Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction: Approaching Disaster

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pp. 1-28

Nothing shakes one’s worldview more than the experience of a natural disaster. Disaster by definition is conceived of as a rupture or inversion of the normal order of things; natural disaster denotes that moment of disjuncture when nature topples what we see as...

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1. Disaster and the “New Patria”: Cyclone San Zenón and Trujillo’s Rewriting of the Dominican Republic

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pp. 29-55

The hurricane that struck the Dominican Republic on September 2 and 3, 1930, caused unprecedented damage to the nation’s capital, disrupting severely the nation’s infrastructure as well as its self-image. Santo Domingo’s iconic Río Ozama overflowed with the hurricane’s...

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2. Drought and the Literary Construction of Risk in Northeastern Brazil

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pp. 56-106

The sertão, the arid interior of northeastern Brazil, holds a peculiar position in the Brazilian imagination. It is a mythical geography of contradictory fantasies, populated by honest-to-a-fault cowboys and corrupt politicians, Robin Hood–like cangaceiros who rape and pillage...

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3. Volcanic Identities: Explosive Nationalism and the Disastered Subject in Central American Literature

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pp. 107-144

Volcanic eruptions figure among the most destructive natural forces conceivable in the human imagination. Memories of the incredible devastation wreaked by volcanoes on human populations from Pompeii, Italy, to Krakatau, Indonesia, and Paricutín, Mexico...

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4. Fault Lines: Mexico’s 1985 Earthquake and the Politics of Narration

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pp. 145-190

The earthquake that convulsed Mexico City at 7:19 in the morning on September 19, 1985, altered irrevocably a generation’s view of life in Mexico. Despite a long and well-documented history of disasters in the area, appearing in texts as far back as pre-Columbian...

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Conclusion: On Writing and the Nationalization of Catastrophe

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pp. 191-196

This book sprang from my interest in how disasters catalyze lasting political and cultural changes and in the roles that writing has played in promoting and consolidating those changes throughout Latin America. I have argued that disasters force the renegotiation and...

Notes

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pp. 197-218

Works Cited

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pp. 219-236

Index

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pp. 237-242

New World Studies

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