Latino writing in the United States

Santa Arias, Erlinda Gonzales-Berry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Latinos in the United States have been writing fiction, writing their selves, and writing about their experiences ever since the first explorers came to America five hundred years ago. The existence of numerous historical and legal documents, poems, and fictional narratives treating travel, exploration, war, love, the unknown, and the struggle for survival testifies to the rich literary and oral tradition created by the conquistadors and missionaries. These beginnings were testimonies of the fears and conflicts of those who were sent to the unexplored north with the promise of finding the fabled riches and thereby changing their already disillusioning foray into the New World. The written chronicles of these expeditions have, in common with the contemporary cultural manifestations of Latinos in this country, a manifestation of individual experience of rupture and displacement produced by their new historical reality. In these early cultural manifestations of the Spanish explorers, one can find the foundations of Latin American literary discourse and, moreover, the foundations of the Latino cultural expression in the United States. The testimonial and legal documents of the northern frontier were crucial in the self-defense and criticism of the conditions in which the explorers lived at the time, after serving and risking their lives for the Spanish Crown. The legacy of the chronicles-called cronicas in Spanish, a major genre of the written culture of the Conquest-and the critical interpretation of those early years of exploration and conquest, is still so alive in the texts written by Latinos that it can not be ignored. We can state that Latino literary discourse, as the expression of the colonial/colonized subject, provides vivid testimony of cultural conflict, disruption of identity, and change and adaptation. Significantly, this testimony can serve as an instrument of empowerment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Latin American Literature
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)9781317518266
ISBN (Print)0815311435, 9781138855250
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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