Confronting History And Modernity In Mexican Narrative

Hardcover | July 15, 2008

byElisabeth Guerrero

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Two motifs of an angel of history, one European and one Mexican, provide a theoretical framework for this book. The first is Walter Benjamin's interpretation of the Klee painting angelus novus, a figure that gazes upon the ruins of the past, powerless to repair the broken pieces as it keels into the future. Although Benjamin envisions history as catastrophe piled upon catastrophe, he also sees in this angel the possibility for redemption in divine destruction. Mexico City's key monument, the Angel of Independence, also embodies redemption and destruction through history, marking moments of staggering transformation beyond the conquest. Drawing from these two theoretical angels, the study delineates three major narrative tendencies in contemporary historical novels from Mexico. First, these novels humanize canonized heroes and bring them down to earth. Secondly, they demonumentalize the European legacy, renegotiating Europe's five hundred year bequest of conquest and colonialism. Thirdly, the novels have begun to recover secondary figures previously lost to history, particularly women and people of color. While these three tendencies apply throughout Latin America, they are particularly pronounced in Mexican literary production.

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Two motifs of an angel of history, one European and one Mexican, provide a theoretical framework for this book. The first is Walter Benjamin's interpretation of the Klee painting angelus novus, a figure that gazes upon the ruins of the past, powerless to repair the broken pieces as it keels into the future. Although Benjamin envisions ...

Elisabeth Guerrero is Associate Professor of Spanish at Bucknell University. She is co-editor with Anne Lambright of Unfolding the City: Women Write the City in Latin America (2007). Her essays on Mexican, Argentine, and Latino/a literature have appeared in the journals Latin American Literary Review, Monographic Review/Revista Monogr...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 8.41 × 5.67 × 0.6 inPublished:July 15, 2008Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230606377

ISBN - 13:9780230606371

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Table of Contents

Introduction * Humanizing the Hero * Highlighting Women * Mourning for Europe * Redemption of the Present * Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

"The analysis is lucid, insightful, and far-reaching, covering themes of memory, inquisition, conquest, power, syncretism, transculturation, biopolitics, and ecology... Recommended." —CHOICE