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By Rolena Adorno

In this booklet on early Latin American narrative, Rolena Adorno argues that the center of the Spanish American literary culture includes the writings within which the rights to Spanish dominion within the Americas and the remedy of its natives have been debated. She locations the works of canonical Spanish and Amerindian writers of the 16th and 17th centuries inside this greater polemic and exhibits how their works sought credibility in the narrative approach itself, instead of within the irretrievable historic occasions that lay outdoor it.


The triumph of the narrative mode over old content material is extra published in Adorno’s demonstration of ways those authors and their historic protagonists were polemically reinvented as much as the current day. Adorno strains the elaboration and endurance of colonial-era debates forged in narrative shape to reach at a brand new figuring out of the position the “polemics of ownership” performs within the heritage of Latin American literature and thought.






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Extra resources for The Polemics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative

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Whereas at the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlaltelolco in Mexico Fray Bernardino de Sahagún named and praised four of his most accomplished native collaborators, Murúa did not mention Guaman Poma’s name once. Guaman Poma subsequently broke with Murúa, and each then wrote independently his own work: Murúa’s Historia general del Perú, now housed at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (MS Ludwig XIII 16), and Guaman Poma’s El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno (Nueva corónica y buen gobierno), conserved at the Royal Library in Copenhagen (GkS 2232, 4o).

When Guaman Poma set about to write his own chronicle, he had many models from which to choose, and he employed nearly all of them. He modeled his prose at various moments on the published histories of the conquest of Peru, on the didactic, moralistic works of Christian religious devotion, and even (and especially) on the mundane documents of colonial administration. ≤∑ Like his graphic representations, his prose is variously didactic, satirical, polemical, and devout. His mastery of verbal expression came not only from an ear that was attuned to the rhetorical rhythms of the sermons to which he listened and those he read in the publications of the Third Church Council and the works of Fray Luis de Granada, but also from his appreciation of the firebrand harangues and history-dramatizedas-argument that he knew from the writings of Las Casas.

The examples provided by Guaman Poma suggest the conflictive nature of the sign ladino as used in America, where its application always implicitly carried, even at its neutral best, the notion of the outsider to full participation in Castilian society. At its worst, it painted its object as suspect or guilty of insubordination after submission. π The importance of native interpreters is evident in the range of functions they fulfilled, extending from the time of the Spanish conquests and long into the colonial period; they were guides in exploration, intermediaries in conquest negotiations, and, later, o≈cial translators in the investigations of the conduct of civil o≈cers (residencias) as well as interpreters and witnesses on tours of civil and ecclesiastical inspection (visitas), and in the courts of civil and criminal justice (audiencias).

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