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.
The Avant-Garde and Geopolitics in Latin America examines the canonical Latin American avant-garde texts of the 1920s and 1930s in novels, travel writing, journalism, and poetry, and presents them in a new light as formulators of modern Western culture and precursors of global culture. Particular focus is placed on the work of Roberto Arlt and Mário de Andrade as exemplars of the movement.
Fernando J. Rosenberg provides a theoretical historiography of Latin American literature and the role that modernity and avant-gardism played in it. He finds significant parallels between the cultural battles of the interwar years in Latin America and current debates over the role of the peripheral nation-state within the culture of globalization. Rosenberg establishes that the Latin American avant-garde evolved on its own terms, in polemic dialogue with the European movements, critiquing modernity itself and developing a global geopolitical awareness. In the process these writers created a bridge between postcolonial and postmodern culture, forming a distinct movement that continues its influence today.
Baroque New Worlds traces the changing nature of Baroque representation in Europe and the Americas across four centuries, from its seventeenth-century origins as a Catholic and monarchical aesthetic and ideology to its contemporary function as a postcolonial ideology aimed at disrupting entrenched power structures and perceptual categories. Baroque forms are exuberant, ample, dynamic, and porous, and in the regions colonized by Catholic Europe, the Baroque was itself eventually colonized. In the New World, its transplants immediately began to reflect the cultural perspectives and iconographies of the indigenous and African artisans who built and decorated Catholic structures, and Europe’s own cultural products were radically altered in turn. Today, under the rubric of the Neobaroque, this transculturated Baroque continues to impel artistic expression in literature, the visual arts, architecture, and popular entertainment worldwide.
Since Neobaroque reconstitutions necessarily reference the European Baroque, this volume begins with the reevaluation of the Baroque that evolved in Europe during the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth. Foundational essays by Friedrich Nietzsche, Heinrich Wölfflin, Walter Benjamin, Eugenio d’Ors, René Wellek, and Mario Praz recuperate and redefine the historical Baroque. Their essays lay the groundwork for the revisionist Latin American essays, many of which have not been translated into English until now. Authors including Alejo Carpentier, José Lezama Lima, Severo Sarduy, Édouard Glissant, Haroldo de Campos, and Carlos Fuentes understand the New World Baroque and Neobaroque as decolonizing strategies in Latin America and other postcolonial contexts. This collection moves between art history and literary criticism to provide a rich interdisciplinary discussion of the transcultural forms and functions of the Baroque.
Contributors. Dorothy Z. Baker, Walter Benjamin, Christine Buci-Glucksmann, José Pascual Buxó, Leo Cabranes-Grant, Haroldo de Campos, Alejo Carpentier, Irlemar Chiampi, William Childers, Gonzalo Celorio, Eugenio d’Ors, Jorge Ruedas de la Serna, Carlos Fuentes, Édouard Glissant, Roberto González Echevarría, Ángel Guido, Monika Kaup, José Lezama Lima, Friedrich Nietzsche, Mario Praz, Timothy J. Reiss, Alfonso Reyes, Severo Sarduy, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Maarten van Delden, René Wellek, Christopher Winks, Heinrich Wölfflin, Lois Parkinson Zamora
Through economic liberalization and the untethering of labor and production markets, masculinity as hegemon has entered a crisis stage. Renegotiated labor and familial orders have triggered a widespread cultural renegotiation of how masculinity operates and is represented. This holds especially true in Latin America.
Addressing this, Vinodh Venkatesh uses contemporary Latin American literature to examine how masculinity is constructed and conceived. The Body as Capital centers socioeconomic and political concerns, anxieties, and paradigms on the male anatomy and on the matrices of masculinities presented in fiction. Developing concepts such as the “market of masculinities” and the “transnational theater of masculinities,” the author explains how contemporary fiction centers the male body and masculine expressions as key components in the relationship between culture, space, and global tensile forces.
Venkatesh includes novels by canonical and newer writers from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Peru, and Chile. He focuses on texts produced after 1990, coinciding with what has popularly been termed the neoliberal experiment. In addition to probing well-known novels such as La fiesta del Chivo and La mujer habitada and their accompanying body of criticism, The Body as Capital defines and examines several masculine tropes that will be of interest to scholars of contemporary Latin American literature and gender studies. Ultimately, Venkatesh argues for a more holistic approximation of discursive gender that will feed into other angles of criticism, forging a new path in the critical debates over gender and sexuality in Latin American writing.
