Sixteenth-century historian Garcilaso Inca de la Vega had a unique view of the ancient Inca Empire and the Americas. A Peruvian mestizo who emigrated to Spain, he was the first writer to envision Latin America as a multiethnic continent, and he advanced a humanist interpretation of New World history that continues to enrich our appreciation of that era.
Widely read and translated, Garcilaso is a key figure for understanding the development of mestizo culture in Latin America and his works have sparked many heated debates. This new collection of articles advances that discussion through contributions by twelve distinguished scholars who review central aspects of Garcilaso's life and work from the perspectives of history, linguistics, literary theory, and anthropology. These essays explore the complex intertextual threads which weave through Garcilaso's principal writings. Some examine the relationship of his work with the canon of European historiography, while others stress its link with Andean culture; still others focus on the puzzles presented by his use of self-representation.Many of the articles offer fresh readings of Garcilaso's Royal Commentaries and include not only textual analyses of key themes but also a reassessment of Inca political organization. Other contributions address his Florida of the Inca, focusing on such aspects as its discourse and dating. Together, all the essays demonstrate that Garcilaso scholarship continues to be receptive to new critical approaches.
Assembled as a tribute to José Durand, whose life-long study of Garcilaso renewed scholarly understanding of the historian's work, Garcilaso Inca de la Vega is a valuable collection for anyone interested in the history of North and South America or the rise of mestizo culture. It contributes significantly to current studies in multiculturalism as it renews our appreciation for one of its earliest proponents.