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Crisis y reemergencia

El siglo XIX en la ficción contemporánea de Argentina, Chile y Uruguay (1980–2001)

n the last decades—and especially since the 1990s—there has been a noticeable reemergence of the nineteenth century in Southern Cone culture. Popular nineteenth-century figures (indios, gauchos, letrados, and cautivas) have reentered the national literary scene in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Nineteenth-century heroes such as San Martín and Artigas are again the main protagonists of Southern Cone theater, film, and literature. Canonical nineteenth-century texts (La cautiva, Martín Fierro, Facundo) are being rewritten one more time in different artistic fields. Foundational nineteenth-century genres (travel narratives, gauchesque poems, and national romances) are being transformed and recycled. Controversial nineteenth-century events (the civil wars, the massacre of indigenous communities) are being revisited and explored. Through a combination of close textual analysis and a broader perspective rooted in cultural theory, this book answers two interrelated questions: Why did the nineteenth century resurface so strongly in the last decades? What are the ideological implications of this reemergence? Based on a transnational comparison of Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, and a survey of narratives that were mostly produced by well-known figures (political activists, public intellectuals, and canonical authors), Crisis y reemergencia helps to elucidate how the Southern Cone cultural field has changed since the 1990s: how intellectuals’ ethics, national identities, and discursive strategies that were functional to the consolidation of liberalism in the nineteenth century have been challenged, transformed, and rethought in the last decades. Borrowing from cultural Marxism, discourse analysis, and postcolonial theory, the book pursues a triple contribution: to define the discursive and ideological components that were at the core of the nineteenth century, to show their continuity up to the 1990s (and thus clarify the connections between liberalism and neoliberalism), and to expose their recent transformation—a transformation that paved the way for the “return of the political” to the region.

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Écritures de la réclusion

Edited by Isaac Bazié and Carolina Ferrer

Le thème de la réclusion, cette forme de violence directe qui consiste à limiter la mobilité physique d’un sujet, traverse la littérature. En effet, l’expérience de l’enfermement, de cet espace-temps intermédiaire créé par la contrainte, a inspiré l’œuvre de plusieurs auteurs. Peu importe la forme que prend l’enfermement, fictif ou réel, dans des contextes de violence explicite ou implicite, les écritures de la réclusion mettent au jour les liens entre le politique, le social et le traitement qu’en fait l’art. Les auteurs de cet ouvrage explorent l’expression de la réclusion, que ce soit dans la littérature hispano-américaine postdictatoriale, en particulier dans le roman Le fourgon des fous de l’écrivain uruguayen Carlos Liscano, en contexte antillais dans l’œuvre de Patrick Chamoiseau, dans les classiques africains, dans Lefeu ou la démolition de l’écrivain autrichien Jean Améry, dans les aveux de comploteurs guinéens, dans le contexte du Centre de rééducation civique de Tcholliré au Cameroun ou encore dans l’œuvre du célèbre auteur d’origine togolaise Kossi Efoui. Une entrevue inédite avec ce dernier conclut par ailleurs l’ouvrage, qui offre un cadre large et varié pour réfléchir aux violences institutionnelles faites aux collectivités et aux individus, à leurs modes de fonctionnement et à ce qu’en fait l’art, la littérature en particulier.

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Cuba and the Fall

Christian Text and Queer Narrative in the Fiction of José Lezama Lima and Reinaldo Arenas

The queer presence that animates and informs the fiction of José Lezama Lima and Reinaldo Arenas, two of the most prominent Cuban writers since the Revolution, nonetheless haunts their work by its absence. Eduardo González draws on the Christian concept of the Fall from grace and the possibility of redemption, on the work of selected Western canonical authors, and on several contemporary films to show how the chosen texts by the two writers both replicate and are enhanced by these sources and illustrate the interplay of word, image, and belief in the story line and moral tale that González develops.

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Cuban Currency

The Dollar and “Special Period” Fiction

Esther Whitfield

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, during an economic crisis termed its “special period in times of peace,” Cuba began to court the capitalist world for the first time since its 1959 revolution. With the U.S. dollar instated as domestic currency, the island seemed suddenly accessible to foreign consumers, and their interest in its culture boomed.

 

Cuban Currency is the first book to address the effects on Cuban literature of the country’s spectacular opening to foreign markets that marked the end of the twentieth century. Based on interviews and archival research in Havana, Esther Whitfield argues that writers have both challenged and profited from new transnational markets for their work, with far-reaching literary and ideological implications. Whitfield examines money and cross-cultural economic relations as they are inscribed in Cuban fiction. Exploring the work of Zoé Valdés, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Antonio José Ponte and others, she draws out writers’ engagements with the troublesome commodification of Cuban identity.

 

Confronting the tourist and publishing industries’ roles in the transformation of the Cuban revolution into commercial capital, Whitfield identifies a body of fiction peculiarly attuned to the material and political challenges of the “special period.”

 

Esther Whitfield is assistant professor of comparative literature at Brown University.

