The Politics of Art and Literature in Latin America

By Grenier, Yvon | Canadian Journal of Latin American & Caribbean Studies, July 2006 | Go to article overview

The Politics of Art and Literature in Latin America


Grenier, Yvon, Canadian Journal of Latin American & Caribbean Studies


Yves Aguila and Isabelle Tauzin Castellanos, editors Les ecritures de l'engagement en Amerique latine / Las escrituras del compromiso en America latina, vol. 1 Bordeaux: Universite Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux 3 ERSAL, Presses universitaires de Bordeaux, 2004, 252 pp.

Yves Aguila, editor Pouvoir et ecritures en Amerique latine / Poder y escrituras en America latina, vol. 2 Bordeaux: Universite Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux 3 ERSAL, Presses universitaires de Bordeaux, 2004, 254 pp.

David Craven Art and Revolution in Latin America, 1910-1990 New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002, 240 pp., 65 color illus.

Jean-Guy Rens Vlady, De la revolucion al renacimiento Prologue by Serge Fauchereau, trans. from the French by Tessa Brisac Mexico: Siglo XXI, 2005, 272 pp. + illus.

Scholarly publications on the interplay between art/literature and politics in Latin America come primarily from specialists in comparative literature, art criticism, and cultural studies. (1) While diverse in topics and perspectives, this body of academic publications conveys two important messages to readers interested in exploring the subject.

First, Latin American art and literature typically relate closely to their social and political context. (2) Until recently, it was fairly common to have literary intellectuals thinking of themselves as the "critical conscience" of their silenced and marginalized peoples. They were the "voice of the voiceless," in political environments characterized by authoritarianism, instability, and routinized deceit. (3) In this, Latin American artists and writers followed a path closer to their European counterparts--remember that for decades Paris and Madrid were the capitals of the Latin American intelligentsia--than to their Anglo-Saxon neighbors.

Second, Latin American art and literature are not merely derivative forms of West European or American trends. They constitute an original and powerfully evocative representation of something once disdained but now celebrated in the "postmodern" North: hybrid cultures. The mix of cultures--O'Gorman's "invention of America"--and the unrelenting quest for identity that this condition triggered proved to be fertile ground for artistic and intellectual creativity. In fact, it is probably not an exaggeration to say that Latin America, more than any other region of the world, realized its greatest achievements in art and literature.

The liaison between art and politics is so obvious in Latin America that one can be forgiven for overlooking how complicated and paradoxical their relations can be. Art and literature are routinely conceptualized as vehicles to transmit political messages in historical conditions (political, economic, social, and cultural) that make this pattern of transmission probable and efficacious. Questions typically remain unexplored, such as: Where exactly is the political in art? Is it to be found in the "content," the "form" (i.e., "content of the form"), and/or in our interpretation of it? In what sense can we say that art is "critical" of societies and governments? Is art still "critical," as all great art should be, when it lends itself to a particular political cause or--even more problematically--to a government? What about the impact of the market and globalization on artistic practices? And, finally, is there something that art can convey about the political life (in Latin America or elsewhere) that only art can convey? If so, what is it exactly? Can one use artistic productions as a pedagogical tool to teach our students about political life in Latin America?

The scholarly books under review express the passion of their authors for Latin American art and literature. No doubt in their mind that one can only grow in intelligence and wisdom by understanding and appreciating the visual arts and literature of the Latin American greats: Rivera, Orozco, Vlady, Fuentes, Neruda, Vargas Llosa, among many others. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Politics of Art and Literature in Latin America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.