Colonial Latin American Literature: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199755028

Rolena Adorno
168 Pages
121 x 173 mm
Pub date
Nov 2011
Very Short Introductions


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  • Provides a coherent and concise narrative of three centuries of colonial writing
  • Examines literary relationships among colonial era writers, such as Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Hernán Cortés, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Simón Bolívar, and Andrés Bello
  • Includes indigenous writers as a crucial part of the development of literature in Latin America

A vivid account of the literary culture of the Spanish-speaking Americas from the time of Columbus to Latin American Independence, this Very Short Introduction explores the origins of Latin American literature in Spanish and tells the story of how Spanish literary language developed and flourished in the New World. A leading scholar of colonial Latin American literature, Rolena Adorno examines the writings that debated the justice of the Spanish conquests, described the novelties of New World nature, expressed the creativity of Hispanic baroque culture in epic, lyric, and satirical poetry, and anticipated Latin American Independence. The works of Spanish, creole, and Amerindian authors highlighted here, including Bartolomé de las Casas, Felipe Guaman Poma, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and Andrés Bello, have been chosen for the merits of their writings, their participation in the larger literary and cultural debates of their times, and their resonance among readers today.


Chapter 1: First Encounters, First Doubts
Chapter 2: Oviedo and Las Casas
Chapter 3: The Polemics of Possession
Chapter 4: The Conquest of Mexico
Chapter 5: A North American Sojourn
Chapter 6: Epic Accomplishments
Chapter 7: Urban Baroque
Chapter 8: Baroque Plenitude
Chapter 9: A New Polemics of Possession
Further reading

About the author: 

Rolena Adorno is the Reuben Post Halleck Professor of Spanish at Yale University. Her books include The Polemics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative and Guaman Poma: Writing and Resistance in Colonial Peru. She is a member of the presidentially appointed National Council on the Humanities and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

"Adorno's supurb synopsis of the field in this volume ... will be a mandatory handbook for any undergraduate or graduate survey of colonial SPanish-American literature, and an essential aid to scholars approaching the field for the first time." - Lisa Voigt, BSS

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