Valiente clase media. Literatura, dinero y bienes en América Latina.
Quintero-Herencia, Juan C.
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This dissertation follows the thread of commerse, class and money from a transatlantic perspective between the 17th and 18th centuries, in order to reread, under this particular focus, the transition between 19th century Modernismo and its decline at the rise of the novel of the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century. There is a tight correlation between the construction of a Latin American literary social imaginary and the mythologies of wealth and spending. The Mexican baroque poet Juana Inés de la Cruz represents erotic relationships using the language of banking; the Jesuit historians of the Latin American 18th century, as well as the next generation of founding fathers of the region, seeded the idea of dismantling the Spanish Empire in the necessity of commercial freedom and proper exploitation of the land's wealth. In times of the early Latin American Republics, authors as distant from each other as Manuel Antonio Carreño -a 19th Century Venezuelan who wrote the essential Latin American Manual of Good Manners- or the Mexican poet Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera, dedicated their works to illustrating the ways of the new, proud middle classes. Rubén Darío, the Nicaraguan modernist, represented himself in one of his most honest autobiographical poems as a debauched member of that same middle class -a topic that later recurs in the novels about the Mexican Revolution that are set in Mexico City. They all talk about money and class in search of a definition of their peculiarity as Latin Americans; they all show their administrative skills -or their lack of them- as an essential tool for constructing the written page, and with it, the future of their nations. These texts, when read together as a historically coherent "secondary corpus," produce a clear idea of the configuration of the Latin American literary taste as phenomenon deeply rooted in a commercial impulse, and the discourses they developed ultimately produced an "aesthetics of aspiration": the peculiar literary taste which pivoted the poetic explosion of Latin American Modernismo.