Dreams and Realities: Selected Fiction of Juana Manuela Gorriti

Dreams and Realities: Selected Fiction of Juana Manuela Gorriti

Dreams and Realities: Selected Fiction of Juana Manuela Gorriti

Dreams and Realities: Selected Fiction of Juana Manuela Gorriti

Synopsis

One of the most dramatic figures among Latin America's romantic writers and the distinguished woman writer of her century, Juana Manuela Gorriti brings passion and intrigue to the scene of writing. An exile from her native Argentina who sought refuge first in Bolivia and then in Peru, her lifetime of travel and displacement is echoed in her fictions. Her short stories tell of homelessness and nomadic yearnings, taking the reader from the Peruvian highlands, where Spanish colonizers plot to rob the treasures of the Incas, to the Argentine capital city plagued by sinister political intentions. Her later fictions move from Chile to scenes of the California Gold Rush. Covering the wide landscape of the Americas, Gorriti tracks the spirit of nineteenth-century adventurers and dandies, nation builders and soldiers who participate in the conflicts of settlement in a new and lawless land. Women are the protagonists here, mediating episodes of civil strife as they voice their despair about the treachery of fortune seekers in Latin America in the years following Independence from Spain. Dreams and Realities offers a sampling of Gorriti's stories, showing the range of her commitment to political fiction drawn in the romantic style. Originally published in four volumes under the titles Suenos y realidades and Panoramas de la vida, her works deal with the tyranny of the Rosas regime, the mediating role of women, and the clash of European and indigenous cultures. Notwithstanding her personal political leanings, Gorriti's stories and fictions provide a generous dose of swashbuckling adventure and romance. Translated into English for the first time by Sergio Waisman and with an Introduction, Chronology, and Critical Notes by Francine Masiello, the book gives a woman's view of the world of political intrigue and civil unrest that marks Latin America's turbulent nineteenth century.

Excerpt

The most important woman writer in nineteenth-century Argentina, Juana Manuela Gorriti (1818–1892) draws her fiction from themes of time and remembrance, fortune and political crisis. in the process, she helps us understand Spanish America's emergence from the shadow of the Spanish Crown and its debut on the stage of modernity. Her fiction covers more than half a century of rapid social change and registers both a nostalgia for the narrative heroics of the wars for independence and an ongoing desire to accelerate progress toward a cosmopolitan, urban future. a towering presence who dramatized the dilemmas of the displaced intellectual and nomad, Gorriti straddles two worlds: She longs for the solace of home while insisting on travel to points unknown. This dual desire runs through the landscape of the Americas as Gorriti draws upon legends from the preconquest Incas to the forty-niners of California's gold rush. the narrative movement of this writing allows today's reader a glimpse into cultures on the verge of monumental change.

In Lo íntimo, a memoir completed shortly before her death, Gorriti reflects on the negative aspects of this exciting time. She describes her condition as a person in exile, an existence marked by constant . . .

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