Pitol, Sergio

Pitol, Sergio (Sergio Pitol Deméneghi), 1933–2018, Mexican author, essayist, and translator, b. Puebla. He studied law and literature at the National Autonomous Univ. of Mexico (1950–55), then joined the Mexican diplomatic service (1960), serving abroad as a cultural attaché. Resigning in 1968, he worked for a Barcelona publishing house, then rejoined the foreign service, eventually becoming ambassador to Czechoslovakia in the mid-1980s. Returning to Mexico in 1989, he taught at the Univ. of Veracruz. His The Trilogy of Memory, consisting of El arte de la fuga (1996, tr. The Art of Flight, 2015), El viaje (2000, tr. The Journey, 2015), and El mago de Viena (2005, tr. The Magician of Vienna, 2017), combines memoir, travel essays, and dreams. Among his novels are El tañido de una flauta [the sound of a flute] (1972) and El disfile del amor [the love parade] (1984). He is also known for his short stories, such as those in the collection Vals de Mefisto (1984, tr. Mephisto's Waltz, 2018). His work, characterized by some as eccentric and unfathomable, nonetheless has humor and playful irony. In 2005 he won the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's most prestigious literary award. Pitol also translated numerous works from English and Polish into Spanish.

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