A Companion to Latin American Literature

A Companion to Latin American Literature

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 348
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  • Book Info
    A Companion to Latin American Literature
    Book Description:

    A Companion to Latin American Literature offers a lively and informative introduction to the most significant literary works produced in Latin America from the fifteenth century until the present day. It shows how the press, and its product the printed word, functioned as the common denominator binding together, in different ways over time, the complex and variable relationship between the writer, the reader and the state. The meandering story of the evolution of Latin American literature - from the letters of discovery written by Christopher Columbus and Vaz de Caminha, via the Republican era at the end of the nineteenth century when writers in Rio de Janeiro as much as in Buenos Aires were beginning to live off their pens as journalists and serial novelists, until the 1960s when writers of the quality of Clarice Lispector in Brazil and García Márquez in Colombia suddenly burst onto the world stage - is traced chronologically in six chapters which introduce the main writers in the main genres of poetry, prose, the novel, drama, and the essay. A final chapter evaluates the post-boom novel, testimonio, Latino and Brazuca literature, gay, Afro-Hispanic and Afro-Brazilian literature, along with the Novel of the New Millennium. This study also offers suggestions for further reading. STEPHEN M. HART is Professor of Hispanic Studies, University College London, and Profesor Honorario, Universidad de San Marcos, Lima.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-522-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)

    I take this opportunity to thank the librarians at the libraries I visited while conducting the research on which this book is based, at the Fondo Reservado, in the Biblioteca Nacional, Mexico City, the Biblioteca Nacional in Bogotá, Colombia, the Bodleian, Oxford, the University Library, Cambridge, the British Library, London (and particularly Barry Taylor), the Stetson Collection in the University of Florida Library, and the National Libraries in Buenos Aires, Lima and Rio de Janeiro. Special thanks to my former colleagues in the Department of Spanish and Italian, University of Kentucky, whose willingness to discuss some of the concepts explored...

  4. INTRODUCTION: Unpacking the Canon
    (pp. ix-xii)

    This book is designed for the moderately specialised reader of Spanish and Portuguese who wants an introduction to the main works of the Latin American literary canon. It takes its point of departure from an historical coincidence, namely that the discovery and colonisation of the area of the earth now called Latin America largely coincided with the birth of a new technology for the transmission of knowledge, namely, printing. The world has never been quite the same since Johann Gensfleisch zum Gutenberg printed his forty-two-line Bible in Mainz, Germany, in 1452–56 (Steinberg 21). Gutenberg’s discovery of movable type spread...

  5. 1 The Amerindian Legacy and the Literature of Discovery and Conquest
    (pp. 1-34)

    Christopher Columbus, on behalf of the Spanish monarchy, landed in the Bahamas on 12 October 1492, and Pedro Álvares Cabral, on a charge from the Portuguese throne and with plans drawn up by Vasco da Gama, sighted the eastern coastline of mainland South America on 22 April 1500; thus began the discovery and conquest of the New World. While neither man was aware of the nature and extent of the land they had discovered – they were both seeking the spices of the East – their respective governments were quick to claim these territories. Since the land discovered by Álvares...

  6. 2 Colonial and Viceregal Literature
    (pp. 35-66)

    The second generation of settlers in the New World used print where their predecessors had used military exploits for, as one commentator points out, the ‘sword was yielding to the quill as an instrument of material advancement, and a familiarity with letters and learning was becoming a surer guarantee of social preferance than military skill’ (Leonard,Books198). From its inception, printing in Latin America was associated with royal privilege and, throughout the colonial era, permission in the form of a licence from the sovereign was necessary before a printing press could be set up. During the early days of...

  7. 3 Early Nineteenth-Century Literature
    (pp. 67-105)

    The nineteenth century in Latin America is remembered as the century of independence. Forces for political change had been building up in Brazil as much as in Spain’s colonies throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century. Thus there is an undeniable symmetry between the actions of Tupac Amaru II (José Gabriel Condorcanqui) who fought against the Spanish colonial regime in Peru only to be executed (May 1781) and Tiradentes (Joaquim José da Silva Xavier) who took on the colonial regime in Brazil and suffered the same fate (April 1792), but the way in which independence eventually came about in...

  8. 4 Late Nineteenth-Century Literature
    (pp. 106-139)

    The last few decades of the nineteenth century were a crucial period in which the social role of the writer in Latin America was radically transformed. For the first time in history the Latin American writer was able to make a career as a writer. No longer at the beck and call of a Maecenal figure, he could make a living directly from the investment of his readers in his published work. The Argentine Eduardo Gutiérrez, for example, sold so many copies of his newspaper serial novel,Juan Moreira(1879) – it was serialized inLa Patria Argentinafrom 28...

  9. 5 Early Twentieth-Century Literature
    (pp. 140-190)

    We have already noted in previous chapters the shifts in emphasis in the publication industry which occurred at the beginning and end of the colonial era in Latin America; from a state industry strictly controlled by regal or viceregal patronage it became an enterprise largely dominated by pro-independence factions. Another shift of emphasis is evident at the beginning of the twentieth century; the book industry now becomes part of a new print capitalism. The axiom of new events calling for new news is certainly relevant to the turbulent years of the Mexican Revolution; hundreds of new newspaper titles were generated...

  10. 6 Late Twentieth-Century Literature
    (pp. 191-249)

    Alan Sinfield has described effectively the change which occurred in the literary field in the 1960s.

    Literature since the 1960s has […] looked increasingly like a commodity (with, for instance, a top ten like pop records). Books may be conceived not by authors, but by publishers who commission a work they believe they can sell. […] The idea of literary quality is used as a manifest marketing ploy – in literary prizes such as the Booker (with the final announcement live on television), in the promotion of book clubs, and in the selling of films and television serials through their...

  11. 7 Some Postmodern Developments
    (pp. 250-288)

    These final remarks on some postmodern developments are intended as a postscript to the previous chapters. They concentrate on a number of new developments in contemporary Latin American literature and analyse a representative sample of works from those new genres. As we saw in Chapter 6, the decade of the 1960s witnessed a boom of Spanish American literature such as had never been seen before. As a result of a number of developments – among which should be mentioned political events such as the Cuban Revolution, economic events such as the commodification of literature, and cultural events such as the...

  12. Postlude
    (pp. 289-290)

    Analysing the evolution of Latin American literature in its Portuguese- as well as Spanish-language manifestations is often like watching a three-legged race – two individuals more or less moving in the same direction but often tugging against each other. In this study we have seen many cases of intellectual coincidence, that is, when a Spaniard and a Portuguese were writing about the world around them in complete isolation from each other, yet the ideas inspired by that reality seem – with the benefit of hindsight – remarkably similar, almost if they were penned by the same mind: such is the...

  13. Suggestions for Further Reading
    (pp. 291-302)
    (pp. 303-330)
  15. Index
    (pp. 331-336)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 337-337)