Figural Conquistadors

Mark A. Hernández

Rewriting the New World's Discovery and Conquest in Mexican and River Plate Novels of the 1980s and 1990s

194 pages
ISBN 1611482539
Bucknell Studies in Latin American Literature and Theory

This study explores the role of historical and fictionalized figures from the New World historiographically in eight novels (both New Historical and traditional historical) published in Mexico and the River Plate during the 1980s and 1990s. It pays particular attention to the fundamental role of fictional autobiographies and testimonials in reqriting historiographical discourses about the discovery and conquest and their relationship to contemporary politics and issues of national and cultural identity in Latin America. The writers and novels include Argentina's Antonio Elio Brailovsky (Esta maldita lujuria) and Abel Posse (El largo atardecer del caminante); Mexico's Eugenio Aguirre (Gonzalo Guerrero), Armando Roa Bastos (Vigilia del Almirante), and Uruguay's Napoleón Baccino Ponce de León (Maluco: la novella de los descubridores). This study shows how these novelists use major and marginal figures to reflect upon the ways that institutional powers have invokes episodes from the discovery and conquest to explain and legitimate the present. They also revisit this period to critique the recent historical past, especially in the case of Uruguay and Argentina, which endured military dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Mark Hernández's recent analysis of eight Mexican and River Plate novels dealing with the discovery and conquest of the New World, place him in the center of ongoing postmodern and postcolonial discussions about the construction of cultural and national identities, and the necessity of continued revisions of history, if the New World is ever to see itself beyond the confines of a monolithic, Eurocentric narrative of the colonial experience." --Ann González, The University of North Carolina, Charlotte (The Americas, 65:4, April 2009)

About the author:

Mark A. Hernández is assistant professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance Languages at Tufts University in Medford, MA. He teaches courses in Latin American and Latino literary and cultural studies, with emphasis on Greater Mexico, and has published articles on Spanish American literature and culture. He is currently working on a book-length project on Mexican rock of the 1990s.


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