Spanish-American Literature: A History

Spanish-American Literature: A History

Spanish-American Literature: A History

Spanish-American Literature: A History

Excerpt

This History is the most comprehensive compilation of studies of the literature of Hispanic America ever written. It is vast not for the number of pages but for the breadth of its topics, for the depth of its chronology, for the scope of its geography, and for the magnitude of its philosophic, historical, and cultural framework in which it is neatly ensconced; it is intense for the compactness of its organization and of its prose: all the chaff has been threshed out. This compact prose reflects perfectly the manner in which the author has compressed almost six centuries of literature into such few pages. What is more stunning is that withal it remains a history of literature, achieved without sacrificing non-literary data. The key to this accomplishment lies in the richness of the author's language as he dissects literary forms, literarily; that is, with the very instruments of the creative artist. The History is replete with unexpected vocabulary, turns of syntax, plays on words and ideas, tropes, metaphors which, instead of obfuscating, illuminate the creative process of so many of the writers.

It has been our intention to mirror this prose style in every respect, but all translation-mirrors have their imperfections, and images sometimes yield untrue refractions. (May there not be any distortions!) We tried to trade expression for expression, figure of speech for figure of speech, and if the trading were not possible in one place, we tried to make up the deficiency elsewhere; yet, we may not have been able to liquidate all our indebtedness to the original. If the rhythm of the English prose is not the accustomed or traditional one it is because the original is likewise an unusual and non-traditional Spanish. We hope the readers will become attuned to the new beats.

This is the translation of the greatly augmented third edition of Professor Enrique Anderson Imbert Historia de la literatura hispanoamericana published by the Fondo de Cultura Económica of Mexico City. Since this edition Professor Anderson has added some authors and data . . .

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