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The Contemporáneos Group

Rewriting Mexico in the Thirties and Forties

By Salvador A. Oropesa

Publication Year: 2003

In the years following the Mexican Revolution, a nationalist and masculinist image of Mexico emerged through the novels of the Revolution, the murals of Diego Rivera, and the movies of Golden Age cinema. Challenging this image were the Contemporáneos, a group of writers whose status as outsiders (sophisticated urbanites, gay men, women) gave them not just a different perspective, but a different gaze, a new way of viewing the diverse Mexicos that exist within Mexican society. In this book, Salvador Oropesa offers original readings of the works of five Contemporáneos—Salvador Novo, Xavier Villaurrutia, Agustín Lazo, Guadalupe Marín, and Jorge Cuesta—and their efforts to create a Mexican literature that was international, attuned to the realities of modern Mexico, and flexible enough to speak to the masses as well as the elites. Oropesa discusses Novo and Villaurrutia in relation to neo-baroque literature and satiric poetry, showing how these inherently subversive genres provided the means of expressing difference and otherness that they needed as gay men. He explores the theatrical works of Lazo, Villaurrutia’s partner, who offered new representations of the closet and of Mexican history from an emerging middle-class viewpoint. Oropesa also looks at women’s participation in the Contemporáneos through Guadalupe Marín, the sometime wife of Diego Rivera and Jorge Cuesta, whose novels present women’s struggles to have a view and a voice of their own. He concludes the book with Novo’s self-transformation from intellectual into celebrity, which fulfilled the Contemporáneos’ desire to merge high and popular culture and create a space where those on the margins could move to the center.

Published by: University of Texas Press


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p. vii

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pp. ix-x

The process from manuscript to book is long and needs the help of many people. I want to start with the same critics noted in the Introduction, maestros like Frank Dauster, Merlin H. Forster, Seymour Menton, and John S. Brushwood. If they had not written what they did, we would have to be doing so now. ...

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pp. xi-xiv

Frank Dauster and Merlin H. Forster in the United States and Octavio Paz and Guillermo Sheridan in Mexico, among several others, taught us about the importance of the writers of the Contempor

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1: Neo-Baroque

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pp. 1-27

The subtitle of José Antonio Maravall’s book Culture of the Baroque (1980) is Analysis of a Historical Structure. Maravall’s definition of historical structure is “the figure—or mental construction—in which we are shown a complex of facts endowed with an internal articulation wherein the intricate network of relations taking place between such facts ...

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2: Gay and Baroque Literatures

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pp. 28-53

Salvador Novo’s El joven is usually explained as a new novel based on the figure of young men popularized by gay writers like Marcel Proust and André Gide. Besides this influence, the figure of the wandering young man already existed in classical literature, especially in the baroque period. ...

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3: Satiric Poetry

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pp. 54-68

Gay and baroque poetry converge in Salvador Novo’s satire. It is baroque because it follows the conventions of Golden Age literary models; it is gay, even in those poems where the topic is not mentioned, because in this genre Novo comes out of the closet. ...

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4: Agustín Lazo (1896 –1971): Xavier Villaurrutia’s Shadow

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pp. 69-93


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5: Guadalupe Mar

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pp. 94-116

Guadalupe Marín is one of the most fascinating women of twentieth-century Mexico. She is most famous because she was Diego Rivera’s first or second wife (depending on whether we include Angelina Beloff ) and by far his most important muse. After her Catholic marriage to Rivera (they never had a civil, legal marriage in Mexico), ...

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6: Gossip, Power, and the Culture of Celebrity

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pp. 117-140

In 1994 the cultural historian Neal Gabler published his seminal book Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity, which was declared the nonfiction book of the year by Time magazine. Gabler transcended the biographical genre, using Winchell’s life to explain the period of his fame ...


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pp. 141-156


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pp. 157-168


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pp. 169-175

E-ISBN-13: 9780292798564
E-ISBN-10: 0292798563
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292760578
Print-ISBN-10: 0292760574

Page Count: 191
Publication Year: 2003

OCLC Number: 55889741
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Contemporáneos Group

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Subject Headings

  • Mexican literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • Contemporáneos (Literary group).
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