Santiago Puglia's El desengaño del hombre (Man Undeceived), published in Philadelphia in 1794, is the first known Spanish-language work printed in the newly formed United States. Of great interest to historians of early Spanish-language publication and Spanish American presence in the United States, the work also presents many challenges to the categories we typically use for such examination: the author is of Swiss and Ligurian ancestry, the work was decried as unoriginal for its heavy borrowing from Paine and Rousseau, and it was decried as heretical by the Spanish Inquisition not only for its republican content but for what the Inquisition considered to be its horrendous prose. However, the ways in which the text fails to live up to traditional expectations of either good or ethnically "representative" writing offer productive frameworks for understanding both the transnational nature of republicanism in the Americas and the relationship of early texts to contemporary Latina/o/x literature in the United States. Puglia's El desengaño, I argue, illustrates the interdependence—cultural, linguistic, geographical—that informs the long era of independence in the Americas. It also serves as an early example of the interlingualism employed by later Latinx authors who seek to challenge monolingual and monocultural standards and centralization.


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pp. 745-772
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