This book is a series of original, critical meditations on short stories and novels from Central America between 1995 and 2016. During the Cold War, literary art in Central America, as in Latin America in general, was strongly over-determined by the politics of the Cold War, which gave rise to popular struggle and three major armed civil wars in the 1970s and 1980s in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. The period produced intense literary activity with political ideology central, personified by social denunciation in the testimonial novel and revolutionary poetry. Since then, though themes of violence are still at much of its core, Central American fiction has become more complex. We have witnessed a resurgence of literary writing and criticism with a focus squarely on the artistic side of narrative art: writing aware of its own figurative manoeuvres and inventiveness, its philosophical and affective dimensions, and its carefully crafted syntax. This collection of essays by Jeffrey Browitt attempts to trace some of the contours of this new literature and the contemporary subjectivities of its writers through close readings of Guatemalas Rodrigo Rey Rosa, Eduardo Halfon and Denise Phe-Funchal; Nicaraguas Franz Galich and Sergio Ramirez; Belizes David Ruiz Puga; El Salvadors Jacinta Escudos and Claudia Hernandez; and Costa Ricas Carlos Cortes. Key themes are gender, subjectivity and affect as these intersect with the deconstruction of the family, hegemonic masculinity, motherhood, revolutionary romanticism, and the relationship of humans with animals.
Jeffrey Browitt is associate professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Technology Sydney. He has previously taught at Monash University, Melbourne and the University of the West Indies, Barbados. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and books on Latin American literary and cultural studies and is a translator. His published works include Contemporary Cultural Theory (2002, with A. Milner), Ruben Dario: cosmopolita arraigado (2010, with W. Mackenbach), and two major translations with Nidia Castrillon: Disciplinar a los salvajes, violentar las disciplinas (2014); and A New Catechism for Recalcitrant Indians (2007).