Alejo Carpentier (älā´hō kärpĕntyār´), 1904–80, Cuban novelist and musicologist. As a political exile in Paris between 1928 and 1939, Carpentier was strongly influenced by Antonin Artaud, Jacques Prévert, and the surrealists. Reflecting his deep commitment to revolutionary politics, his novels explore the irrational elements of the Latin American world, its rich variety of cultures, and the possibility of its magical transformation. Widely regarded as one of the greatest modern Latin American writers, Carpentier was also important as a theorist of the region's literature and historian of its music. Among his works are Ecue-Yamba-O (1933), The Lost Steps (1953; tr. 1956), The Chase (1956; tr. 1989), The Kingdom of This World (1949, tr. 1957), The War of Time (1963, tr. 1970), Reasons of State (1974; tr. 1976), and The Harp and the Shadow (1979; tr. 1990).
See studies by M. Adams (1975), F. Janney (1981), D. Shaw (1985), and R. Echevarriá (1977, rev. ed. 1990).