The Magic Lantern: Having a Ball and Christmas Eve

The Magic Lantern: Having a Ball and Christmas Eve

The Magic Lantern: Having a Ball and Christmas Eve

The Magic Lantern: Having a Ball and Christmas Eve

Synopsis

Jos'e Tomas de Cu'ellar (1830-1894) was a Mexican writer noted for his sharp sense of humor and gift for caricature. Having a Ball and Christmas Eve are two novellas written in the costumbrista style, made popular in the mid-nineteenth century by the periodical press in which these sketches of contemporary manners were first published. The stories are a sensitive reflection of the effects of modernization brought by an authoritarian regime dedicated to order and progress. Christmas Eve describes a volatile middle class in which people pursue pleasure and entertainment without regard to morality. Having a Ball depicts women and their dedication to fashion. It is through them that Cuellar examines a society susceptible to foreign values, the importation of which radically altered the face of Mexico and its traditional customs.

Excerpt

The Library of Latin America series makes available in translation major nineteenth-century authors whose work has been neglected in the English-speaking world. the titles for the translations from the Spanish and Portuguese were suggested by an editorial committee that included Jean Franco (general editor responsible for works in Spanish), Richard Graham (series editor responsible for works in Portuguese), Tulio Halperín Donghi (at the University of California, Berkeley), Iván Jaksić (at the University of Notre Dame), Naomi Lindstrom (at the University of Texas at Austin), Francine Masiello (at the University of California, Berkeley), and Eduardo Lozano of the Library at the University of Pittsburgh. the late Antonio Cornejo Polar of the University of California, Berkeley, was also one of the founding members of the committee. the translations have been funded thanks to the generosity of the Lampadia Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

During the period of national formation between 1810 and into the early years of the twentieth century, the new nations of Latin America fashioned their identities, drew up constitutions, engaged in bitter struggles over territory, and debated questions of education, government, ethnicity, and culture. This was a unique period unlike the process of nation formation in Europe and one which should be more familiar than it is to students of comparative politics, history, and literature.

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