Hominids have always been obsessed with representing their own bodies. The first "selfies" were prehistoric negative hand images and human stick figures, followed by stone and ceramic representations of the human figure. Thousands of years later, moving via historic art and literature to contemporary social media, the contemporary term "selfie" was self-generated. The book illuminates some "selfies". This collection of critical essays about the fixation on the human self addresses a multi-faceted geographic set of cultures -- the Iberian Peninsula to pre-Columbian America and Hispanic America -- analysing such representations from medical, literal and metaphorical perspectives over centuries. Chapter contributions address the representation of the body itself as subject, in both visual and textual manners, and illuminate attempts at control of the environment, of perception, of behaviour and of actions, by artists and authors. Other chapters address the body as subjected to circumstance, representing the body as affected by factors such as illness, injury, treatment and death. These myriad effects on the body are interpreted through the brushes of painters and the pens of authors for social and/or personal control purposes. The essays reveal critics' insights when "selfies" are examined through a focused "lens" over a breadth of cultures. The result, complex and unique, is that what is viewed -- the visual art and literature under discussion -- becomes a mirror image, indistinguishable from the component viewing apparatus, the "lens".
The historical novels of Manuel Zapata Olivella and Ana Maria Gonçalves map black journeys from Africa to the Americas in a way that challenges the Black Atlantic paradigm that has become synonymous with cosmopolitan African diaspora studies. Unlike Paul Gilroy, who coined the term and based it on W.E.B. DuBois’s double consciousness, Zapata, in Changó el gran putas (1983), creates an empowering mythology that reframes black resistance in Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States. In Um defeito de cor (2006), Gonçalves imagines the survival strategies of a legendary woman said to be the mother of black abolitionist poet Luís Gama and a conspirator in an African Muslim–led revolt in Brazil’s “Black Rome.” These novels show differing visions of revolution, black community, femininity, sexuality, and captivity. They skillfully reveal how events preceding the UNESCO Decade of Afro-Descent (2015–2024) alter our understanding of Afro-Latin America as it gains increased visibility.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Winner, 2016 ALA-Choice Outstanding Academic Title
In Chica Lit: Popular Latina Fiction and Americanization in the Twenty-First Century, Tace Hedrick illuminates how discourses of Americanization, ethnicity, gender, class, and commodification shape the genre of “chica lit,” popular fiction written by Latina authors with Latina characters. She argues that chica lit is produced and marketed in the same ways as contemporary romance and chick lit fiction, and aimed at an audience of twenty- to thirty-something upwardly mobile Latina readers. Its stories about young women’s ethnic class mobility and gendered romantic success tend to celebrate twenty-first century neoliberal narratives about Americanization, hard work, and individual success. However, Hedrick emphasizes, its focus on Latina characters necessarily inflects this celebratory mode: the elusiveness of meaning in its use of the very term “Latina” empties out the differences among and between Latina/o and Chicano/a groups in the United States. Of necessity, chica lit also struggles with questions about the actual social and economic “place” of Latinas and Chicanas in this same neoliberal landscape; these questions unsettle its reliance on the tried-and-true formulas of chick lit and romance writing. Looking at chica lit’s market-driven representations of difference, poverty, and Americanization, Hedrick shows how this writing functions within the larger arena of struggles over popular representation of Latinas and Chicanas.
Cien años de identidad: Introducción a la literatura latinoamericana del siglo XX [One Hundred Years of Identity: Introduction to Twentieth-Century Latin American Literature] is an advanced Spanish textbook and Latin American literature anthology, guiding students through the critical analysis of fourteen literary and filmic texts published between 1889 and 1995, including works from Jorge Luis Borges, Isabel Allende, and Gabriel García Márquez that represent some of the seminal works of Latin America. The textbook is designed to introduce students to the richness of twentieth-century Latin American literature and culture, while building their skills in textual analysis through an examination of the theme of identity. The featured texts examine the complex and multifaceted topic of identity as the authors and protagonists struggle to understand themselves, determine their relationship to the world and others, and give meaning and significance to their existence. The textbook guides students step-by-step through critical analysis by presenting a range of tools and progressing from simple to more complex exercises and activities throughout the book. It is divided into four units based on various types of identity formation: (1) racial, ethnic, gender and class identity, (2) existential(ist) identity, (3) temporal and spatial identity, (4) political and sexual identity. Serving as both a Latin American literature anthology and an upper-level Spanish textbook, Cien años de identidad aims to hone reading and interpretive strategies, while also improving Spanish vocabulary and comprehension, oral and written communication, and cultural competency.
Features: • Complete unabridged works from these authors: Isabel Allende, Jorge Luis Borges, Rosario Castellanos, Julio Cortázar, Rubén Darío, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, José Martí, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and Sergio Vodanovic• Complete pedagogy included for the novel El beso de la mujer araña by Manuel Puig and the film Fresa y chocolate by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío, although these two works are not anthologized in the textbook• Additional cultural contexts and author biographies for each text, as well as appropriate glosses and numbered lines for easy reference in class discussions• Four end-of-unit chapters focused on comparative literature strategies that are designed to coach students on how to compare authors and texts across common themes and further improve critical analysis strategies• Seventeen post-reading quizzes or homework assignments as well as a final examination, available to instructors only through the publisher website
Much has been written about the ways in which Columbus's "discovery" of America began a process of inventing a new world in European consciousness. But far less has been published about those on the margins of the dominant European discourse--Amerindians, Africans, and women--whose experience is reflected in documents written during the early years of European rule in Latin America. This volume brings together essays by leading scholars of colonial Latin America who address a series of topics relating to both the marginal and European-dominant discourses. The book is divided into five sections: "Representing the New World," "The Institutionalization of the Colony," "Amerindian Texts," "Women in Colonial Latin America," and "The Later Colony and the Caribbean Experience." The essays range from a consideration of Amerindian codes of mapmaking to the career of a transvestite nun, from confessional "sin lists" used by priests to examine the transgressions of their American charges to a new view of colonial women's lives based on birth records, dowry agreements, and wills. Contributors include Walter Mignolo, Maureen Ahern, Abel Alves, Rolena Adorno, Lúcia Helena Santiago Costigan, Pedro Lasarte, Raquel Chang-Rodríguez, Regina Harrison, Asunción Lavrin, Stephanie Merrim, Nina M. Scott, Antonio Carreño, Julie Greer Johnson, Karen Stolley, and Antonio Benítez-Rojo.
