Troubled Memories: Iconic Mexican Women and the Traps of Representation

SUNY Press
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 Analyzes literary and cultural representations of iconic Mexican women to explore how these reimaginings can undermine or perpetuate gender norms in contemporary Mexico.
In Troubled Memories, Oswaldo Estrada traces the literary and cultural representations of several iconic Mexican women produced in the midst of neoliberalism, gender debates, and the widespread commodification of cultural memory. He examines recent fictionalizations of Malinche, Hernán Cortés’s indigenous translator during the Conquest of Mexico; Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the famous Baroque intellectual of New Spain; Leona Vicario, a supporter of the Mexican War of Independence; the soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution; and Frida Kahlo, the tormented painter of the twentieth century. Long associated with gendered archetypes and symbols, these women have achieved mythical status in Mexican culture and continue to play a complex role in Mexican literature. Focusing on contemporary novels, plays, and chronicles in connection to films, television series, and corridos of the Mexican Revolution, Estrada interrogates how and why authors repeatedly recreate the lives of these historical women from contemporary perspectives, often generating hybrid narratives that fuse history, memory, and fiction. In so doing, he reveals the innovative and sometimes troublesome ways in which authors can challenge or perpetuate gendered conventions of writing women’s lives.

“A leading scholar on gender and literature, Oswaldo Estrada delivers a thorough, rigorous, and exciting account on the persistence of female icons in contemporary culture. Steeped in his deep knowledge of Mexico’s cultural history, Estrada’s book is a key contribution to questions of gender, iconicity, and the interrelations between popular and literary culture—a must read for scholars and students.” — Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado, author of Strategic Occidentalism: On Mexican Fiction, the Neoliberal Book Market, and the Question of World Literature

“By studying the way some of the most prominent female Mexican icons of all time have been reimagined in contemporary fiction and transformed into objects of consumerism, symbols of national identity, and memories of the past, this book fills a dire need in the Mexican studies field. The scholarship is exemplary, the style is impeccable, and reading the author is a pleasure.” — Patricia Saldarriaga, Middlebury College
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About the author

 Oswaldo Estrada is Professor of Latin American Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of Ser mujer y estar presente: Disidencias de género en la literatura mexicana contemporáneaand La imaginación novelesca: Bernal Díaz entre géneros y épocas.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Oct 1, 2018
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Pages
262
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ISBN
9781438471914
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / Spanish & Portuguese
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The rewritings of the Mexican colonia discussed in this book question a present reality of marginalities and inequality, of imposed political domination, and of hybrid subjectivities. In their examination of the novels, films, poetry, and chronicles produced in and outside of Mexico since 2000, the critics included in Colonial Itineraries of Contemporary Mexico produce new interpretations, alternative readings, and different angles of analysis that extend far beyond the theories of the new historical novel of the eighties and nineties, and well beyond the limits of the novel as re-creative genre.

Through a transformative interdisciplinary lens, this book studies the ultra-contemporary chronicles of Carlos Monsiváis, the poetry of Carmen Boullosa and Luis Felipe Fabre, and the novels of Enrique Serna, Héctor de Mauleón, Mónica Lavín, and Pablo Soler Frost, among others. The book also pays close attention to a good sample of recent children’s literature that revisit Mexico’s colonia. It includes the transatlantic perspective of Spanish novelist Inma Chacón, and a detailed analysis of the strategies employed by Laura Esquivel in the creation of a best seller. Other chapters are devoted to the study of transnational film productions, a play by Flavio González Mello, and a set of novels set in the nineteenth-century colonia that problematize static notions of both personal and national identity within specific cultural palimpsests. Taken together, these incisive readings open broader conversations about Mexican coloniality as it continues well into the twenty-first century.
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