B. Traven: a vision of Mexico by Heidi Zogbaum

By Heidi Zogbaum

Writer of "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and different renowned novels approximately Mexico, B. Traven surrounded his id with mysteries designed to confound biographers. Now Heidi Zogbaum has produced a learn of this enigmatic but vital writer, linking his oeuvre with either Mexican and German politics of the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties. such a lot prior works on Traven were both literary reports or mere makes an attempt to set up his identification. prior theories, for instance, have labelled him the illegitimate son of Kaiser Wilhelm II or of Mexican President, Adolfo Lopez Mateos. Dr Zogbaum, in spite of the fact that, systematically explores for the 1st time Traven's fascination with the good political episodes of his day. The German author who might name himself B. Traven got here to Mexico in 1924, drawn like many different left-wing intellectuals by way of the country's innovative scan. within the following years he wrote novels and brief tales that in the first place glorified, then criticized, the country's monetary and political platforms. His large output brought German, British and US audiences to contemporary advancements in Mexico and to the country's rural staff, whose exploitation endured approximately unchecked less than the hot regime. The publication is prepared chronologically, taking the reader via Traven's profession from his arrival in Mexico to his ultimate writings in 1940. during her research, Dr Zogbaum presents unique discussions of all of Traven's significant novels, exhibiting how Mexican historical past encouraged him and formed his works. moreover, this learn unearths how occasions in Germany, the place Traven's basic viewers lived, affected his writing. whereas enjoyable his readers, Traven sought additionally to extra their political schooling, utilizing occasions in Mexico as beginning issues for remark on Hitler's dictatorship. ultimately, Dr Zogbaum establishes the worth of Traven's works as old resources documenting the infamous logging alternate of southern Mexico. students of contemporary German literature and proletarian fiction may still locate this quantity priceless. besides the fact that, its remedy of Traven within the context of latest politics may still make this e-book an both beneficial resource for someone drawn to innovative Mexico and the far-reaching financial difficulties the rustic nonetheless faces.

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The popularity of his works notwithstanding, when I began using Traven's March to the Montería in a course on agrarian societies and peasant movements, I was astonished at how many gaps there were in the literature dealing with its author. To be sure, there was no shortage of books and newspaper articles on the man himself. Most of them, however, were either literary 1 Some notable examples include Paco Ignacio Taibo, Bajando la Frontera (Mexico City: Ediciones LEEGA/JUCAR, 1985); and John A. Britton, Carleton Beals: A Radical Journalist in Latin America (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987).

S. intervention in the European war. " 6 Why, it asked, should workers fight for a country that was not their own? Although the organization failed to adopt an unambiguous anticonscription policy, many thousands of Wobblies and Socialists avoided the draft by leaving the country and heading south to neutral Mexico. Many came in search of work, especially in the oil industry of Tampico, where the highest wages were being paid and where there were preferential wages for white workers. Political radicals in particular flocked to Mexico because President Venustiano Carranza (1917-1920) had promised to leave them alone as long as they did not break any laws.

The popularity of his works notwithstanding, when I began using Traven's March to the Montería in a course on agrarian societies and peasant movements, I was astonished at how many gaps there were in the literature dealing with its author. To be sure, there was no shortage of books and newspaper articles on the man himself. Most of them, however, were either literary 1 Some notable examples include Paco Ignacio Taibo, Bajando la Frontera (Mexico City: Ediciones LEEGA/JUCAR, 1985); and John A. Britton, Carleton Beals: A Radical Journalist in Latin America (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987).

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