In Colonialism and Race in Luso-Hispanic Literature, Jerome C. Branche examines race naming and race making in the modern period (1415–1948). During this time, racism, a partner to both slavery and colonial exploitation, took myriad discursive forms, ranging from the reflections and treatises of philosophers and scientists to travel writing, novels, poetry, drama, and the grammar of everyday life. Branche’s main premise is that modern race making went hand in hand with European expansion, the colonial enterprise, and the international development of capitalism.
Branche looks at the racially partisan works of the Luso-Hispanic canon to document just how long lasting, widespread, and deep the feelings they expressed were. He also illustrates how important race as narrative has been and continues to be. Branche pays particular attention to the Portuguese travel writing of the mid-fifteenth century, Spanish drama of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Cuban and Brazilian antislavery texts of the nineteenth century, and the Afro-Antillean negrismo movement of the twentieth century.
While Colonialism and Race in Luso-Hispanic Literature complements important studies of the 1970s and 1990s that treat black identity in the Spanish literary tradition, at the same time its range is wider than many other works because of the inclusion of the Luso-Brazilian dimension, its examination of extraliterary texts, and its coverage of a broader time frame. Branche’s marriage of postcolonial and cultural theory with his own close readings of related texts leads to a provocative reconsideration of how the Negro was portrayed in Latin American cultural discourse.
Mariano Siskind’s groundbreaking debut book redefines the scope of world literature, particularly regarding the place of Latin America in its imaginaries and mappings. In Siskind’s formulation, world literature is a modernizing discursive strategy, a way in which cultures negotiate their aspirations to participate in global networks of cultural exchange, and an original tool to reorganize literary history. Working with novels, poems, essays, travel narratives, and historical documents, Siskind reads the way Latin American literary modernity was produced as a global relation, from the rise of planetary novels in the 1870s and the cosmopolitan imaginaries of modernism at the turn of the twentieth century, to the global spread of magical realism. With its unusual breadth of reference and firm but unobtrusive grounding in philosophy, literary theory, and psychoanalysis, Cosmopolitan Desires will have a major impact in the fields of Latin American studies and comparative literature.
The cultural Cold War in Latin America was waged as a war of values--artistic freedom versus communitarianism, Western values versus national cultures, the autonomy of art versus a commitment to liberation struggles--and at a time when the prestige of literature had never been higher. The projects of the historic avant-garde were revitalized by an anti-capitalist ethos and envisaged as the opposite of the republican state. The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City charts the conflicting universals of this period, the clash between avant-garde and political vanguard. This was also a twilight of literature at the threshold of the great cultural revolution of the seventies and eighties, a revolution to which the Cold War indirectly contributed. In the eighties, civil war and military rule, together with the rapid development of mass culture and communication empires, changed the political and cultural map.
A long-awaited work by an eminent Latin Americanist widely read throughout the world, this book will prove indispensable to anyone hoping to understand Latin American literature and society. Jean Franco guides the reader across minefields of cultural debate and histories of highly polarized struggle. Focusing on literary texts by García Marquez, Vargas Llosa, Roa Bastos, and Juan Carlos Onetti, conducting us through this contested history with the authority of an eyewitness, Franco gives us an engaging overview as involving as it is moving.
The conditions for thinking about Latin America as a regional unit in transnational academic discourse have shifted over the past decades. In The Exhaustion of Difference Alberto Moreiras ponders the ramifications of this shift and draws on deconstruction, Marxian theory, philosophy, political economy, subaltern studies, literary criticism, and postcolonial studies to interrogate the minimal conditions for an effective critique of knowledge given the recent transformations of the contemporary world. What, asks Moreiras, is the function of critical reason in the present moment? What is regionalistic knowledge in the face of globalization? Can regionalistic knowledge be an effective tool for a critique of contemporary reason? What is the specificity of Latin Americanist reflection and how is it situated to deal with these questions? Through examinations of critical regionalism, restitutional excess, the historical genealogy of Latin American subalternism, testimonio literature, and the cultural politics of magical realism, Moreiras argues that while cultural studies is increasingly institutionalized and in danger of reproducing the dominant ideologies of late capitalism, it is also ripe for giving way to projects of theoretical reformulation. Ultimately, he claims, critical reason must abandon its allegiance to aesthetic-historicist projects and the destructive binaries upon which all cultural theories of modernity have been constructed. The Exhaustion of Difference makes a significant contribution to the rethinking of Latin American cultural studies.
