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Encounters of Formation in the Latin American and Hispanic/Latino Bildungsroman


Alejandro Latinez

Developments: Encounters of Formation in the Latin American and Hispanic/Latino Bildungsroman, a notable contribution for students and scholars of Latin American, Brazilian, Hispanic and Latino literature, explores a significant but overlooked area in the literary production of the twentieth century: the connections between development and the narrative of formation after World War II. Recognizing development as a discursive construction that shapes significantly modern national identity in Latin America, Alejandro Latinez argues that its ideals and narrative relate to the Bildungsroman genre – the narrative of formation or development. The study presents a historical background of similar ideals of development in Latin America as well as reflects on a seminal philosophical interplay about youth and modern national identity between the Mexican authors Samuel Ramos and Octavio Paz. Furthermore, it examines Mario Vargas Llosa’s 1963 La ciudad y los perros, José Lezama Lima’s 1966 Paradiso, a selection from Clarice Lispector’s 1960 and 1964 short narratives, and Elena Poniatowska’s 1971 testimony La noche de Tlatelolco. The narrative experience in the United States is analyzed in Sandra Cisnero’s 1984 The House on Mango Street and Esmeralda Santiago’s 1993 When I Was Puerto Rican.
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Chapter One: Introduction

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Development is an essential presence in the cultural discussion about Latin American modernity. The validity of development is very alive in the words and practices of Latin American politicians, technicians, and military administration since the end of the Second World War. An explanation of its presence is that the narrative of development is often considered a natural process of becoming a modern and mature nation rather than a cultural construction and a colonial representation; it is a component of the identity of the nations. In this sense, although there is no identical process for each nation, it is reasonable to argue that the narrative of development permeates a similar narrative, that of education, formation, or Bildungsroman which precisely connects—with more or less clarity—individual developments with national projects. Although social sciences have considered the ideological and practical effects of development, few approaches examine the relationships with Latin American literature, particularly the Hispanic/Latino narrative. Among them, Luis Cárcamo-Huechante and Gregory Schelonka establish two analyses where economics, development, culture, and literature are presented as elements of a discursive configuration that has defined Chilean and Mexican contemporary narratives in the context of modern national projects, as it is examined later.

← 1 | 2 → My study addresses the cultural discussion of development as a narrative that affects Latin American and Hispanic/Latino Bildungsroman and similar narratives of formation. The stories portray not only young characters’ apprenticeships but also the construction of national identities and the future of nations in an orderly sequence...

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