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Transatlantic Correspondence

Modernity, Epistolarity, and Literature in Spain and Spanish America, 1898–1992

José Luis Venegas

Publication Year: 2014

Transatlantic Correspondence: Modernity, Epistolarity, and Literature in Spain and Spanish America, 1898–1992 by José Luis Venegas explores how influential Spanish and Spanish American writers used letters in their literary works to formulate distinctive visions of modernity. Bringing into the discussion authors such as Rubén Darío, Miguel de Unamuno, Carmen Martín Gaite, and Gabriel García Márquez, Venegas reveals unsuspected connections between the authors’ literary use of epistolary writing and their opinions about the place of Hispanic culture and civilization within a global context. Transatlantic Correspondence contributes to broader debates on literary transnationalism and the contradictory nature of modernity. Each chapter frames literary works by authors from both sides of the Atlantic within key historical events spanning the loss of Spain’s overseas possessions in 1898 to the commemoration of Columbus’s quincentennial in 1992. This broad range of historical reference is counterpointed by the nuanced examination of a single formal feature in a wide variety of canonical and non-canonical texts. Drawing on insights from postcolonial studies, the book addresses the link between historical transformations that traverse decades and continents and specific stylistic choices in order to foster an understanding of Hispanic literary and cultural studies that is not limited by categories such as “movement,” “generation,” and “national literature.”

Published by: The Ohio State University Press

Series: Transoceanic Studies

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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Table of Contents

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pp. ix-x

During the years that it took me to complete this project, I have incurred many debts that I must acknowledge now. I would like to thank, first of all, Wake Forest University for providing a grant from the Archie Fund for the Arts and the Humanities that allowed me to travel...

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Introduction: Engaging Correspondence

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pp. 1-48

On February 2, 1894, Senator Santiago de Liniers, newly inducted into the Spanish Royal Academy, gave a speech in front of his fellows on the utility of epistolary writing for the revitalization of Spain’s social life and historical reputation. At a time when Spanish intellectuals...

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Chapter 1. Epistolarity and the Rhetoric of Hispanism

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pp. 49-69

Twelve years after the loss of Spain’s last American colonies in Cuba and Puerto Rico, Miguel de Unamuno wrote in a letter to Chilean poet Ernesto Guzmán that “what is certain now is that we discover our own ‘I’ [nuestro yo, el propio nuestro] as we enter in contact with...

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Chapter 2. Quixotic Correspondence

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pp. 70-102

In one of his more memorable essays on Cervantes’s Don Quixote, titled “La mejor carta de amores de la literatura española” [“The Best Love Letter in Spanish Literature”] (1951), Pedro Salinas discusses the fate of a love letter that the famous knight errant sends to his beloved...

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Chapter 3. Postal Insurgency

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pp. 103-122

In the introduction to his two-volume Apuntes y documentos para la historia del correo mexicano [Notes for the History of Mexican Mail] (1908), historian José Velarde celebrates mail as the carrier of civilization and as a durable link connecting the citizens of the modern...

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Chapter 4. Transatlantic Transitions

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pp. 123-180

In Spain and Latin America’s Southern Cone, the passage from dictatorship to democracy between the mid-1970s and the early 1990s meant the final triumph of the politics of neoliberalism and the defeat of socialism and national populism as viable political options. Writing after the loss...

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Chapter 5. Failed Deliveries

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pp. 181-214

In late July 1992, Gabriel García Márquez arrived in Seville, Spain, to participate in the celebration of Colombia’s national day at the World Fair, Expo’92. His contribution to his native country on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage to America was to present in the Colombian...

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Conclusion: Crossing Letters

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pp. 215-222

Ep i s tolary writing was crucially constitutive of the bourgeois individual in modern Europe. During the eighteenth century, letter writing abandoned the formalistic conventions of the ars dictaminis and contributed decisively to the creation and expansion of a public sphere of...

Works Cited

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pp. 223-237


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pp. 238-242

Transoceanic Studies

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E-ISBN-13: 9780814271377
E-ISBN-10: 0814271375
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814212561
Print-ISBN-10: 0814212565

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Transoceanic Studies