Regionalism and the Literature of the Soil, 1928–1938

Charles Montgomery

in The Spanish Redemption

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780520229716
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927377 | DOI:
Regionalism and the Literature of the Soil, 1928–1938

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This chapter explores the mismatch between folklore and modern economic imperatives by investigating the literature of Spanish heritage in the 1920s and 1930s. It also describes how southwestern writers, by treating Hispano lore as a defense against twentieth-century America, depicted the villagers as a people outside the flow of history, a people without political significance. Southwestern regionalism emerged in a social context that was decidedly unfriendly to Spanish-speaking people. Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop told the fictionalized tale of Jean-Baptiste Lamy. Harvey Fergusson's Blood of the Conquerors is best understood in light of his upbringing. Southwestern regionalists remained largely uninterested in the problems of racial and material inequality, or even in the relationship, so central to the life of the folk, between oral tradition and economic production. The utopian conclusion of Miguel encapsulates the challenges confronting southwestern regionalism.

Keywords: southwestern regionalism; Hispano lore; Willa Cather; Harvey Fergusson; oral tradition; economic production; Miguel

Chapter.  11164 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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