The Magic Curtain: The Mexican-American Border in Fiction, Film, and Song

Overview


Borderlands—especially the United States-Mexico borderland—have long served as backgrounds for depicting social instability, according to Thomas Torrans. And borders—or magic curtains—have readily been fashioned into exotic backdrops for films, novels, ballads, and tales in which characters shift easily from one culture to another. The protagonists are equally at home in both societies, or, at worst, at home in neither.

True border novels form a literature that deserves a ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $3.29   
  • Used (4) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$3.29
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:

(108)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Ships same day as ordered. Brand new.

Ships from: Lansing, KS

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$59.90
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(213)

Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview


Borderlands—especially the United States-Mexico borderland—have long served as backgrounds for depicting social instability, according to Thomas Torrans. And borders—or magic curtains—have readily been fashioned into exotic backdrops for films, novels, ballads, and tales in which characters shift easily from one culture to another. The protagonists are equally at home in both societies, or, at worst, at home in neither.

True border novels form a literature that deserves a category all its own. There is an uneven quality—a coarseness sometimes mixed with polish, running the gamut of emotion from the tragic to the comic.

One recent fictional attempt to exploit the border's historical aspects is Fandango by Ron McCoy (1984), while one of the older efforts is that of the early twentieth-century novelist Will Levington Comfort in Somewhere South in Sonora (1925). Border fiction is often just part of a larger whole and a number of books, whether fiction or nonfiction, seldom if ever cross the magical line between the two cultures. They remain, for the most part, fully centered in either Mexico or the United States, such as J. Frank Dobie’s very Texan A Vaquero of the Brush Country or his personalized account of his equestrian travels in northern Mexico, first published as Tongues of the Monte and later as The Mexico I Like.

Film epitomizes the escape across the magic curtain. The Getaway (based on the novel by Jim Thompson) is exemplary. Carol and Doc (Ali McGraw and Steve McQueen) not only manage the great escape with a satchel full of stolen money, they do it by fleeing to the border after a long brush with death. Filmmakers have carved movies out of other novels. B. Traven’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Glendon Swarthout’s They Came to Cordura are compelling looks at the vast and hard country that the border stitches together.

Fortunately, corridos—the voice of the people—are not dead. They exist far afield, from the ballads created around the life and work of California’s César Chávez and the United Farm Workers of America movement to the older songs. Numerous ballads celebrate incidents befalling those running afoul of the law—from bandits to smugglers, large landholders, Texas Rangers, and, inevitably, cattle dealers and rustlers. Still others recount the derring-do of such once well-known figures as Juan Cortina (the “Red Robber of the Rio Grande”) and Catarino Garza, dreamers of lost causes and proponents of independent border republics. Corridos also faithfully reflect the latest developments—technology and maquiladoras, for example.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875652573
  • Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2002
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Thomas Torrans, a retired journalist, lives and writes in Haltom City, Texas. He is the author of the companion volume Forging the Tortilla Curtain, also published by TCU Press.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 The Background
1 The End of an Era 1
2 Gateway of the Underdog 5
3 Romanticism and Reality 17
Pt. 2 The Poetry
4 Rhymes for Rampant Change 33
5 The Arbiter of Moral Codes 45
6 Mecca for the Landless: Life in the Fields 65
7 The Periphery of Law and Order 91
8 Subculture of Salvation 107
Pt. 3 The Prose
9 Southern Rim of the Western Novel 129
10 Through the Looking Glass of the Hybrid Culture 145
11 Wading Into the American Dream 159
12 Before the Gringos Came, and After: The Romantic Heritage 171
13 The Quest for Psychological Reality 183
14 The Individual as Outcast in the New Millennium 203
Afterword 217
Notes on Sources, Readings and Films 219
Index 229
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)