Latin America, Its Problems and Its Promise: A Multidisciplinary Introduction

By Jan Knippers Black | Go to book overview

novels, Fuentes projects the view that man is not the maker of history but rather that he is caught up in it, with little opportunity for movement or freedom of choice.

The youngest of the authors included in Harss's book is the Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa, who won the prestigious Seix Barral Prize for his first novel, Time and the Hero, in 1962. The work is based on the author's personal experience of life in a Lima military school. Here boys are encouraged to develop the false value of machismo, all-pervasive in Peruvian society. A far more difficult novel is The Green House ( 1966). It is composed of several interlocking stories and is set in the town of Piura in the northwestern part of Peru and in the selva in the department of Amazonas. The lives of many characters -- nuns, military men, adventurers, underdogs -- intersect in a nonsequential order so that the reader cannot establish a clear pattern of development or the identity of the characters. The theme of this novel, however, is similar to that of Time and the Hero: Civilization corrupts. The central figure, Bonifacia -- also known as "La Selvática," or "Jungle Woman" -- is exploited by the Church, by the army, and by modern commercialism as symbolized by the brothel called the Green House. Vargas Llosa's novel The War of the End of the World ( 1981) is curiously not about Peru but about Brazil. The novel is based on a historical event, a popular insurrection that was both revolutionary and reactionary, which took place in northeastern Brazil at the end of the nineteenth century. Through the striking intermingling of Portuguese words with the Spanish of the narrative, the novel takes us beyond the limitations set by national borders and becomes a moral and political parable of the Latin American continent.

The ten writers included in Into the Mainstream by no means exhaust the list of authors who have enhanced the sophistication of contemporary Latin American literature. Since 1967 numerous and equally innovative writers have joined their ranks, among them many women of the stature of Clarice Lispector ( Brazil), Elena Garro ( Mexico), and Isabel Allende ( Chile). The writers of the present continue the tradition of linguistic experimentation initiated by the modernist and avant-garde poets who sought, and eventually were able, to liberate Latin American writers from the bonds of Spanish rhetoric and to decolonize their imaginations. Contemporary writers carry on as well with the experimentation in prose introduced in the 1940s by Asturias, Borges, Carpentier, and others, who transcended the photographic realism of an earlier period by inventing literary forms to encompass their experiences of the extraordinary and often overwhelming reality of Latin America. Brazil and Spanish America may remain underdeveloped and exploited economically and politically, but they have achieved in this century a new cultural maturity in the resonant and profound voice of their literature.


SUGGESTED READINGS

Brushwood, John S. The Spanish American Novel. A Twentieth-Century Survey. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1975. Traces the development of the Spanish American novel during the twentieth century. Emphasis is on works, not authors. The novel is viewed as a

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Latin America, Its Problems and Its Promise: A Multidisciplinary Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • MAPS, TABLES, FIGURES, AND ILLUSTRATIONS xi
  • I - INTRODUCTION: THE EVOLUTION OF LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES 1
  • Notes 16
  • PART ONE - THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE 19
  • 2 - PHYSICAL LANDSCAPE AND SETTLEMENT PATTERNS 21
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 39
  • 3 - THE INDIAN POPULATIONS OF LATIN AMERICA 40
  • Notes 53
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 54
  • PART TWO - HISTORICAL SETTING 57
  • 4 - COLONIAL LATIN AMERICA 59
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 67
  • 5 - THE CONTINUITY OF THE NATIONAL PERIOD 69
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 86
  • PART THREE - CULTURAL EXPRESSION 89
  • 6 - PHILOSOPHY AND THE INTELLECTUAL TRADITION 91
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 101
  • 7 - LATIN AMERICAN LITERATURE 104
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 121
  • 8 - NATIONALISM AND MODERN LATIN AMERICAN ART 124
  • Notes 137
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 137
  • PART FOUR - ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL STRUCTURES 143
  • 9 - THE LATIN AMERICAN ECONOMIES RESTRUCTURE, AGAIN 145
  • Notes 156
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 159
  • 10 - SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND CHANGE IN LATIN AMERICA 162
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 179
  • 11 - NATURE IN LATIN AMERICA: IMAGES AND ISSUES 181
  • Notes 196
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 199
  • PART FIVE - POLITICAL PROCESSES AND TRENDS 201
  • 12 - PARTICIPATION AND POLITICAL PROCESS: THE COLLAPSIBLE PYRAMID 203
  • Notes 229
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 230
  • 13 - THE POLITICS OF INSECURITY 232
  • Notes 249
  • PART SIX - EXTERNAL RELATIONS 255
  • 14 - INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IN LATIN AMERICA: CONFLICT AND COOPERATIONS 257
  • Notes 270
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 271
  • 15 - THE UNITED STATES AND LATIN AMERICA: INTO A NEW ERA 273
  • Notes 293
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 295
  • 16 - LATIN AMERICA IN THE WORLD 296
  • Notes 309
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 311
  • PART SEVEN - MEXICO 315
  • 17 - MEXICO: HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS 317
  • Notes 336
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 336
  • 18 - MEXICO: THE PERMANENT CRISIS 338
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 347
  • PART EIGHT - CENTRAL AMERICA AND PANAMA 349
  • 19 - CENTRAL AMERICA: BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS 351
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 378
  • 20 - CENTRAL AMERICA: FROM REVOLUTION TO NEOLIBERAL "REFORM" 380
  • Notes 394
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 396
  • 21 - PANAMA AND THE CANAL 397
  • Notes 408
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 409
  • PART NINE - CUBA AND THE CARIBBEAN 411
  • 22 - THE CUBAN REVOLUTION 413
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 435
  • 23 - THE CARIBBEAN: THE STRUCTURE OF MODERN-CONSERVATIVE SOCIETIES 436
  • Notes 451
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 452
  • PART TEN - THE ANDES 453
  • 24 - VENEZUELA, COLOMBIA, AND ECUADOR 455
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 473
  • 25 - PERU AND BOLIVIA 475
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 493
  • PART ELEVEN - THE SOUTHERN CONE 495
  • 26 - CHILE: THE DEVELOPMENT, BREAKDOWN, AND RECOVERY OF DEMOCRACY 497
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 534
  • 27 - ARGENTINA: DECLINE AND REVIVAL 536
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 549
  • 28 - URUGUAY AND PARAGUAY: AN ARDUOUS TRANSITION 551
  • Notes 571
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 572
  • PART TWELVE - BRAZIL 575
  • 29 - BRAZIL: FROM INDEPENDENCE TO 1964 577
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 589
  • 30 - BRAZIL: MILITOCRACY AND FRUSTRATED DEMOCRATIZATION 591
  • Notes 604
  • SUGGESTED READINGS 605
  • 31 - CONCLUSION: AN INTEGRATED NEIGHBORHOOD 607
  • Notes 618
  • ABOUT THE BOOK AND EDITOR 619
  • ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS 621
  • Index 627
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