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The Chronicles of Panchita Villa and Other Guerrilleras

Essays on Chicana/Latina Literature and Criticism

By Tey Diana Rebolledo

Publication Year: 2005

Although there have been substantial contributions to Chicana literature and criticism over the past few decades, Chicanas are still underrepresented and underappreciated in the mainstream literary world and virtually nonexistent in the canon. Writers like Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, and Gloria Anzaldúa have managed to find larger audiences and critical respect, but there are legions of Chicana writers and artists who have been marginalized and ignored despite their talent. Even in Chicano anthologies, the focus has tended to be more on male writers. Chicanas have often found themselves without a real home in the academic world. Tey Diana Rebolledo has been writing about Chicana/Latina identity, literature, discrimination, and feminism for more than two decades. In this collection of essays, she brings together both old and new works to give a state-of-the-moment look at the still largely unanswered questions raised by vigilant women of color throughout the last half of the twentieth century. An intimate introductory essay about Rebolledo's personal experiences as the daughter of a Mexican mother and a Peruvian father serves to lay the groundwork for the rest of the volume. The essays delve into the historical development of Chicana writing and its early narratives, the representation of Chicanas as seen on book covers, Chicana feminism, being a Chicana critic in the academy, Chicana art history, and Chicana creativity. Rebolledo encourages “guerrillera” warfare against academia in order to open up the literary canon to Chicana/Latina writers who deserve validation.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: Chicana Matters

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pp. ix-x

I have been studying and teaching Chicana/Latina literature for more than twenty years. During this time I have given many presentations and lectures on various aspects of this important literature. Often, after the lecture, the paper would be put away, awaiting the day when...

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INTRODUCTION. Hey, That’s MY Story! A Conversation with My Peruvian Father and My Mexican Mother—Literature and Identity

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pp. 1-10

I sit reading my father’s short stories in the collection La Llama y el Indio, published in 1949, stories he had written over a period of several years. Some of the characters resemble me, some my beautiful mother. Sometimes the characters are a synthesis between my younger...

PART ONE. On Criticism and Critics

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ONE. The Chronicles of Panchita Villa: Episode One (1993)

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pp. 13-23

The topic of this essay is Chicana literature, Chicana criticism, and the canon. It is a subject about which I have written many times and which continues to evolve, depending on the historical moment, what has happened to Chicana literature and Chicana critics during the time immediately preceding, and how angry I am about the situation at any given time...

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TWO. The Chronicles of Panchita Villa: Episode Two (1997)

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pp. 24-33

I dedicate this essay to my younger sister, Gloria Rebolledo Ingham, who died of uterine cancer in 1996, with a poem I wrote for her, titled “When I Had That Brain Operation.”...

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THREE. Women Writers, New Disciplines, and the Canon (2000)

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pp. 34-39

I started late. I was forty-two when I received my Ph.D. in 1979. I had had many lives before I went back to school as a graduate student to study Latin American literature. Actually, going back to graduate school was one of the better things I have done in my life. Not only did I come in contact with exciting ideas and intellectual challenges, the...

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FOUR. The Politics of Poetics: Or, What Am I, a Critic, Doing in This Text Anyhow? (1987)

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pp. 40-48

In the essay “Retrieving Our Past, Determining Our Future,” poet Pat Mora chose to begin with a pre-Columbian poem:...

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FIVE. “Sprinkling Wildflower Seeds”: A Plática about Critical Perspectives in Chicana/Latina Literature (1998)

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pp. 49-55

I begin with a quote from Pat Mora’s House of Houses: The sensuality of gardeners and cooks. Women who button their blouses to the neck, avert their eyes at bare curves and cleavage across a room or on canvas; such women in their kitchens and gardens release their senses to play. With firm...

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SIX. Reconstructing Sor Juana’s Library: Twenty Years of Chicana Literary Representation (1999)

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pp. 56-74

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Mexico’s brilliant and intellectual seventeenth-century nun, loved books. She loved reading and thinking. One of the reasons she entered the convent, as she tells us in her Respuesta (Letter of Response), is that she had no “inclination” toward...

PART TWO. On Chicana Literature

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SEVEN. Who Killed Presiliano Ulibarr

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pp. 77-91

The women are missing, the women are missing! What cry is this that springs forth from history books, chronicles, biographies of Hispanos in the Colonial Southwest from the 1600s to the beginning of the twentieth century? Have the women been abducted? Have they, in contemporary terminology, been “disappeared”? The phenomenon is...

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EIGHT. Las Mujeres Hablan: Creativity as Politics (1996)

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pp. 92-94

Las mujeres hablan. Las mujeres pintan, cantan, escriben, crean (Women speak. Women paint, sing, write, create). The subject of the symposium and exhibition “Las Mujeres Hablan” was the presence of women in all their creative aspects: in particular, the presence of Chicanas as they make a place for themselves within a dominant culture that has often...

