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The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature.

The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature Ilan Stavans, ed. New York. W. W. Norton. 2011. lxxi + 2,489 pages + A1-A177. $59.95. ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number

ISBN International Standard Book Number

ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m 

This long-anticipated volume aptly represents the extraordinary scope of scholarship and aesthetics that one expects both from a Norton anthology and from the Latino literary tradition. More than 450 years of writing by some two hundred writers is organized in five principal sections: Colonization: 1537-1810, Annexations: 1811-1898, Acculturation: 1899-1945, Upheaval: 1946-1979, and Into the Mainstream: 1980-Present. In chronological order--beginning with Hispanic colonial writers (Las Casas, Cabeza de Vaca Ca·be·za de Va·ca   , Álvar Núñez 1490?-1557?.

Spanish explorer and colonial administrator who explored parts of present-day Florida, Texas, and Mexico and aroused Spain's interest in the region with his vivid stories of opportunities.
, El Inca Garcilaso, and eleven others) and ending with the most contemporary writers (such as Junot Diaz and Mariposa)--are the essential works of Latino literature in all genres. (About one-fourth of the material is translated from the original Spanish, although hybrid Spanish-English texts are unaltered.) A sixth section, Popular Dimensions, introduces some folk and popular genres. The general introduction ("The Search for Wholeness"), section and author introductions, endpaper end·pa·per also end paper  
Either of two folded sheets of heavy paper having one half pasted to the inside front or back cover of a book and the other half pasted to the base of the first or last page. Also called end leaf.
 maps showing exploration and immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important.  patterns, and three appendixes underscore issues of history, identity, and literary history that inform both Latino expression and the creation of the anthology. (The appended material is a chronology of literature and history, 1492-2010; a selection of treaties, acts, and propositions; and translations of "influential essays" by Rodo, Vasconcelos, Paz, and Fernandez Retamar.)

Here we find foundational texts and other works of Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban American, and Dominican American literature, along with a few contemporary writers from different backgrounds (Isabel Allende, Ariel Dorfman, Jaime Manrique, Francisco Goldman, Daniel Alarcon, and Felipe Alfau). Other interesting authors and selections are Arthur Schomburg, William Carlos Williams, a scholarly essay by Luis Leal, Cesar Chavez, "De colores," a narcocorrido, a merengue merengue

Couple dance from the Dominican Republic or Haiti, danced throughout Latin America. Originally a folk dance, it has become a ballroom dance, where it is danced with a limping step, the weight always on the same foot. Varieties include the jaleo and juangomero.
 song by Lin-Manuel Miranda from the Broadway musical In the Heights, and several complete texts, including Tomas Rivera's This Migrant Earth (in Rolando Hinojosa's translation), Carlos Morton's The Many Deaths of Danny Rosales, and Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics.

Several well-recognized or otherwise noteworthy topics appear as discrete categories (Frontier Memoirs, Southwestern Newspaper Poetry, the Chacon Family, the Nuyorican Poets, San Antonio Women Poets, Puerto Rican Young Lords, and Writers of Latinidad), an arrangement that leaves one wondering why other issues were not treated similarly. Also somewhat puzzling is the selection of sayings, jokes, comics, folk theater, folk tales, and songs in the Popular Dimensions section. Eleven sayings, three jokes, and one example of popular theater hardly seem representative of those genres, and the "cartoonistas" and Culture Clash might be better appreciated in their appropriate chronological contexts.

These concerns aside, The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature will be the anthology of choice for English-language readers. Bilingual readers would be well advised, though, to consult Nicolas Kanellos's Herencia: The Anthology of Hispanic Literature of the United States and En otra voz: antologia de literatura hispana de los Estados Unidos (see WLT, Oct. 2003, 156) as well. And we can continue to hope that one day we will have a single-volume anthology of this literature in the original languages, whether Spanish, English, or Spanglish.

Catharine E. Wall

Claremont McKenna College A member of the Claremont Colleges, Claremont McKenna College is a small, highly selective, private coeducational, liberal arts college enrolling about 1100 students with a curricular emphasis on government, economics, and public policy.  
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Author:Wall, Catharine E.
Publication:World Literature Today
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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