Moving Forward, Looking Back: Trains, Literature, and the Arts in the River Plate by Sarah M. Misemer argues that the train is paradoxically an anachronistic and modern indicator of River Plate national identity when seen in the literature and film of the region. The train's connections with new concepts of time and space, as well as the rise of the industrial age, make it a symbol loaded with cultural meanings. This project traces the importance of the train as a market of key moments in Argentine and Uruguayan history from 1854 to the present (nation-building, neo-colonialism, modernization/industrilization, dictatorship, privatization, and debt crisis). Through textual, filmic, and historical accounts this study demonstrates that the train is not simply an icon of the nineteenth-century's Naturalist movement, but rather a powerful contemporary metaphor for authors and directors of the River Plate as they communicate/create collective memory and cultural values in a region mired in uneven spurts of modernization and progress.
Many critical shifts in concepts of time and society's consciousness of modernity were derived from the railway and World Standard Time in the nineteenth century. These innovations restructred the way people viewed the world and dealt with "public" and "private" time. The forward, projectile motion along a linear track mimicked the passage of public chronological time. Conversely, the train also invoked a private, nostalgic view of tim as the traveler was yanked from his/her traditional view of the space/time continuum via the train's velocity. Travelers observed the landscape "disappear" in their backward glance from the windowalthough the landscape and interior compartment's space remained stagnant. This optical illusion caused passengers to perceive the world in new ways. Thus, the train unveils a conflictive blend of nostalgia and progress in the River Plate, as these countries move forward, but look back.
|Publisher:||Bucknell University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Sarah M. Misemer is assistant professor of Hispanic theater at Texas A&M University. Dr. Misemer is the author of Secular Saints: Performing Frida Kahlo, Carlos Gardel, Eva Perón, and Selena, (2008). She has published numerous articles on contemporary River Plate, Mexican, Spanish and Latino theater in journals such as Latin American Theatre Review, Gestos, Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Languages, Letras Peninsulares, Revista Hispánica Moderna, and Hispanic Poetry Review. Her main areas of research include contemporary Argentine and Uruguayan theater, performance, and literature.