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Advanced Book Seminar: "Los recuerdos del porvenir" Part II

Course Description: In this advanced book seminar, students will enjoy the opportunity to read and discuss the first and most emblematic novel of acclaimed Mexican writer Elena Garro, “Los recuerdos del porvenir”. Like Juan Rulfo’s “Pedro Páramo”, “Los recuerdos del porvenir” defined a milestone in Mexican literature and was a harbinger of the literary genre that  would come to be known as magical realism.

The novel unfolds in the small town of Ixtepec in central Mexico. Taking place during the 1920’s after the Mexican revolution, the country had been just torn apart after ten long years of revolutionary struggle that had left over two million dead. During this postrevolutionary times Elena Garro conceives a magical universe that is profoundly poetic, initiated by the arrival in Ixtepec of federal troops at the command of general Francisco Rosas who would become the ruthless cacique of the town.

Garro weaves a complex web of characters and situations through which she tackles a wide range of topics from the nature of violence, racism, betrayal and envy, to the myriad ways that injustices in the political and social lives of the inhabitants of this small town inhibit and paralyze them. She explores the way in which women are doubly oppressed, first collectively by the political and economic system and second individually by the men they live with. The reality of these women of Ixtepec becomes one of the central themes of the novel, we see them courageously emerge in rebellion, withstanding the oppression and tirelessly fighting for a more equal world.

The writing is brilliant and refined, each sentence carefully and precisely constructed in gorgeous, lyrical language. Students’ knowledge will be enriched by this encounter with Garro’s expansive and nuanced lexicon, in which words and expressions particular to Mexico render authenticity and a window into a culture and place. Readers will delight in the novel’s poetic prose full of metaphor which envelops readers with its musicality.

Designed for advanced students, this course will provide you with the venue in which to practice your reading and speaking skills at a challenging level, expand your vocabulary, and enjoy stimulating discussion with other enthusiastic students.

Special note on the duration of this course: Given the length of this book and in order to have enough time to discuss each chapter of the novel and relevant historical and cultural context, this course will be spread out over two terms: Part 1 Fall 2023, Part 2 Winter 2024.

Where to get the book: Amazon link

Best suited for: Students who have completed or been recommended an Advanced course at Tierra.

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