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.
Winner, 2015 LAJSA Best Book in Latin American Jewish Studies
The practices of interrogation, torture, and confession have resurfaced in public debates since the early 2000s following human rights abuses around the globe. Yet discussion of torture has remained restricted to three principal fields: the legal, the pragmatic, and the moral, eclipsing the less immediate but vital question of what torture does.Figurative Inquisitions seeks to correct this lacuna by approaching the question of torture from a literary vantage point.
This book investigates the uncanny presence of the Inquisition and marranismo (crypto-Judaism) in modern literature, theater, and film from Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal. Through a critique of fictional scenes of interrogation, it underscores the vital role of the literary in deconstructing the relation between torture and truth. Figurative Inquisitions traces the contours of a relationship among aesthetics, ethics, and politics in an account of the "Inquisitional logic" that continues to haunt contemporary political forms. In so doing, the book offers a unique humanistic perspective on current torture debates.
Food Studies in Latin American Literature presents a timely collection of essays analyzing a wide array of Latin American narratives through the lens of food studies. Topics explored include potato and maize in colonial and contemporary global narratives; the role of cooking in Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s poetics; the centrality of desire in twentieth-century cooking writing by women; the relationship among food, recipes, and national identity; the role of food in travel narratives; and the impact of advertisements on domestic roles.
The contributors included here—experts in Latin American history, literature, and cultural studies—bring a novel, interdisciplinary approach to these explorations, presenting new perspectives on Latin American literature and culture.
A taboo subject in many cultures, homosexuality has been traditionally repressed in Latin America, both as a way of life and as a subject for literature. Yet numerous writers have attempted to break the cultural silence surrounding homosexuality, using various strategies to overtly or covertly discuss lesbian and gay themes. In this study, David William Foster examines more than two dozen texts that deal with gay and lesbian topics, drawing from them significant insights into the relationship between homosexuality and society in different Latin American countries and time periods.
Foster's study includes works both sympathetic and antagonistic to homosexuality, showing the range of opinion on this topic. The preponderance of his examples come from Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, countries with historically active gay communities, although he also includes material on other countries. Noteworthy among the authors covered are Reinaldo Arenas, Adolfo Caminha, Isaac Chocrón, José Donoso, Sylvia Molloy, Alejandra Pizarnik, and Luis Zapata.
This landmark collection brings together a range of exciting new comparative work in the burgeoning field of hemispheric studies. Scholars working in the fields of Latin American studies, Asian American studies, American studies, American literature, African Diaspora studies, and comparative literature address the urgent question of how scholars might reframe disciplinary boundaries within the broad area of what is generally called American studies. The essays take as their starting points such questions as: What happens to American literary, political, historical, and cultural studies if we recognize the interdependency of nation-state developments throughout all the Americas? What happens if we recognize the nation as historically evolving and contingent rather than already formed? Finally, what happens if the "fixed" borders of a nation are recognized not only as historically produced political constructs but also as component parts of a deeper, more multilayered series of national and indigenous histories?
With essays that examine stamps, cartoons, novels, film, art, music, travel documents, and governmental publications, Hemispheric American Studies seeks to excavate the complex cultural history of texts and discourses across the ever-changing and stratified geopolitical and cultural fields that collectively comprise the American hemisphere. This collection promises to chart new directions in American literary and cultural studies.
This book of essays—carefully written by twenty-four authorities on their subjects—provides a deep understanding of and appreciation for the coherence, primacy, and importance of the search for identity in the divergent areas of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe.
The Inordinate Eye traces the relations of Latin American painting, sculpture, architecture, and literature—the stories they tell each other and the ways in which their creators saw the world and their place in it. Moving from pre-Columbian codices and sculpture through New World Baroque art and architecture to Neobaroque theory and contemporary Latin American fiction, Lois Parkinson Zamora argues for an integrated understanding of visual and verbal forms.
The New World Baroque combines indigenous, African, and European forms of expression, and, in the early decades of the twentieth century, Latin American writers began to recuperate its visual structures to construct an alternative account of modernity, using its hybrid forms for the purpose of creating a discourse of “counterconquest”—a postcolonial self-definition aimed at disrupting entrenched power structures, perceptual categories, and literary forms.
Zamora engages this process, discussing a wide range of visual forms—Baroque façades and altarpieces, portraits of saints and martyrs (including the self-portraits of Frida Kahlo), murals from indigenous artisans to Diego Rivera—to elucidate works of fiction by Borges, Carpentier, Lezama Lima, Sarduy, Garro, García Márquez, and Galeano, and also to establish a critical perspective external to their work. Because visual media are “other” to the verbal economy of modern fiction, they serve these writers (and their readers) as oblique means by which to position their fiction culturally, politically, and aesthetically.
