Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Heading: (Acknowledgments)

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pp. ix-xvi

The first part of a personal letter, commonly referred to as a “heading,” is often used to situate its writer in time and in a particular place. Adherence to such a convention, although not completely absent in the love letters that, taken together, compose the main primary source upon which this...

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Introduction: The Heart in the Glass Jar

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pp. 1-18

Though the heart in the glass jar no longer beats, it continues to invigorate life at the very center of the “lettered city,” a phrase that Angel Rama coined to capture the relationship between power, the written word, and the urban center in Latin America from the colonial period to the...

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Section 1. The Letter of the Law

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pp. 19-88

Having yielded to their desires as well as to the strong arms of the brothers O., the Martínez sisters were spirited out of their parental home in Balleza, a relatively populous agricultural municipality within the Parral mining district in Chihuahua, one night during the dry season...

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Section 2. The Lettered Countryside

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pp. 89-172

That neither could read or write seemed not particularly to matter. In hopes of persuading his fifteen-year-old novia to leave her home in the small agricultural town of Huejotitan in the southern reaches of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua to be his partner (compañera), Liberato had...

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Section 3. The Body of the Letter

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pp. 173-242

Bits of bodies, both physical and textual, lie strewn throughout and between the pages of the love letters lodged in the judicial archive. Letters, at times, contained actual locks of hair and photographic images, tokens of love that stand in for the absent lover. Other body parts, eyes and hearts especially...

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Postscript

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pp. 243-258

As this book opened in a museum, one newly dedicated to Melchor Ocampo, with his heart assuming a place of prominence there as a biological and metaphorical link between the institution of San Nicolás and the person whose values, beliefs, and actions it honored, perhaps it is only fitting...

Notes

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pp. 259-284

Bibliography

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pp. 285-292

Index

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pp. 293-298