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NINE. “No More Cookies, Please!”: Chicana Feminism through Literature (1997)

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pp. 95-104

In the early days of the Chicano Renaissance, Chicana feminism burst through its latent confines and began to manifest itself on the streets, in kitchens, in bedrooms, and in essays, poems, and narratives. In its inception there were at least two fronts of the attack as the women prepared...

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TEN. “Jugando a la vida con poemas”: Contemporary Chicana Poetry in Spanish (1998)

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pp. 105-115

In this essay I analyze the poetry of some Chicana poets who write in Spanish, tracing their political development from 1970 until today in relation to their themes, their challenge to the language and their struggle with it, their sociopolitical vision, and their place within the realm of Chicano literature given the fact that they write in Spanish. Among the...

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ELEVEN. “Mi Vida Loca”: Symbolic Spaces in the Construction of Identity in Chicana Literature (1998)

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pp. 116-123

In this essay I want to briefly sketch out the cultural and societal boundaries perceived in the figure of La Loca, the mad heroine so often seen in Chicana literature, how her symbolic space is constructed by Chicana writers, and to examine how Chicana writers seize upon this figure as a representation of how women may function within societal...

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TWELVE. The Chicana Bandera: Sandra Cisneros in the Public Press—Constructing a Cultural Icon (1996 –1999)

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pp. 124-138

Sandra Cisneros is one of the few Chicana writers who has “made it” into the mainstream publishing world, and indeed she is internationally recognized as an excellent writer. She has also become a cultural icon in the public press. By icon I mean an image or portrait, a representation...

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THIRTEEN. The Tools in the Toolbox: Representing Work in Chicana Literature (1999)

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pp. 139-150

In Helena María Viramontes’s novel Under the Feet of Jesus, Estrella, the heroine, is fascinated with the toolbox of Perfecto, her stepfather. The young migrant child has followed the route of most migrant children, going from school to school, seated in the back of the classroom...

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FOURTEEN. La Nueva Onda—The New Wave: Contemporary Chicana Writing (2001)

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pp. 151-157

Three books written by Chicanas have been recently published or republished. Each of these new editions speaks to both the history of Chicana literature and the contemporary moment. These books...

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FIFTEEN. Size 48D Bras and Men Who Wear Skirts: The Dialectics of Humor in Denise Chávez’s Narratives (2001)

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pp. 158-174

Infante (2001), written by Denise Chávez, the reader is startled by a surprising, offbeat, bawdy, ironic, often dark humor. Intermingled with serious social commentary and a realistic representation of men and women’s lives is a sudden word, line, or description that lightens the narrative and makes us laugh. Sometimes the descriptions seem cruel, and if they were said...

SIXTEEN. The Archbishop Sees the Body of the Virgin: Art, Religion, Ideology, and Popular Culture (2001)

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pp. 175-184

PART THREE. Miscellaneous Essays on Chicana/Latina Literature

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SEVENTEEN. Game Theory: A Typology of Feminist Players in Latina/Chicana Writing (1985)

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pp. 187-204

What is game theory and how does it apply to feminism, especially Latina feminism? Games are regularized social forms engaged in voluntarily (Huizinga, 78). A game is usually played in a separate sphere, such as a playground, a board, arena, stage, magic circle, or sacred space...

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EIGHTEEN. Art and Spiritual Politics: Sor Juana Beatriz de la Fuente— A Feminist Literary Perspective (1995)

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pp. 205-213

Here am I, a literary critic who studies and researches Latin American women writers and Chicana writers, at a conference of artists and art historians. My task is to discuss a painting by Sor Juana Beatriz de la Fuente...

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NINETEEN. “Inheriting the Alphabet”: Homeland and Exile in Marjorie Agosín (1997)

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pp. 214-227

I first met Marjorie Agos

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TWENTY. Questioning Nepantla: The Land in Between—Geopolitical Tyrannies and Other Border Complexities (2002)

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pp. 228-238

The Border, Border Theory, Border Studies, the borderlands, la frontera, los fronterizos. A broad complex subject with many perspectives, many meanings. Does it mean side by side or face to face? Is it a barbed wire fence that delimits, or an invisible line that shifts? Is there such...


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pp. 239-248


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pp. 249-258


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pp. 259-270

E-ISBN-13: 9780292795921
E-ISBN-10: 0292795920
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292706927
Print-ISBN-10: 0292706928

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 12 color and 29 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Chicana Matters

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Subject Headings

  • Feminism and literature -- United States.
  • Women and literature -- United States.
  • Hispanic American women in literature.
  • Mexican American women in literature.
  • American literature -- Hispanic American authors -- History and criticism.
  • Mexican American women -- Intellectual life.
  • American literature -- Women authors -- History and criticism.
  • Hispanic American women -- Intellectual life.
  • American literature -- Mexican American authors -- History and criticism.
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