The Anthropological Imagination in Latin American Literature by Amy Fass Emery

By Amy Fass Emery

During this exam of the move among anthropology and literature in modern Latin the United States, Amy Fass Emery reviews how Latin American writers' stories and experiences within the box of anthropology have formed their representations of cultural Others in fiction. She ways her topic first in huge phrases after which in shut textual readings of vital writers akin to Alejo Carpentier, Jos? Mar?a Arguedas, and Miguel Barnet. Emery develops the concept that of an "anthropological imagination"--that is, the conjunction of anthropology and literature in twentieth-century Latin American literary texts. whereas exploring the makes use of of anthropology in modern narrative and fiction, Emery additionally provides attention to documentary and testimonial writings. the most important concentration of this attractive paintings is the research of the unconventional. examining fictions by means of authors from Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru, Emery covers a large countryside, in addition to a various crew of issues. topics similar to surrealist primitivism, the testimonio, the transcultural novel, and the relation of the anthropological mind's eye to the vexed query of postmodernism within the Latin American context are all given insightful deliberation. because the first prolonged research of interrelations among anthropology and literature in Latin the US, Emery's paintings will end up valuable to a large spectrum of Latin Americanists and to these with comparative pursuits in anthropology, twentieth-century literature, and postmodernism.

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19 Renato Rosaldo has also cautioned that the celebration of heterogeneity and emergence is not the whole story: "the vision of the vanishing primitive has proven sometimes false and sometimes true.  . " At the same time that Arguedas was expressing optimism about an emerging mestizo identity, he was involved in the project of "salvage ethnography," collecting the folklore of Indian groups "before it was too late," and bitterly denouncing the indifference of the Peruvian government to the salvage of a "disappearing" indigenous patrimony.

This conflict between the desire to objectify and control the Other through the mastery of science and the desire to fuse with the Other is also evident in Barnet, whose Biography of a Runaway Slave I discuss in chapter 4. Both Arguedas and Barnet reveal in their works a fundamental ambivalence toward the will to power inscribed in ethnographic discourse. In chapter 5, I discuss how Ribeiro rejects the functionalist monograph's pretension to arrive at 42. González Echevarría, Myth and Archive, 13, 145.

The study of native cultures in the sixteenth century was inspired by the needs of colonizationknowledge of the Other was required to enslave and deculturizeas well as by missionary zeal and a certain fascination with the Other's irreducible difference. 3 The relative tolerance expressed by Léry and echoed in Montaigne did not characterize Enlightenment thinkers who, seeking to impose universal, totalizing strictures on local knowledge, called for the eradication of the superstitious, unenlightened practices of ignorant natives.

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