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234 × 156 × 22 mm
224 pages
3 illustrations
01 Aug 2006
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Transatlantic Translations Essays on Latin American Literature Julio Ortega

Conceived of as the ‘New World’, Latin America represented a new beginning for its discoverers, yet in fact the colonials were only continuing their search for what they knew all along they wanted to find: fertile land with an abundance of spices, precious metals and labour. This interpretation of America's invention has long been a preoccupation of Latin American intellectuals and historians, leading to the most dominant post-colonial interpretation of the native as a marginalized figure often unusually wise or heroic according to his circumstances.

Ortega examines the ways in which the unknown has always been placed according to what is already known, the new according to the old. Tracing Latin American representations from the early modern to contemporary periods, in Shakespeare, Cervantes, Juan Rulfo, Ricardo Palma, Gabriel García Márquez, Juan María Gutiérrez and many others, Ortega uncovers the rich fabric of literature that has emerged from that culture, arguing that the learning of language, far from being a means for the colonial to indoctrinate and civilize the natives, gave the natives the means to describe and communicate with the natural world around them, and eventually to re-tell their own history.

Transatlantic Translations refigures Latin American narratives outside of the standard post-colonial framework of victimization and resistance. This book bridges the divide between abundance and scarcity, enabling the Old World and the New to meet and speak together in a shared language.

‘This is a cogent and penetrating book, recommended reading for those in the field of Latin American Literature, especially for those who do not read Spanish and work on comparative topics.’ — Comparative Literature

‘Julio Ortegas immensely readable book is one of the first full length works translated into English from his extensive oeuvre. In it the reader will find a development of some of the themes that have interested Ortega for years, namely, the cultural clash of the conquest and the social, linguistic and artistic consequences of intercultural exchange. The book follows in the best tradition of the Latin American essay . . . an excellent introduction to the critical work of Julio Ortega for a non-Spanish speaking audience . . . an elegant contribution to the field of transatlantic studies from a Latin American perspective.'’ — Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos

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Julio Ortega is Professor of Latin American Literature at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. He is the author of many books on Latin American literature including Poetics of Change: The New Spanish-American Narrative (1986) and Gabriel García Márquez and the Powers of Fiction (1988).