Margo Glantz: Biography, Style And Works

Margarita “Margo” Glantz Shapiro (1930) is a Mexican writer, literary critic, essayist, whose professional activity was also focused on teaching. She is one of the most outstanding and current intellectuals in her country and has a large number of works.

Margo Glantz developed literary genres such as novels, essays, short stories, and criticism. The most outstanding features of his texts are the use of a simple, precise and reflective language. His work was framed within the current of modernism and the so-called ‘literary boom’.

Margo Glantz (2004). Source: Alina López Cámara [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Among the most relevant titles of the author are  Two hundred blue whales, The genealogies, Shipwreck syndrome, The day of your wedding, Young narrative of Mexico and The tongue in the hand. It has been recognized with more than three dozen awards, such as the National Arts and Sciences.

Article index

  • one


    • 1.1

      Birth and family

    • 1.2


    • 1.3

      First marriage

    • 1.4

      First tasks

    • 1.5

      Stay in Cuba

    • 1.6

      First publications

    • 1.7

      Second matrimony

    • 1.8

      Glantz in the media

    • 1.9

      Literary continuity

    • 1.10

      Last years

    • 1.11

      Awards and honours

  • two


  • 3


    • 3.1

      Novels and short stories

    • 3.2

      Criticism and essay

    • 3.3

      Brief description of some of his works

  • 4



Birth and family

Margarita was born on January 28, 1930 in Mexico City, although the origin of her family is linked to Ukrainian immigrants. His parents were Jacobo Glantz and Elizabeth Shapiro, who came to Mexico after getting married to soon integrate into the cultural and artistic life of the Aztec country.


Margo’s first years of studies were spent in various Mexican institutions, due to the fact that the family constantly moved. Among other centers, he spent a year at the Israelita de México school and another two at Secondary School No. 15. Later, he went to high school at the National Preparatory School.

He carried out his university training at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where he studied Hispanic letters, English letters, and art history. Upon graduation, he completed a doctorate in Hispanic literature at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

First marriage

In the late 1940s, Margo began a love affair with Francisco López de Cámara, a philosophy student. Despite her parents’ opposition, she married him in February 1950. They lived in France for five years and during their marriage they had a daughter named Alina López-Cámara y Glantz.

First tasks

Glantz returned to Mexico when he completed his specialization in France. In 1958 he began teaching classes at UNAM, a performance that he has carried out for half a century. His academic work extended to renowned universities such as Princeton, Harvard, the University of Buenos Aires and the University of Berlin.

Stay in Cuba

The writer and her husband made a trip to Cuba in 1961, witnessing the historic Bay of Pigs invasion by opponents of Fidel Castro. There he met Ché Guevara, Osmani Cienfuegos, Heraclio Zepeda, Juan José Arreola, among other personalities.

First publications

Margo began her writing career in the early 1960s. It began with  Travels in Mexico, foreign chronicles  (1963),  Tennessee Williams and the North American theater  (1964) and  Young Narrative of Mexico  (1969). All belonged to the genre essay and literary criticism.

Second matrimony

In 1969 the writer married for the second time, this time with Luis Mario Schneider, Argentine writer and poet, nationalized Mexican. The couple settled in Coyoacán and in 1971 they had their daughter Renata Schneider Glantz. The couple did not last long together.

Glantz in the media

Glantz’s intelligence, creativity and organizational skills led her to join the media. In 1966 he created and directed the printed publication Punto de Partida . That year she was also in charge of the Mexican-Israeli Cultural Institute, an occupation that took her four years.

Then she was in charge of the Foreign Languages ​​Center of the UNAM. At the end of the seventies and for eight years, he actively participated in the newspaper Unomásuno and in Radio Universidad. Margo was also responsible for three years, between 1983 and 1986, of the literature area of ​​the Institute of Fine Arts.

Literary continuity

The literary activity of Margo Glantz from the beginning was unstoppable. Between the eighties and nineties he wrote a large number of novels, short stories and essays. Of those titles stood out: You will not pronounce, The war of the brothers, The day of your wedding and Blots and erasers.

Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UNAM, place of work of Margo Glantz. Source: Vladmartinez [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Between 1986 and 1988 he served as representative of his country’s culture in London. At that time he received several recognitions for his literary work and contributions, such as the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize, the Magda Donato Prize and the National University.

Last years

The last years of Glantz’s life have been devoted to both academic teaching and writing. His latest publications have been: I also remember, For a brief wound, 19th century journalism in Mexico and Self-portrait with an open mouth.

In an interview with El Sol de México in June 2019, he referred to his latest book entitled And by looking at everything, he saw nothing. He still resides in Mexico City, where he frequently attends social and cultural events. In addition, Glantz is an active user of the social network Twitter, where she has a large number of followers.

Awards and honours

– Magda Donato Award in 1982.

