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Transatlantic StudiesLatin America, Iberia, and Africa$
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Cecilia Enjuto-Rangel, Sebastiaan Faber, Pedro García-Caro, and Robert Patrick Newcomb

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620252

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620252.001.0001

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Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo: The Colonial Matrix and the Latin American Literatures

Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo: The Colonial Matrix and the Latin American Literatures

Chapter:
(p.432) Chapter Thirty-Five Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo: The Colonial Matrix and the Latin American Literatures
Source:
Transatlantic Studies
Author(s):

Enrique E. Cortez

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789620252.003.0036

This chapter examines Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo’s literary history, which describes the literatures of Latin America as an extension of Spain. Menéndez Pelayo proposed, in the Antología de poetas hispano-americanos, a narrative that was primarily aimed to recover the literary production of the colonial times. This recovery was not only limited to archival research, but also included the symbolic redistribution of the Spanish cultural capital, assigning texts to the new Latin American literatures that had previously been exclusive parts of the Spanish literature. The consequence was a broadening of Latin American literary canons to embrace the colonial tradition as a foundational moment in their cultural production. But what did Latin Americans have to gain by embracing a cultural discourse like Menéndez Pelayo’s, not without colonial anxieties? Alongside Spanish efforts to achieve cultural hegemony over the new national realities of Latin America, we also find a local quest, one that attempted to formulate a foundational discourse for the cultural production of each of the young countries. Through Hispanism the Creole elites renewed their arguments to establish their own national hegemony against the less Hispanicized sectors of the population.

Keywords:   Hispanism, National Literatures, Latin America, Colonial Archive, Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, José de la Riva-Agüero, Creole Elites, Cultural Hegemony

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