Miguel Angel Asturias's Archeology of Return

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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. Ren'e 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 ma'iz (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.
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Editorial Reviews

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"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

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 The tales that now no one believes: Leyendas de Guatemala 16
The first steps 17
Mythmaker 22
Proteus in the streets of Paris 27
Making "fabula rasa" of surrealism 33
The birth of neo-Indigenismo 37
Tropical anamorphosis 42
Resolution as solution 64
The sifting of ancient times 66
2 Becoming ants after the harvest: Hombres de maiz 85
Sinbad sails home 85
A unifying principle 90
Burning water 98
Opossum's dawn 104
Uneven Eve 108
Coyote's covenant 123
Tall tales made to order 127
A new American idiom 138
The role of animals 141
Numbers 150
Colors 154
3 If all the dead began to walk, the earth would be full of steps: Mulata de tal 161
The short-lived republic of "bread, land, and freedom" 162
After the fall 166
The devil bearing gifts 169
The transgressive power of eroticism 183
Money doesn't smell 196
The world upside down 213
In praise of folly 227
Conclusion: From death unto life 238
Notes 255
Bibliography 285
Index 295
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