Category Archives: Bibliography

También sucede en México

La colocación en la Rectoría de la UNAM de una persona fiel al actual proyecto de autoritarismo neoliberal es de suma importancia para el régimen. Una Universidad Nacional verdaderamente democrática, participativa y plural rápidamente se convertiría en una enorme piedra en el zapato para la clase política dominante. Desde la perspectiva de Peña Nieto, urge clausurar cualquier posibilidad de surgimiento de nuevos liderazgos juveniles o de proyectos intelectuales que podrían poner en riesgo sus planes transexenales.

Read the whole thing.


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Vicente Rafael

When I teach the modern Latin Amercan survey again, I will include even more than usual on nations, nationalism, and revolutions — including politics in Spain and the Philippines.


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Hannah Arendt

Hobbes was the true, though never fully recognized, philosopher of the bourgeoisie because he realized that acquisition of wealth conceived as a never-ending process can be guaranteed only by the seizure of political power, for the accumulating process must sooner or later force open all existing territorial limits. He foresaw that a society which had entered the path of never-ending acquisition had to engineer a dynamic political organization capable of a corresponding never-ending process of power generation. He even, through sheer force of imagination, was able to outline the main psychological traits of the new type of man who would fit into such a society and its tyrannical body politic. He foresaw the necessary idolatry of power itself by this new human type, that he would be flattered at being called a power-thirsty animal, although actually society would force him to surrender all his natural forces, his virtues and his vices, and would make him the poor meek little fellow who has not even the right to rise against tyranny, and who, far from striving for power, submits to any existing government and does not stir even when his best friend falls an innocent victim to an incomprehensible raison d’état. For a Commonwealth based on the accumulated and monopolized power of all its individual members necessarily leaves each person powerless, deprived of his natural and human capacities. It leaves him degraded into a cog in the power-accumulating machine, free to console himself with sublime thoughts about the ultimate destiny of this machine, which itself is constructed in such a way that it can devour the globe simply by following its own inherent law.

Here are some additional notes.


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Libraries and electronic copies exist

I wanted to see this film here in Barcelona but I don’t think I am going to get to it. (There is so much else I have not done.) I will leave here the fantastic 1999 edition of the DK Eyewitness Barcelona Travel Guide because there is a 2014 one that can be had.

I will also leave PMLA 109:2 (March 1994). I have been carrying it around so I would finally read it, and I have not done so yet. It has articles of general interest, like one “Sorceresses, Love Magic, and the Inquisition of Linguistic Sorcery in Celestina” and then the article I have always meant to absorb, David Spurr’s “Myths of Anthropology: Eliot, Joyce, Lévy-Bruhl” which I really need to study.

But the piece is in JSTOR and if you look at it on line, you see who has cited it and what their pieces were about. Spurr says Joyce “sees in anthropology as a discipline the tyrrany of the rational, colonizing mind intent on objectivizing or romanticizing the lives of subject peoples. Joyce has little patience for nostalgic myths of the primitive like those purveyed by W.B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory.”

Foucault makes a distinction between anthropology, a totalizing discourse, and ethnology, which is situates itself within historicity. Ethnology uncovers the relations between representation and the material conditions of existence (these are Spurr’s words); in this critical analysis of representation, ethnology is allied with literature that is “fascinated with the being of language” (I believe that is from L’ordre des choses).

Spurr: “Whereas Eliot mythologizes history, Joyce appears … to historicize mythology…. Joyce collapses both myth and history into a radical materiality of language….

This all has to do with Oswald de Andrade and Vallejo, you see.

It is more difficult but I am also leaving Latin American Research Review 50:2 (2015). It has all these marvelous things in it and I so prefer to read on paper, but it is also so accessible online.

There is a piece by one Mark Daniel Anderson, “Modernism, crisis, and the ethics of democratic representation in Fernando del Paso’s total novels” that I need to seriously read for several reasons. One, for its main points, which I think are true (see the abstract, against the now traditional opposition of novela total and testimonio).

