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Literature > Latin American and Caribbean Literature

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Machado de Assis Cover

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Machado de Assis

Toward a Poetics of Emulation

João Cezar de Castro Rocha, translated by Flora Thomson-DeVeaux This book offers an alternative explanation for one of the core dilemmas of Brazilian literary criticism: the “midlife crisis” Machado de Assis underwent from 1878 to 1880, the result of which was the writing of The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas, as well as the remarkable production of his mature years—with an emphasis on his masterpiece, Dom Casmurro.

At the center of this alternative explanation, Castro Rocha situates the fallout from the success enjoyed by Eça de Queirós with the publication of Cousin Basílio and Machado’s two long texts condemning the author and his work. Literary and aesthetic rivalries come to the fore, allowing for a new theoretical framework based on a literary appropriation of “thick description,” the method proposed by anthropologist Clifford Geertz. From this method, Castro Rocha derives his key hypothesis: an unforeseen consequence of Machado’s reaction to Eça’s novel was a return to the classical notion of aemulatio, which led Machado to develop a “poetics of emulation.”

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Mainland Passage

The Cultural Anomaly of Puerto Rico

Ramón E. Soto-Crespo

One-third of the population of Puerto Rico moved to New York City during the mid-twentieth century. Since this massive migration, Puerto Rican literature and culture have grappled with an essential change in self-perception. Mainland Passage examines the history of that transformation, the political struggle over its representation, and the ways it has been imagined in Puerto Rico and in the work of Latina/o fiction writers. Ramón E. Soto-Crespo argues that the most significant consequence of this migration is the creation of a cultural and political borderland state. He intervenes in the Puerto Rico status debate to show that the two most discussed options—Puerto Rico’s becoming either a fully federated state of the United States or an independent nation—represent false alternatives, and he forcefully reasons that Puerto Rico should be recognized as an anomalous political entity that does not conform to categories of political belonging. Investigating a fundamental shift in the way Puerto Rican writers, politicians, and scholars have imagined their cultural identity, Mainland Passage demonstrates that Puerto Rico’s commonwealth status exemplifies a counterhegemonic logic and introduces a vital new approach to understanding Puerto Rican culture and history.

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Mario Vargas Llosa

A Life of Writing

By Raymond Leslie Williams

In this first comprehensive intellectual biography of the prolific Nobel laureate, a preeminent scholar of Hispanic studies examines Mario Vargas Llosa’s multifaceted literary career, spanning the polemics of the Latin American literary boom through five reflective novels published around the turn of the twenty-first century.

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Market Aesthetics

The Purchase of the Past in Caribbean Diasporic Fiction

Elena Machado Sáez

In Market Aesthetics, Elena Machado Sáez explores the popularity of Caribbean diasporic writing within an interdisciplinary, comparative, and pan-ethnic framework. She contests established readings of authors such as Junot Díaz, Julia Alvarez, Edwidge Danticat, and Robert Antoni while showcasing the work of emerging writers such as David Chariandy, Marlon James, and Monique Roffey. By reading these writers as part of a transnational literary trend rather than within isolated national ethnic traditions, the author is able to show how this fiction adopts market aesthetics to engage the mixed blessings of multiculturalism and globalization via the themes of gender and sexuality.

New World Studies
Modern Language Initiative

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Masculinity after Trujillo

The Politics of Gender in Dominican Literature

Maja Horn

Any observer of Dominican political and literary discourse will quickly notice how certain notions of hyper-masculinity permeate the culture. Many critics will attribute this to an outgrowth of "traditional" Latin American patriarchal culture. Masculinity after Trujillo demonstrates why they are mistaken.

In this extraordinary work, Maja Horn argues that this common Dominican attitude became ingrained during the dictatorship (1930-61) of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, as well as through the U.S. military occupation that preceded it. Where previous studies have focused mainly on Spanish colonialism and the controversial sharing of the island with Haiti, Horn emphasizes the underexamined and lasting influence of U.S. imperialism and how it prepared the terrain for Trujillo’s hyperbolic language of masculinity. She also demonstrates how later attempts to emasculate the image of Trujillo often reproduced the same masculinist ideology popularized by his government.

By using the lens of gender politics, Horn enables readers to reconsider the ongoing legacy of the Trujillato, including the relatively weak social movements formed around racial and ethnic identities, sexuality, and even labor. She offers exciting new interpretations of such writers as Hilma Contreras, Rita Indiana Hernández, and Junot Díaz, revealing the ways they successfully challenge dominant political and canonical literary discourses.

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Narrating Narcos

Culiacán and Medellín

by Gabriela Polit Dueñas

Critical examination of cultural works as windows into the symbolic dimensions and representations of the narcotics world in Culiacán, Mexico, and Medellín, Colombia, two of the most notorious drug-producing areas of the Americas. Through text analyses, ethnographic fieldwork, and archival research, Polit Dueñas examines the impact and representation of new codes of ethics and morals associated with the drug trade. The analysis is a comparative view of the emerging forms in which fiction writers and artists represent violence and the culture of violence associated with narcotrafficking (both within and across class, racial, ethnic, gender, and generational lines) in both cities.

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Nation Dance

Religion, Identity, and Cultural Difference in the Caribbean

Edited by Patrick Taylor

Nation Dance
Religion, Identity, and Cultural Difference in the Caribbean

Edited by Patrick Taylor

Addresses the interplay of diverse spiritual, religious, and cultural traditions across the Caribbean.

