Beverley and Zimmerman are more agile in employing their theory, an eclectic marxism, where it works and in not pushing it where it does not. Their book is about the relationship between poetry and the revolutionary left in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. According to the authors, the ideological centrality of literature in Central America results from an uneven and incomplete process of economic and political development, which has left intact many early forms of cultural expression, such as storytelling, song and poetry. These have functioned as pockets of resistance to the imposition of Spanish print culture.
The authors carry this tradition forward to today as they demonstrate the key role played by poetry in the formation of insurrectional groups in the s and s. These factors have meant that poetry has been very much a minority discourse.
As part of their thesis, the authors include a fascinating Chapter on testimonio , or testimonial narrative, whose roots they trace back to the eye-witness accounts of the sixteenth-century chroniclers. In testimonio , the expression of the narrator's personal, individual experience gives voice to that of the collectivity as well.
In this way, the narrator speaks for the oppressed, diminishes the role of the author, and reaches out directly to the vulnerable intelligentsia, thereby evoking solidarity across class lines. Testimonio has been a very effective tool of the left. This excellent study clearly demonstrates that literature has been a mobilizer and not just a mirror of the revolutionary process in Central America. Denis L. Heyck Loyola University Chicago. Despite the continued and ascending importance of the theatre arts and their characteristic bond with the sociopolitical scenario in Latin America, critical commentary on the genre too often has been lackluster, even repetitive.
This text by Diana Taylor, however, offers innovative and challenging insights. It is not an exaggeration to assert that Theatre Of Crisis: Drama And Politics In Latin America is a must-read analysis of the sociopolitical parameters of contemporary Hispanic American theatre in general, and the most important contribution yet to our understanding of the genre as written in the last half of the s. These were the years, most critics will agree, during which Hispanic American dramaturgy began to respond to the social and political crises that were already jeopardizing the democratic processes in countries such as Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Brazil.
This study deserves critical praise because of its unique approach to the relation between drama and politics in Latin America. Unlike preceding analyses of this theatre, Taylor's work elaborates a succinct discussion of how conflicts between society and the individual can lead to a state of crisis, then discusses how theatre mirrors the conflict, and finally it directs the discussion of the former two phenomena to analyses of selected drama of Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Cuba. In the first two divisions, comprising sixty-these pages, Taylor grounds the study in specific scholarship on drama and politics, defines those theatres that, as the theatre of crisis, represent different responses to varying forms of sociopolitical violence, and offers an intellectually impressive discussion of theatre of crisis.
Taylor goes on to show how theatre born of, and responding to, this crisis differs from other state expressions, including the so-called popular, people's, absurd, and even revolutionary theatres.
¿Cómo debo hacer para no olvidarte? by Maria Fernanda Heredia
Chapters 2 through 6 are devoted to the works of the five authors under scrutiny. Taylor draws particular attention to the brief pieces that comprise Documents from Hell , especially The Menu and The Orgy , to underline the role of violence in that country's recent period of crisis.
Aware that no review can adequately reflect the depth and breadth of academic expertise and critical acumen that Taylor brings together in this book, we can, nevertheless, assure readers of the clarity and precision with which the arguments are developed. Moreover, Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in Latin America is one of those rare combinations of exemplary investigative preparations, a sense of a genuine understanding and identity with the cultural implications of the topic, and an impressive mastery of language.