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Ghosts of the Revolution in Mexican Literature and Visual Culture

Revisitations in Modern and Contemporary Creative Media

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Erica Segre

The official centenary commemorating the Mexican Revolution of 1910 provided scholars with an opportunity to consider memorialization and its legacies and ‘afterimages’ in the twentieth century through to the present time. This collection of new essays, commissioned from experts based in Mexico, Europe and the United States, plays on the interrelated notions of ‘revisitation’, haunting, residual traces and valediction to interrogate the Revolution’s multiple appearances, reckonings and reconfigurations in art, photography, film, narrative fiction, periodicals, travel-testimonies and poetry, examining key constituencies of creative media in Mexico that have been involved in historicizing, contesting or evading the mixed legacies of the Revolution. The interplay of themes, practices and contexts across the chapters (ranging from the 1920s through to the present day) draws on interdisciplinary thinking as well as new findings, framing the volume’s discourse with a deliberately multi-dimensional approach to an often homogenized topic. The contributors’ scholarly referencing of artists, novelists, poets, photographers, foreign correspondents, critics, filmmakers and curators is detailed and wide-ranging, creating new juxtapositions that include some rarely studied material.

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Erica Segre Introduction: Cultural Memories of an Unquiet Past

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: Charting Ghosts of the Mexican Revolution in Mexican Literature, Film, Art and Photography We will pay with our bodies, what our soul desires.1 — Slogan from First Convention of Agrarian Leagues (1926) Because the bullet-ridden bodies nourished the furrow to give new life to the cane; every maize field watered with blood, made fruitful by anguish and hope, gave them renewed vigour to push for victory.2 — Germán List Arzubide (1930) No-one knew his name. Some said he had fired a shot; others said he hadn’t. I know that the young sentinel didn’t die next to the big stone. He already was a ghost. He had five wet bullets in his hands and the gesture that he bequeathed to our eyes.3 — Nellie Campobello (1931) 1 Pamphlet with line illustrations by Diego Rivera. All translations from the Spanish are by the editor unless otherwise stated. 2 Germán List Arzubide, Emiliano Zapata: Exaltación (Mexico City: Publicaciones del Departamento de Bibliotecas de la SEP, 1935). The original edition boasted a cover by Leopoldo Méndez ( Jalapa: Talleres Gráficos del Gobierno de Veracruz, 1927). 3 See Figure 1.1. Nellie Campobello, Cartucho: Relatos de la luncha en el Norte de México (Bullet: Stories of the Struggle in the North of Mexico), Fernando Tola de Habich (ed.) (Mexico City: Factoría Ediciones, 1999), 54. 2 Erica Segre Rough hands. Calloused and strong hands that quarry mountains, that grasp the axe, that harvest the fields and make the bread; that sculpt crude stone. Hands...

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