Prof. Steven Alvarez
English 363: Experimental Hispanic Literatures
27 November 2011
Analyzing Texts: Lois Parkinson Zamora’s, Interartistic Approaches to Contemporary Latin American Literature
Latin American literature has become increasingly popular during the past centuries, with novels such as The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes to Edgardo Vega Yunqué’s The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle, and more novels have shown the public that Hispanic writers have what it takes to become known. But what happens to the writers that do not have the opportunity to be heard? Or what of those writers that become famous and have to stand being critiqued by those that cannot understand their writing? Lois Parkinson Zamora examines just that. For example, Zamora states,
In Latin America, the arts are not as separated as in Europe and the U.S., in part because visual and verbal modes of communication have played complementary roles since the earliest establishments of empire in the Spanish New World, and in part because print culture in many parts of Latin America is still radically affected by indigenous visual forms and modes of expression (Zamora, “Interartistic Approaches to Contemporary Latin American Literature”).
Zamora’s statement proposes two points, point number one being that in Latin America the “arts” are not storytelling and writing, respectively, but that they appear to be solely based on storytelling, which is Zamora’s second point: Latin American will not be as distinct in creating the art of literature as the U.S and Europe until Latin America produces written texts instead of just verbalizing narratives.
Zamora also assess that the reader cannot fully analyze and comprehend Latin American books when,
The very notion of analysis (not to mention the notion of literary criticism) is grounded in Western rationalism: academic readers of literature are trained in quasi-scientific fashion to offer argumentation and interpretation as the means of increased understanding of the literary text (to “prove” one’s reading, as it were.) Therefore, as we consider the second question posed by interartistic analysis–the potential relations of verbal and visual signification–the critic has no choice but to consider those text relations in Western philosophical terms (Zamora, “Interartistic… Literature”).
Zamora appears corrects in saying that the reader solely analyzes and criticizes “foreign” texts, and I use foreign because the literature comes from a place far too separate from the reader, in a Western way and in stating that, can a reader completely understand the texts he or she is reading if the material is unfamiliar. And can we appreciate the depth of the story if we can only relate to the plot and characters in our own way? Well, Zamora believes it possible because “whatever the texts, the aim and purpose of interartistic criticism is to elucidate the work of one artist in terms of another, to weigh the expressive potential of one medium in terms of another, and to compare cultural contructions of the image in their visual and verbal media” (Zamora, “Interartistic… Literature”).
Zamora, Lois Parkinson. “Interartistic Approaches to Contemporary Latin
American Literature” The Johns Hopkins University Press.,
Project MUSE. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. http://muse.jhu.edu.queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/journals/mln/v114/114.2zamora.html