Hispanic-American Writers

Hispanic-American Writers

Hispanic-American Writers

Hispanic-American Writers

Synopsis

-- Brings together the best criticism on the most widely read poets, novelists, and playwrights

-- Presents complex critical portraits of the most influential writers in the English-speaking world -- from the English medievalists to contemporary writers

Excerpt

Chicano poetry, more even than the Mexican-American novel, is still in a very early phase, and merits considerable encouragement. Unfortunately, in the current cultural climate of the United States, Hispanic American writers are subject to many of the same hazards that afflict the better African American and other "multicultural" literary endeavors. Overpraise, generally allied to ideological enterprises, emanates endlessly from our resentful academics and journalists alike. Perhaps two generations will have to pass before Chicano literature (or Puerto Rican writing in English) will be judged by authentic cognitive and aesthetic standards. Myself Bloom Brontosaurus, the academic dinosaur, I am well aware that I can no more intrude traditional canonical considerations than I can intervene helpfully in any of our current multicultural contexts. This Introduction therfore in no way contests or quarrels with the critical judgments reprinted in this volume. Rather, I wish only to raise the problem of influence and its anxieties in regard to the Mexican and Chicano corrida, the border ballad. As my primary text I will take Américo Paredes' With His Pistol in His Hand: A Border Ballad and Its Hero (1958, 1971). Paredes tells us that:

Corrida, the Mexicans call their narrative folk songs, especially those of epic themes, taking the name from correr, which means "to run" or "to flow" for the corrida tells a story simply and swiftly without embellishments.

Paredes and his work, both as scholar and as poet, have been praised by José E. Limón, in his Mexican Ballads, Chicano Poems: History and Influence in Mexican-American Social Poetry (1992). Very much an academic of our moment, Limón's critical heroes in this book—besides Paredes himself—are the Marxists Raymond Williams and Fredric Jameson.The critical villian is the aesthete Harold Bloom, whose books on poetic influence are severely . . .

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