A dream of light & shadow: portraits of Latin American women by Marjorie Agosin

By Marjorie Agosin

Marjorie Agos?n has accumulated in A Dream of sunshine and Shadow: snap shots of Latin American ladies Writers a wealth of very intimate, unique essays at the most eminent girl figures in Latin American literature from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. a few of them are recognized to the area: Gabriela Mistral and Violeta Parra for instance. a few haven't but been famous even in the borders of their very own nations. What all of those ladies have in universal is that every one creates her personal house in defiance of the bounds imposed upon her by way of society and is ready to locate freedom via artistic mind's eye. And regardless of the deep prejudices the entire ladies during this anthology confronted in the course of their lifetimes, every one was once capable of conquer hindrances and declare a valid position as a author on a cultural degree. All of those writers are vitally fascinated about the issues ladies face in Latin the United States. they've got participated in crucial methods within the heritage in their respective international locations, within the highbrow historical past of Latin the USA, and while, their maximum contribution has been within the sharing of the non-public info of own tales, their very own and others.

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It is necessary to start with a serious, critical consideration of the cultural traditions of those women who are not in the literary and art history books, nor in the accepted codes of that "Official History" that recovers only certain texts, certain voices, bestowing value on them in an exclusivistic and arbitrary series of judgments. I believe that critical thought about women's creative work is the true revolution within what can be termed new cultural his- Page 9 tory, which aims to allow those who have been excluded to finally participate in the yet undefined and unfinished cultural landscape.

As Jill Kerr Conway maintains in the introduction to Written by Herself, autobiography clearly reflects gender. Men pattern their life stories on classical models, such as the theme of the odyssey, in which a hero travels and arrives at his elected and privileged destination. Women, on the other hand, tend to prefer the confessional mode, to tell their life stories in an almost circular pattern in which Page 18 there are no clear goals, but rather the possibility of chance encounters, of creation as an end in itself, without concern for marketing strategies nor the success conferred by posterity.

They are people of flesh and bone, who by means of intense personal struggle and acute self-examination, have entered the public sphere, or chosen the private one, have picked up their pens and have held them in women's hands, have undertaken women's work, and have viewed the world through creative women's eyes. The reader may ask how it was decided to include or exclude certain figures. This question, faced by all literary biographers and anthologists, centers on what constitutes a life, and what value it contains.

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