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The Magellan Fallacy

Globalization and the Emergence of Asian and African Literature in Spanish

Adam Lifshey

Publication Year: 2012

The Magellan Fallacy argues that literature in Spanish from Asia and Africa, though virtually unknown, reimagines the supposed centers and peripheries of the modern world in fundamental ways. Through archival research and comparative readings, The Magellan Fallacy rethinks mainstream mappings of diverse cultures while advocating the creation of a new field of scholarship: global literature in Spanish. As the first attempt to analyze Asian and African literature in Spanish together, and doing so while ranging over all continents, The Magellan Fallacy crosses geopolitical and cultural borders without end. The implications of the book, therefore, extend far beyond the lands formerly ruled by the Spanish empire. The Magellan Fallacy shows that all theories of globalization, including those focused on the Americas and Europe, must be able to account for the varied significances of hispanophone Asia and Africa as well.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

In the course of researching and writing this book, I was fortunate to have the support of people who believed that this sort of thing was worth doing. The world can feel large and small at once, and I appreciate the solidarity of family, friends, and...

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pp. 1-24

Magellan sailed the ocean blue but never made it home. A Portuguese captain who commanded under the Spanish ›ag, he arrived in 1521 at what later would be called the Philippines. The archipelago was unknown to Europe and so Magellan...

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1. Novelizations of Asia: Pedro Paterno’s Nínay (1885)

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pp. 25-69

The ‹rst Asian novelist in Spanish completed the journey of Magellan three and a half centuries later. He did not, however, conclude it. As Pedro Paterno sailed from the Philippines to Spain in the early 1870s, he must have thought of Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian wayfarer on the circumnavigation of 1518–21 who...

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2. The Imperial Shift: José Rizal’s El filibusterismo (1891) and Pedro Paterno’s Aurora social (1910–11)

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pp. 70-111

Pedro Paterno was the first novelist of the Philippines but his Nínay is barely known inside the country, much less read. This is not the case with the next two Filipino novels that appeared, José Rizal’s Noli me tangere (Touch Me Not) of 1887...

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3. Globalized Isolations: Félix Gerardo’s Justicia social y otroscuentos 193?–41)

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pp. 112-153

A yellowed manuscript in Spanish sits in the National Library in Manila. The typewritten pages reveal the author’s handwritten corrections amid tiny holes bored by insects long ago. The title of the manuscript is Justicia social y otros cuentos (Social Justice and Other Stories). Inside is a seventy-onepage novella, “Social Justice...

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4. The Turn to Africa: Daniel Jones Mathama’s Una lanza por el Boabí (1962)

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pp. 154-198

Antonio Pigafetta never saw Magellan again. The European survivors of the battle on Mactan Island proposed a trade for the body of the captain but Lapu Lapu refused. The victorious indigenous king declared that “they would not give him up for...

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5. Beginnings at the End: María Nsue Angüe’s Ekomo (1985) and Juan Balboa Boneke’s El reencuentro: el retorno del exiliado (1985)

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pp. 199-241

One hundred years after Pedro Paterno left the Philippines for Europe, the arc of Asian and African literature in Spanish seemed to have come to an end. The once robust tradition in the Philippines had sputtered out of existence, apparently forever...

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6. The Passages Ahead

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pp. 242-274

The emergence of Asian and African literature in Spanish is a global phenomenon. The tradition is atraditional in its endless escapes from the controls and coherences that delimit particular genealogies and geographies. The cultural, biological, and theoretical inheritances at issue are open spaces that open yet other...


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pp. 275-304

Works Cited

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pp. 305-316


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pp. 317-323

E-ISBN-13: 9780472028665
E-ISBN-10: 0472028669
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472118472
Print-ISBN-10: 0472118471

Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 2012