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Who is Germán List Arzubide?", by Eric List Eguiluz
"The Rape of Rubens' Woman", a short story by Germán List Arzubide
"The Wall of Adobes", a short story by Germán List Arzubide
Two estridentista poems by Germán List Arzubide
"An Interview with Sherlock Holmes"

Drawing of Germán List by Jean Charlot

A Hundred Years of Germán List Arzubide in Mexico.

Germán List Arzubide (May 31, 1898, Puebla, Puebla - October 17, 1998, Mexico City) was a survivor .  He outlived the Mexican Revolution.  A revolution he witnessed come to life on the streets of his home town of Puebla on November 19, 1910. Germán, his brother and mother are forced to view the lifeless body of Aquiles Serdán, the pro democracy maderista patriot, as a warning against sedition. Three years later , at the age of 15, he joins the carranzista forces of Col. Gabriel Rojano, his high school English teacher. He outlived the members of the native Mexican literary movement he helped start: el estridentismo.  And he was close to outliving the XX Century.

List was on board the train spiriting the government under Venustiano Carranza away from the "Agua Prieta" rebellion in 1920 . When the rails were cut by the rebels, he was left behind having not the money nor the clout to commandeer a mount. Germán liked to express, "what would my story be had I been given a horse?" Carranza and many of those who ride off with him are gunned down days later in the small hamlet of Tlaxcalantongo.

Serdán house today. The bullet holes remain (insert). Photos: Ben Tarver.

Now, the Regional Museum of the Revolution. In 1922, Germán joined the young lawyer poet Manuel Maples Arce in launching Mexico's first native artistic movement:  "estridentismo", or Stridentism. The estridentistas brought the recent revolution home to Mexican art blowing out the votive candles to the XIX Century's academic literary forms with a Futurist blast. Rivera, Siquieros, Tamayo and Charlot, names that would shortly shine under the banner of Mexican Muralism, joined the estridentistas -signing their manifestos, participating in their expositions and lending works to be published in the movement's magazine "Horizonte", of which Germán List was its editor.

The first "estridentista" manifesto.
In 1925, the governor of the State of Veracruz, Gen. Hireberto Jara,  bought the estridentistas a modern printing press and invited them to work in his government at the capital of the state in Jalapa. Maples Arce became the governor's personal secretary and Germán the state's school inspector.  With the printing press Germán published the magazine Horizonte giving them national and international projection. In his book El movimiento estridentista, Germán List Arzubide calls Jalapa, Veracruz, in the years 1925-1927, "Estridentópolis" as it became the movement's mecca.

The hub of estridentismo in Mexico City was the Café de nadie (Nobody's Cafe, the real name was "Cafe Europa") located at avenida Jalisco (today Av. Alvaro Obregón) #100. So called because (according to List in El movimiento estridentista) the place was always unattended. The patrons would just leave on the counter whatever they thought what they had consumed was worth. It was the venue for early expositions by Rivera and Charlot as well as for poetry and literary recitals by GLA, Maples Arce, and where Arqueles Vela read the manuscripts of his novellas Señorita etcétera and El café de nadie.

(Leopoldo Méndez illust for
Zapata, Exaltación by GLA)
In the 1930's List Arzubide was a stalwart against tyranny at home and from abroad.  He was a founding member of the League of Revolutionary Writers and Artists (known by its Spanish acronym LEAR) that opposed the fascist ideology making headway in the Americas at the time. List backed the cause of Veracruz female coffee sorters in defying the wealthy coffee magnates, championing their right to unionize.

The resolution of the strike came by way of the timely out break of the de la Huerta rebellion. The general in the pay of the coffee magnates joined the conspiracy and was executed before he could see his order to shoot Germán carried out. This incident further contributed to Germán´s legacy as a human rights activist, and provided Fate yet another opportunity to come to his aid.

Germán List is a founder of the National Workers University.  He became the long-time editor of the magazine "Tiempo". He brought from Russia puppetry techniques and with Germán Cueto,  founded the Mexican "teatro guiñol". Germán continued until the end of his fascinating life to write and publish essays on literary subjects and social causes. Germán passed away on Saturday October 17, 1998, at the age of 100 years and 139 days.

Rest in peace Germán List Arzubide.

"The estridentismo ... created a whirlpool on the placid waters of our literary processes." -Xavier Villarutia

 For comments: e-mail B.Tarver  ...

The Stridentist
When you talk to List Arzubide, there is always the danger
that part of our sorrow or joy will sink into the chasm of
his laughter ...
                                                 -Arqueles Vela

Video: interview with GLA on "El café de nadie" in 1997.

Mask of  List by Germán Cueto.

"Who is Germán List Arzubide?" by Eric List

Two estridentista poems by Germán List Arzubide
"The Rape of Rubens' Woman", short story by Germán List Arzubide
"The Wall of Adobes", short story by Germán List Arzubide
An Interview with Sherlock Holmes