Latin American literature is the literature of Latin America nations that are characterized by common historical path (after the invasion of European colonization and the release of most of them after the overthrow of colonialism in the 19th century) and common features of social life. Most Latin American countries have common language – Spanish, and are influenced by Spanish cultural heritage. In addition there is present the Portuguese influence (as in Brazil), and French (as in Haiti), which affected the language also. The complexity of former cultural processes in Latin America is the difficulty of self-identification of separate nations, and the whole region.
The Euro-Christian tradition, brought by the conquerors came into contact with the autochthonous culture in Latin America. Thus, a huge gap between the book literature, brought from Spain, and folk art happened. It got popularity in the second half of the 20th century, mostly because of the international success of the style that is known as magical realism.
So, the literature of Latin America that is mostly in Spanish and Portuguese was formed in the interaction of two different rich cultural traditions – the European and Native American. Literature of Native Americans in some cases continued to develop after the Spanish conquest. The pre-Columbian culture was mostly oral, but among the existing works of pre-Columbian literature, the most of them were written by monks-missionaries. So, until now the main source for the study of Aztec literature remains the work of Fry B.de Sahagun History of the things of New Spain, created between 1570 and 1580. There were also preserved the masterpieces of the Maya literature, written right after the conquest: a collection of historical legends and cosmogony myths of Popol Vuh and the prophetic books of Chilam-Balam. Thanks to the collecting activities of monks, we have extant examples of pre-Columbian Peruvian poetry existed in oral tradition. The primary collection of Latin American literature in Spanish is diaries, chronicles and correlation of conquerors. Christopher Columbus expressed his impressions about newly discovered land in the Diary of first voyage (1492-1493) and three letters of communique addressed to the Spanish royal couple (Bethell 1998).
Every time the Europeans encountered the New World, conquistadors and explorers reflected all events in written accounts and cronicas. For example, the discovery and conquest of the Aztec empire in Mexico is reflected in the five letters of communique E. Cortes (1485-1547), sent to the Emperor Charles V between 1519 and 1526. Soldiers from the detachment of Cortez, B. Diaz del Castillo, described those events in the True Story of the conquest of New Spain (1563), one of the most remarkable books of the conquest era. In the process of exploration of the New World, the conquistadors revived and alter the old European myths and legends, fused with Native American legends (“fountain of youth”, “Seven Cities of characters,” “Eldorado”, etc.).
Persistent search for these mythical places determined the entire course of the conquest, and to some extent, the early colonization of the territories. A number of literary monuments of conquest presented detailed evidence of the members of such expeditions.
During the colonial period, literature and written culture of the region was often in the hands of church.
During the colonial period of Latin American literature has been focused on the literary fashion of the metropolis. Aesthetics of the Spanish Golden Age, particularly the baroque, quickly penetrated into the intellectual circles of Mexico and Peru. One of the best works of Latin prose of the 17th century is Chronicle of Colombian H. Rodriguez Frehley El Carnero (1635). If the prose of the 17th century could not reach the level of full-fledged artistic writing, stopping midway between chronicle and romance, the poetry of this period achieved a high degree of development (Hart 2007).
There was the War of Independence in 1810-1825 in Latin America. In this era, the most popular was poetry. A vivid example of the use klassitsistic tradition is the heroic ode Song Bolivar, or victory at Junin Ecuadorians JJ Olmedo. Spiritual and literary leader of the independence movement was A. Bello (1781-1865) who sought in his poetry to reflect a Latin American perspective in the tradition of neoclassicism.
In the Brazilian poetry of the 18th century, the Enlightenment philosophy was combined with the stylistic innovations. The greatest representatives of it were TA Gonzaga, M.I.da Silva Alvarenga and I.Zh.da Alvarenga Peixoto. In the first half of 19th century the European Romanticism was predominant in Latin American literature. The cult of individual freedom, rejection of the Spanish tradition, and renewed interest in American subjects were closely associated with increasing awareness of developing nations. The conflict between European civilization values and reality recently shaken off the colonial yoke of American countries was consolidated in the opposition “barbarism – Civilization.” The most acute and deep this conflict was reflected in the Argentine historical prose, in the famous book by DF Sarmiento (1811-1888) Civilization and Barbarism.
