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Colonial Tropes and Postcolonial TricksRewriting the Tropics in the novela de la selva$
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Lesley Wylie

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781846311956

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315220

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Salvaging the Savage

Salvaging the Savage

Chapter:
(p.68) Chapter Three Salvaging the Savage
Source:
Colonial Tropes and Postcolonial Tricks
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846315220.004

This chapter shows that authors of the novela de la selva are interested not only in overturning imperial topoi of the ‘Indian’ but also in establishing new descriptive paradigms for Native American culture. They try to achieve this by including Amerindian myths and words in their novels and by shifting the narrative perspective from the urban travellers to the Amerindians themselves. Nevertheless, the representation of Amerindian culture in the novela de la selva is not attempting to be — and should not be idealized as — an instance of self-description on the part of indigenous people. Although the proliferation of costumbrista literature in post-independence Latin America might be seen as an ‘autochthonous’ genre, the urban Creole elite's portrayal of jungle tribes is quite the opposite and is often no more successful than European descriptions of Amerindians.

Keywords:   novela de la selva, Native American culture, Amerindian myths, jungle tribes

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