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On the Heels of Juan Moreira: Lessons for the Cultural History of Reading

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020

Extract

Between November 1879 and January 1880, the argentine author Eduardo Gutierrez published a serialized narrative of the life of Juan Moreira in the Buenos Aires newspaper La Patria Argentina. Titled simply Juan Moreira, the heroic tale of the real-life outlaw went like this: Moreira was a good gaucho gone bad, who fought to preserve his honor against the backdrop of modernizing forces that were transforming life in this part of South America. His string of crimes and ultimate downfall resulted from his unjust persecution by corrupt state officials. The success of the serial surpassed all expectations. The paper's sales skyrocketed, and the melodramatic narrative soon appeared in book form. Enterprising printers produced tens of thousands of authorized and pirated editions to sell in the Rio de la Plata (Argentina and Uruguay), making Juan Moreira a leading example of everyday reading for the region's rapidly growing literate population and one of Latin America's pre-twentieth-century bestsellers (Acree, Everyday Reading; Gutiérrez, The Gaucho Juan Moreira).

Type
Theories and Methodologies New Geographies of Reading
Copyright
Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 2019

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