In this examination of the cross between anthropology and literature in contemporary Latin America, Amy Fass Emery studies how Latin American writers' experiences and studies in the field of anthropology have shaped their representations of cultural Others in fiction. She approaches her subject first in broad terms and then in close textual readings of important writers such as Alejo Carpentier, José María Arguedas, and Miguel Barnet.
Emery develops the concept of an "anthropological imagination"--that is, the conjunction of anthropology and literature in twentieth-century Latin American literary texts. While exploring the uses of anthropology in contemporary narrative and fiction, Emery also gives consideration to documentary and testimonial writings.
The major focus of this engaging work is the study of the novel. Analyzing fictions by authors from Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru, Emery covers a wide geographical region, as well as a diverse group of topics. Subjects such as surrealist primitivism, the testimonio, the transcultural novel, and the relation of the anthropological imagination to the vexed question of postmodernism in the Latin American context are all given insightful deliberation.
As the first extended study of interrelations between anthropology and literature in Latin America, Emery's work will prove invaluable to a wide spectrum of Latin Americanists and to those with comparative interests in anthropology, twentieth-century literature, and postmodernism.