The Inverted Conquest: The Myth of Modernity and the by Alejandro Mejias-Lopez

By Alejandro Mejias-Lopez

Modernismo (1880s-1920s) is taken into account some of the most groundbreaking literary pursuits in Hispanic historical past, because it reworked literature in Spanish to an quantity now not noticeable because the Renaissance. As Alejandro Mejias-Lopez demonstrates, despite the fact that, modernismo used to be additionally groundbreaking in one other, extra radical approach: it used to be the 1st time a postcolonial literature took over the literary box of the previous eu city. increasing Bourdieu's thoughts of cultural box and symbolic capital past nationwide barriers, The Inverted Conquest indicates how modernismo originated in Latin the USA and traveled to Spain, the place it provoked an entire protection of Spanish letters and contributed to a countrywide identification trouble. within the approach, defined by way of Latin American writers as a reversal of colonial family, modernismo wrested literary and cultural authority clear of Spain, relocating the cultural heart of the Hispanic international to the Americas. Mejias-Lopez extra finds how Spanish American modernistas faced the racial supremacist claims and homogenizing strength of an Anglo-American modernity that outlined the Hispanic as un-modern. developing a brand new Hispanic family tree, modernistas wrote Spain because the birthplace of modernity and themselves because the actual bearers of the trendy spirit, moved by means of the pursuit of data, cosmopolitanism, and cultural miscegenation, instead of know-how, intake, and medical theories of racial purity.Bound by way of the intrinsic limits of neocolonial and postcolonial theories, scholarship has been unwilling or not able to discover modernismo's profound implications for our figuring out of Western modernities.

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Extra info for The Inverted Conquest: The Myth of Modernity and the Transatlantic Onset of Modernism

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Thus, in Spain “the rhetorical dialectics that I describe . . were also set into motion; that is, even in those texts that would seem to argue for the unbridled adoption of the program of modernity, there was simultaneously the expression of a desire to distance oneself from the modern, an affirmation of the incommensurableness of the local by the . . instruments of modernity” (Burden 185). 11 Jesús Torrecilla in La imitación colectiva (Collective Imitation) had discussed the existence of a similar tension to the one identified by Alonso for Spanish America in nineteenth-century Spanish literary discourse: “Los autores españoles conscientes de pertenecer a una sociedad atrasada experimentan una tensión irresoluble entre su deseo de ser originales en un sentido temporal (escribir algo nuevo o moderno) y su necesidad de ser originales en un sentido espacial (escribir algo auténticamente español)” (226).

Ireland remained a colony of Britain until the twentieth century, and Norway was first part of Denmark and then of Sweden after a failed attempt at independence. In the South, Greece followed a troublesome constitutional path after fighting for its independence from the Ottoman Empire. 20 Finally, most of central Europe was subsumed under the Austro-Hungarian empire, where, “inhabited by different races—German, Czechs, Poles, Ukrainians, Slovenes, Croats, Italians, and others—and with widely differing levels of economic development, it was the emperor and the imperial army and administration which alone gave it a sort of unity” ( Joll 9).

Spanish American neocolonial difference thus is made possible only by affirming European imperial sameness. Instead, I propose foregrounding both Europe’s own heterogeneity and modernity’s inherent strangeness to itself. This allows us to look at the nineteenth-century Atlantic as a complex space of shifting power and cultural relations that redrew the dividing lines between North and South, East and West, and that, in the process, redefined the concept of modernity. From Edmundo O’Gorman’s seminal La invención de América (1958) to the critical insights of poststructural and postcolonial theory to the liberation and decolonization projects of Enrique Dussel, Aníbal Quijano, and Walter Mignolo, we have learned that Europe needed to define its other in order to define itself.

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