Latin American Literature

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Latin American Literature * Pre-Columbian cultures were primarily oral, though the Aztecs and Mayans produced written codices. * Oral accounts of mythological and religious beliefs were recorded after the arrival of European colonizers, like Christopher Columbus. * During the colonial period, written culture was often in the hands of the church, producing poetry and philosophical essays. * The 19th century was a period of “foundational fictions”; novels in the Romantic or Naturalist traditions attempted to establish a sense of national identity. * At the turn of the 20th century, modernism emerged, which is the first truly Latin American literature to influence culture outside of the region. * The Latin American Boom (Boom Latino-Americano) of the 1960s put the continent’s literature on the global map; Spanish novels were quickly translated into English and circulated throughout Europe and the world. * Contemporary literature in the region became vibrant and varied, from the best-selling authors Paulo Coelho and Isabel Allende to the genre of testimonio—first person accounts of human rights abuses, violence and war, and living under conditions of social oppression. * Industrialization/economic progress of Latin American is hampered by both internal and external factors. External factors are those powerful First World countries, such as Britain and the United States, whose leaders see the region as a source of cheap raw materials and labor. It is not in their interests to see the rise of stable/independent states in South America. Internal factors include ineffective/corrupt military governments and a small but powerful upper class of wealth landowners who block economic and social reforms—often dependent on American or British support to hold onto power. The result is a reliance on the export of a few key raw materials/agricultural…...

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