The first study of its kind in scope and ambition, The Inordinate Eye departs radically from most studies of literature by demonstrating how transcultural conceptions of the visual image have conditioned present ways of seeing and reading in Latin America.
As a nation, the Philippines has a colonial history with both Spain and the United States. Its links to the Americas are longstanding and complex. Intercolonial Intimacies interrogates the legacy of the Spanish Empire and the cultural hegemony of the United States by analyzing the work of twentieth-century Filipino and Latin/o American writers and diplomats who often read one other and imagined themselves as kin. The relationships between the Philippines and the former colonies of the Spanish Empire in the Americas were strengthened throughout the twentieth century by the consolidation of a discourse of shared, even familiar, identity. This distinct inherited intercolonial bond was already disengaged from their former colonizer and further used to defy new forms of colonialism. By examining the parallels and points of contact between these Filipino and Latin American writers, Paula C. Park elaborates on the “intercolonial intimacies” that shape a transpacific understanding of coloniality and latinidad.
Textuality is the condition in which a text is created, edited, archived, published, disseminated, and consumed. “Texts,” therefore, encompass a broad variety of artifacts: traditional printed matter such as grammar books and newspaper articles; phonographs; graphic novels; ephemera such as fashion illustrations, catalogs, and postcards; and even virtual databases and cataloging systems.\
Latin American Textualities is a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at textual history, textual artifacts, and digital textualities across Latin America from the colonial era to the present. Editors Heather J. Allen and Andrew R. Reynolds gather a wide range of scholars to investigate the region’s textual scholarship. Contributors offer engaging examples of not just artifacts but also the contexts in which the texts are used. Topics include Guamán Poma’s library, the effect of sound recordings on writing in Argentina, Sudamericana Publishing House’s contribution to the Latin American literary boom, and Argentine science fiction. Latin American Textualities provides new paths to reading Latin American history, culture, and literatures.
Heather J. Allen
Silvia Kurlat Ares
José Enrique Navarro
Andrew R. Reynolds
George Antony Thomas
Through theoretical, philosophical, cultural, political, and historical analysis, Horacio Legras views the myriad factors that have both formed and stifled the integration of peripheral experiences into Latin American literature. Despite these barriers, Legras reveals a handful of contemporary authors who have attempted in earnest to present marginalized voices to the Western world. His deep and insightful analysis of key works by novelists Juan José Saer (The Witness), Nellie Campobello (Cartucho), Roa Bastos (Son of Man), and Jose María Arguedas (The Fox from Up Above and the Fox from Down Below), among others, provides a theoretical basis for understanding the plight of the author, the peripheral voice and the confines of the literary medium. What emerges is an intricate discussion of the clash and subjugation of cultures and the tragedy of a lost worldview.
Nationality in Latin America has long been entwined with questions of racial identity. Just as American-born colonial elites grounded their struggle for independence from Spain and Portugal in the history of Amerindian resistance, constructions of nationality were based on the notion of the fusion of populations heterogeneous in culture, race, and language. But this rhetorical celebration of difference was framed by a real-life pressure to assimilate into cultures always defined by Iberian American elites. In Mestizo Nations, Juan De Castro explores the construction of nationality in Latin American and Chicano literature and thought during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Focusing on the discourse of mestizaje—which proposes the creation of a homogenous culture out of American Indian, black, and Iberian elements—he examines a selection of texts that represent the entire history and regional landscape of Latin American culture in its Western, indigenous, and neo-African traditions from Independence to the present.
Through them, he delineates some of the ambiguities and contradictions that have beset this discourse. Among texts considered are the Indianist novel Iracema by the nineteenth-century Brazilian author José de Alencar; the Tradiciones peruanas, Peruvian Ricardo Palma's fictionalizations of national difference; and historical and sociological essays by the Peruvian Marxist José Carlos Mariátegui and the Brazilian intellectual Gilberto Freyre. And because questions raised by this discourse are equally relevant to postmodern concerns with national and transnational heterogeneity, De Castro also analyzes such recent examples as the Cuban dance band Los Van Van's use of Afrocentric lyrics; Richard Rodriguez's interpretations of North American reality; and points of contact and divergence between José María Arguedas's novel The Fox from Up Above and the Fox from Down Below and writings of Gloria Anzaldúa and Julia Kristeva.
By updating the concept of mestizaje as a critical tool for analyzing literary text and cultural trends—incorporating not only race, culture, and nationality but also gender, language, and politics—De Castro shows the implications of this Latin American discursive tradition for current critical debates in cultural and area studies. Mestizo Nations contains important insights for all Latin Americanists as a tool for understanding racial relations and cultural hybridization, creating not only an important commentary on Latin America but also a critique of American life in the age of multiculturalism.
