The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the New World / Edition 1


As the Los Angeles Times said: "Drawing expertly on five centuries of the cultural history of Europe and the Americas, Fuentes seeks to capture the spirit of the new, vibrant, and enduring civilization [in the New World] that began in Spain." Fuentes's singular success in this remarkable endeavor has made the book a classic in its field.

A sweeping history of Hispanic culture on both sides of the Atlantic, set in the context of Spain's own multicultural roots. "The freshest and most inspiring . . . history in this year of a thousand Columbian offerings. . . ."--Washington Post. 175 paintings, drawings, and photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mexican novelist and statesman Fuentes believes that a common cultural heritage can help the countries of Latin America transcend disunity and fragmentation. In a splendidly illustrated survey, companion to a TV series, he perceptively explores Spanish America's love-hate relationship with Spain and its search for an identity in its multicultural roots. His guiding metaphor is the mirror--whether the glass found in Olmec tombs that guided the dead through the underworld, or Cervantes's Knight of the Mirror, who attempted to cure Don Quixote of madness. In the popular assemblies of medieval Spain's townships, Fuentes finds a model for democratic change in Latin American nations warped by oligarchy and U.S. imperialism. He paints a composite portrait of a dynamic culture through sophisticated meditations on Hernand Cortes's Machiavellian character, Spain's self-mutilating expulsion of its Jews, the pillage of Indian society, Goya and the Enlightenment, Bolivar's quest for self-rule, modern painting, and the Hispanic community in the U.S. 50,000 first printing; author tour. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Fuentes has used the occasion of the quincentennial of Columbus's voyage to the New World to reflect on the Latin American experience in this tie-in to the BBC series of the same name to be aired on the Discovery Channel on April 19-23, 1992. The theme of his thoughtful essay is the accommodation of cultures--Spain unique in the Old World in bringing together Christians, Moors, and Jews and the New World intermingling the blood and cultures of Spaniards, Indians, and blacks. It is the unavoidable encounter with the Other that has shaped the New World experience: ``When we exclude, we betray ourselves,'' counsels Fuentes. ``When we include, we find ourselves.'' Spanish America's predicament is that it inherited from Spain neither institutions nor attitudes necessary for full partnership in the modern capitalist world. Latin America remains derivative in culture and economy. Every page in this lapidary essay offers profound insight into the Spanish American psyche. Fuentes concludes, ``We have the right . . . to celebrate the great wealth, variety, and continuity of our culture. Indeed, as the quincentennial comes and goes, many throughout Latin America will ask themselves, `Why have our artists and writers been so imaginative and our politicians so unimaginative?' '' Highly recommended for a wide range of readers. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/91.-- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of Technology, Utica
From the Publisher
"Drawing expertly on five centuries of the cultural history of Europe and the Americas, Fuentes seeks to capture the spirit of the new, vibrant, and enduring civilization [in the New World] that began in Spain." The Los Angeles Times

"With his considerable gifts as a narrator, Fuentes captures the sweep and drama of hispanic history . . . forceful and beautifully written." The New York Times

"His style is clear, intellectually charged, and powerfully argued, invigorated by the novelist's sense of irony, paradox, and sensuality." The Washington Post

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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2580395924993
  • Manufacturer: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/7/1989
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 7.06 (w) x 10.02 (h) x 0.92 (d)
  • These items ship to U.S. address only. No APO/FPO.

Meet the Author

Carlos Fuentes is the author of more than a dozen novels, including Terra Nostra , The Old Gringo , The Crystal Frontier , and The Years with Laura Diaz , as well as numerous literary and political essays. He divides his time between Mexico City and London.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 8
Pt. I The Virgin and the Bull
1 Sun and Shadow 15
2 The Conquest of Spain 33
3 The Reconquest of Spain 51
4 1492: The Crucial Year 79
Pt. II The Conflict of the Gods
5 The Rise and Fall of the Indian World 93
6 The Conquest and Reconquest of the New World 119
Pt. III Children of La Mancha
7 The Age of Empire 151
8 The Century of Gold 171
9 The Baroque Culture of the New World 195
10 The Age of Goya 215
11 Toward Independence 233
Pt. IV The Price of Freedom
12 Simon Bolivar and Jose De San Martin 249
13 The Time of Tyrants 261
14 The Culture of Independence 277
15 Land and Liberty 299
Pt. V Unfinished Business
16 Latin America 313
17 Contemporary Spain 331
18 Hispanic U.S.A. 341
The Monarchs of Spain 356
Sources and Readings 366
Illustration Credits 385
Acknowledgments 388
Index 389
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2002

    Spanish student

    I had to read certain chapters of this book as a pre-requisite to traveling abroad to Spain. After my trip, I realized the excellence of this book. Fuentes touches on many, many different aspects of the culture and land from its first settlers till the present, and everywhere in between. The most important thing is that he tells his story in colorful words that are easy to understand and enjoy.

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