My reasons for being interested in it has to do with questions of the production of meaning, the critique of the transcendental subject, the latter as the subject of nationalism as well as universalistic humanism, the limits of avant-garde techniques, the relationship of art to civil society, the appropriation of avant-garde esthetics for institutional purposes (which happened by the 1930s), conciliatory mestizaje (mestizaje as mark of shared citizenship) and more. Benito Juárez is the indio oficial … who has the blond Maximilian shot … and so on, and the mestizo classes rise (peacefully and naturally, by consensus according to the PRI mythology, but look at the facts) … and I must read Fernando del Paso, Noticias del imperio and more.

Anderson also says (44-45) that the collage technique creates a collective identity not formed via the “machined seamlessness of nationalistic essentialism.” Rancière says art creates dissensus (not consensus, which Doris Sommer and others claimed it did for 19th century Latin America and which one can see that it tried to do) — creates dissensus via the strategic use of impropriety and misplacement. Bürger associates this technique with the avant-garde but Rancière extends it to any symbolic representation (because representation always maintains a supplementary, decentering, critical relationship to discourse and reality itself).

QUESTION, THEN: If that is true, then is Julio Ortega’s current “deconstructive” reading of Vallejo fuzzy, and what about “critiques of representation” — ? I have to relearn, or learn for the first time perhaps, the meaning of a certain body of theory.

Anyway, there is a great deal in that article. In the journal, there is another piece on why Latin American scholars do not participate in Latin American Studies (because they identify as agents of change, not experts in field merely contributing to knowledge) … and this is one of the articles on the bifurcation of scholarship, so is important; and there is important work on indigenous literary heritage, and a review article on several books, Indigenous and Black Intellectuals in the Lettered City. But the paper version of this journal is staying here, and now that I am a serious scholar again I should be posting all of these notes in Evernote and Zotero, not here; yet somehow I think the most clearly here.

The Anderson piece causes in me Vallejo lucidity, however. As I have always said, Vallejo is hard to read because there is no transcendental subject to guide us and no plot in a traditional sense, nor are the apparent themes really the themes — although there are recurring words and techniques, work on or against grammar and vocabulary. Ortega says, as I said at one time and many have suggested, that he is “undoing” the transcendental subject and also representation, forging a new language so as to forge a new subject.

But avant-garde “dehumanization,” as Anderson points out, did not directly foment ethical self-awareness or engagement with others, and this is what Vallejo does work on (from early on, one might add, not just in España which may be not be his most magisterial work but his most facile).


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Rosemond Tuve

There is an article we should all read and discuss, as it is about the present. It is part of a symposium on the teaching of literature, where other luminaries presented as well.

Tuve, Rosemond. “More Battle than Books.” Sewanee Review 55:4 (Oct.-Dec. 1947): 571-585.

Stable URL:

This post is for all, but is especially for Dame Eleanor Hull.



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Thomas Brudholm

Most current talk of forgiveness and reconciliation in the aftermath of collective violence proceeds from an assumption that forgiveness is always superior to resentment and refusal to forgive. Victims who demonstrate a willingness to forgive are often celebrated as virtuous moral models, while those who refuse to forgive are frequently seen as suffering from a pathology. Resentment is viewed as a negative state, held by victims who are not “ready” or “capable” of forgiving and healing.

Resentment’s Virtue offers a new, more nuanced view. Building on the writings of Holocaust survivor Jean Améry and the work of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Thomas Brudholm argues that the preservation of resentment can be the reflex of a moral protest that might be as permissible, humane or honorable as the willingness to forgive. Taking into account the experiences of victims, the findings of truth commissions, and studies of mass atrocities, Brudholm seeks to enrich the philosophical understanding of resentment.

Le livre.


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Una escritura revolucionaria 1

An ancient article, that we will start reading again from our current perspective. The “boom” is a term borrowed from industry, as the author points out.

Desde hace unos diez años los desafíos de las letras hispanoamericanas han pasado al primer piano de la consideración critica. Una literatura semi-colonial — marginalizada por el subdesarrollo de un continente aan en manos de capitales extranjeros — se ha convertido en menos de una década en una
de las literaturas centrales de esta época. Este fenómeno de expansión . . . se ha concentrado naturalmente en la novela: género mas accesible aunque, por la manera experimental como lo trabajan los hispanoamericanos,
no tan popular como parece. . . .


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