Elena Garro and Mexico's Modern Dreams

Rebecca E. Biron

2013
294 pages
$90.00
ISBN 9781611484700
Bucknell Studies in Latin American Literature and Theory

Elena Garro and Mexico's Modern Dreams uses Elena Garro's eccentric life and work as a lens through which to examine mid-twentieth-century Mexican intellectuals' desire to reconcile mexicanidad with modernidad.

The famously scandalous first wife of Nobel Prize winner poet Octavio Paz, and an award-winning author in her own right, Garro constructed a mysterious and often contradictory persona through her very public participation in Mexican political conflicts. Herself an anxious and contentious Mexican writer, Elena Garro elicited profound political and aesthetic anxiety in her Mexican readers. She confused the personal and the public in her creative fictions as well as in her vision of Mexican modernity. This violation of key distinctions rendered her largely illegible to her contemporaries. That illegibility serves as a symptom of unacknowledged desires that motivate twentieth-century views of national modernity. Taken together, Garro's public persona and critical perspective expose the anxieties regarding ethnicity, gender, economic class, and professional identity that define Mexican modernity.

Blending cultural studies and detailed literary analysis with political and intellectual history, Mexico's Modern Dreams argues that, in addition to the intriguing gossip she elicited in literary and political circles, Garro produced a radical critique of Mexican modernity. Her critique applies as well to the nation's twenty-first-century crisis of globalization, state power, and pervasive violence.

Reviews:
"Engaging...a thought-provoking text that shows how this important Mexican author fits within the literary history of the 20th century. Highly Recommended."

--A.A. Edwards, Mercyhurst College, Choice Reviews September 2013.

About the author:

Rebecca E. Biron teaches Spanish and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College, where she chairs the Program in Latin American/Latino/Caribbean Studies. She specializes in Latin American literary and cultural studies, Mexican studies, and gender studies. She has published City/Art: the Urban Scene in Latin America (editor, Duke University Press 2009) and Murder and Masculinity: Violent Fictions of 20th Century Latin American (Vanderbilt University Press 2000).

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