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Years later Vision de anahuac alfonso reyes Diaz del Castillo, chronicler of the conquest, voiced his lament for a despoiled culture that was passionate and cruel but also beautiful and splendid: In this luminous prose and vivid imagery every object stands out, distinct and immaculate in color and form, bathed in the blue and gold intensity of sky and sun.

Vision de Anahuac Critical Essays

Among the illustrations in this old work are scenes of the New World as the explorers saw them and wrote about them. These pictures, ingenuous in conception, meticulous in design, present an exotic world of nature in the vegetation of New Spain: To the priests and warriors of the tribe that entered the valley early in the fourteenth century—the last of such migrations into Anahuac—the legendary vision of the eagle and the serpent was the fulfillment of a prophecy.

Behind that roving band lay a history of many vision de anahuac alfonso reyes and wars in which memory and fact faded into a primitive myth of warriors who came out of the Seven Caves to which the seven tribes traced their dim beginnings.

There they built a city, a flower of stone on water, and the city became an empire, cyclopean like those of Egypt and Babylon, over which Moctezuma the magnificent but weak ruled in the ill-omened days that heralded the coming of the white man.

Vision de Anahuac Critical Essays -

The stage had been set for the last act in an ancient drama of conquest and settlement when Cortes and his followers crossed the snow-capped mountains and descended through fields of maize and maguey to the valley floor. Ahead of them, connected with the mainland by three stone causeways two vision de anahuac alfonso reyes in width, Tenochtitlan rose like a mirage from waters that caught vision de anahuac alfonso reyes held the color of the sky.

In that clear atmosphere every detail of the city and its environs could be viewed as if through crystal, an intricate pattern of temples, palaces, public squares, streets, canals, and gardens bright with flowers.

Over the city loomed the bulk of the great temple, with wide streets radiating from its four corners. Smoke rose from the sanctuaries atop the holy pyramid, and through the still air came the echoing rumble of drums and the thin music of flutes.

In the Age of Discovery, books appear filled with extraordinary news and fanciful geographies.


History, obliged to discover new worlds, overflows its classical channel, and so political fact cedes its post to ethnographic discourse and to the picture-painting of civilizations. The work consists of three volumes in-folio that were later reprinted individually, and illustrated with profusion and enchantment.

  • Nagualli: Alfonso Reyes, from "Vision of Anáhuac, ," trans. Carina del Valle Schorske
  • Vision de Anahuac
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From the bosom of the impressionistic clouds, a fat-cheeked Aeolus blows, indicating the course of the winds—the constant guardian of the sons of Ulysses. See the footprints of African life, beneath the traditional palm tree vision de anahuac alfonso reyes to the squat straw hut, always smoking; men and beasts of other climes, minute and detailed scenes, exotic plants and imagined islands.

Vision de Anahuac : Alfonso Reyes :

And on the coasts of New France, groups of natives given over to hunting and fishing, to dancing or the building of cities. Hold, here, your eyes: Ceres' ears of corn and paradisical plantains, fruits ripe with unknown honey; but, above all, the typical plants: In the sharp outlines of the illustrations, fruit and leaf, stem vision de anahuac alfonso reyes root, are abstract forms, their clarity undisturbed by color.

These plants, protected by thorns, announce that nature here is not, like in the south or on the coasts, abundant in saps or nourishing vapors. But over the course of centuries, man will contrive to drain away the waters, working like a beaver, returning to the valley its own terrible character: The desiccation of the valley has been going on from to Three races have worked on it, and almost three civilizations—how little there is in common between the viceroyal organization and the prodigious political fiction that gave us thirty years of Augustan peace!

Three monarchical regimes, divided by parentheses of anarchy, are here an example of how the work of the state grows and corrects itself before the same threats of nature and the same land to hoe.

Our century found us still digging up the last shovelful and tearing open the last ditch. The draining of the lakes is its own small drama with its own heroes and scenic backdrop. Before a great assembly overseen by the Viceroy and the Archbishop, the sluices were opened: Like the spirit of disaster, the vengeful water spied over the city; troubling the dreams of that vision de anahuac alfonso reyes and petty people, sweeping clean its flowering stones; lying in wait, blue eye open, for its brave bastions.

When the makers of the desert finish their labors, the social catastrophe erupts. The American traveler is condemned vision de anahuac alfonso reyes hear the same question from Europeans: We would surprise them if we were to speak of an American Castile higher than Spain's, more harmonious, surely less bitter however much they are broken by enormous mountains instead of by hills, where the air glitters like a mirror and enjoys perennial autumn.