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A World in Words, A Life in Texts

Revisiting Latin American Cultural Heritage – Festschrift in Honour of Peter R. Beardsell

Edited By Victoria Carpenter

This volume presents a number of close readings of Latin American literary and cultural phenomena. The overarching theme of the collection is the revision of the accepted view of Latin American national identities as represented in twentieth-century Latin American literature and culture. The book examines the complexity of national identities forged among political crises, economic upheaval and intercultural influences.
The essays included here focus upon internal contradictions of national identity and the factors contributing to this discord. Among these are the nature of the Latin American intellectual, Latin American modernity and exile, and the psychological underpinning of the re-creation of history. Some of the chapters challenge the existing theoretical framework for Latin American literary analysis by employing non-literary theories to analyse hitherto overlooked textual anomalies.
The book is a Festschrift for Professor Peter R. Beardsell, reflecting the importance of his contribution to Latin American literary and cultural studies.


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Victoria Carpenter and Amit Thakkar Introduction Peter Beardsell’s contribution to Latin American literary studies is endur- ing, original and highly inf luential. His tireless pursuit of knowledge has been an example to follow for many of his students and colleagues over the years. This collection ref lects his inf luence upon both Latin American literary studies as a field and, more specifically, the scholars who have been fortunate enough to study, work or collaborate with him. As an undergraduate, Peter Beardsell was inspired by Giovanni Pontiero to explore Latin American literature. For over forty-five years, he has been working on a wide range of texts, from Mexican Teatro del Norte to Argentinean poetry. His seminal essay (1990) on Juan Rulfo’s novel Pedro Páramo is distinguished by a keen eye for the socio-political commentary that had all too often been missing from previous interpreta- tions based on myth. He engages in a piecing together of the events of the novel within a specific temporal context, concluding that the novel begins around the 1870s/1880s and ends between 1926 and 1929, the time of the Cristero War. The essay is a subtle, deeply layered interpretation which is sensitive to Rulfo’s irony and in which both historical referents and loftier themes (such as irony, solitude and death) have their place. For example, according to Beardsell, the comments of Dorotea when asked by Juan if her name is Doroteo or Dorotea (‘Da lo mismo’) display a ‘magnificent irony’ indicating the ‘ultimate absurdity of their...

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