City of Kings

City of Kings

by Rosario Castellanos
     
 

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Written in 1960, these stories unfold in the Mexican state of Chiapas—the later site of the Zapatista uprising, and the author addresses controversial questions of power, class, race, and language, giving insight into the historical background of a political struggle still going on today. The complex relationship of conquerors and conquered is explored with

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Overview

Written in 1960, these stories unfold in the Mexican state of Chiapas—the later site of the Zapatista uprising, and the author addresses controversial questions of power, class, race, and language, giving insight into the historical background of a political struggle still going on today. The complex relationship of conquerors and conquered is explored with masterful writing that earned Rosario Castellanos a permanent place in the literary history of Mexican authors.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"These stories . . . show Castellanos to be a first-rate writer whose understanding of Mexican culture is as disturbing as it is engrossing . . . She manages her exposure of the racist underpinnings of society brilliantly; more than 30 years after these stories were written, the inhumanity they portray continues to chill the soul."  —Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These short stories, first published in Mexico in 1960, show Castellanos to be a first-rate writer whose understanding of Mexican culture is as disturbing as it is engrossing. Using the city of Ciudad Real--the eponymous City of Kings, once glorious but now ``a vain, empty shell''--as a unifying element, she explores how racism, hunger, religion and money become weapons for the rulers of a society built upon the domination of native peoples. An elderly woman bludgeons an Indian to death, but calms her fears that his spirit will haunt her by thinking, ``How could a spirit possibly appear if the body belonged to an Indian, and not to a rational person?'' A proud native tribe and its protective spirit are exterminated by Spanish oligarchs and their descendants. A baby dies of hunger, yet the doctor who allows it to happen proclaims it a victory in getting Indians to understand the value of ``white'' medicine. A subtle paradox inhabits these unrelenting stories: Castellanos (1925-1974) was herself a wealthy ladina or white woman of mixed (European and indigenous) ancestry. She manages her exposure of the racist underpinnings of society brilliantly; more than 30 years after these stories were written, the inhumanity they portray continues to chill the soul. (Apr.)
Library Journal
This collection of ten interwoven, chronologically consecutive short stories set in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, was first published in Spanish as Ciudad Real in 1960. Castellanos focuses on the exploitation of the indigenous population by the ladinos (whites) and the deep-seated racism and blind prejudice of both groups. The exploitation of women, especially the indigenous women, is a major theme. The individual tales range from stories of the conquered to a chronicle of the journey of a North American Protestant missionary. A prolific writer in many genres, Castellanos (1925-74) is part of the Mexican ``Generation of 1950'' and is considered one of Mexico's leading feminist authors. Many of her works have been translated into English, including her first novel, The Nine Generations ( LJ 1/1/60) and Another Way To Be ( LJ 10/1/90). City of Kings will be a major addition to collections containing Mexican literature in translation.-- Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, Ore.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780935480634
Publisher:
Latin American Literary Review Press
Publication date:
01/28/1993
Series:
Discoveries Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
1,021,906
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.51(h) x 0.37(d)

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