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A Companion to US Latino Literatures

A Companion to US Latino Literatures

Carlota Caulfield
Darién J. Davis
Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    A Companion to US Latino Literatures
    Book Description:

    This volume, documenting the linguistic and cultural diversity of Latino literary output in the United States, offers an exciting introduction for non-specialist readers. Unique in its scope and perspective, it focuses on various literary genres, and cinema, related to Latinos. Each essay considers not only Latino writers who were born or raised in the United States, but also Latin American writers who took up residence in the United States but may also be considered part of the literary scene of their countries of origin. Rather than follow one specific mode of organization and presentation, each contributor has offered his or her original perspective on the subject matter or theme. The result is an inclusive spectrum of the voices of the U.S. Latin American diaspora, illuminating the rich and complex culture of Latinos. EDITORS: Carlota Caulfield is Professor of Spanish and Spanish-American Studies at Mills College, California. Darién J. Davis is Associate Professor of History and Latin American Studies at Middlebury College, Vermont. CONTRIBUTORS: Eva Bueno, Carlota Caulfield, Elizabeth Coonrod Martínez, Darién J. Davis, Jorge Febles, Lydia Gil, Armando González-Pérez, Patricia M. Montilla, Vincent Spina, Antonio Tosta, Sergio Waisman

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-525-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction: Pluralism in US Latino Literature: A Historical Perspective
    (pp. 1-11)

    For any student interested in Latino history and culture in the United States, one fact becomes evident: Latinos are a culturally diverse group whose composition has changed over time. Like most identity labels, ‘Latino’ has political, economic, and social meanings nuanced and shaped by relationships to power. Some Latinos are descendants of Iberianconquistadoreswho once constituted an elite in the southwestern US or the region we now call Latin America. Others are descendants of conquered natives or Africans forced to adopt the dominant Iberian cultural values and language. Many more are the linguistic and cultural products of centuries of...

  6. 1 Resistance, Revolution, and Recuperation: The Literary Production of the Mestizo/Mexican-American/Chicano
    (pp. 12-36)

    As the Spanishconquistadoresand their colonial descendants – often of mixed Indian and Spanish blood – traveled into the northern reaches of their new domain, their settlements and experiences helped establish a future hybrid culture, which in the contemporary era would be called ‘Mexican-American’. While the Spaniards considered the Americas their ‘New World’, the original residents were virtually wiped out,¹ and their traditions, stories, and philosophies were submerged, often combined with those of the invaders, to re-emerge in safer times. Subsequent cultural expression, in the invaders’ language, would recount a centuries’-old heritage. New immigrants added to and helped portray...

  7. 2 The Importance of Being Sandra (Cisneros)
    (pp. 37-50)

    Just as her character Esperanza, ofThe House on Mango Street, is the result of energies of herbarrioand its evolving dynamics, the work of Sandra Cisneros can only be understood within the history of the feminist movement, of the Black feminist movement, and of the Chicana movement. Furthermore, it is impossible to understand the existence of a Chicana movement if one does not take into consideration the Chicano movement in the United States, and what it has represented in the struggle for human rights that gained urgency in the 1960s. As Marc Zimmerman writes inU.S. Latino Literature:...

  8. 3 The Island as Mainland and the Revolving Door Motif: Contemporary Puerto Rican Literature of the United States
    (pp. 51-66)

    The literature of Puerto Ricans in the United States spans well over a hundred years, dating as far back as the nineteenth century, prior to the Treaty of Paris of 1898, by which Puerto Rico became a territory of the US following the Spanish American War. Many scholars have traced its origins and evolution, delineating its various stages of development within literary genres. The purpose of this chapter, therefore, is not to provide another historical account of Puerto Rican literature in the US, but to highlight two prominent characteristics in recent US Puerto Rican literary production: the depiction of the...

  9. 4 Am I Who I Am?: Identity Games in US Cuban Literature
    (pp. 67-87)

    During the past two decades, scholars from diverse disciplines have published a remarkable amount of academic research on the Cuban diasporic subject and, by extension, on the sidebar issue ofCubanía, particularly as it impacts Cuban-American identity. When perusing even superficially the many articles, collections of essays and books centering on transnationalism, diasporic commonalities, and transculturation,¹ I am invariably struck by the frequency with which authors explore their ownWeltanschauungand life experiences in order to generalize aboutThe Cuban Condition, to employ Gustavo Pérez Firmat’s oft-quoted title. Since its appearance in 1989, this perceptive incursion into national idiosyncracies as...

