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Wonder and Exile in the New World

By Alex Nava

Publication Year: 2013

In Wonder and Exile in the New World, Alex Nava explores the border regions in-between wonder and exile particularly in relation to the New World. It traces the preoccupation with the concept of wonder in the history of the Americas beginning with the first European encounters, and goes on to investigate later representations in the Baroque age, and ultimately into the twentieth century with the emergence of so-called magical realism. In telling the story of wonder in the New World, special attention is given to the part it played in the history of violence and exile, either as a force that supported and reinforced the conquest, or as a voice of resistance and decolonization. Focusing on the work of New World explorers, writers, and poets—and their literary descendants, Nava finds that wonder and exile have been two of the most significant metaphors within Latin American cultural, literary, and religious representations. Beginning with the period of the Conquest, especially with Cabeza de Vaca and Las Casas, and continuing through the Baroque with Cervantes and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and into the twentieth century with Alejo Carpentier and Miguel Ángel Asturias, Nava produces a historical study of Latin American narrative in which religious and theological perspectives figure prominently.

Published by: Penn State University Press

Cover Front

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

When trying to express gratitude for a book on wonder, it’s tempting to begin with the budding memories of childhood, since the aptitude for wonder seems highly developed in this early stage, only to retreat and diminish in adult years. In some cases, under the pressures and routines of the mundane, it goes into hibernation. ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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pp. 1-10

Few things enchant the human mind more than tales of travel to faraway lands. Such stories can carry us away and take us to places that are barely imaginable, places that are beyond the borders of what our mind conceives as possible or logical. There is, for this reason, something delightful and wondrous in travel narratives. ...

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Chapter 1: Wonder and Exile: Mystical and Prophetic Perspectives

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pp. 11-28

In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Colonel Aureliano Buendía is born with his eyes wide open, as the author himself, Gabriel García Márquez, was reported to have come forth from the womb.1 This image of a wide-eyed child—eyes swollen and enlarged, looking like a full moon—will serve us nicely in considering the theme of wonder in the New World. ...

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Chapter 2: Wanderers and Wonderers in the New World: Voices of the Dispossessed

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pp. 29-71

The European encounter with the New World remains one of the decisive events of modern world history. The shocking discovery of this continent would soon make only death the final undiscovered country. And neither Europe nor this uncharted world would remain the same. ...

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Chapter 3: The Hidden God of the Baroque: Baroque Wonders, Baroque Tragedies

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pp. 72-113

If this poem by the great Portuguese poet begins as a personal lament, it suddenly becomes something broader in scope, a lament for an entire epoch. The anguish of this poet is let loose on his age to become a dark prophecy of things to come. The poet summons wonders and fears like a biblical prophet of doom or an apocalyptic seer. ...

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Chapter 4: Baroque Artists in Exile: Cervantes and Sor Juana

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pp. 114-169

In the prologue to Don Quixote, the author makes a gesture toward the classic epic when he invokes the muses. He tells us that under the right conditions, even the most barren muses can bring “forth a progeny to fill the world with wonder and delight” (DQ, prologue). ...

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Chapter 5: Mysticism and the Marvelous in Latin American Literature

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pp. 170-222

So, fast-forward a couple of centuries from the age of the Baroque to the twentieth century. The final piece of our story about wonder and exile in the New World concerns the emergence of a distinct style of literary representation in the twentieth century widely known as magical realism. ...

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pp. 223-228

In my concluding remarks, I want to return to the beginning of my study, where I mentioned my upbringing on the border of the U.S. Southwest (Tucson, Arizona). My family has deep roots in this part of the United States, once the territory of Spain and Mexico. ...


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pp. 229-244


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pp. 245-252


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pp. 253-260

Cover Back

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p. 274-274

E-ISBN-13: 9780271061139
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271059938
Print-ISBN-10: 0271059931

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013