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goSouthwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly DefyingtheInquisition in ColonialNewMexico: Miguel (Quintana's Lifeand Writings. Edited and translated by Francisco A. Lomeli and Clark A. Colahan. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006. Pp. 232. Foreword, acknowledgments, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0826339573. $39.95, cloth.) Although defunct for nearly two centuries, die Spanish Inquisition has survived with vigor as a metaphor for intolerance, forced conformity, and attacks on individual conscience. Whether on film, in literature, or in die popular imagination, the Holy Office appears with regularity, often as a way to comment on efforts at thought control in modern times. Everyone, it seems, knowsthe Inquisition. Almost universally ignored, on die odier hand, are odier forms ofHispanic cultural output, especially those found in marginal areas of the Spanish Empire. Literary scholars Francisco Lomeli and Clark Colahan address bodi the well-known and the littleknown in this slim volume that focuses on Miguel de Quintana, an obscure New Mexican poet who ran afoul of the Inquisition in die 1 730s for refusing to attend mass. Predictably, the Inquisition is portrayed as intent on making Quintana conform to the "embedded hegemonic values of the Spanish empire" (p. 2). Divided into three parts, die book begins with an introduction meant to contextualize Quintana's life and writings at both the local and imperial levels. A brief subsection of the introduction sets the story, followed by a confused and confusing account of the early history of New Mexico, one fraught with some errors of fact but, more importandy, an almost willful inattention to chronology, which conflates and distorts the experiences and mentalité ofseventeenth-century New Mexicans. Here, the authors propose a number of ideas that loom as conceptual problems for what is to come: That New Mexico was a "cultural hub or epicenter of colonial literary expression" (p. 9) ; that nearly three hundred years ofclose contact between Puebloans and Hispanics "evolved into a unique regional ethos of mestizaje, or social hybridization, which established the foundation ofan unparalleled cultural network" (p. 8); that culture in New Mexico represents an "amalgam of bicultural invention" (p. 7). These assertions may be correct, but subsequent portions of die book do litde to sustain them. Indeed, another subsection shows convincingly that Miguel de Quintana's religious thought and writings fit neady within the larger framework of contemporary Hispanic Catholicism. This rigorous discussion reveals that the epicenter for such output was the Iberian Peninsula and that nothing in Quintana's writings hints at cultural hybridization. Other highly valuable subsections treat the various oral and written literary forms that were popular in colonial New Mexico, the upshot ofwhich underscores the deep and long-lasting reservoir of religious phrases and images that locals held dear, none ofwhich show any significant "amalgam of bicultural invention." Part two of the book consists of English translations of die documents having to do with Miguel de Quintana's problems widi the Inquisition. Minor quibbles aside, the authors have done a goodjob oftranslation. Because all the documentation is of an official nature, however, we are left with only a handful of Quintana's poems, written tojustify his defiance ofcertain Franciscan missionaries with whom he had quarrels. The authors note diat he frequendy wrote poems for his fellow 2007Book Reviews91 nuevomexicanos, but of what kind? After twenty-five years of research, Lomeli and Colahan have found no extant examples of his other poetry. Part diree features a Spanish version of documents from part two, rendered into modernized spelling. To return to the supposed oppressiveness ofthe Inquisition, it is worth noting that the documentation offers no evidence offormal charges against Quintana for his contrarian ways. A few local Franciscans may have wished for that, but Inquisition officials in Mexico City resisted the measure, preferring instead to issue a warning to cease his wayward behavior. Curiously, if Quintana's ideas about religion and spirituality matched those of his fellow colonists and survived the colonial period, as Lomeli and Colahan suggest, one has to wonder about the Inquisition's ability to control the lives and minds of eighteenth-century New Mexicans. Purdue UniversityCharles Cutter Mapping and Empire: Soldier-Engineers on the Southwestern Frontier. Edited by Dennis Reinharz and Gerald D. Saxon. (Austin: University of Texas...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 90-91
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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