Defining the Spanish American National Epic and Other Occidentalist Resistances

Nadia R. Altschul

in Geographies of Philological Knowledge

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780226016214
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226016191 | DOI:
Defining the Spanish American National Epic and Other Occidentalist Resistances

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After the critical turn to Occidentalism, it became more problematic to examine cultural resistance of criollo subjects vis-à-vis the European metropolis, although the Spanish American wars of independence were a form of political resistance by the settler creoles. This chapter argues that Bello's understanding of the Spanish medieval epic is associated with criollo anxieties and needs regarding the foundation of a viable American identity according to nineteenth-century epic parameters. It discusses specific instances of Occidentalist resistances observed in a group of Bello's scholarly and literary engagements that can be connected through epic nationalism, such as the Poem of the Cid, La Araucana, and his “American Silvas.” The chapter likewise argues that all of Bello's myriad nineteenth-century works should be studied according to the same nineteenth-century temporality instead of classified and interpreted according to the temporality of the text's origin (medieval Cid, colonial Araucana, contemporary “Silvas”).

Keywords: Occidentalism; criollo; epic foundations; epic nationalism; Western geographies; Iberian empire

Chapter.  17155 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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