Killing Spanish: Literary Essays on Ambivalent U.S. Latino/a Identity

Paperback | September 15, 2009

byLyn Di Iorio Sandín

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Killing Spanish suggests that the doubles, madwomen and other raging characters that populate the pages of contemporary U.S. Latino/a literature allegorize ambivalence about both present American identity and past Caribbean and Latin American origins. The family novels Sandín explores -- ranging from work by the Cuban American Cristina García to the island Puerto Rican Rosario Ferré -- uncover the split between Americanized protagonists and their families, a split usually resolved through the killing of a character representing origins. Race and class differences, and poverty, cause protagonists in work by the Nuyoricans Piri Thomas, the Dominican American Junot Díaz, and others, to embrace the street as the new Latino home. If the family novels exact the death of "Spanish" in the person of a double character, the urban fiction and poetry project the "mean" street, churning with the productive and destructive energies of ambivalence, as the landscape of the fragmented U.S. Latino/a psyche.

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Killing Spanish suggests that the doubles, madwomen and other raging characters that populate the pages of contemporary U.S. Latino/a literature allegorize ambivalence about both present American identity and past Caribbean and Latin American origins. The family novels Sandín explores -- ranging from work by the Cuban American Cristin...

Lyn Di Iorio Sandín is an Assistant Professor of English at the City College of the City University of New York where she teaches courses on Caribbean and U.S. Latino/a Literatures and fiction writing.

other books by Lyn Di Iorio Sandín

Moments of Magical Realism in US Ethnic Literatures
Moments of Magical Realism in US Ethnic Literatures

Kobo ebook|Dec 6 2012

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.42 inPublished:September 15, 2009Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230617514

ISBN - 13:9780230617513

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Towards a Typology of U.S. Latino/a Caribbean Culture * Part I: Seemly Latinas and Their Loca Doubles * Allegory's Magical Fragments * Killing Spanish * Good Latina, Bad Latina * Part II: Machos and Monsters * The Allegorists of the Street * Latino Rage * Conclusion: "Culture-Conscious Scribes"

Editorial Reviews

"There is no other work in contemporary U.S. Latino/Latina Studies, known to me, that is comparable to Killing Spanish in scope, in analytical richness and in sheer trans-American thinking; it is actually a cross-genealogical history of U.S. Latino/Latina literature from Piri Thomas to Cristina García and Junot Díaz and shows a passionate mastery of the literature of the Americas."-- José David Saldívar, Class of 1942 Professor of English, University of California, Berkeley"Killing Spanish is an illuminating examination of contemporary US Latino writing. Lyn Di Iorio Sandín combines a comprehensive and revealing cultural study analysis with a compelling literary review of the manner in which allegory, in the works of some of the most significant authors in the growing field of US Latino literature, reveals an often ambivalent and conflictive representation of Latino/a identity. A highly original and timely work."--Margarite Fernández Olmos, Co-Editor, The Latino Reader: An American Literary Tradition from 1542 to the Present"Lyn Di Iorio Sandin's Killing Spanish ventures remarkably into uncharted territory, appreciably widening the available scope for studying US Caribbean/Latino literary texts. Drawing on psychoanalytically nuanced literary criticism and contemporary cultural studies, the author identifies allegory as the trope par excellence for scrutinizing the fragmented identities that parade the pages of the novels she examines and in so doing illustrates the value of attending to rhetorical and aesthetic features as critical tools capable of unleashing the cultural and political meaning of Latino literature. She investigates the role of Spanish as a site in relation to which her writers construct notions of family, national origins, and cultural roots, while considering the possible rapport between the allegorical realism of the Latino fiction writers covered in her study and the magical realism of the major Latin American figures one might regard as their literary ancestors. Clearly written and sensitively argued, this study provides a fresh inquiry into the distinct behavior of US Caribbean/Latino literary texts. One the whole we have here a scholarly intervention that, in steering clear of the overused explanatory conventions to which Latino texts are habitually subjected, constitutes an invigorating contribution to the field."--Silvio Torres-Saillant, Director of the Latino-Latin American Studies Program, Syracuse University  "Lyn Di Iorio Sandin's Killing Spanish is remarkable for its breadth in identifying eight characteristics of US Latino/a allegory as a lens for an in-depth analysis of seven authors and texts.  In doing so, she also shows the resonance and limitations of Euro-Anglo, Third World, Hemispheric, and minority theories as applied to Latino/a works...[she] frames her collection of essays with the compelling assertion that while both the ambivalence and the fragmented subjectivity it causes remain irrevocable, they become sources not only of vulnerability and struggle, but also of energy, motivation and strength...Ultimately, Di Iorio Sandin seems to do for Latino/a literary critique what she claims these 'street allegorists' do for the literature: they unveil layers of fluid identity, never made whole nor fetishized; she emphasizes the literary richness of complex subjectivities....[she] both enlarges and refocuses these spheres of analysis.  She does so by employing psycho-analytical and allergorical approaches and by critically applying post-modern literary and cultural theory to examine the multiple layers involved in 'killing Spanish' and in the ambivalent identity that seems to require such violence."--Latino Studies Journal "The archive with all its theoretical implications so central in different ways to Gruesz's and Sanchez Gonzalez's respective projects, gives way in Lyn Di Iorio Sandin's dazzling study, Killing Spanish: Literary Essays on U.S. Latino/a Ambivalent Identity, which deals with destabilizing relationships, language, and allegory in contemporary Latino fiction...What we are left with both in Di Iorio Sandin's exquisite study and the writers she investigates is a Latino complexity whose unapologetic presence imposes itself on the U.S. literary canon."--The Centro Journal