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The Spectacular City, Mexico, and Colonial Hispanic Literary Culture

By Stephanie Merrim

Publication Year: 2010

The Spectacular City, Mexico, and Colonial Hispanic Literary Culture tracks the three spectacular forces of New World literary culture—cities, festivals, and wonder—from the sixteenth to the seventeenth century, from the Old World to the New, and from Mexico to Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. It treats a multitude of imperialist and anti-imperialist texts in depth, including poetry, drama, protofiction, historiography, and journalism. While several of the landmark authors studied, including Hernán Cortés and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, are familiar, others have received remarkably little critical attention. Similarly, in spotlighting creole writers, Merrim reveals an intertextual tradition in Mexico that spans two centuries. Because the spectacular city reaches its peak in the seventeenth century, Merrim’s book also theorizes and details the spirited work of the New World Baroque. The result is the rich examination of a trajectory that leads from the Renaissance ordered city to the energetic revolts of the spectacular city and the New World Baroque.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Title Page, Copyright

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PREFACE

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pp. vii-viii

Warm thanks go to my expert and attentive editor, Theresa May, and to everyone else who contributed to the book’s production; to Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel and Nina M. Scott for invaluable suggestions on the manuscript; to Sara Snider for exquisitely proofing it; and especially to the friends, students, colleagues, and family who have...

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INTRODUCTION: Road Map

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pp. 1-12

At the beginning of William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! (1936), the demon-horse-man figure of Thomas Sutpen “abrupts” onto the scene (4). Bit by bit, piece by astonishing piece, he begins to take shape before the readers’ eyes, first through the narrative of the haunted Rosa Coldfield. ...

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1. AGILE PLATFORMS OF THE SPECTACULAR CITY: The New World and the Old

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pp. 13-48

César Vallejo’s breakout book of poetry, Los heraldos negros [The black heralds] (Lima, 1918), gives off shock waves that convulse a received, stable world picture into an “ultranervous axis” (68). Los heraldos negros leads off with a section entitled “Plafones agiles,” which I loosely translate as “Agile Platforms.”1 ...

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2. ORDER AND CONCERT

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pp. 49-90

Before the Spectacular City, as its precondition and antagonist, there was the Ordered City. Decimating the concert and order that Hernán Cortés perceived in Tenochtitlán, the Hispanic Ordered City sought to subjugate the Indian world, razing and then rebirthing it in accord with the aims of the empire and in consonance with European paradigms. ...

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3. BALBUENA’S “LA GRANDEZ AMEXICANA” AND THE ADVENT OF THE SPECTACULAR CITY

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pp. 91-127

In the Eighth Eclogue of Bernardo de Balbuena’s pastoral novel Siglo de oro en las selvas de Erífile [Golden age in the forest of Erífile] (written in 1601, published in Spain in 1608), on his way back from the city to the bucolic forest of Erífile the shepherd Melancio makes a startling discovery. ...

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4. BALBUENA’ S SPECTACULAR CITY AND THE CREOLE CAUSE

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pp. 128-146

At the heart of the heart of present-day Mexico City, near the center of its Zócalo, stand the remains of the Aztec Templo Mayor, excavated in the late 1980s. The Templo Mayor breaks the vast sweep of the second largest city plaza in the world and claims a powerful place for Aztec culture in the value system of contemporary Mexico. ...

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5. ENGAGING PLURALITY: Baroque Plenitude and the Spectacular City in Mexico

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pp. 147-194

In protesting Spanish abuses of the Indians, El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno [First new chronicle and good government] by the Peruvian Yarovilca Indian Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala relentlessly impresses on its readers that there are many more worlds in the New World than Balbuena and his cohorts admit. ...

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6. “TO KNOW THE ALL": The Spectacular Esoteric City in Mexico

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pp. 195-246

Over the course of the seventeenth century, a prosperous Mexico City experienced a veritable orgy of construction and renovation that rendered it indisputably spectacular in material terms. Agustín de Vetancurt remarks with awe in 1698 that more than twenty sumptuous churches and thousands of buildings had recently been constructed,...

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7. BABEL: Wild Work of the Baroque

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pp. 247-294

Irving A. Leonard’s watershed, prizewinning Baroque Times in Old Mexico (1959) purveys its subject in the spectacular terms that have excited readers, stimulated scholars, and, to no small degree, spurred the present study.1 ...

Appendix. CHRONOLOGY OF PRINCIPAL WORKS

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pp. 295-296

NOTES

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pp. 297-335

WORKS CITED

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pp. 337-353

INDEX

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pp. 355-367


E-ISBN-13: 9780292784727
E-ISBN-10: 0292784724
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292723078
Print-ISBN-10: 0292723075

Page Count: 377
Illustrations: 4 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture

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Subject Headings

  • Mexico City (Mexico) -- Social life and customs -- 16th century.
  • Festivals -- Mexico -- Mexico City -- History -- 17th century.
  • Mexico City (Mexico) -- Intellectual life -- 16th century.
  • Mexico City (Mexico) -- Intellectual life -- 17th century.
  • Mexico City (Mexico) -- In literature.
  • Mexico City (Mexico) -- Social life and customs -- 17th century.
  • Festivals -- Mexico -- Mexico City -- History -- 16th century.
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