  10. 5 Afro-Cuban Identity in the Theater of the Diaspora
    (pp. 88-100)

    The black influence in the Caribbean in general and in Cuba specifically permeates all aspects of life. Cuba is ethnically and culturally a product of the mixing of European (Spanish) and African influence. In her seminal book,El monte(The Forest) the ethnologist Lydia Cabrera states that: ‘The weight of the African influence in the white population that claims to be white is incalculable even though at first glance one cannot determine it. Our people will not be understood without knowing the Black man’ (9).¹ Nicolás Guillén’s poemLa canción del bongo(The Song of the Bongo Drum) brilliantly conveys...

  11. 6 Between the Island and the Tenements: New Directions in Dominican-American Literature
    (pp. 101-119)

    While Dominican-American literature has not figured as prominently as the other groups in US Latino classifications, Dominicans have recently soared to comprise the fourth-largest Latino population in the United States. In fact, the US Dominican population represents one of the most rapidly growing of all Latino groups. The 2000 Census reported 764,495 Dominicans living in the US, but other studies have shown that the count was not adequately defined and that the population is much higher. By using federal Current Population Survey (CPS) statistics, a count conducted by the Mumford Center at the University of Albany and the North-South Center...

  12. 7 Three Central American Writers: Alone Between Two Cultures
    (pp. 120-139)

    Conny Palacios, Rima de Vallbona, and Omar Castañeda represent three different Central American genres (poetry, novel, and short story, respectively). They also come from three different moments in the process of adaptation or the lack of adaptation to life abroad in the United States. Palacios is the most recent arrival (1981) and her poetry, written in Spanish, is still richly textured by the poetic traditions of her native Nicaragua. Her prose-poem ‘Lo que Homero no contó’ (What Homer Didn’t Say) focuses on the need to migrate to the US but is clearly embedded in Nicaraguan poetic traditions.¹ The novelist provides...

  13. 8 American Dream, Jeitinho Brasileiro: On the Crossroads of Cultural Identities in Brazilian-American Literature
    (pp. 140-157)

    The Brazilian cartoonist Henfil lived in the United States between 1973 and 1975. In 1983 he publishedDiário De Um Cucaracha(Diary of a Cucaracha), which was a collection of some of the letters that he had written to his friends during these years. While telling his personal experiences in hisDiário, Henfil reveals his impressions of his host society, and often uses them to establish a comparison with his native Brazil. His reflections, filled with political and economic commentary, range from simple factual descriptions to serious cultural analysis. In both cases, the US becomes a mirror from which Brazil...

  14. 9 Argentine Writers in the US: Writing South, Living North
    (pp. 158-176)

    I begin this chapter by admitting a certain amount of skepticism, for it is not at all clear to me that the handful of Argentine writers whom I will be discussing here – Argentine writers who have spent significant portions of their careers living and writing, primarily in Spanish, in the United States – belong in a volume on US Latino literature. If US Latino literary identity includes a movement towards writing mostly in English from a Latin American heritage, then the Argentine writers discussed here will seem out of place. But issues of identity and language in US Latino...

  15. 10 A Balancing Act: Latin American Jewish Literature in the United States (or Towards a Jewish-Latino Literature)
    (pp. 177-190)

    The study of Latin American Jewish writing as a subdivision of Latin American literature is a relatively new field, with a vast amount of scholarship dedicated to defining, cataloguing, and interpreting texts that, for the most part, have been written from the margins of national and hemispheric literatures. The debate over what precisely constitutes a Jewish literature is still very much alive,¹ even as Jewish-American literature has passed its centennial mark and, in Latin America, it is fast approaching.² Although informed by a series of ontological questionings and theoretical interpretive strategies, such a debate continues to focus on the writer’s...

  16. 11 US Latina Caribbean Women Poets: An Overview
    (pp. 191-207)

    The poetry of Latina women in the United States incorporates a great variety of voices that speak in a great diversity of registers on crucial themes such as identity, border, memory, and exile, to mention just a few of the more important concerns that their poetry presents. The forerunners included: Gloria Anzaldúa, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Ana Castillo, Lucha Corpi, Angela de Hoyos, Pat Mora, Alma Villanueva, and Bernice Zamora. During the 1970s and 1980s, these Chicana writers created new poetic spaces that integrated ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and language in shaping what we know today as Latina poetry.¹ Though previously...

  17. 12 The Latino Film Experience in History: A Dialogue Among Texts and Collaborators
    (pp. 208-226)

    The complexity of the Latino experience has yet to be adequately explored in film. As in Latino literary texts, most themes and characters in Latino films have emerged from the sensibilities of a community’s insertion into the North American reality. From these national experiences, filmmakers have been able to explore issues relevant to the broadly constructed ‘Latino’ community. As film production relies on a collaborative series of complex and symbiotic relationships between scriptwriters, editors, and directors, the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of those who have contributed to the Latino image in film in the United States have shifted over time....

    (pp. 227-230)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 231-235)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 236-236)