In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

88 THE MINNESOTA REVIEW REVIEWS Jean Franco, Carlos Blanco, Joseph Sommera, J. Joaquin Blanco, Carlos Monsivais and Hector Aguilar, CulturayDependencia (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico: Departamento de Bella Artes, Gobierno deJalisco, 1976), 271pp. Until recently Spanish-language bookstores overflowed with volumes on the Latin American literary boom, on mass culture, on revolutionary trends among peasants, workers and students, and on the overall context of economic and ideological dependency. Many titles proclaimed coming revolution, promised recipes for what to do and how to do it, and led one to surmise that the end of capitalism was at hand. A new era of intervention and repression has slowed the book flow. Progressive publishers are bullied, burned and bombed out of business; others learn to play it safe. Many of the great boom novelists write cynical and cyclical masterpieces expressing a loss of faith in revolutionary change. In Nicaragua, Latin America's, last vibrant guerilla movement rises, and Somoza henchmen liquidate poet Ernesto Cardenal's Solentiname colony. Such are the connections between revolutionary politics and culture today. How striking, then, to encounter a recent book which bears the title, Cultura y Dependencia, and which projects the preoccupations of the 1960's into the present. Specifically, this book is a collection of articles by three wellknown U.S.based specialists in Latin American literature and three of the most brilliant Mexican cultural critics to emerge since the 1968 massacre in Tlalteloco. As the introduction indicates, the writers seek to resolve the dichotomy between analyses which reduce cultural manifestations to reflections ofeconomic processes and ones which assert the autonomy and universality of art. But the articles speak to deeper matters—the lack of classperspective in most dependency theory frames, the need for a retrospective meditation on past apparent signs ofrevolution and the ideology which makes us think them real Above all, the book exhibits a concern for tracing the past and present forces which govern the roles of literature and culture in both maintaining and countering Latin America's oppressed and impoverished condition. Itjoins a broad historical and geographical perspective, with a focus on Mexico for both its particular and illustrative importance. Thus, Carlos Blancopresents a basis for examining Latin American literature within the production-consumption patterns corresponding to stages of capitalist development. While Blanco discusses writers before and after Independence, he stresses the modernistpoets of the imperialist period, and he also gives us the contemporary example of Cartazar. Meanwhile Joseph Sommers does an in-depth REVIEWS89 study of Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, to grasp how recent literary production corresponds to Latin American realities. Within this frame, Jean Franco and the three Mexican critics, J.J. Blanco, Carlos Monsivaie and Hector Aguilar, elaborate a view of Mexican culture and literature extending from the Mexican Revolution to the present, in which world market, nationalist and classinduced mental structures play a crucial role. Carlos Blanco's article is the cornerstone of the collection by virtue ofits theoretical and historical sweep. Blanco begins by contrasting the emergence of "anti-bourgeois bourgeois literature" in the advanced countries with literary developments in Latin America. European writers are subject to the market even in the 17th Century. By the mid-1850'ß, workers have become print-culture consumers of faintly progressive, anti-bourgeois literary commodities. In Latin America, writers experience similar market pressures, but dependency leads to differences. The colonial writers catered to Spanish elites; post-Independence writers, addressing a narrow, ambiguous public, transcribed the European equation ofromanticism and liberalism. Liberalism meant free trade, a shift from Spanish to English hegemony, and a nationalist ideology which championed independence but underplayed class antagonisms. Limited industrialization prevented the full emergence of a modern proletariat. Literary forms entered a narrow internal print-culture market of small elites, headed by a caste of nascent commercial oligarchs. The market expands between 1875 and 1914, the first phase of modern imperialism, in which severalcountries are incorporated in the international divisionoflabor. Latin America's role was to export raw material« and agricultural goods and to import finishedproducts. This meant riches for the oligarchs, who equated their prosperity with that of the nation. Blanco asserts that even in the modernist period, the class contradictions determining European literary productionwerenot so developed in...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 88-94
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.