Literary Criticism

Utopian Dreams, Apocalyptic Nightmares traces the history of utopian representations of the Americas, first on the part of the colonizers, who idealized the New World as an earthly paradise, and later by Latin American modernizing elites, who imagined Western industrialization, cosmopolitanism and consumption as a utopian dream for their independent societies. Carlos Fuentes, Homero Aridjis, Carmen Boullosa, and Alejandro Morales utilize the literary genre of dystopian science fiction to elaborate on how globalization has resulted in the alienation of indigenous peoples and the deterioration of the ecology. This book concludes that Mexican and Chicano perspectives on the past and the future of their societies constitute a key site for the analysis of the problems of underdevelopment, social injustice, and ecological decay that plague today's world. Whereas utopian discourse was once used to justify colonization, Mexican and Chicano writers now deploy dystopian rhetoric to interrogate projects of modernization, contributing to the current debate on the global expansion of capitalism. The narratives coincide in expressing confidence in the ability of Latin American and U.S. Latino popular sectors to claim a decisive role in the implementation of enhanced measures to guarantee an ecologically sound, ethnically diverse, and just society for the future of the Americas.
Through the analysis of six Spanish novels, one for each decade from the 1940s through the 1990s, Rodríguez proposes a new concept of the novel of feminine development and emphasizes the importance of the voicing of women's sentiments, passions, desires, and opinions that have not been expressed before in the literature of Spain. The study begins with Nada by Carmen Laforet, and continues with La playa de los locos  by Elena Soriano, La plaça del Diamant by Mercè Rodoreda, two stories from Te dejo el mar by Carme Riera, Los perros de Hécate by Carmen Gómez Ojea, and Efectos secundarios by Luisa Etxenike.
Spain’s Golden Age represents a transition from a largely oral tradition to a world in which information and culture were transmitted by way of written or printed documents. Contemporary theory has done much to elucidate the cultural and aesthetic implications of this transition. Utilizing concepts derived from such theorists as Derrida, Ong, and Austin, this study examines how writing and inscription are foregrounded and problematized in five Golden Age dramas: El villano en su rincón, by Lope de Vega; La estrella de Sevilla, of disputed authorship; El ejemplo mayor de la desdicha, by Mira de Amescua; Cautela contra cautela, by Tirso de Molina; and La cisma de Inglaterra, by Calderón de la Barca.
In the late 1970s, Brazil was experiencing the return to democracy through a gradual political opening and the re-birth of its civil society. Writing Identity examines the intricate connections between artistic production and political action. It centers on the politics of the black movement and the literary production of a Sao Paulo-based group of Afro-Brazilian writers, the Quilombhoje. Using Pierre Bourdieu's theory of the field of cultural production, the manuscript explores the relationship between black writers and the Brazilian dominant canon, studying the reception and criticism of contemporary Afro-Brazilian literature. After the 1940s, the Brazilian literary field underwent several transformations. Literary criticism's displacement from the newspapers to the universities placed a growing emphasis on aesthetics and style. Academic critics denounced the focus on a political and racial agenda as major weaknesses of Afro-Brazilian writing, and stressed, the need for aesthetic experimentation within the literary field. Writing Identity investigates how Afro-Brazilian writers maintained strong connections to the black movement in Brazil, and yet sought to fuse a social and racial agenda with more sophisticated literary practices. As active militants in the black movement, Quilombhoje authors strove to strengthen a collective sense of black identity for Afro-Brazilians.