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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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Edited By 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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Oriana Baddeley Last Rites from Frida Kahlo to Teresa Margolles

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: Mexicanness and Visualizing the Politics of Victimhood The Mexican Revolution of 1910–1919 produced a generation of artists fasci- nated with the particularities of their own changing world. In the art of the period shared narratives emerged which focused audiences on the injustices of the colonial past and the marginalization felt in what was perceived to be a Eurocentric present. The visual manifestations of that revolutionary present became the stage on which artists could act out the cultural politics of a nation in conf lict. Within this context, definitions of national culture ranged from simplistic stereotypes to complicated attempts at reconciling the political tensions of a racially divided post-colonial society. Depending on the particularities and contingency of an artist’s work, dif ferent constituencies were cast as oppressed or oppressor and successive, often gendered, narratives were developed to explain the historical traumas of Mexican history. Within this accepted language of representation the image of the victim took on a particularly important role in articulating a new secular narrative of martyrdom. The tradition of church murals that had served as a precedent for the new ‘peoples art’ had to be stripped of its literal relationship to Christian teaching but the tropes of sacrifice and punishment surfaced again and again within the mythologizing of the key themes of the Revolution, in competition with the more literal refer- ences to Christian martyrdom utilized by counter-revolutionary factions representing the Christian resistance to forced secularization.1 Frequently 1 The rhetoric of martyrdom was particularly prominent in the...

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