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Narratives of Greater Mexico

Essays on Chicano Literary History, Genre, and Borders

By Héctor Calderón

Publication Year: 2004

Once relegated to the borders of literature—neither Mexican nor truly American—Chicana/o writers have always been in the vanguard of change, articulating the multicultural ethnicities, shifting identities, border realities, and even postmodern anxieties and hostilities that already characterize the twenty-first century. Indeed, it is Chicana/o writers’ very in-between-ness that makes them authentic spokespersons for an America that is becoming increasingly Mexican/Latin American and for a Mexico that is ever more Americanized. In this pioneering study, Héctor Calderón looks at seven Chicana and Chicano writers whose narratives constitute what he terms an American Mexican literature. Drawing on the concept of “Greater Mexican” culture first articulated by Américo Paredes, Calderón explores how the works of Paredes, Rudolfo Anaya, Tomás Rivera, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Cherríe Moraga, Rolando Hinojosa, and Sandra Cisneros derive from Mexican literary traditions and genres that reach all the way back to the colonial era. His readings cover a wide span of time (1892–2001), from the invention of the Spanish Southwest in the nineteenth century to the América Mexicana that is currently emerging on both sides of the border. In addition to his own readings of the works, Calderón also includes the writers’ perspectives on their place in American/Mexican literature through excerpts from their personal papers and interviews, correspondence, and e-mail exchanges he conducted with most of them.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: CMAS History, Culture, and Society Series


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-xi

Many friends and students have assisted me in making this book possible. For over twenty-five years, Ramón and José David Saldívar have been colleagues (more like brothers, actually) whose work and encouragement have inspired me to continue my own projects. Other colleagues of my generation—Norma...

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pp. xii-xix

It was a dark and stormy night in New Haven, Connecticut, when I informed Ramón Saldívar in Austin, Texas, that I was thinking of writing a book on Chicano literature. “Great,” he said. Little did I know what a difficult task that would be. The world has changed since that phone conversation of long ago. We no longer inhabit the twentieth century and the field of Chicana and Chicano...

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REDEFINING THE BORDERLANDS: From the Spanish Southwest to Greater Mexico,from Charles F. Lummis to Am

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pp. 1-27

For the first seventeen years of my life, la línea was a daily presence. From the north end of the Imperial Valley in Brawley, Highway 86 winds down past agricultural fields and several cities—Imperial, El Centro, and Heber—to eventually arrive as...

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WRITING THE DREAMS OF LA NUEVA MÉXICO: Rudolfo A. Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultimaand the Southwest Literary Tradition

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pp. 28-64

Roberto owns and operates the small, run-down grocery store that lies off the dirt road in Arroyo Hondo. In the darkness of his dusty, cramped store, he welcomes me in a friendly yet perplexed manner because I am asking questions about the Mart

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THE EMERGENCE OF THECHICANO NOVEL:T omás Rivera’s “. . . y no se lo tragó la tierra” and the Community of Readers

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pp. 65-84

In 1967, during the first years of the Chicano Movement, Quinto Sol began publishing El Grito: A Journal of Contemporary Mexican-American Thought, founded by a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley, and Professor Octavio I....

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“A RECORDER OF EVENTS WITH A SOUR STOMACH”: Oscar Zeta Acosta and The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo

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pp. 85-110

San Francisco has occupied an important place in the American imagination. Recalling Tony Bennett’s 1962 signature song, it is “the city by the bay” where like no other architectural structure on the West Coast the Golden Gate Bridge marks the end of the continental United States. The only structure similar to it...

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“MAKING FAMILIA FROM SCRATCH”: Cherríe L. Moraga’s Self-Portraits

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pp. 111-137

The year 1983 looms large as we look back on Cherríe Moraga’s emergence as a voice in Chicana feminism. That year the second edition of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, coedited with Gloria Anzaldúa, Cuentos: Stories by Latinas, coedited with Alma Gómez and Mariana Romo-Carmona,...

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“MEXICANOS AL GRITODE GUERRA”: Rolando Hinojosa’s Cronicón del condado de Belken

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pp. 138-166

Rolando Hinojosa’s first book, Estampas del valle y otras obras (1973; The Valley, 1983), was interpreted by critics as an expression of Spanish American costumbrismo. Mexican intellectual Julio Torri, writer of estampas, “sketches,” was invoked in comparison to Hinojosa’s first book. Indeed, Herminio Ríos, the Quinto...

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“COMO MÉXICO NO HAY DOS”: Sandra Cisneros’s Feminist Border Stories

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pp. 167-213

“Como México no hay dos” is a popular Mexican saying as well as a mariachi favorite of the same title written by Pepe Guízar (see Concepción 1972, 83–84). The song lyrics and saying are expressions of territorial and cultural pride and refer to the border between the United States and Mexico: a drink of tequila is called for, no...

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Epilogue: AM

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pp. 214-218

We have crossed the international border at Calexico-Mexicali,” informs Captain Marín of the 7:00 A.M. Mexicana de Aviación Flight 903 from la Ciudad de Nuestra Señora la Reyna de Los Angeles to la Ciudad de México. In a little over three hours we will be arriving at La Capital/La Gran Tenochtitlán, the heart of...


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pp. 219-250


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pp. 251-269


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pp. 270-271


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pp. 272-284

E-ISBN-13: 9780292797680
E-ISBN-10: 0292797680
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292705609
Print-ISBN-10: 0292705603

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: CMAS History, Culture, and Society Series
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OCLC Number: 60611949
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Narratives of Greater Mexico

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Subject Headings

  • American literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • American literature -- Mexican influences.
  • Literary form -- History -- 20th century.
  • American literature -- Mexican American authors -- History and criticism.
  • Mexican Americans -- Intellectual life.
  • Mexican Americans in literature.
  • Narration (Rhetoric).
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