Postcolonial Approaches to Latin American Children’s Literature: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Postcolonial Approaches to Latin American Children’s Literature

1st Edition

By Ann González


192 pages

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Hardback: 9781138124738
pub: 2018-02-09
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In this volume González explores how the effects of a traumatic colonial experience are (re)presented to Latin American children today, almost two centuries after the dismantling of colonialism proper. Central to this study is the argument that the historical constraints of colonialism, neocolonialism, and postcolonialism have generated certain repeating themes and literary strategies in children’s literature throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas. From the outset of Spanish domination, fundamental tensions emerged between the colonizers and native groups that still exist to this day. Rather than a felicitous mixing of these two opposing groups, the mestizo is caught between contrasting worldviews, contending explanations of reality, and different values, beliefs, and epistemologies (that is, different ways of seeing and knowing). Postcolonial subjects experience these contending cultural beliefs and practices as a double bind, a no-win situation, in which they feel pressured by mutually exclusive expectations and imperatives. Latin American mestizos, therefore, are inevitably conflicted. Despite the vastness of the geography in question and the innumerable variations in regional histories, oral traditions, and natural settings, these contradictory demands create a pervasive dynamic that penetrates the very fabric of society, showing up intentionally or not in the stories passed from generation to generation as well as in new stories written or adapted for Spanish-speaking children. The goal of this study, therefore, is to examine a variety of children’s texts from the region to determine how national and hemispheric perceptions of reality, identity, and values are passed to the next generation. This book will appeal to scholars in the fields of Latin American literary and cultural studies, children’s literature, postcolonial studies, and comparative literature.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part I. The Problem of the Double Bind 1. Vallejo’s Paco Yunque and the Logic of Coloniality 2. The History of the Popol Vuh for Children: From Appropriation to Reinscription of the Mayan World View Part II. Resistance Strategies 3. Rebellion and The Right to Play 4. Covert Resistance 5. Syncretism 6. Hybridity 7. Reinscribing the Past: Chang Marín and the History of Panamá Part III. Ambivalence 8. To Remember or Forget: Claribel Alegría 9. To Obey or Resist: Horacio Quiroga Conclusion: Escaping the Double Bind

About the Author


Ann B. Gonzalez

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Learn more about Ann B. Gonzalez >>

Ann B. González is Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies and Chair of the Department of Languages and Culture Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA.

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

Founding Editor and Series Editor 1994-2011: Jack Zipes

Series Editor, 2011-2018: Philip Nel


Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Caribbean & Latin American
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / Spanish & Portuguese
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature