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Miguel Angel Asturias's Archeology of Return

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Latin American and Iberian Literature

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  • Miguel Angel Asturias (1899-1974) is one of the notable literary figures in Latin America who in the 1920s contrived both to explore and define Latin literature within the mainstream of Western history. He managed to be poetic, political and mythological at the same time, and with a degree of synthesis rarely achieved then or since. As is the case with many Latin American writers, his work is inextricably linked with politics, and he lived in exile for many years. He was influenced by Indian mythology, fantasy and Surrealism and was the first Latin American novelist to understand the implications of anthropology and structural linguistics for culture and for fiction. In 1967, Asturias became the first Latin American novelist to win the Nobel Prize. René Prieto examines how Miguel Angel Asturias turns to the cultural traditions of the ancient Maya and combines them with the rhetoric of surrealism in order to produce three highly complex and widely misunderstood masterpieces; the Leyendas de Guatemala (1930), Hombres de maíz (1949) and Mulata de tal (1963). Asturias is the first American author to succeed in portraying an indigenous world vision that is blatantly non-Western. Borrowing a variety of techniques from preColumbian manuscripts, he creates a new type of literature that is still the best example of the cultural blend typifying the Americas. This is the first book to examine these three novels for their originality beyond the usual political readings normally attributed to them.

    Reviews & endorsements

    "The main strengths of Prieto's study are that in sustaining a particular aooroach to Austria's indigenismo, he causes the three chosen works to illuminate each other, as part of a highly defined series." Gordon Brotherston, Modern Language Notes

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2011
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511882449
    • availability: Adobe Reader ebooks available from eBooks.com
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword and acknowledgements
    Table of contents
    Introduction
    1. The tales that no one believes: Layendas de Guatemala
    2. Becoming ants after the harvest: Hombres de maiz
    3. If all the dead began to walk the Earth would be full of steps: Mulata de tal
    4. Conclusion: from death unto life
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Reni Prieto

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