Since his first publication in 1942, Luis Leal has likely done more than any other writer or scholar to foster a critical appreciation of Mexican, Chicano, and Latin American literature and culture. This volume, bringing together a representative selection of Leal’s writings from the past sixty years, is at once a wide-ranging introduction to the most influential scholar of Latino literature and a critical history of the field as it emerged and developed through the twentieth century.
Instrumental in establishing Mexican literary studies in the United States, Leal’s writings on the topic are especially instructive, ranging from essays on the significance of symbolism, culture, and history in early Chicano literature to studies of the more recent use of magical realism and of individual New Mexican, Tejano, and Mexican authors such as Juan Rulfo, Carlos Fuentes, José Montoya, and Mariano Azuela. Clearly and cogently written, these writings bring to bear an encyclopedic knowledge, a deep understanding of history and politics, and an unparalleled command of the aesthetics of storytelling, from folklore to theory. This collection affords readers the opportunity to consider—or reconsider—Latino literature under the deft guidance of its greatest reader.