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10 - Postcolonialism and postcolonial writing in Latin America

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 January 2012

Ato Quayson
University of Toronto
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This chapter explores Latin American discursive production responding to and accompanying European colonization in America. The time frame starts with pre-European Native narratives and concludes with formal political emancipation and the early foundations of the national states in the mid nineteenth century. I will focus on texts produced in Spanish and Portuguese, two of three major imperial languages of the subcontinent. The literature produced under the influence of French domination, including Haiti, will be addressed by other authors in this volume. Any survey of Latin Americamust not forget that indigenous cultures did not disappear at the moment of European arrival. They continued – and still continue – to produce culturally specific products, some of which address colonial circumstances. However, the literature produced in indigenous languages during this period constitutes an entirely different subject and can only be treated circumstantially in this chapter. Without being exhaustive, the chapter will nonetheless provide an introduction to the cultural history of the period by highlighting the significance of a number of key texts. These few texts are both representative and allow me to advance the argument that the American colonial experience inaugurates four motifs fundamental to our postcolonial present.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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