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This volume takes an important step toward the discovery of a common critical heritage that joins the diverse literatures of North America and Latin America. Traditionally, literary criticism has treated the literature of the Americas as “New World” literature, examining it in relation to its “Old World”—usually European—counterparts. This collection of essays redirects the Eurocentric focus of earlier scholarship and identifies a distinctive pan-American consciousness.
The essays here place the literature of the Americas in a hemispheric context by drawing on approaches derived from various schools of contemporary critical thought—Marxism, feminism, culture studies, semiotics, reception aesthetics, and poststructuralism. As part of their search for a distinctly New World literary idiom, the contributors engage not only the major North American and Spanish American writers, but also such “marginal” or “minor” literatures as Chicano, African American, Brazilian, and Québecois. In identifying areas of agreement and confluence, this work lays the groundwork for finding historical, ideological, and cultural homogeneity in the imaginative writing of the Americas.
Contributors. Lois Parkinson Zamora, David T. Haberly, José David Saldívar, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, José Piedra, Doris Sommer, Enrico Mario Santí, Eduardo González, John Irwin, Wendy B. Faris, René Prieto, Jonathan Monroe, Gustavo Pérez Firmat