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Key Issues and Texts: Power and Conflict in Latin American Literature (LT 2019)

Key texts are listed for each seminar. You will be expected to have studied all primary texts set for each seminar, together with some of the secondary reading suggested in the bibliographies. Links are given in the bibliographies to online articles, and some additional material is available as PDFs to download from Moodle.

Some key issues relating to each seminar are identified – you may wish to focus on one or more of these in a seminar paper or an essay.

Seminar 1: The Popul Vuh and Indigenismo (GK) 

Key texts

  • Popul Vuh
  • Rosario Castellanos​, Balún Canán
  • Guaman Poma de Ayal, El primer nueva corónica [sic] y buen gobierno

(See the bibliography for online versions of some texts)

Key issues

  • status of the ‘book’
  • concepts of writing (and the khipu) and literature
  • literature and representation of ‘race’
  • autochthony and alterity
  • the mediation of culture
  • belletristic traditions
  • symbolization and the sacred
  • the imbrication of gender and ‘race’
  • 'spectral testification'

Bibliography
 

Seminar 2: Republicanism and Subalternity: Jorge Isaacs, María and Candelario Obeso, Cantos populares de mi tierra (RO) 

Key texts

  • María (Jorge Isaacs, 1867)
  • Cantos populares de mi tierra (Candelario Obeso, 1877)

Key issues

  • Foundational fictions and nation building
  • Myths of racial harmony and practices of racial exclusion
  • 'poesía negra' v. 'poesía negrista'
  • Republicanism and cosmopolitanism 1850-1876
  • The aestheticization of politics
  • The Colombian lettered city: writing and politics
  • Geography and 'race'

Bibliography
 

Seminar 3: Reading 'Out of Place Ideas' in Machado de Assis (MC)

Key texts

If you do not read Portuguese, you might find the recent Oxford University Press translations useful - they are available via Kindle on Amazon for a reasonable price.

Key issues

  • Literary aesthetics of a peripheral modernity
  • Importing out of place ideas
  • Brazilian literature’s deceptive realism
  • Liberalism in Latin America
  • Slave culture, the elites and the culture of dependent men
  • Desire, authority and paternity

Bibliography
 

Seminar 4: State, Capital, Law: Power, Corruption and the Role in Literature (EB)

Key texts

  • Jorge Volpi, Memorial del engaño (2014) 
  • Jorge Volip, Una novela criminal (2018)

Key issues

  • Literary postnationalism
  • Novela documental/'sin ficción'
  • Literature in the post-political/post-truth era
  • Literature and its relation to other media in the 21st century
  • Literature and its relation to capital
  • Intermediality (opera)

Bibliography
 

Seminar 5: Writing and Revolt (MC) 

Key texts

  • Euclides da Cunha, Os Sertões (1902) (London: Penguin, 2010 trans. of Os Sertões. Campanha de Canudos)
  • Heriberto Frías (Mexican, 1870-1925) Tomóchic (novel, 1893-95)

Key issues

  • Representation of interethnic conflict
  • Resistance and power in textual practice
  • Internal borders and invisible geographies
  • Gender, indigeneity and fictionality in crisis
  • The testimonial and the vernacular
  • Hegemonic state and peripheries

Bibliography
 

Seminar 6: Central American fiction post-testimonio – Rodrigo Rey Rosa and Horacio Castellanos Moya (RO) 

Key texts

  • Rodrigo Rey Rosa (Guatemala): Lo que soñó Sebastián (1995), Que me maten si… (1997)
  • Horacio Castellanos Moya (El Salvador): Insensatez (2004), El arma en el hombre (2001)

Key issues

  • Testimonio and its legacies
  • Unfinished memory/truth and reconciliation
  • Crime/social breakdown
  • Paranoia/foreclosure
  • War and capital

Bibliography