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Volume 60 / Humanities

LITERATURE: SPANISH AMERICA


20th Century Prose Fiction: Central America

WILFRIDO H. CORRAL, Professor of Literature, University of California at Davis


AS MAY BE EVIDENT from the works reviewed in this chapter, Central American literature has not completely absorbed the impact of entering a new century. Nor is there any sign that globalization has replaced regional politics as the obligatory referent for authors and their interpreters. This condition is further complicated by an increasing gap between Central American authors who have settled outside of the region and those who have stayed. That disparity frequently separates those who best depict life in the region and those who best commercialize abroad the stories of compatriots who suffered and survived the violence of the last century. The deaths of Augusto Monterroso (in Feb. 2003), the most canonical of Central American writers, as well as that of the very committed Mario Monteforte Toledo, leave great conceptual voids in the literary world of the region.

In HLAS 58, I pointed out the paucity of Central American women authors. That situation has not been resolved, and the problem does not lie only with the books available for review or with the inherent quality of texts by Central American women, but with editorial decisions. In this regard it is a pleasure to point out that Honduras' Editorial Iberoamericana and the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional Francisco Morazán have embarked on publishing ventures in all genres. Foremost among these projects are Oscar Acosta's editions of the complete short stories of various Honduran authors, most of which should be available for review in HLAS 62. Without a doubt, Argueta's Siglo de o(g)ro: bio-novela circular (item #bi2001004669#) and Helen Umaña's Panorama crítico del cuento hondureño (1881–1999) (item #bi2003006157#) are the memorable items in this collection, but the resilience of Central American prose will soon produce another round of valuable prose.


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