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Decolonial Voices

Chicana and Chicano Cultural Studies in the 21st Century

Edited by Arturo J. Aldama and Naomi H. Quiñonez

The interdisciplinary essays in Decolonial Voices discuss racialized, subaltern, feminist, and diasporic identities and the aesthetic politics of hybrid and mestiza/o cultural productions. This collection represents several key directions in the field: First, it charts how subaltern cultural productions of the US/ Mexico borderlands speak to the intersections of "local," "hemispheric," and "globalized" power relations of the border imaginary. Second, it recovers the Mexican women's and Chicana literary and cultural heritages that have been ignored by Euro-American canons and patriarchal exclusionary practices. It also expands the field in postnationalist directions by creating an interethnic, comparative, and transnational dialogue between Chicana and Chicano, African American, Mexican feminist, and U.S. Native American cultural vocabularies.

Contributors include Norma Alarcón, Arturo J. Aldama, Frederick Luis Aldama, Cordelia Chávez Candelaria, Alejandra Elenes, Ramón Garcia, María Herrera-Sobek, Patricia Penn Hilden, Gaye T. M. Johnson, Alberto Ledesma, Pancho McFarland, Amelia María de la Luz Montes, Laura Elisa Pérez, Naomi Quiñonez, Sarah Ramirez, Rolando J. Romero, Delberto Dario Ruiz, Vicki Ruiz, José David Saldívar, Anna Sandoval, and Jonathan Xavier Inda.

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Deviant and Useful Citizens

The Cultural Production of the Female Body in Eighteenth-Century Peru

Mariselle Melendez

Deviant and Useful Citizens explores the conditions of women and perceptions of the female body in the eighteenth century throughout the Viceroyalty of Peru, which until 1776 comprised modern-day Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Mariselle Meléndez introduces the reader to a female rebel, Micaela Bastidas, whose brutal punishment became a particularly harsh example of state response to women who challenged the system. She explores the cultural representation of women depicted as economically productive and vital to the health of the culture at large. The role of women in religious orders provides still another window into the vital need to sustain the image of women as loyal and devout—and to deal with women who refused to comply. The book focuses on the different ways male authorities, as well as female subjects, conceived the female body as deeply connected to notions of what constituted a useful or deviant citizen within the Viceroyalty. Using eighteenth-century legal documents, illustrated chronicles, religious texts, and newspapers, Mariselle Meléndez explores in depth the representation of the female body in periods of political, economic, and religious crisis to determine how it was conceived within certain contexts. Deviant and Useful Citizens presents a highly complex society that relied on representations of utility and productivity to understand the female body, as it reveals the surprisingly large stake that colonial authorities had in defining the status of women during a crucial time in South American history.

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Dialectics of Exile

Nation, Time, Language, and Space in Hispanic Literatures

by Sophia McClennen

The Dialectics of Exile: Nation, Time, Language and Space in Hispanic Literatures offers a theory of exile writing that accounts for the persistence of these dual impulses and for the ways that they often co exist within the same literary works.

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Disaster Writing

The Cultural Politics of Catastrophe in Latin America

Mark D. Anderson

In the aftermath of disaster, literary and other cultural representations of the event can play a role in the renegotiation of political power. In Disaster Writing, Mark D. Anderson analyzes four natural disasters in Latin America that acquired national significance and symbolism through literary mediation: the 1930 cyclone in the Dominican Republic, volcanic eruptions in Central America, the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, and recurring drought in northeastern Brazil.

Taking a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to the disaster narratives, Anderson explores concepts such as the social construction of risk, landscape as political and cultural geography, vulnerability as the convergence of natural hazard and social marginalization, and the cultural mediation of trauma and loss. He shows how the political and historical contexts suggest a systematic link between natural disaster and cultural politics.

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Discarded Pages

Araceli Cab Cumí, Maya Poet and Politician

Kathleen Rock Martín

Discarded Pages is Cab Cumí's life narrative accompanied by her essays, poems, personal narratives, and political and public policy papers. Titled in honor of Cab Cumí's earliest writings which she had thrown away thinking them of little value, Discarded Pages showcases her expressions and thoughts within the context of her eventful and unusual life. In addition to translations of her work, Cab Cumí's original Spanish and Yucatec Maya writings are included in the book.

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Disturbers of the Peace

Representations of Madness in Anglophone Caribbean Literature

Kelly Baker Josephs

Exploring the prevalence of madness in Caribbean texts written in English in the mid-twentieth century, Kelly Baker Josephs focuses on celebrated writers such as Jean Rhys, V. S. Naipaul, and Derek Walcott as well as on understudied writers such as Sylvia Wynter and Erna Brodber. Because mad figures appear frequently in Caribbean literature from French, Spanish, and English traditions—in roles ranging from bit parts to first-person narrators—the author regards madness as a part of the West Indian literary aesthetic. The relatively condensed decolonization of the anglophone islands during the 1960s and 1970s, she argues, makes literature written in English during this time especially rich for an examination of the function of madness in literary critiques of colonialism and in the Caribbean project of nation-making.

In drawing connections between madness and literature, gender, and religion, this book speaks not only to the field of Caribbean studies but also to colonial and postcolonial literature in general. The volume closes with a study of twenty-first-century literature of the Caribbean diaspora, demonstrating that Caribbean writers still turn to representations of madness to depict their changing worlds.

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