This article examines the relationship between the history of reading and current theories of reading in the context of Colonial Latin America. Specifically, I study scenes of public and private reading in colonial texts by Hernán Cortés, Diego Mexía, Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz to argue that scenes of reading and reading accounts create a space of struggle between the public place that people occupied in society and their private will to surpass it. Departing from a set of questions that focus on the conditions of reading depicted in such texts, I propose that the public relevance of private reading directs our attention to a larger corpus of testimonies in which reading is not a uniform or replicable act, but a contingent and individual one. Moreover, it reflects on the relationship between violence and reading as one of the critical elements of the constitution of the colonial subject.


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pp. 179-196
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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