Lucas Guevara

Lucas Guevara

Lucas Guevara

Lucas Guevara

Synopsis

"This is the English translation of Lucas Guevara, the first Spanish-language novel of immigration to the United States, Written by Colombian emigre Alirio Diaz Guerra and originally published in the United States in 1914, the novel establishes the structure and formula that numerous other Spanish-language narratives produced in this country would take up over the course of the twentieth century." "Freshly arrived from the pristine countryside of South America, Lucas quickly becomes a victim of the modern Metropolis, its treacherous rogues, and its immoral women. Lucas finds no streets paved with gold. Instead he ultimately succumbs to the pleasures of the flesh and becomes an unscrupulous predator himself." "From Lucas Guevara on, the Hispanic novel of immigration developed as a counter-narrative to the myths of the American Dream and the melting pot. Especially noteworthy are Diaz Guerra's satirical descriptions of the nightlife in the Bowery and the culture of New York boarding houses during the period when at least forty percent of the city's inhabitants were immigrants. Kanellos and Hernandez trace the author's development as a writer and study Lucas Guevara in the context of Hispanic history and immigrant literature." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Immigration has been one of the fundamental bases of Hispanic culture in the United States. It has not only been a sociocultural reality, but also one of the determining factors in the psychology and vision of Latinos living in this country from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present. Without undermining the significance of Hispanic native culture in the United States, we can confirm that the impact of progressive generations of immigrants primarily from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America— also in a smaller quantity from Spain and South America—has consolidated and reinforced the character of Hispanic minorities in the United States during the last two centuries and it has constantly renovated Hispanic culture in this Metropolis. It should not surprise us, therefore, that one of the constant and representative themes in the art and literature of Hispanic groups has been that of their migration to this country.

As all themes that emerge from the bases of society and permeate many aspects of life, the theme of the Hispanic immigrant in the Metropolis appears first in the oral lore through personal narrations told by immigrants and later saturates popular expression from the joke to the song and theater. Long before a large number of literary works based on the experience of Latino immigrants appeared in the twentieth century, songs about the misfortune of the poor innocent (greenhorn) immigrants were heard, and anecdotes, short stories, and jokes were collected in the Hispanic newspapers (Kanellos, 2000). It should not be a surprise that the first example of a novel of Hispanic immigration appeared in 1914 in the city of New York. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, New York City has been one of the preferred destinations for the Hispanic immigrant; by the end of the nineteenth century almost half of New York’s community was made up of . . .

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