Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

...The Islas papers consisted of fifty-two boxes of material—personal correspondence, manuscript drafts, poems, journals, you name it—with the most confidential material sealed till 2009. After I reread the novel’s original draft, my curiosity got the better of me. I began requesting box after box of the material, sifting through folder after folder. I do not really believe in destiny, but something about the circumstances was beginning to change my mind. I...

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Introduction: Bringing the Dead to Life

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pp. xi-xx

...From an early age, Arturo Islas had an eerie understanding of his own mortality. He experienced several life-threatening illnesses and, as a child raised Catholic in a Chicano family in El Paso, was constantly reminded of the precariousness of bodily existence. To survive not only a religious culture of death but also his personal sense of mortality, Islas learned to use language creatively...

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1. “Sonny”

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pp. 1-24

...Arturo Islas was born to Arturo Islas Sr. and Jovita La Farga on May 25, 1938, in El Paso, Texas. He was the first of three sons. He grew up in El Paso and spent his undergraduate and graduate student years, as well as his career as professor and writer, in the San Francisco Bay Area. He died on February 15, 1991, at his home in Palo Alto...

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2. Bio-Graphé

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pp. 25-74

...His sands cover over such bodies and voices—and recover or uncover and make visible others. The act of reading Islas through his writing is an act of recovering a complex individual. Islas’s writing not only cycles through acts of re-covering (making disappear) and recovering (making appear by narrating, remembering, and forgetting) but also speaks to those Chicano/a subjects that inhabit a constant state of “recovery” and longing...

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3. Sexuality

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pp. 75-102

...Arturo Islas’s sense of himself as a sexual being underwent dramatic transformations as he moved through a variety of social, cultural, and historical spaces: He came of age as a Mexican American in El Paso during a conservative early 1950s. He began to discover his same-sex desire within a co-ed segregated and draconian-ruled Stanford campus. He struggled to open closet doors during a queer-phobic yet heterosexualrevolutionary 1960s. He forced those same closet...

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4. Death and Rebirth

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pp. 103-127

...Arturo Islas spent his life challenging the many boundaries that threatened to enclose him within restrictive roles—intellectual, filial, sexual, and racial. He also spent a lifetime struggling to come to terms with a bodily existence compromised by illness. That Islas was preoccupied with mortality is no surprise. His childhood—which was imbued with life/death dualistic Catholic doctrine as well...

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5. Being Chicano

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pp. 128-158

...Islas’s identity was very much informed by his cultural and racial sense of being Mexican and American. He was born to second-generation Catholic Mexican Americans and raised within the cultural and socioeconomic U.S./Mexico borderlands. He grew up where Mexican and Anglo bodies rubbed up against one another, where tacos and hamburgers appeared at the same dinner table...

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Coda: “A Dancing with Ghosts”

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pp. 159-162

...Arturo Islas’s life, his aesthetic ambitions, and his poetic achievements. As a Chicano (simultaneously American and Mexican), he was determined to interweave the Chicano literary tradition with what he considered the best works within the world literary corpus, mainly in terms of narrative techniques and the care in the crafting of both prose and poetry. At the...

Chronology of Major Events

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pp. 163-166

Images

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pp. 167-178

Notes

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pp. 179-185

Bibliography

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pp. 186-189

Index

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pp. 190-199

Production Notes

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pp. 200-200