The Usable Past: The Imagination of History in Recent Fiction of the Americas

The Usable Past: The Imagination of History in Recent Fiction of the Americas

by Lois Parkinson Zamora
     
 

The Usable Past presents a comparative discussion of American literary modes of historical imagining. Taking America in its hemispheric sense, Lois Parkinson Zamora presents a broad-ranging discussion of essential American voices - among them Borges, Hawthorne, Emerson, Williams, Paz, Carpentier, Cather, Fuentes, Cortazar, Rulfo, Cisneros, Puig, Vargas Llosa, Morrison… See more details below

Overview

The Usable Past presents a comparative discussion of American literary modes of historical imagining. Taking America in its hemispheric sense, Lois Parkinson Zamora presents a broad-ranging discussion of essential American voices - among them Borges, Hawthorne, Emerson, Williams, Paz, Carpentier, Cather, Fuentes, Cortazar, Rulfo, Cisneros, Puig, Vargas Llosa, Morrison. These writers dramatize the convergences and divergences of history and fiction as they question the nature of both. Zamora argues that they are impelled by a peculiarly American energy - what she calls an "anxiety of origins" - to search for precursors and connect to (or invent) usable traditions and histories. They conceive of originality not as novelty but as a complicated and enriched relation to their cultural traditions. How American writers thematize usable American pasts, and how their work itself becomes part of the usable past, is Zamora's overarching concern.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521058094
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
12/28/2007
Pages:
276
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. IAnxiety of Origins1
1The Usable Past: History as Idea in the Americas15
2For the Record: Novels, Newspapers, Narration40
3Ancestral Presences: Magical Romance / Magical Realism76
Pt. IIIntertextuality and Tradition127
4Synchronic Structures133
Conversation in The Cathedral
62: A Model Kit
5Fragmentary Fictions156
Dulcinea Encantada
Woman Hollering Creek
6Cliches and Community178
The Kiss of the Spider Woman
Macho Camacho's Beat
Comparative Conclusions: Baroque New Worlds196
Notes211
Index251

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