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  • Narrativa de la Revolución Mexicana:realidad histórica y ficción ed. by Javier de Navascués and Antonio Lorente Medina
  • Kate Good
Navascués, Javier de y Antonio Lorente Medina, eds. Narrativa de la Revolución Mexicana: realidad histórica y ficción. Madrid: Verbum, 2011. 209pp.

Much has been written about the Mexican Revolution in recent years, a surge in interest due, in part, to a commemoration of its centenary. For this reason, a compilation such as Narrativa de la Revolución Mexicana: realidad histórica y ficción makes a welcome addition to a growing and necessary corpus of scholarship. Editors Javier de Navascués and Antonio Lorente Medina have compiled eleven essays, published after the 2011 conference “Realidad histórica y ficción en la Novela de la Revolución Mexicana” convoked in Pamplona, conscientiously including the critical analysis of works traditionally omitted from the Novelas de la Revolución because of their preor post-revolutionary time frame (such as La muerte de Artemio Cruz [1962] by Carlos Fuentes or Fuertes y débiles [1919] by José López Portillo y Rojas) and works from historically marginalized authors and subjects.

The reader will be pleased to find a diverse collection of research devoted to history, fiction, and historical fiction. Álvaro Matute’s essay “La novela como acto expiatorio: Teja Zabre y la Revolución” dives in head first, introducing of the oft-forgot Alfonso Teja Zabre before launching into a concise and effective analysis of Alas abiertas (1920) and La esperanza y Hati-Ke (1922). Though outside the typical canon, these novels skillfully recreate “diversas facetas del México cotidiano de lugares específicos rodeados por eventos de la Revolución” (129). Underlying themes of nationalism and progress do not overwhelm the specifically historical viewpoints of the novels; “las ficciones de Teja Zabre pueden reclamar autententicidad histórica, en la medida en que para el momento en que escribe, no es claro el deslinde entre pureza revolucionaria y bandidaje” (127). This reckless idealism is a key trait of the revolution.

Javier de Navascues’s examination of Almas Rieleras (1929) problematizes another aspect of the Revolution that “representa los deseos de un proyecto político-el alemanismo-al que su autor se adhirió a través del mensaje hechicero del romance sentimental” (146). Despite its female characters, the novel is unconcerned with “la participación de la mujer en la bola revolucionaria” (135). Curiously, although the novel extols Porfirian positivism and “los valores del empleado de ferrocarril y de todos los gremios relacionados” (142), Navascués shows that the train loses its connotation of driver of economic development because of its role in the bloodshed of the Revolution.

Ruffinelli, however, calls the train one of the only mythological figures of the Revolution precisely due to its economic and political role. Juan Antonio [End Page 136] Rosado Z.’s “Iniciación y aprendizaje en la novela de la revolución mexicana (1931–1951)” and Naikari López Franco’s “Fuentes culturales para la interpretación de La creación de Agustín Yáñez” defend myth’s role in the Novelas de la Revolución. Rosado shows these novels become the foundational myths of a developing nation and employs the Bildungsroman to establish parallels, exposing “la novela de la revolución como novela de formación” (196). Meanwhile, López Franco explains how diverse cultural traditions like Bible stories, and classical mythology and philosophy influence the plot of Creación (1989), providing rather lengthy explanations of these references. In sum, whether the myths originate before the novel was imagined or the novel itself becomes the myth of a new nation, they both powerfully drive plot and character development.

There are also authors that write against the myths, as Osvaldo Rodríguez P. explains in “Intrahistoria y Revolución: la recreación narrativa de Nellie Campobello.” Campobello challenges the prototypical male-oriented and myth-driven novels of war, Rodríguez argues, profoundly changing the way these stories are told: “Campobello no niega la historia sino que la desmitifica y desmiente al humanizarla en la ficción narrativa por la vía intrahistórica” (186). Highlighting orality...


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pp. 136-138
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