Dealing with the ongoing interaction of rich and diverse cultural traditions from Cuba and Jamaica to Guyana and Surinam, Nation Dance addresses some of the major contemporary issues in the study of Caribbean religion and identity. The book's three sections move from a focus on spirituality and healing, to theology in social and political context, and on to questions of identity and diaspora.

The book begins with the voices of female practitioners and then offers a broad, interdisciplinary examination of Caribbean religion and culture. Afro-Caribbean religions, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are all addressed, with specific reflections on Santería, Palo Monte, Vodou, Winti, Obeah, Kali Mai, Orisha work, Spiritual Baptist faith, Spiritualism, Rastafari, Confucianism, Congregationalism, Pentecostalism, Catholicism, and liberation theology. Some essays are based on fieldwork, archival research, and textual or linguistic analysis, while others are concerned with methodological or theoretical issues. Contributors include practitioners and scholars, some very established in the field, others with fresh, new approaches; all of them come from the region or have done extensive fieldwork or research there. In these essays the poetic vitality of the practitioner's voice meets the attentive commitment of the postcolonial scholar in a dance of "nations" across the waters.

Patrick Taylor, Associate Professor in the Division of Humanities and in the Graduate Programme in Social and Political Thought at York University, Toronto, is past Deputy Director of the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean and Editor-in-Chief of the Caribbean Religions Project. He is author of The Narrative of Liberation: Perspectives on Afro-Caribbean Literature, Popular Culture and Politics and co-editor of Forging Identities and Patterns of Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. His articles have appeared in Callaloo, Studies in Religion, and other scholarly journals and books.

May 2001
224 pages, 1 b&w photo, 1 map, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, bibl., index
cloth 0-253-33835-2 $39.95 L /

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New Spain, New Literatures

Edited by Luis Martín-Estudillo and Nicholas Spadaccini

This volume, which includes essays on Catalonia, the Basque country, Galicia, and literature written by African immigrants, focuses on issues of "difference" that are at the center of current debates in Spain and elsewhere--the emergence of minoritized literatures, multilingualism and identity, new relationships between culture and institutions, the negotiation of historical memories, the connections between migrations and the redefinition of nationhood, and the impact of global trends on local symbolic systems.

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New World Poetics

Nature and the Adamic Imagination of Whitman, Neruda, and Walcott

George B. Handley

A simultaneously ecocritical and comparative study, New World Poetics plumbs the earthly depth and social breadth of the poetry of Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda, and Derek Walcott, three of the Americas' most ambitious and epic-minded poets. In Whitman's call for a poetry of New World possibility, Neruda's invocation of an "American love," and Walcott's investment in the poetic ironies of an American epic, the adamic imagination of their poetry does not reinvent the mythical Garden that stands before history's beginnings but instead taps the foundational powers of language before a natural world deeply imbued with the traces of human time. Theirs is a postlapsarian Adam seeking a renewed sense of place in a biocentric and cross-cultural New World through language and nature's capacity for regeneration in the wake of human violence and suffering.

The book introduces the environmental history of the Americas and its relationship to the foundation of American and Latin American studies, explores its relevance to each poet's ambition to recuperate the New World's lost histories, and provides a transnational poetics of understanding literary influence and textual simultaneity in the Americas. The study provides much needed in-depth ecocritical readings of the major poems of the three poets, insisting on the need for thoughtful regard for the challenge to human imagination and culture posed by nature's regenerative powers; nuanced appreciation for the difficulty of balancing the demands of social justice within the context of deep time; and the symptomatic dangers as well as healing potential of human self-consciousness in light of global environmental degradation.

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Nossa and Nuestra América

Inter-American Dialogues

by Robert Patrick Newcomb

Is Brazil part of Latin America, or an island unto itself? As Nossa and Nuestra América: Inter-American Dialogues demonstrates, this question has been debated by Brazilian and Spanish American intellectuals alike since the early nineteenth century, though it has received limited scholarly attention and its answer is less obvious than you might think. This book charts Brazil’s evolving and often conflicted relationship with the idea of Latin America through a detailed comparative investigation of four crucial Latin American essayists: Uruguayan critic José Enrique Rodó, Brazilian writer-diplomat Joaquim Nabuco, Mexican humanist Alfonso Reyes, and Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, one of Brazil’s preeminent historians. While these writers are canonical figures in their respective national literary traditions, their thoughts on Brazilian–Spanish American relations are seldom investigated, and they are rarely approached from a comparative perspective. In Nossa and Nuestra América, Newcomb traces the development of two parallel essayistic traditions: Spanish American continentalist discourse and Brazil’s solidly national exegetic tradition. With these essayistic traditions in mind, he argues that Brazil plays a necessary—and necessarily problematic—role in the intellectual construction of “Latin America.” Further, in traversing the Luso-Hispanic frontier and bringing four of Latin America’s preeminent thinkers into critical dialogue, Newcomb calls for a truly comparative approach to Luso-Brazilian and Spanish American literary and cultural studies. Nossa and Nuestra América will be of interest to scholars and students of Latin American and Luso-Brazilian literature and ideas, and to anyone interested in rethinking comparative approaches to literary texts written in Portuguese and Spanish.

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