Alfonso Reyes Ochoa (17 May 1889 in Monterrey, Nuevo León – 27 December 1959 in Mexico City) was a Mexican writer, philosopher and diplomat. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature five times.
In 1909, he and other like-minded young intellectuals such as Martín Luis Guzmán and José Vasconcelos, founded the Ateneo de la Juventud to promote new cultural and aesthetic ideals and educational reform in Mexico. At the age of 21, Reyes published his first book, Cuestiones estéticas. The following year, 1912, he wrote a short story, La Cena (“The Supper”), considered a forerunner of surrealism and of Latin American magical realism. In that year he was also named Secretary of the Escuela Nacional de Altos Estudios at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Alfonso Reyes was posted to Mexico’s diplomatic service in France in 1913. After Germany invaded France in 1914, he moved to Madrid, Spain, and pursued a literary career as journalist, investigator, translator, critic, and writer. In 1915, he wrote what is probably his best-known essay, “Visión de Anáhuac (1519),” with its famous epigraph, “Viajero: has llegado a la región más transparente del aire”, the source of the title of Carlos Fuentes’s novel: La región más transparente.
The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges referred to Reyes as “the greatest prose writer in the Spanish language of any age”. At least five avenues in Monterrey’s metropolitan area, three in the municipality and one in Mexico City are named after Reyes. His tomb is located at The Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres in the Panteón de Dolores in Mexico, City.