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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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National Identity as Textual Construction in Visión de Anáhuac (1519) by Alfonso Reyes - ANTHONY STANTON 11

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Anthony Stanton National Identity as Textual Construction in Visión de Anáhuac (1519) by Alfonso Reyes I begin by repeating a view that has become something of a generally accepted truth: Visión de Anáhuac (1519) is a masterpiece. We can debate whether or not it is Alfonso Reyes’s greatest work. Others will argue that the dramatic poem Ifigenia cruel (1923) is his crowning achievement, but what is undeniable for me is that the author left several masterpieces in dif ferent genres, texts such as the short essay ‘Notas sobre la inteligencia americana’ (‘Notes on the American intelligentsia’, 1937), which has all the attributes of a seminal work of genius. In the following pages I should like to approach the complex nature of Visión de Anáhuac (1519), created almost a century ago, and explain its classic status through an analysis of some of the mechanisms of textual construction and relate these to the underlying themes. Published for the first time in 1917 in San José de Costa Rica, in the collection ‘El Convivio’, under the direction of his friend Joaquín García Monge, the text features, as an integral part of its title, the date 1519, the year of the first encounter between Cortés and Moctezuma, also the year of the first of the former’s Cartas de relación, the so-called ‘Carta de Veracruz’, dated July 20, 1519. All the editions of Reyes’s text also feature, as the last line, an indication of the...

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