Novels of Testimony and Resistance from Central America

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University Press of Florida, 1997 - Literary Criticism - 237 pages
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"An important contribution to the study of Central American testimonial fiction . . . in relation to Latin American, 'Third World,' and even broader currents, including such specific concerns as postmodernity, postcolonialism, and feminism."--Marc Zimmerman, University of Illinois at Chicago

"Represents the first systematic effort to analyze individual writers from Central America and place them within the testimonial vein. . . . A cogent account of literary developments in this understudied area."--Elzbieta Sklodowska, Washington University, St. Louis

In Novels of Testimony and Resistance, Linda Craft defines and describes the testimonial novel, traces its recent history in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, and examines the historical and political context that has given rise to this hybrid literary form. Focusing on some of the most compelling recent examples of this literature of resistance, she considers the ways in which mediated "eyewitness testimonies" can be contaminated by even a sympathetic collaborator and explores the tensions between writing history and writing an artistic elaboration of an event.

Craft's is the first systematic attempt to analyze specific Central American novelists in the testimonial genre. She examines most closely the work of Claribel Alegr a, Manlio Argueta, Arturo Arias, and Gioconda Belli, novelists from countries that have experienced great turmoil in recent decades and whose novels are positioned at the margins, where they offer a voice for the voiceless--peasants, political prisoners, guerrilla fighters, women and children, indigenous peoples, and others who have been discredited, disenfranchised, or dispossessed.

With political turmoil subsiding in Central America, Craft's study is particularly timely, given its attempt to take stock of recent developments in this literature and to argue for its inclusion in an enlarged, multicultural literary canon.

Linda J. Craft teaches Spanish and Latin American literature at Northwestern University.

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