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Fantastic Literature   Tags: mexico, mythology  

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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What is Spanish Fantastic Literature?

Prior to the 1970s, Spanish Americans understood the fantastic via three overlapping frames of reference: the Antología de literatura fantástica (in its original form and later in its 1965 revision); the production and consumption of fantastic texts by Spanish American writers and readers throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s; and the critical work of European scholars and critics during those same years. Defining concepts from these sources, which are still valid and shape our vision of the fantastic today, can be summarized as follows: (1) the fantastic introduces some element into the text that strikes us as potentially supernatural, impossible, or inexplicable according to logic and reason; (2) some kind of balance between the supernatural/ natural, impossible/ possible, or explicable/ inexplicable must be maintained in the text, so that one does not eliminate the other; (3) in its modern form the fantastic differs from gothic and traditional horror fiction in that it depends less on otherworldly creatures (vampires, werewolves, ghosts) and more on man’s inability to understand the world he lives in; (4) readers play a role in the fantastic, in that it requires us to suspend disbelief temporarily and let ourselves be manipulated by textual strategies that may surprise or confound us; (5) the fantastic is not defined by theme or content alone, but rather by narrative techniques and stylistic devices that influence the way we read the text; (6) although the fantastic appears to set up a dichotomy between the real and the unreal, we should not confuse extratextual objective reality with the mimetic representation of reality in a literary text, and we should not assume that our perception of reality is a monolithic construct that spans all times and cultures; (7) ambiguity is one of the defining characteristics of the genre, which makes it difficult for scholars to agree on its meaning, its origins, or its relationship to other kinds of fiction writing; (8) the fantastic often strikes us as highly subversive literature because it threatens to undermine the solidity of the laws that govern our understanding of relations between matter, time, and space; (9) it is not frivolous, escapist literature, but rather one that can be used to examine important philosophical, ideological, and social constructs; (10) the fantastic has taken on a life of its own in twentiethcentury Spanish America, and writers have contributed in important ways to the development of the genre, although they were largely ignored by their European contemporaries during this time. 

For more follow this link the longer essay:


Books on Chaac Mool from the MA Library

Many books in the MA Library have references to Chaac Mool, as well as to Chac, the rain god of the Mayans.  To understand the archaeological context for these entities, read about Toltecs, the city of Tula, the Court of the Warriors at Chichen Itza and the mythology of the rain god.

Recommend a useful site below!


A little on Carlos Fuentes

Born in Panama City on 11 November 1928, under the astrological sign of Scorpio, as he is fond of mentioning, Carlos Fuentes, one of Mexico's premier novelists, is the son of Rafael Fuentes Boettiger, a career diplomat and at the time attaché to the Mexican legation in Panama, and the former Berta Macías Rivas. The young Fuentes spent much of his childhood in the capital cities of Latin America, including Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro, where his father was secretary to the Mexican ambassador to Brazil--the distinguished poet and essayist Alfonso Reyes, who later became Fuentes's literary mentor. From 1934 to 1940 Fuentes attended the Henry D. Cooke public school in Washington, D.C., where his father was counselor to the Mexican Embassy, and where his sister Berta was born. In contrast with this international experience, a decisive occurrence, which led to his recognizing himself as Mexican, was the appearance of headlines in the Washington newspapers declaring the nationalization and expropriation of the oil wells in Mexico by President Lázaro Cárdenas. Fuentes says that, although up to that time he had been very popular with his North American classmates, he suddenly found himself snubbed and then shunned. For the first time he became aware of the ambivalent relationship, at times cordial and at other periods antagonistic, between the United States and Mexico, a theme he would later develop in several of his works, culminating in Gringo viejo (1985; translated as The Old Gringo, also 1985), his novel of border crossings and cultural shock, which depicts the experiences of two North Americans in the turbulent Mexico of the 1910 revolution and which rapidly became a best-seller in the United States. Fuentes possesses a cosmopolitan nature and has been friends with leading North American writers, such as Arthur Miller, to whom Fuentes's 1970 drama Todos los gatos son pardos (All the Cats Are Gray) is dedicated; Norman Mailer; and William Styron, to whose father Gringo viejo is dedicated.

To read the rest, see the source citation below: 

Gyurko, Lanin A. "Carlos Fuentes." Modern Latin-American Fiction WritersFirst Series. Ed. William Luis. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 113. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.

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