Publication Year: 2000
Published by: University of Texas Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Professor Luis Leal is one of the most outstanding scholars of Mexican, Latin American, and Chicano literature—he is the dean of Mexican American intellectuals in the United States. Don Luis, as he is affectionately called by those who know him well, is now in his early...
Chapter One: Linares
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MG: Don Luis, when and where were you born?
LL: I was born on September 17, 1907, in Linares, Nuevo Leon, in northern Mexico. Linares is located southeast of Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon. I was named after my father.
When I returned in 1985 after many years to receive an homenaje [homecoming award] from city officials, I discovered that Linares had not changed...
Chapter Two: Chicago
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MG: Let’s go back to your migration to Chicago. You left in 1927 to come to Northwestern University because some friends were already studying there. You went to study mathematics. Why was there this Linares connection with Northwestern? Why didn’t these students go to a closer American...
Chapter Three: Mississippi and Emory
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MG: Don Luis, after you finished your Ph.D., did you apply for teaching positions
LL: I taught one more year at Chicago, but during this time I also looked for a new position because I couldn’t stay at the University of Chicago. I attended the MLA [Modern Language Association] in 1951, which was in Detroit...
Chapter Four: Illinois
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MG: Don Luis, why did you decide to leave Emory in 1959?
LL: It was mostly because Gladys wanted to be near her mother and sister, who lived in Chicago. In December of 1958, when I was attending the MLA convention in New York, I got together with Professor Renato Rosaldo Sr. from...
Chapter Five: Aztlán—Part One
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MG: Don Luis, the 1960s, of course, was a very tumultuous period, especially
because of the VietnamWar and student protests against it. What was the
situation like at Illinois at that time?Was there much student unrest?
LL: When I first arrived at Illinois in 1959 and for the next few years, the campus was very quiet. It really wasn’t until about 1968 that things began to change...
Chapter Six: Aztlán—Part Two
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MG: Let’s talk about Ron Arias, whose novel, The Road to Tamazunchale, appeared first in 1975. He didn’t publish with Quinto Sol, so he was not part of that group. LL: He first published a few short stories. One of his first he entered into the University of California Irvine Chicano literary contest. It won first prize for...
Chapter Seven: Santa Barbara
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MG: Don Luis, you decided to retire from Illinois in the mid-1970s. Why did
you decide to do that at that time?
LL: Actually, I didn’t have a choice. Unlike today, when there is no mandatory retirement age, there was one then at Illinois and all other universities. You had to retire at sixty-eight. I turned sixty-eight in 1975, but because...
Chapter Eight: Work and Reflections at Ninety
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MG: I want to discuss your own most recent work. I understand you’ve
written a book on Joaquin Murrieta. Why did you decide to do a book
LL: I’ve always been interested in Murrieta as a popular hero. Some time ago, as I was collecting recordings of corridos, I found one on Murrieta. I think it was the very first corrido recorded about Murrieta. It was done in the 1930s...
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Selected Bibliography of Luis Leal’s Works
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Page Count: 230
Illustrations: 22 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2000