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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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The State and the Muse: Trilce VI and the Politics of Poetry - ADAM SHARMAN 93


Adam Sharman The State and the Muse: Trilce VI and the Politics of Poetry You can’t get started without a first line that goes musically – by which I don’t mean melodiously, just that it needs phonetic purchase or rhyth- mical promise. — Seamus Heaney When Seamus Heaney speaks of poetry as ‘an ancient and sacred art’, and of poets bearing their ‘sacred charge’ and watching out for others ‘who have got it – whatever “it” is’, one is reminded of the stark dif ference between how some poets think about poetry and what academics do with it.1 Many years ago, Jean Franco wrote that modern Latin American art had since its inception been inseparable from ‘social and political preoccupations’: ‘An intense social concern has been the characteristic of Latin-American art for the last hundred and fifty years. […] Thus any evaluation of Latin-American movements must also be concerned with the social and political preoc- cupations out of which they sprang.’2 I would say that, were ‘it’ capable of speaking, Latin American Studies in the contemporary Anglo-Saxon academy in which Peter Beardsell has taught for over forty-five years would say that it has finally caught up with the Latin American artistic tradition. Less literary and more socio-political, Latin American Studies have either left poetry behind (as too ancient an art) or else taken as their object more socio-political poetry (less sacred art). This because, the logic goes, poetry 1 Heaney 2008: 3. 2 Franco 1970:11. 94 Adam Sharman is conventionally the most literary...

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