Magical Realism and the History of the Emotions in Latin America

Jerónimo Arellano

2015
244 pages
$80.00
ISBN 9781611486698

Magical Realism and the History of the Emotions in Latin America rethinks the rise and fall of magical realism in Latin America in the light of the cultural history of the emotions and in conversation with contemporary theories of affect. It explores how twentieth-century magical realist narrative reimagines public and collective forms of feeling, in particular the colonial history of wonder in the wake of the voyages to the New World. Magical Realism and the History of the Emotions in Latin America argues that this reconceptualization of magical realism also invites a new reading of its marked devaluation in contemporary Latin American literature, suggesting that this turning point responds to major changes in the uses and circulation of forms of emotional intensity in the present.

Reviews:
"Arellano's brilliant study recasts the genealogy of the marvelous ordinary in Latin American literature. It provides a fresh, new look at a seemingly overanalyzed literary mode, Magical Realism, by contextualizing it with contemporary theories of affect, the cultural history of wonder, the sociality of emotions, as well as the changing structures of feeling and material practices. This book reveals a new history of wonder from the margins of the colonial/modern world-system, by revisiting the historical relationship - in both temporal and spatial terms - among magical realist narratives' expression of wonder and those of the early modern Wunderkammer (cabinet of wonder) and the chronicles of the New World."
-Ignacio López-Calvo, University of California, Merced

"Jerónimo Arellano's refreshing study is a subtle, thoughtful and stimulating reassessment of Latin American literary history. Using notions of both affectivity and emotion, Arellano sheds new light on the wonder discourse of the 'New World' and comprehensively punctures and problematizes the common assumption that modern Magical Realist writing is essentially rooted in traditional versions of such a discourse."
-Philip Swanson, Hughes Professor of Spanish, University of Sheffield, UK

"In this seminal work Arellano (Brandeis) reevaluates the history and transmission of wonder in Latin American literature...Overall, this is an excellent scholarly contribution that does not limit itself to regional contexts and instead traces transcultural and transnational connections in the study and reevaluation of the Latin American chronicle and magical realist narratives...Essential."
----I. Portaro, Southern Utah University; CHOICE (April 2016)

"Arellano aims to explore the affective dimension of magical realism by reassessing its ties with the so-called New World Chronicles. Reflecting on the successful surge of magical realism and its subsequent decline, this study challenges the view that magical realism is a mere reproduction of the first colonial wonder...This study sheds a novel light on an already extensively researched topic. The argument is daring, subtle and remains engaging throughout the book."
--Oxford University Press; Forum for Modern Language Studies; Vol. 52, No. 2 (2016)

"Indeed, Magical Realism and the History of the Emotions in Latin America has critical ambitions that far surpass those of a new study on magical realism; it is more aptly characterized as a sketch toward a new transatlantic literary and cultural history of wonder in modernity from the discovery and invasion of the New World to the present.... Impeccably researched in all areas of expertise, Magical Realism and the History of the Emotions in Latin America is a sophisticated study that models the kinds of innovative readings that new emotions-based and object-oriented theories may facilitate in Latin American literary and cultural studies."
--Monika Kaup, Modern Language Quarterly; 77.4 (December 2016).

About the author:

Jerónimo Arellano is assistant professor of Latin American literature and culture at Brandeis University.

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