The decline and fall of the lettered city : Latin America in the Cold War / Jean Franco.

By: Franco, JeanMaterial type: TextTextSeries: Convergences (Cambridge, Mass.): Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2002Description: viii, 341 p. ; 25 cmISBN: 0674007522 (cloth); 9780674007529 (cloth); 0674008421 (paper); 9780674008427 (paper)Subject(s): Latin American literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism | Literature and society -- Latin America | Latin America -- Civilization -- 1948-Additional physical formats: Online version:: Decline and fall of the lettered city.DDC classification: 860.9/98/09045 LOC classification: PQ7081 | .F637 2002Other classification: 18.33
Contents:
Introduction -- I : Conflicting universals -- Killing them softly : the Cold War and culture ; Communist manifestos ; Liberated territories -- II : Peripheral fantasies -- Antistates ; Black angel of lost time ; Magic of alterity -- III : Cultural revolution -- Cultural revolutions : trouble in the city ; Seduction of margins ; Bodies in distress : narratives of globalization ; Obstinate memory : tainted history ; Inside the empire.
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Includes bibliographical references and index.

Introduction -- I : Conflicting universals -- Killing them softly : the Cold War and culture ; Communist manifestos ; Liberated territories -- II : Peripheral fantasies -- Antistates ; Black angel of lost time ; Magic of alterity -- III : Cultural revolution -- Cultural revolutions : trouble in the city ; Seduction of margins ; Bodies in distress : narratives of globalization ; Obstinate memory : tainted history ; Inside the empire.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

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 America and professor emerita of Columbia University, is one such work. Here, Franco argues that literature in Latin America changed during the Cold War as it became part of the political environment; writers used their works to influence the conflict between Socialist realism and U.S. concepts of autonomy and freedom. In addition, writers often wrote to protect national and ethnic cultures and to support liberation struggles. Franco argues that the result was a devaluation of literature in Latin America just as the international community began to recognize its writing a case she makes splendidly with a careful reading of the texts. This book provides a unique understanding of both the literature and the politics of this important period in Latin American history. Long anticipated by scholars, it should be a part of all Latin American academic collections. Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ., Pleasant Grove, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

In this impressive study, Franco (emer., Columbia Univ.) tracks the collapse of the belief in utopia among Latin American writers from the Cold War to neoliberalism. He describes how elite intellectuals--the "lettered city" of Angel Rama's famous Ciudad letrada (1984)--began ceding cultural authority to economists, development professionals, and media experts in the 1970s. She demonstrates how writers lost control of the narrative of modernization in the 1970s and 1980s during anticommunist military dictatorships in the Southern Cone and Central American civil wars. Franco maintains that the neoliberalism of the 1980s and 1990s facilitated the official amnesia of postdictatorship regimes and subordinated governments to the global market. In the new world of transnational capital, mass communications, and consumerism, the older issues of identity, liberation, and national construction seemed irrelevant; the exclusion of women, Indians, and other groups, unacceptable; the omission of the vast array of urban subcultures, impossible. With what mixture of forms, images, and languages can intellectuals hold up a critical mirror to their disparate cultures? How can they avoid being crushed or commodified by the market? Franco raises crucial questions in her fascinating exploration of the decline and vestiges of the lettered city. Essential reading for Latin Americanists and anyone interested in modern intellectual life. All levels. D. L. Heyck Loyola University Chicago

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Jean Franco is Professor Emerita at Columbia University

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