Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

Jean Franco

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pp. ix-x

For those without papers, traveling north from the global south, the U.S.-Mexican border is a formidable and increasingly militarized wall. It is not only a dangerous crossing point for thousands of men and women from Mexico and Central America but also a dramatic and sometimes a tragic...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xviii

Divided by the U.S.-Mexican border, the city of Nogales has two distinct sides: one in Arizona, the other one in Sonora. A long rusty metal strip made up of corrugated steel panels welded to metal posts crowned with barbed wire segregates the two neighborhoods. On the Mexican side, a procession of...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xix-2

As I reread the final manuscript for After the Nation at the end of 2013, I reminisced about the many voices and people who helped me in the long road that began as a Ph.D. dissertation at King’s College, London, at the turn of the century, and culminated as the book you have in your hands or on your...

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Introduction: Bordering Can(n)ons: Postnational Satire in the United States and Mexico

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pp. 3-28

“Democracy” and “nation,” the two apparent opposites in the epigraph from Barack Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address, underline the perceived disconnect between political practices—“contentious,” “frustrating,” “messy”—and the exceptionality of American national sentiment, with its...

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Part One: Narrative Undergrounds in the Postnational City

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pp. 29-40

“Later I would think of America as one vast City of Night stretching gaudily from Times Square to Hollywood Boulevard—jukebox-winking, rock-n-roll- moaning: America at night fusing its darkcities into the unmistakeable shape of loneliness.”¹ These opening words from John Rechy’s first novel...

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1. Modernity Versus Its National Demons: La región más transparente

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pp. 41-58

If the “speech of the people” is the common national ground that constitutes Dos Passos’s account of the American nation, for Ixca Cienfuegos, Fuentes’s menacing narrator at the opening of La región más transparente, the nation is identified not with a people but with a mythical geographical...

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2. Innocents Abroad and at Home: The Profane History of American Modernity in V.

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pp. 59-76

At the end of the 1950s two similar-sounding titles offered a critical view of the informal American empire in Asia: Graham Greene’s The Quiet American (1955) and William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick’s The Ugly American (1958).¹ Both texts voiced anxieties about aggressive American involvement...

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Part Two: Dissenting from the Nation: The New Left

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pp. 77-86

The three novels analyzed in this section, Fuentes’s La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962), Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), and Fuentes’s Cambio de piel (1967) refer directly to the immediate context of their audiences at the time of publication in order to historicize and subvert the Cold War nationalist...

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3. La muerte de Artemio Cruz and the Agonic Mexican Nation

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pp. 87-108

Fuentes’s 1962 novel La muerte de Artemio Cruz scrutinizes the political and social outcome of the Mexican Revolution through the image of an agonizing revolutionary who stands as a symbol of both the revolution and the Mexican nation reborn in its aftermath. As in La región más transparente, the...

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4. The Crying of Lot 49 and the Nationalist Colonization of the Unconscious

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pp. 109-132

The Crying of Lot 49 complexly elaborates a fictional response to the guiltridden conscience of the American middle class and the hopeless search for a way out of its reification. In the novel, the commoditized Californian landscape becomes the obsessive reminder of the social and political cost of...

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5. Epidermic Metamorphosis? Shedding the Nation in Cambio de piel

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pp. 133-146

From 1962, the year of publication of La muerte de Artemio Cruz, to 1967, Fuentes worked on his most experimental project, Cambio de piel (A Change of Skin), a text that would build on the earlier themes but with a much less clear set of answers. If the “monster” Artemio had personified so many of the...

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Part Three: (Post)Colonial Enlightened Origins: Americanism Born

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pp. 147-160

In the two historical novels studied in this part, Fuentes’s La campaña (1990) and Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon (1997), the formation of independent nation-states throughout the Americas is portrayed as a continuation of the hegemonic practices of competing European cultures in the Western Hemisphere...

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6. Enlightened Nationalists: The Conquest Rides Again in La campaña

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pp. 161-178

When fighting for Venezuelan independence, Fernando Fonta, one of the protagonists in Arturo Uslar Pietri’s Las lanzas coloradas (1931), remembers his early enthusiasm for the republican dream: “Fernando remembered his days in the university. His readings of Rousseau. The Republic. Because, when all...

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7. Surveying American Exceptionalism in Mason & Dixon

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pp. 179-198

Irving outlined the troubled, ambivalent attitudes toward the genocide committed against Native Americans by whites: incredulity—confirmed by a silence, which not always sounds condemnatory—or indignation—spoken through many acts of contrition—are only two, perhaps the most prevalent...

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Conclusion: Beyond the Nation

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pp. 199-210

The texts studied in this book offer an alternative satirical rejoinder to the “national romances” identified by Doris Sommer in her book Foundational Fictions. As Sommer points out, the novels of the Latin American boom “rewrite, or un-write, foundational fiction as the failure of romance, the...

Notes

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pp. 211-252

Bibliography

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pp. 253-274

Index

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pp. 275-282