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Globilization in Recent Mexican and Chicano Narrative
Utopian Dreams, Apocalyptic Nightmares traces the history of utopian representations of the Americas, first on the part of the colonizers, who idealized the New World as an earthly paradise, and later by Latin American modernizing elites, who imagined Western industrialization, cosmopolitanism and consumption as a utopian dream for their independent societies.
Bodies of Memory in Contemporary Caribbean Fiction
According to Martinican theorist Édouard Glissant, the twentieth century has been dominated in the Caribbean by a passion for the remembrance of colonial history. But while Glissant identifies this passion for memory in the thematizing of nature in Caribbean modernist life, scholar Guillermina De Ferrari claims it is the vulnerability of the human body that has become the trope to which Caribbean postmodernist authors largely appeal in their efforts to revise the discourse that has shaped postcolonial societies. In Vulnerable States: Bodies of Memory in Contemporary Caribbean Fiction, De Ferrari offers a comparative study of novels from across the Caribbean, arguing that vulnerability (symbolic and therefore political) should be seen as the true foundation of Caribbeanness.
While most theories of the region have traditionally emphasized corporeality as a constitutive aspect of Caribbean societies, they assume its uniqueness is founded on race, itself understood either as a "fact" of the body or as the "ethnic" fusion of distinctive cultures of origin. In reconceptualizing corporeality as vulnerability, De Ferrari proposes an alternative view of Caribbeanness based on affect—that is, on an emotional disposition that results from the alienating role historical, medical, and anthropological notions of the body have traditionally played in determining how the region understands itself. While vulnerability thus addresses the role historically played by race in determining systems of social and political powerlessness, it also prefigures other ways in which Caribbeanness is currently negotiated at local and international levels, ranging from the stigmatization of the ill to the global fetishization of the region’s physical beauty, material degradation, and political stagnation.Positioned at the intersection of literary and anthropological study, Vulnerable States will appeal to Caribbeanists of the three major language areas of the region as well as to postcolonial scholars interested in issues of race, gender, and nation formation
Psychological Recovery in the Novels of Latina Writers
For the past three decades, Latin American and Latina women writers have used autobiography, fiction, and a blend of the two genres to address the psychological struggle to heal from both personal and political traumas. Felicia Fahey focuses on six fictional autobiographies as literary representations of psychological recovery: Alina Diaconú's El penúltimo viaje/The penultimate journey (1989), Manuela Fingueret's Hija del silencio/Daughter of Silence (2000), Luisa Valenzuela's La travesía/The Crossing (2001), Sara Sefchovich's Demasiado amor/Too Much Love (1991), Laura Restrepo's Dulce compañía/The Angel of Galilea (1995), and Ana Castillo's The Mixquiahuala Letters (1989).
In Wonder and Exile in the New World, Alex Nava explores the border regions in-between wonder and exile particularly in relation to the New World. It traces the preoccupation with the concept of wonder in the history of the Americas beginning with the first European encounters, and goes on to investigate later representations in the Baroque age, and ultimately into the twentieth century with the emergence of so-called magical realism. In telling the story of wonder in the New World, special attention is given to the part it played in the history of violence and exile, either as a force that supported and reinforced the conquest, or as a voice of resistance and decolonization. Focusing on the work of New World explorers, writers, and poets—and their literary descendants, Nava finds that wonder and exile have been two of the most significant metaphors within Latin American cultural, literary, and religious representations. Beginning with the period of the Conquest, especially with Cabeza de Vaca and Las Casas, and continuing through the Baroque with Cervantes and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and into the twentieth century with Alejo Carpentier and Miguel Ángel Asturias, Nava produces a historical study of Latin American narrative in which religious and theological perspectives figure prominently.
Essays on Literature, Race, and National Identity in Antillean America
Caribbean literature and culture have all too often been viewed in fragmented terms, without attention to the broader commonalities of the region. In this collection of essays written over many years, Roberto Márquez offers a more encompassing vision, one that respects the individual traditions of particular locales, languages, and cultures but also sees the larger themes that bind the area's literary heritage and history. Márquez begins by making the case for a genuinely Caribbean literary criticism, one that moves beyond the colonial history of fragmentation and isolation and the critical insularity of more conventional approaches. His pan-Caribbean perspective provides a point of departure for the scrutiny of the evolving dramas of race, nationality, nation-building, and cultural articulation in the region. Márquez then focuses specifically on Puerto Rico—its literary and socio—historical experience, the particularities of its "New Creole" incarnations, and the effects of waves of migration to the United States. In the final section of the book, he discusses writers and cultural figures from the other Spanish, Anglophone, and Francophone territories and the ways in which they engage or reflect the defining themes of literature, race, and national identity in Antillean America.
Rebels in the Literary Imagination of Mexico
The 1910 Mexican Revolution saw Francisco “Pancho” Villa grow from social bandit to famed revolutionary leader. Although his rise to national prominence was short-lived, he and his followers (the villistas) inspired deep feelings of pride and power amongst the rural poor. After the Revolution (and Villa's ultimate defeat and death), the new ruling elite, resentful of his enormous popularity, marginalized and discounted him and his followers as uncivilized savages. Hence, it was in the realm of culture rather than politics that his true legacy would be debated and shaped. Mexican literature following the Revolution created an enduring image of Villa and his followers. Writing Pancho Villa's Revolution focuses on the novels, chronicles, and testimonials written from 1925 to 1940 that narrated Villa's grassroots insurgency and celebrated—or condemned—his charismatic leadership. By focusing on works by urban writers Mariano Azuela (Los de abajo) and Martín Luis Guzmán (El águila y la serpiente), as well as works closer to the violent tradition of northern Mexican frontier life by Nellie Campobello (Cartucho), Celia Herrera (Villa ante la historia), and Rafael F. Muñoz (¡Vámonos con Pancho Villa!), this book examines the alternative views of the revolution and of the villistas. Max Parra studies how these works articulate different and at times competing views about class and the cultural “otherness” of the rebellious masses. This unique revisionist study of the villista novel also offers a deeper look into the process of how a nation's collective identity is formed.
Zora Neale Hurston wrote her most famous work, the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, while in Haiti on a trip funded by a Guggenheim Fellowship to research the region’s transatlantic folk and religious culture for her study Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica. The essays in Zora Neale Hurston, Haiti and Their Eyes Were Watching God persuasively demonstrate that Hurston’s study of Haitian Voudoun informed the characterization, plotting, symbolism and theme of her novel.