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.
Published in 1499 and centered on the figure of a bawd and witch, Fernando de Rojas' dark and disturbing Celestina was destined to become the most suppressed classic in Spanish literary history. Routinely ignored in Spanish letters, the book nonetheless echoes through contemporary Spanish and Latin American literature. This is the phenomenon that Celestina's Brood explores. Roberto González Echevarría, one of the most eminent and influential critics of Hispanic literature writing today, uses Rojas' text as his starting point to offer an exploration of modernity in the Hispanic literary tradition, and of the Baroque as an expression of the modern. His analysis of Celestina reveals the relentless probing of the limits of language and morality that mark the work as the beginning of literary modernity in Spanish, and the start of a tradition distinguished by a penchant for the excesses of the Baroque. González Echevarría pursues this tradition and its meaning through the works of major figures such as Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, Alejo Carpentier, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, Nicolás Guillén, and Severo Sarduy, as well as through the works of lesser-known authors. By revealing continuities of the Baroque, Celestina's Brood cuts across conventional distinctions between Spanish and Latin American literary traditions to show their profound and previously unimagined affinity.
The first comprehensive and interdisciplinary study of the prostitute in Latin American literature, Claire Thora Solomon’s book The Naturalist Prostitute and Her Avatars in Latin American Literature, 1880–2010 shows the gender, ethnic, and racial identities that emerge in the literary figure of the prostitute during the consolidation of modern Latin American states in the late nineteenth century in the literary genre of Naturalism. Solomon first examines how legal, medical, and philosophical thought converged in Naturalist literature of prostitution. She then traces the persistence of these styles, themes, and stereotypes about women, sex, ethnicity, and race in the twentieth and twenty-first century literature with a particular emphasis on the historical fiction of prostitution and its selective reconstruction of the past.
Fictions of the Bad Life illustrates how at very different moments—the turn of the twentieth century, the 1920s–30s, and finally the turn of the twenty-first century—the past is rewritten to accommodate contemporary desires for historical belonging and national identity, even as these efforts inevitably re-inscribe the repressed colonial history they wish to change.
Manuel Zapata Olivella and the “Darkening” of Latin American Literature is an examination of the fictional work of one of Latin America’s most prolific, yet overlooked, writers. Born in Colombia to parents of mixed ancestry, Zapata Olivella used his novels to explore the plight of the downtrodden in his nation and by extension the experience of blacks in other parts of the Americas. Author Antonio D. Tillis offers a critical examination of Zapata Olivella’s major works of fiction from the 1940s to the 1990s, including Tierra mojada (1947); Pasión vagabunda (1949); He visto la noche (1953); La Calle 10 (1960); En Chimá nace un santo (1963); Las claves mágicas de América (1989); and Hemingway, el cazador de la muerte (1993).
Tillis focuses on the development of the “black aesthetic” in Zapata Olivella’s stories, in which the circumstances of the people of African heritage are centered in the narrative discourse. Tillis also traces Zapata Olivella’s novelistic effort to incorporate the Africa-descended subject into the literature of Latin America. A critical look at the placement of Afro–Latin American protagonists reveals the sociopolitical and historical challenges of citizenship and community. In addition, this study explores tenets of postcolonial and postmodern thought such as place, displacement, marginalization, historiographic metafiction, and chronological disjuncture in relation to Zapata Olivella’s fiction. Tillis concludes that the novelistic trajectory of this Afro-Colombian writer was one that brought into literary history an often overlooked subject: the disenfranchised citizen of African ancestry.
By expanding and updating the current scholarship on Zapata Olivella, Tillis leads us to new contexts for and interpretations of this author’s work. This analysis will be welcomed by readers who are just beginning to discover the writings of Zapata Olivella, and its new approach to those writings will be appreciated by scholars who are already familiar with his works.
The Argentine scholar Noé Jitrik has long been one of the foremost literary critics in Latin America, noted not only for his groundbreaking scholarship but also for his wit. This volume is the first to make available in English a selection of his most influential writings. These sparkling translations of essays first published between 1969 and the late 1990s reveal the extraordinary scope of Jitrik’s work, his sharp insights into the interrelations between history and literature, and his keen awareness of the specificities of Latin American literature and its relationship to European writing. Together they signal the variety of critical approaches and vocabularies Jitrik has embraced over the course of his long career, including French structuralist thought, psychoanalysis, semiotics, and Marxism.