So, almost the whole 19th century was a period of “foundational fictions”, novels in the Romantic or Naturalist traditions that tried to create a sense of national identity, and that often focused on the indigenous issues or the dichotomy of “civilization or barbarism”. The most famous representatives of that period were the works Argentine Domingo Sarmiento’s Facundo (1845), the Colombian Jorge Isaacs’s María, Ecuadorian Juan León Mera’s Cumandá (1879), or the Brazilian Euclides da Cunha’s Os Sertões (1902). There great works are still the bedrocks of national canons, and are the mandatory elements of high school curricula.
In the last decade of the 19th century was the time of creation of innovative literary trend – modernism. Formed under the influence of the French Symbolists and Parnassians, Hispanic modernism gravitated toward exotic imagery and proclaimed the cult of beauty. The beginning of this movement is associated with the publication of the poetry collection Blue (1888), written by Nicaraguan poet P. Dario (1867-1916). The best example of modernist prose is a novel Glory of Don Ramiro (1908) Argentine E. Laretty (1875-1961). In the Brazilian literature the new romantic self-consciousness found supreme expression in the poetry of A. Gonçalves Dias. The greatest representative of the realistic novel of the second half of the 19th century was J. Mashshadu de Assis.
Brazilian modernism appeared in early 1920s while combination of national socio-cultural concepts and avant-garde theories. The founders and spiritual leaders of that movement were M.di Andrade and O.di Andrade.
The Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) the first of the Latin American writers won the Nobel Prize (1945). However, against the background of Latin American poetry in the first half of the 20th century, her lyrics with a simple theme and the form were perceived more as an exception (Ocasio 2004).
Since 1909, when L. Lugones published a collection of sentimental Lunar, the development of Latin American poetry has gone a completely different way. In accordance to the fundamental principle of the avant-garde, the art was seen as the creation of a new reality and was opposed to mimetic reflection of reality. That idea was the base of kreasonizm – the trend, created by Chilean Uydobro VI (1893-1948) after his return from Paris. The most famous Chilean poet was P. Neruda, the Nobel laureate (1971). In the philosophical lyrics, built on free association, were synthesized the poetics and surrealism, Indian mythology and Eastern religions.
The most significant representatives of the Brazilian post-modernism were K.D.di Andrade, M. Mendes, Cecilia Meireles, Zh.di Lima, A.Fr.Shmidt and V.di Moraes. In the second half of the 20th century the Latin America got an extensive development of socially-conscious poetry. Its leader was Nicaraguan E. Cardenal.
Regional novel that was developing in the first third of the 20th century was focused on the image of local conditions – the nature, Gaucho, landowners, provincial-scale policy, etc., or it re-created events of national history. The main representatives of this trend were Uruguayan O. Quiroga and Colombian H. E. Rivera, who described the brutal world of the jungle; the Argentinean R. Guiraldes, continuing the traditions of gauchistic literature. Along with regionalism in the first half of the 19th century there was developed the indihenizm – a literary movement, designed to reflect the current state of Native American culture and especially its interaction with the world of white people. The most representative figures of Hispanic indihenizm were Ecuadorian H. Icaza, Peruvians C. Alegria and JM Arguedas.
In the second half of the 20th century the Latin American literature had an incredible wealth and diversity of artistic prose. The most interesting work of Brazilian literature in the genre of documentary prose is a book Sertany (1902), written by journalist E.da Cunha. Contemporary fiction of Brazil is represented by J. Amado, E. Verisimu, J. Rose (Olmos 1997).
So, Latin American literature is the literature of Latin America countries, forming a single linguistic-cultural region. It was formed in the 16th century, when the language of conquerors was spread during the colonization of the continent (in most countries it was Spanish, in Brazil – Portuguese, and in Haiti – French). Gradually the culture of the colonialists came into interaction with the culture of the indigenous Indian population, and in some countries with the culture of black people (mythology and folklore of slaves brought from Africa). Their synthesis was also continued after the reset of the colonial yoke and formation of independent republics of Latin America. From that time (for most countries since the early of the 19th century) the formation of independent literatures in each country began, which led to the appearance of their national identity. Latin American Literature has bright representatives who bring it international success.
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