Structures of Power: Essays on Twentieth-Century Spanish-American Fiction

Structures of Power: Essays on Twentieth-Century Spanish-American Fiction

Structures of Power: Essays on Twentieth-Century Spanish-American Fiction

Structures of Power: Essays on Twentieth-Century Spanish-American Fiction

Excerpt

Art is impotent.

—W. H. Auden in "The Real World"

El poder se funda en el texto.

—Carlos Fuentes in Terra nostra

Any volume on literature that bears the title Structures of Power, particularly in the context of Spanish America, is obliged to establish its parameters from the outset: this book is not about "literatura de compromiso" (only); neither does it seek to be geographically nor historically representative, as a glance at the list of contributions will confirm. Moreover, it does not seek to add another to the many volumes that find it perfectly acceptable to write about politics and literature, or literature and revolution, rather than restrict oneself to a discussion of literature on the purely aesthetic level. What it does offer is a collection of essays devoted to issues of hegemony as manifested in modern Spanish American fiction. The themes of political, social, military, religious, economic, and familial power have been mainstays of Spanish American literature since the discovery, while gender, gay, and even genre issues have risen to prominence in recent years, not only in creative writing, but in critical discourse as well. Generally, critical and theoretical volumes that have been concerned with hegemony in Spanish American literature have been restricted to carefully defined perspectives, offering, for example, Marxist, feminist, or gay readings of a number of texts, or tracing the history of a particular type of socially committed literature; or they have focused on a narrow region or historical period; or they have done both. What is sometimes lost in such discussions is an awareness of just how complex the issue of power in Spanish American society is, and more to the point, how complex it can become in its literature. The . . .

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