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Decline And Fall Of The Lettered City / Edition 1

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Overview

The cultural Cold War in Latin America was waged as a war of values--artistic freedom versus communitarianism, Western values versus national cultures, the autonomy of art versus a commitment to liberation struggles--and at a time when the prestige of literature had never been higher. The projects of the historic avant-garde were revitalized by an anti-capitalist ethos and envisaged as the opposite of the republican state. The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City charts the conflicting universals of this period, the clash between avant-garde and political vanguard. This was also a twilight of literature at the threshold of the great cultural revolution of the seventies and eighties, a revolution to which the Cold War indirectly contributed. In the eighties, civil war and military rule, together with the rapid development of mass culture and communication empires, changed the political and cultural map.

A long-awaited work by an eminent Latin Americanist widely read throughout the world, this book will prove indispensable to anyone hoping to understand Latin American literature and society. Jean Franco guides the reader across minefields of cultural debate and histories of highly polarized struggle. Focusing on literary texts by García Marquez, Vargas Llosa, Roa Bastos, and Juan Carlos Onetti, conducting us through this contested history with the authority of an eyewitness, Franco gives us an engaging overview as involving as it is moving.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

In this impressive study, Franco...tracks the collapse of the belief in utopia among Latin American writers from the Cold War to neoliberalism...Franco raises crucial questions in her fascinating exploration of the decline and vestiges of the lettered city. Essential reading for Latin Americanists and anyone interested in modern intellectual life.
— D. L. Heyck

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
With seemingly effortless grace, Jean Franco teaches us to reread Latin America, showing the roots of 'global' cultural politics in the Cold War. The range is from hard politics to transvestite disidentifications; interspersed with lapidary textual reading and unfailingly innovative theoretical interventions.
Choice - D. L. Heyck
In this impressive study, Franco...tracks the collapse of the belief in utopia among Latin American writers from the Cold War to neoliberalism...Franco raises crucial questions in her fascinating exploration of the decline and vestiges of the lettered city. Essential reading for Latin Americanists and anyone interested in modern intellectual life.
Choice
In this impressive study, Franco...tracks the collapse of the belief in utopia among Latin American writers from the Cold War to neoliberalism...Franco raises crucial questions in her fascinating exploration of the decline and vestiges of the lettered city. Essential reading for Latin Americanists and anyone interested in modern intellectual life.
— D. L. Heyck
Library Journal
Books that are so well crafted and so original that they make a difference in the evolution of a discipline do not come out often. This book by Franco, longtime literary and cultural observer of Latin America and professor emerita of Columbia University, is one such work. Here, Franco argues that literature in Latin America changed during the Cold War as it became part of the political environment; writers used their works to influence the conflict between Socialist realism and U.S. concepts of autonomy and freedom. In addition, writers often wrote to protect national and ethnic cultures and to support liberation struggles. Franco argues that the result was a devaluation of literature in Latin America just as the international community began to recognize its writing a case she makes splendidly with a careful reading of the texts. This book provides a unique understanding of both the literature and the politics of this important period in Latin American history. Long anticipated by scholars, it should be a part of all Latin American academic collections. Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ., Pleasant Grove, UT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674008427
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2002
  • Series: Convergences: Inventories of the Present Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Franco is Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Emeritus at Columbia University.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

I. Conflicting Universals

1. Killing Them Softly: the Cold War and Culture

2. Communist Manifestoes

3. Liberated Territories

II. Peripheral Fantasies

4. Anti-States

5. The Black Angel of Time

6. The Magic of Alterity

III. A Cultural Revolution

7. Cultural Revolutions

8. The Seduction of Margins

9. Bodies in Distress: Narratives of Globalization

10. Obstinate Memory: Tainted History

11. Inside the Empire

Notes

Index

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