Essay on 20th Century Latin American Literature

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20th Century Latin American Literature

Global literatures in English have always played a key role in developing international understanding and appreciation for the social realities and cultural developments beyond Western lifestyles and familiarity. For anthropologists seeking to perceive the social realities of 20th century Latin America, the work of popular authors and novelists of this century is invaluable. Popular authors are the modern mouthpieces of the people and societies who read and love them, and thus, novelists can serve as reliable representatives of the social climate from which they draw material and compose their works.

Writers manipulate dominant languages of Latin America “inherited from rejected colonial
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I am grouped along with the rest of the English speaking international community, who rely on translators to appreciate the power of Latin American new novelists, and the nature of regionalist novels from the past. All of the writing from Latin America emerges from a context of “underdevelopment” economically speaking, instability governments left by colonial residue and yet a lively cultural and artistic richness that will never fade. As a foreigner studying the social constructions of Latin American literature, I am drawn into “the process of reflection about underdevelopment” that “leads” me to question “transnational integration” of literature and writing styles (Candido 1980: 276). As Candido points out, in global literature “what used to be imitation [of a style or theme] is changing more and more into reciprocal assimilation” and the process of inventing new cultural realities is a very present in our globally connected world.

During the 1960s, the movement referred to in western slang as “The Boom” brought the concept of the modern Latin American novel into international consciousness. “Before 1960, it was very uncommon to hear laymen speak of the “contemporary Spanish American novel”: there were Uruguan or Ecuadorian, Mexican or Venezuelan novels” (Donoso 1977:10).