The Noé Jitrik Reader showcases Jitrik’s reflections on marginality and the canon, exile and return, lack and excess, autobiography, Argentine nationalism, the state of literary criticism, the avant-garde, and the so-called Boom in Latin American literature. Among the writers whose work he analyzes in the essays collected here are Jorge Luis Borges, Esteban Echeverría, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, José Martí, César Vallejo, José Bianco, Juan Carlos Onetti, José María Arguedas, Julio Cortázar, and Augusto Roa Bastos. The Noé Jitrik Reader offers English-language readers a unique opportunity to appreciate the rigor and thoughtfulness of one of Latin America’s most informed and persuasive literary critics.
In this bold study, Edna Aizenberg offers a much-needed corrective to both Latin American literary scholarship and popular assumptions that the whole of Latin America served as a Nazi refuge both during and after World War II. Analyzing the treatment of the Shoah by five leading figures in Argentine, Brazilian, and Chilean writing—Alberto Gerchunoff, Clarice Lispector, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriela Mistral, and Joao Guimaraes Rosa—Aizenberg illuminates how Latin American intellectuals engaged with the horrific information that reached them regarding the Holocaust, including the sympathy and collaboration of their own governments with the Nazis. Aizenberg emphasizes how—through fiction, journalism, and activism—these five culture-makers opposed and fought fascism. At the same time, her readings of individual texts confront shopworn clichés about Latin American writing and literature, suggesting deeper and richer dimensions to many canonical works. This interdisciplinary book fills critical gaps in both Holocaust and Latin American studies, and will be of great interest to scholars and students in both fields.
Reading North by South was first published in 1995. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Neil Larsen is concerned with misleading interpretations of literature and culture that dominate Latin American studies in North America. In Reading North by South he attempts to correct the distorted views that have prevailed by proposing the need for a freshly conceived historical materialist approach to Latin American texts and cultural practices.
Reading North by South opens with reflections on how North America has read Latin America since the advent of popular fiction from authors like Cortázar and García Márquez. Larsen argues that the North American academy tends to interpret Latin American texts through a postmodern lens of cultural politics that ignores historical realism, and he contends that more attention needs to be paid to historical and class issues. He provides insightful commentaries on political discourses, cultural events, films, and literary texts, and maintains that the canonization of the modernist aesthetic in the United States has resulted in a marginalization of writers and writing that reflect the historical realities of Latin American politics.
As it analyzes important points of debate within and outside of Latin American studies, Reading North by South draws upon a wide diversity of texts written in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Of particular interest is Larsen's discussion of writings from the Caribbean, an area that is not frequently included in Latin American studies. Reading North by South will lead readers to question the expectations and preconceptions that inform their readings of Latin American literature.
Neil Larsen is associate professor of Spanish and Latin American literature at Northeastern University. He is the author of Modernism and Hegemony: A Materialist Critique of Aesthetic Agencies (Minnesota, 1990), and editor of The Discourse of Power: Culture, Hegemony, and the Authoritarian State in Latin America (1983).
In this masterful experiment in truly comparative literary criticism, Alfred J. Mac Adam establishes Latin America's place in the Western literary tradition. By juxtaposing Latin American and Anglo-American texts, he shows how Latin American literature has gone beyond the context of Hispanic letters to borrow from, exploit, and finally extend the Western tradition.
Mac Adam describes the changes that have taken place in Latin American literature since the time of Modernismo (roughly 1880-1920), when Spanish American writers tried to update their literary language by imitating foreign, mostly French, literature. Since then, as he demonstrates, Latin American writing has achieved a pioneering status by means of a different kind of imitation—parody—whereby it gives back to the former centers of Western culture their own writing, now distorted and reshaped into something new.
Christened the New World, Latin America represented a new beginning for Spanish colonists. In fact, the discovery of Latin America was only part of a continuing, worldwide search for new resources: fertile land, precious metals, and slave labor. Nevertheless, this idealized image of Latin America continues to dominate interpretations of “natives,” who are transformed into marginalized, romanticized figures, either unusually wise or wildly heroic.
Transatlantic Translations refigures Latin American narratives outside of this standard postcolonial framework of victimization and resistance. Julio Ortega traces the ways in which Latin America has been represented through the works of many “native speakers,” including Juan Rulfo, Gabriel García Márquez, and Juan Maria Gutierrez. Language, Ortega reveals, was not solely a way for colonizers to indoctrinate and civilize; instead, it gave Latin Americans the means to tell their own history. Spanning literatures from the early modern period to the present day, the essays in Transatlantic Translations demonstrate the rich history of shared language between old and new worlds.