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Latin America Literature
Latin American literature is the written account of the trials and triumphs of the Latin American people. The literature focuses on the personal, social, or political struggles of the average citizen. Latin American writers are responsible for introducing new literary genres such as magical realism and the philosophical short story. Its popularity with the rest of the world grew from the 1940 s on through the 1960 s literary boom.
The first novels began to appear in Latin American literature during the 19 th century. Early writers posed questions about national identities or whether European customs should replace local traditions. Jose Hernandez, an Argentinean writer, wrote the first Latin American epic poem during this period. The poem, “Martin Fierro, ” criticized the Argentinean president’s modernist policies and highlighted the importance of the gaucho to Argentina’s national identity.
After World War II, Latin American literature experienced a boom period, and the rest of the world began to take an interest in Latin American writers. Writers experimented with new literary styles and writing techniques, with a focus on universal and metaphysical themes. They found inspiration for their works from Jorge Luis Borges and North American writers such as William Faulkner. The first literary magazines were produced and published to showcase new authors and poets.
The style most associated with Latin American literature during the boom period is Magical Realism. This form of prose incorporates and blends elements of the unbelievable or supernatural with elements of a more realistic nature. The purpose of this style is to give the reader a deeper understanding of realistic events. The style was popularized by Gabrielle Garcia Marquez after the publication of “One Hundred Years of Solitude, ” which has been hailed as one of the most important books from Latin America.
Common themes: • • Familial relationships and Loyalties Poverty Gender roles Social protest and Exploitation
Why Poverty? l Poverty is largely at issue because of the desperate situations in which many Latin American countries find themselves.
Why Families? l Family is considered one's strongest bond and loyalty, and people in the workforce must often work to support relatives both in the U. S. and in other native countries.
Political: social protest and exploitation l l l Many Latin American countries have gone through periods of social unrest. Cuba = communism Dominican Republic = dictatorship
Why gender roles? l Traditionally, older customs and cultural traditions prevail. Women were expected to be obedient and uphold the family honor.
Gabriel García Márquez
• Among the novelists, the most notable author to emerge from Latin America in the 20 th century is Gabriel García Márquez (The Nobel Prize, Colombia, 1982). • Having previously written shorter fiction and screenplays, García Márquez sequestered himself away in his Mexico City home for an extended period of time to complete his One Hundred Years of Solitude, published in 1967. The author drew international acclaim for the work, which ultimately sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. • The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. • Another one of his novels, El amor en los tiempos del cólera (1985), or Love in the Time of Cholera, drew a large global audience as well. The work was partially based on his parents' courtship and was adapted into a 2007 film starring Javier Bardem. • Gabriel García Marquez died in Mexico City on April 17, 2014 at the age of 87
• • Born in Lima, Peru, in 1942 to a Chilean diplomat who ran away when Allende was 3 Allende's mother, Panchita Llona Barros, took her to her grandfather's mansion in Chile, where she lived until she was 10 At 19, she married a Chilean engineer and had a thriving career as a journalist, writing an advice column and hosting her own TV program Her uncle, Salvador Allende, the first avowed Marxist to be elected president in a Latin American country, was killed in 1973 in a CIAbacked military coup that established the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Shortly after the coup, Isabelle Allende fled the country for Venezuela, followed by her husband children.
The House of the Spirits On Jan. 8, 1981, Isabel Allende began a letter to her grandfather, who was nearing 100 and on his death bed. “People die”, he had told her, “only when they are forgotten. ” • After 500 pages, Allende realized she had a novel, not a letter. "Writing a book, " she thought, "might hold him to the Earth. " She has, for luck, begun all subsequent books on the same day, each serving in some way as a spell or a talisman to revive flagging spirits or exorcise demons. "A book, " she has written, "is only a way to touch someone, a bridge extended across loneliness and obscurity. " • •
The House of the Spirits • In one of the most important and beloved Latin American works of the twentieth century, Isabel Allende weaves a luminous tapestry of three generations of the Trueba family, revealing both triumphs and tragedies. • Here is patriarch Esteban, whose wild desires and political machinations are tempered only by his love for his ethereal wife, Clara, a woman touched by an otherworldly hand. Their daughter, Blanca, whose forbidden love for a man Esteban has deemed unworthy infuriates her father, yet will produce his greatest joy: his granddaughter Alba, a beautiful, ambitious girl who will lead the family and their country into a revolutionary future. • The House of the Spirits is an enthralling saga that spans decades and lives, twining the personal and the political into an epic novel of love, magic, and fate.
Contemporary literature in Latin America is more ironic, with less focus on magical realism. Writers had a strong desire to move away from magical realism and towards mainstream literary genres. Paulo Coelho is one of the most influential writers in contemporary Latin American literature. His book, “The Alchemist” is a Brazilian best seller and is considered a modern classic.