelists of the
Mexican Revolution. He had enormous impact on those Latin American authors,
including Gabriel García Márquez, who practiced what has come to be known as
magic realism, but he did not theorize about it.

Rulfo was an
avowed follower of the American novelist William Faulkner.

As a child
growing up in the rural countryside, Rulfo witnessed the latter part (1926–29)
of the violent Cristero rebellion in western Mexico. His family of prosperous
landowners lost a considerable fortune. When they moved to Mexico City, Rulfo
worked for a rubber company and as a film scriptwriter. Many of the short
stories that were later published in El
llano en llamas (1953; The Burning Plain) first appeared in the review Pan;
they depict the violence of the rural environment and the moral stagnation of
its people.

In them
Rulfo first used narrative techniques that later would be incorporated into the
Latin American new novel, such as the use of stream of consciousness,
flashbacks, and shifting points of view. Pedro Páramo (1955) examines the
physical and moral disintegration of a laconic cacique (boss) and is set in a
mythical hell on earth inhabited by the dead, who are haunted by their past
 transgressions.