Over the last five centuries, the story of the Americas has been a story of the mixing of races and cultures. Not surprisingly, the issue of miscegenation, with its attendant fears and hopes, has been a pervasive theme in New World literature, as writers from Canada to Argentina confront the legacy of cultural hybridization and fusion. This book takes up the challenge of transforming American literary and cultural studies into a comparative discipline by examining the dynamics of racial and cultural mixture and its opposite tendency, racial and cultural disjunction, in the literatures of the Americas. Editors Kaup and Rosenthal have brought together a distinguished set of scholars who compare the treatment of racial and cultural mixtures in literature from North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America. From various angles, they remap the Americas as a multicultural and multiracial hemisphere, with a common history of colonialism, slavery, racism, and racial and cultural hybridity.
It is commonly assumed that the United States and Latin America, culturally so different, move artistically to very different rhythms. Also common is the assumption that, with rare exception, the literary figures on one side of the global North/South divide have had little interest in the work of their counterparts. With Mutual Impressions Ilan Stavans dispels these notions by showing how solid the bridges between writers and across borders have been, at least since the early days of this century, and how crucial they are likely to become as we enter the next millennium. Divided into symmetrical halves—South reading North and North reading South—the book presents essays by leading novelists, poets, and other writers that focus on the work of another literary figure from across the divide. Borges, for example, finds in Hawthorne the perfect precursor to his own interest in allegories; Katherine Anne Porter examines José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi as a rascal whose picaresque views of life in The Itching Parrot served to launch the Latin American novel; Cortázar’s study of the plots and style of Poe shows an affinity that left an indelible mark on the Argentine’s short fiction; Susan Sontag views Machado de Assis as the ultimate mirror, a proto–postmodernist. With other essays by Thomas Pynchon, William H. Gass, John Updike, Gabriel García Márquez, Alejo Carpentier, John Barth, Robert Coover, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Grace Paley, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Mark Strand, among others, Mutual Impressions offers a remarkable view of the connections that comprise a literary tradition of the Americas. It is a book that will surprise and enliven its readers as it informs and awakens in them a sense of wonder.
Contributors. John Barth, José Bianco, Robert Bly, Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier, Hiber Conteris, Robert Coover, Julio Cortázar, Ezequiel Martínez Estrada, Waldo Frank, Carlos Fuentes, William H. Gass, Nicolás Guillén, William Kennedy, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel García Márquez, José Martí, Pablo Neruda, Victoria Ocampo, Juan Carlos Onetti, Grace Paley, Octavio Paz, Katherine Anne Porter, Thomas Pynchon, Kenneth Rexroth, Antonio Benítez Rojo, Barbara Probst Solomon, Susan Sontag, Ilan Stavans, Mark Strand, John Updike, Pedro Henríque Ureña, Derek Walcott, Paul West
Nightmares of the Lettered City presents an original study of the popular theme of banditry in works of literature, essays, poetry, and drama, and banditry's pivotal role during the conceptualization and formation of the Latin American nation-state.
Juan Pablo Dabove examines writings over a broad time period, from the early nineteenth century to the 1920s, and while Nightmares of the Lettered City focuses on four crucial countries (Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela), it is the first book to address the depiction of banditry in Latin America as a whole. The work offers close reading of Facundo, Doña Bárbara, Os Sertões, and Martín Fierro, among other works, illuminating the ever-changing and often contradictory political agendas of the literary elite in their portrayals of the forms of peasant insurgency labeled “banditry.”
Banditry has haunted the Latin American literary imagination. As a cultural trope, banditry has always been an uneasy compromise between desire and anxiety (a “nightmare”), and Dabove isolates three main representational strategies. He analyzes the bandit as radical other, a figure through which the elites depicted the threats posed to them by various sectors outside the lettered city. Further, he considers the bandit as a trope used in elite internecine struggles. In this case, rural insurgency was a means to legitimize or refute an opposing sector or faction within the lettered city. Finally, Dabove shows how, in certain cases, the bandit was used as an image of the nonstate violence that the nation state has to suppress as a historical force and simultaneously exalt as a memory in order to achieve cultural coherence and actual sovereignty.
As Dabove convincingly demonstrates, the elite's construction of the bandit is essential to our understanding of the development of the Latin American nation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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.
Drawing on deconstruction, postcolonial theory, cultural studies, and subaltern studies, The Other Side of the Popular is as much a reflection on the limitations and possibilities for thinking about the politics of Latin American culture as it is a study of the culture itself. Gareth Williams pays particular attention to the close relationship between complex cultural shifts and the development of the neoliberal nation-state. The modern Latin American nation, he argues, was built upon the idea of "the people," a citizenry with common interests transcending demographic and cultural differences. As nations have weakened in relation to the global economy, this moment—of the popular as the basis of nation-building—has passed, causing seismic shifts in the relationships between governments and cultural formations. Williams asserts that these changed relationships necessitate the rethinking of fundamental concepts such as "the popular" and "the nation." He maintains that the perspective of subalternity is vital to this theoretical project because it demands the reimagining of the connections between critical reason and its objects of analysis.