– Xavier Villaurrutia Award in 1984 for Shipwreck Syndrome.

– National University Award in 1991.

– Member of the Mexican Academy of Language in 1995.

– Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award in 2004.

– National Prize of Sciences and Arts in 2004.

– Honorary Emeritus Creator of the National System of Creators in 2005.

– Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz University Merit Medal in 2005.

– Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Metropolitan Autonomous University in 2005.

– Coatlicue Prize in literature in 2009.

– Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León in 2010.

– Gold Medal for Fine Arts in 2010.

– Manuel Rojas Ibero-American Narrative Award in 2015.

– Medal for his work as a professor at UNAM for 55 years.

– Alfonso Reyes Award in 2017.


Glantz’s literary style is framed in modernism and the ‘literary boom’ of the sixties. It has a clear and precise language, where reflective and critical literary images abound. The themes of his writings have focused on art, family, society, culture, history and literature.


Novels and short stories

– The thousand and one calories (1978).

– Two hundred blue whales (1979).

– You will not pronounce (1980).

– The war of the brothers (1980).

– The war of the brothers (1982).

– The genealogies (1981).

– The day of your wedding (1982).

– Shipwreck syndrome (1984).

– Of the loving inclination to get tangled in hair (1984).

– Reading material: Margo Glantz  (1990).

– Family tree (1991).

– Appearances (1996).

– Landslide zone (2001).

– The trail (2002).

– Animal with two faces (2004).

– Story of a woman who walked through life with designer shoes (2005).

– Saña (2006).

– Coyolxauhqui (2008).

– Collected Works II: Narrative (2008).

– Crowned with flies (2012).

– I also remember (2014).

– Simple oral perversion (2015).

– The walking hair (2015).

– Self-portrait with an open mouth (2015).

– For a brief wound (2016).

– Spinal cord (2016).

– Trotsky’s daughter (2016).

– And dreams are dreams (2016).

Criticism and essay

– Travels in Mexico, foreign chronicles (1963).

– Tennessee Williams and the American Theater (1964).

– Young Narrative of Mexico (1969).

– Wave and writing, young people from 20 to 33 (1971).

– A serial made: the adventure of the Count of Raousset-Boulbon (1972).

– The humanities in the twentieth century. Literature, I and II, volumes VII and VIII (1978).

– Repetitions, essays on Mexican literature (1979).

– Intervention and pretext, essays on comparative and Ibero-American literature (1981).

– The day of your wedding (1982).

– The tongue in the hand (1984).

– Mexican storytellers of the twentieth century. Volume I: end of the old regime (1984).

– Embroidering on writing and cooking (1984).

– Erosions, tests (1985).

– Guide for outsiders, literary stall (1984-1986).

– Blots and drafts, essays on colonial literature (1992).

– Notes and comments on Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (1993).

– La Malinche, her parents and her children (1994).

– Sprain of the waist, essays on twentieth century Mexican literature (1994).

– Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Hagiography or autobiography? (nineteen ninety five).

– Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: knowledge and pleasures (1996).

– Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: the system of comparison and hyperbole (2000).

– Collected Works I: Colonial Literature (2006).

– The art of Salvatore Ferragamo (2006).

– Self-portrait with necklace, 1933 (2007).

– The art of irony: Carlos Monsiváis before criticism (2007).

– Scenes of transgression: María de Zayas in her literary-cultural context (2009).

– The ultra-blackness of Pierre Soulages (2010).

– Collected Works III: Essays on 19th Century Mexican Literature (2010).

– Musée du Louvre (2011).

– 19th century journalism in Mexico (2011).

– Center and periphery: viceregal culture, language and literature in America (2011).

– Intervention and pretext (2012).

– Collected Works IV: Essays on 20th Century Mexican Literature (2013).

– Are María Zaya’s novels exemplary? (2015).

Brief description of some of his works

The genealogies (1981)

It has been the most outstanding book of the Mexican writer, in it she made reference to the families and the generations through a Jewish marriage that emigrated to Mexico. The text had biographical features and it was where Margo expressed her most intimate experiences and perceptions.


“When I was very young, my father wore a beard, he looked like a young Trotsky. They killed Trotsky, and if I accompanied my father down the street, people would say: ‘Look, that’s where Trotsky and his daughter go.’

“I was scared and I didn’t want to go out with him. Before dying Diego Rivera told my father: ‘you look more and more like him.’ My parents agree that Rivera’s Russian was imperfect but very suggestive despite the bad accent. “


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  3. Huerta, L. (2017). Margo Glantz: passionate reader and writer. Mexico: El Universal. Recovered from:
  4. Hayashi, J. (2019). Margo Glantz, from Sor Juana to social networks. Mexico: The Sun of Mexico. Recovered from:
  5. Margo Glantz. (2019). Mexico: Encyclopedia of Literature in Mexico. Recovered from:

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