The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City

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Harvard University Press, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 341 pages

The cultural Cold War in Latin America was waged as a war of values--artistic freedom versus communitarianism, Western values versus national cultures, the autonomy of art versus a commitment to liberation struggles--and at a time when the prestige of literature had never been higher. The projects of the historic avant-garde were revitalized by an anti-capitalist ethos and envisaged as the opposite of the republican state. The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City charts the conflicting universals of this period, the clash between avant-garde and political vanguard. This was also a twilight of literature at the threshold of the great cultural revolution of the seventies and eighties, a revolution to which the Cold War indirectly contributed. In the eighties, civil war and military rule, together with the rapid development of mass culture and communication empires, changed the political and cultural map.

A long-awaited work by an eminent Latin Americanist widely read throughout the world, this book will prove indispensable to anyone hoping to understand Latin American literature and society. Jean Franco guides the reader across minefields of cultural debate and histories of highly polarized struggle. Focusing on literary texts by García Marquez, Vargas Llosa, Roa Bastos, and Juan Carlos Onetti, conducting us through this contested history with the authority of an eyewitness, Franco gives us an engaging overview as involving as it is moving.

 

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The decline and fall of the lettered city: Latin America in the Cold War

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Books that are so well crafted and so original that they make a difference in the evolution of a discipline do not come out often. This book by Franco, longtime literary and cultural observer of Latin ... Read full review

The decline and fall of the lettered city: Latin America in the Cold War

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Books that are so well crafted and so original that they make a difference in the evolution of a discipline do not come out often. This book by Franco, longtime literary and cultural observer of Latin ... Read full review

Contents

Killing Them Softly The Cold War and Culture
21
Communist Manifestos
57
Liberated Territories
86
Peripheral Fantasies
119
Antistates
121
The Black Angel of Lost Time
138
The Magic of Alterity
159
A Cultural Revolution
177
The Seduction of Margins
201
Bodies in Distress Narratives of Globalization
220
Obstinate Memory Tainted History
234
Inside the Empire
260
Notes
279
Acknowledgments
325
Index
327
Copyright

Cultural Revolutions Trouble in the City
179

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About the author (2002)

Jean Franco is Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Emeritus, at Columbia University.

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