Williams develops his argument through studies of events highlighting Latin America’s uneasy, and often violent, transition to late capitalism over the past thirty years. He looks at the Chiapas rebellion in Mexico, genocide in El Salvador, the Sendero in Peru, Chile’s and Argentina’s transitions to democratic governments, and Latin Americans’ migration northward. Williams also reads film, photography, and literary works, including Ricardo Piglia’s The Absent City and the statements of a young Salvadoran woman, the daughter of ex-guerrilleros, living in South Central Los Angeles.
The Other Side of the Popular is an incisive interpretation of Latin American culture and politics over the last few decades as well as a thoughtful meditation on the state of Latin American cultural studies.
Responding to the pressures of current theoretical trends toward models of cultural globalization, the essays collected here bring a historical focus to literary studies. They suggest that only by exploring the particularities of regional historical cultures can the multiple meanings of American identities be understood. Representing a broad range of contemporary criticism, this volume features many short essays by the most well-known and respected Latin Americanists, each devoting attention to specific matters of history. The topics range from Incan architecture to Chicano and Nuyorican habitats; from turn of the century Argentine criminology to Caribbean homophobia; from the rhetorics of independence and dictatorship to Mexican ambivalence about opera and Brazil’s move beyond monarchy; and from the precarious survival of Spanish language in Latin America to its paradoxical legacy of enlightenment in the Philippines. Originally published as a special issue of Modern Language Quarterly (June 1996), this expanded edition includes a new introduction by Doris Sommer and a new essay by Vincente Rafael. Viewed together, these essays reveal a cultural richness that is sure to interest literary scholars and Latin Americanists alike.
Contributors. Carlos J. Alonso, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, John Beverley, Debra A. Castillo, Arcadio Diaz-Quiñones, Juan Flores, Mary M. Gaylord, José Limón, Josefina Ludmer, Francine Masiello, Antonio Mazzotti, Walter D. Mignolo, Sylvia Molloy, Mary Louise Pratt, Vincente Rafael, Julio Ramos, Susana Rotker, Roberto Schwarz, Diana Taylor, Nancy Vogeley
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).
The concept of "American" literature is not the exclusive province of any one nation. Thanks to the historical circumstances that governed the European conquest and settlement of the Americas, we can and should approach the writings of English and French Canada, the United States, Spanish America, and Brazil as a cohesive group of American literature, worthy of study without constant reference to European texts. Now, Rediscovering the New World makes a timely addition to this expanding field on Inter-American scholarship that should help lead tothe formation of a new canon.
This adventurous and ambitious work begins with an examination of Pre-Columbian literature (and shows that his powerful tradition remains alive and well in the twentieth century), then confronts the narratives of discovery and conquest, the New World epic, identity as the Ur-theme of American literature, miscegenation as another integral theme, and regionalism as a shaping force. Other striking these and juxtapositions include a comparison of Henry James and Machado de Assis as the first two great New World novelists, modernism as both a distinct literary movement and an amorphous body of aesthetic principles, and the conflict between "civilization" and "barbarism."
More in the exploratory spirit of the French Canadian voyageur than in the spirit of the conquistador, Rediscovering the New World is the first scholarly work in English to integrate an international set of American literary cultures. It should inspire other explorers as the field of Inter-American literary relations continues to evolve.
Since the 1991 publication of his groundbreaking book Gay and Lesbian Themes in Latin American Writing, David William Foster has proposed a series of theoretical and critical principles for the analysis of Latin American culture from the perspectives of the queer. This book continues that project with a queer reading of literary and cultural aspects of Latin American texts. Moving beyond its predecessor, which provided an initial inventory of Latin American gay and lesbian writing, Sexual Textualities analyzes questions of gender representation in Latin American cultural productions to establish the interrelationships, tensions, and irresolvable conflicts between heterosexism and homoeroticism. The topics that Foster addresses include Eva Perón as a cultural/sexual icon, feminine pornography, Luis Humberto Hermosillo’s classic gay film Doña Herlinda y su hijo, homoerotic writing and Chicano authors, Matías Montes Huidobro’s Exilio and the representation of gay identity, representation of the body in Alejandra Pizarnik’s poetry, and the crisis of masculinity in Argentine fiction from 1940 to 1960.
Literature in Latin America has long been a vehicle for debates over the interpretation of social history, cultural identity, and artistic independence. Indeed, Latin American literature has gained international respect for its ability to present social criticism through works of imaginative creation.
In this comprehensive, up-to-the-minute survey of research and opinion by leading Latin American cultural and literary critics, Naomi Lindstrom examines five concepts that are currently the focus of intense debate among Latin American writers and thinkers. Writing in simple, clear terms for both general and specialist readers of Latin American literature, she explores the concepts of autonomy and dependency, postmodernism, literary intellectuals and the mass media, testimonial literature, and gender issues, including gay and lesbian themes. Excerpts (in English) from relevant literary works illustrate each concept, while Lindstrom also traces its passage from the social sciences to literature.
