• Mexican Americans and the Novel of the Mexican Revolution

    Yolanda Padilla (see profile)
    Latin American literature, American literature--Minority authors, Mexican literature, Comparative literature
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Chicana/o and Latina/o literature, US ethnic literatures
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    I examine how early twentieth-century Mexican American writers responded to the Mexican Revolution, arguing that they grappled with the war’s meanings and consequences in ways that were shaped by their positions as border subjects marginalized by and alienated from the national cultures of both Mexico and the United States. I read these Mexican American engagements with the war as part of the preeminent Mexican narrative thematic, the novel of the Revolution. Mexican American writers such as Leonor Villegas de Magnón, Conrado Espinoza, Josefina Niggli, Luis Pérez, Américo Paredes, and José Antonio Villareal all wrote versions that share many of the key concerns of the Mexican tradition, including an emphasis on the betrayal of the Revolution. However, as I argue, while narratives written south of the border express a largely national orientation, those written to the north express a fundamentally transnational orientation, one that asserts the centrality of Mexican Americans to the Revolution, and thus to the emerging Mexican national narrative. Mexican Americans produce, then, what I call “the ‘other’ novel of the Revolution” narratives that insist that Mexicans in the United States be accounted for in the Mexican national project. In so doing, they emplot issues into the Mexican tradition that reflect their local conditions as members of an emerging and embattled ethnic group and that consequently point to and critique the neocolonial relationship between Mexico and the United States. Such issues include dispossession, racial and ethnic conflict, and debates about cultural integrity. In this essay, I sketch out the defining characteristics of this “other” novelistic tradition and then provide examples through readings of Josefina Niggli’s Mexican Village and Américo Paredes’ novel The Shadow.
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    5 years ago
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