Searching for Recognition: The Promotion of Latin American Literature in the United States

By Irene Rostagno | Go to book overview

4
Casa de las Américas and the Center for Inter-American Relations: Competing for Latin American Literature

It was not until the late sixties that Latin American literature began to make a significant mark on the U.S. cultural scene. Given the aggressive support of Latin American authors by Casa de las Américas and the rising popularity of modern Latin American fiction in Europe at the time, champions of Hispanic and Brazilian culture, grouped around the Center for Inter-American Relations in New York, decided it was time for this country to catch up.

The center was established in 1967 by David Rockefeller, then president of the Chase Manhattan Bank. Aware that earlier attempts to introduce Latin American letters had had only a limited impact, he wanted the organization to be a vehicle for a closer and continuing rapport with the United States' southern neighbors. To this end the center's literature program strove to gain a reputation among mainstream critics and publishers for Latin American writers. Over a period of fifteen years the center worked as a clearinghouse for Latin writing. It subsidized translations, stirred up enthusiasm for novelists and poets among publishers and reviewers from prominent New York publications and provided an outlet where Latin American culture could be discussed.


I

Unlike poets, who incorporated into their work European avant-garde ideas during the twenties and thirties, Latin American novelists, with some exceptions, were slower in assimilating modernism. When they finally did, however, they radically changed the course of Ibero-American letters. In the early sixties South America witnessed an outburst of

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Searching for Recognition: The Promotion of Latin American Literature in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Notes xvi
  • 1- Waldo Frank's Crusade for Latin American Literature 1
  • Notes 26
  • 2- Blanche and Alfred Knopf's Literary Roundup 31
  • Notes 55
  • 3- The Plumed Horn/ El Corno Emplumado: The Spell of Cuba in the 1960s 59
  • IV 84
  • 4- Casa De Las Américas and The Center for Inter-American Relations: Competing for Latin American Literature 89
  • Notes 138
  • Conclusion 145
  • Notes 150
  • Selected Bibliography 151
  • Index 155
  • About the Author 160
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