Silviano Santiago has been a pioneer in the development of concepts crucial to the discourse of contemporary critical and cultural theory, especially postcolonial theory. The notions of “hybridity” and “the space in-between” have been so completely absorbed into current theory that few scholars even realize these terms began with Santiago. He was the first to introduce poststructuralist thought to Brazil—via his publication of the Glossario de Derrida and his role as a prominent teacher. The Space In-Between translates many of his seminal essays into English for the first time and, in the process, introduces the thought of one of Brazil’s foremost critics and theorists of the late twentieth century. Santiago’s work creates a theoretical field that transcends both the study of a specific national literature and the traditional perspectives of comparative literature. He examines the pedagogical and modernizing mission of Western voyagers from the conquistadors to the present. He deconstructs the ideas of “original” and “copy,” unpacking their implications for the notions of so-called dominant and dominated cultures. Santiago also confronts questions of cultural dependency and analyzes the problems involved in the imposition of an alien European history, the cultural displacements experienced by the Indians through their religious conversion, and the hierarchical suppression of native and Afro-Brazilian values. Elegantly written and translated, The Space In-Between will provide insights and perspectives that will interest cultural and literary theorists, postcolonial scholars, and other students of contemporary culture.
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.
An unstructured genre that blends high aesthetic standards with nonfiction commentary, the journalistic crónica, or chronicle, has played a vital role in Latin American urban life since the nineteenth century. Drawing on extensive archival research, Viviane Mahieux delivers new testimony on how chroniclers engaged with modernity in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and São Paulo during the 1920s and 1930s, a time when avant-garde movements transformed writers' and readers' conceptions of literature. Urban Chroniclers in Modern Latin America: The Shared Intimacy of Everyday Life examines the work of extraordinary raconteurs Salvador Novo, Cube Bonifant, Roberto Arlt, Alfonsina Storni, and Mário de Andrade, restoring the original newspaper contexts in which their articles first emerged.
Each of these writers guided their readers through a constantly changing cityscape and advised them on matters of cultural taste, using their ties to journalism and their participation in urban practice to share accessible wisdom and establish their role as intellectual arbiters. The intimate ties they developed with their audience fostered a permeable concept of literature that would pave the way for overtly politically engaged chroniclers of the 1960s and 1970s. Providing comparative analysis as well as reflection on the evolution of this important genre, Urban Chroniclers in Modern Latin America is the first systematic study of the Latin American writers who forged a new reading public in the early twentieth century.
In Vernacular Latin Americanisms, Fernando Degiovanni offers a long-view perspective on the intense debates that shaped Latin American studies and still inform their function in the globalized and neoliberal university of today. By doing so he provides a reevaluation of a field whose epistemological and political status has obsessed its participants up until the present. The book focuses on the emergence of Latin Americanism as a field of critical debate and scholarly inquiry between the 1890s and the 1960s. Drawing on contemporary theory, intellectual history, and extensive archival research, Degiovanni explores in particular how the discourse and realities of war and capitalism have left an indelible mark on the formation of disciplinary perspectives on Latin American cultures in both the United States and Latin America. Questioning the premise that Latin Americanism as a discipline comes out of the tradition of continental identity developed by prominent intellectuals such as José Martí, José E. Rodó or José Vasconcelos, Degiovanni proposes that the scholars who established the discipline did not set out to defend Latin America as a place of uncontaminated spiritual values opposed to a utilitarian and materialist United States. Their mission was entirely different, even the opposite: giving a place to culture in the consolidation of alternative models of regional economic cooperation at moments of international armed conflict. For scholars theorizing Latin Americanism in market terms, this meant questioning nativist and cosmopolitan narratives about identity; it also meant abandoning any Bolivarian project of continental unity or of socialist internationalism.
While Jews figure in the work of many modern Latin American writers, the questions of how and to what end they are represented have received remarkably little critical attention. Helping to correct this imbalance, Erin Graff Zivin traces the symbolic presence of Jews and Jewishness in late-nineteenth- through late-twentieth-century literary works from Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, and Nicaragua. Ultimately, Graff Zivin’s investigation of representations of Jewishness reveals a broader, more complex anxiety surrounding difference in modern Latin American culture.
In her readings of Spanish American and Brazilian fiction, Graff Zivin highlights inventions of Jewishness in which the concept is constructed as a rhetorical device. She argues that Jewishness functions as a wandering signifier that while not wholly empty, can be infused with meaning based on the demands of the textual project in question. Just as Jews in Latin America possess distinct histories relative to their European and North American counterparts, they also occupy different symbolic spaces in the cultural landscape. Graff Zivin suggests that in Latin American fiction, anxiety, desire, paranoia, attraction, and repulsion toward Jewishness are always either in tension with or representative of larger attitudes toward otherness, whether racial, sexual, religious, national, economic, or metaphysical. She concludes The Wandering Signifier with an inquiry into whether it is possible to ethically represent the other within the literary text, or whether the act of representation necessarily involves the objectification of the other.