Specters of Conquest: Indigenous Absence in Transatlantic Literatures (American Literatures Initiative)

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9780823232383: Specters of Conquest: Indigenous Absence in Transatlantic Literatures (American Literatures Initiative)
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This book intervenes in transatlantic and hemispheric studies by positing "America" as not a particular country or continent but a foundational narrative, in which conquerors arrive at a shore intent on overwriting local versions of humanity, culture, and landscape with inscriptions of their own design. This imposition of foreign textualities, however dominant, is never complete because the absences of the disappeared still linger manifestly, still are present. That apparent paradox results in a haunted America, whose conquest is always partial and whose conquered are always contestatory.

Readers of scholarship by transatlanticists such as Paul Gilroy and hemispherists such as Diana Taylor will find new conceptualizations here of an America that knows no geographic boundaries, whose absences are collective but not necessarily interrelated by genealogy. The five principal texts at hand - Columbus's diary of his first voyage, the Popol Vuh of the Maya-K'iche', Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Evita's Cuando los Combes luchaban (the first African novel in Spanish), and Pynchon's Mason & Dixon - are examined as foundational stories of America in their imaginings of its transatlantic commencement. Interspersed too are shorter studies of narratives by William Carlos Williams, Rigoberta Menchú, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, José Martí, Mark Knopfler (former lead singer of Dire Straits) and Gabriel García Márquez. These texts are rarely if ever read together because of their discrete provenances in time and place, yet their juxtaposition reveals how the disjunctions and ruptures that took place on the eastern and western shores of the Atlantic upon the arrival of Europeans became insinuated as recurring and resistant absences in narratives ostensibly contextualized by the Conquest.

The book concludes by proposing that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is the great American novel.

After Specters of Conquest: Indigenous Absence in Transatlantic Literatures, America will never seem the same.

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About the Author:

Adam Lifshey is Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Georgetown University.

Review:

An outstanding work whose strong suits are brevity and originality, range,
and attention to the original texts.

(―Elizabeth Horan Arizona State University)

“. . . there is much that is new in Lifshey’s book. First in responding to 'the transatlantic turn' in American studies especially the hemispheric reach of such works as Diana Taylor’s The Archive and the Repertoire (2003), Lifshey conceptualizes his subject very broadly and, if we accept his premises, coherently. His book 'posits ‘America’ as not a particular country or continent or hemisphere bus as a reiterating foundational narrative in which a conqueror arrives at a shore determined to overwrite local versions of humanity, culture, ecology and landscape with inscriptions of his own design' (1). The outcome of 'the Conquests' is that we are all, worldwide, Americans now.” (―Journal of American Studies)

“Specters of Conquest will be of interest to scholars in literary and cultural studies; its evocative and simple style makes it accessible to the general public as well. Lifshey offers a fascinating project that engages with spatial considerations, both hemispheric and transatlantic... Specters of Conquest offers an enriching reading that reveals what was already there but was never before made evident: the ghosts that haunted our every reading of transatlantic literatures.” (―H-LatAm)

A fascinating study . . . it figures in the context of the attempts to construct a trans-Atlantic understanding of cultural production. (―David William Foster Arizona State University)

This scholarship about wrongs unrighted and mostly unwritten about amply rewards close consideration of the diverse spectral resistances to the Conquest. More than ever the literary histories of the Old and New World of the Renaissance are seen to be related. (―Chronique)

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Book Description Fordham University Press, United States, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This book intervenes in transatlantic and hemispheric studies by positing "America" as not a particular country or continent but a foundational narrative, in which conquerors arrive at a shore intent on overwriting local versions of humanity, culture, and landscape with inscriptions of their own design. This imposition of foreign textualities, however dominant, is never complete because the absences of the disappeared still linger manifestly, still are present. That apparent paradox results in a haunted America, whose conquest is always partial and whose conquered are always contestatory. Readers of scholarship by transatlanticists such as Paul Gilroy and hemispherists such as Diana Taylor will find new conceptualizations here of an America that knows no geographic boundaries, whose absences are collective but not necessarily interrelated by genealogy. The five principal texts at hand - Columbus's diary of his first voyage, the Popol Vuh of the Maya-K'iche', Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Evita's Cuando los Combes luchaban (the first African novel in Spanish), and Pynchon's Mason & Dixon - are examined as foundational stories of America in their imaginings of its transatlantic commencement. Interspersed too are shorter studies of narratives by William Carlos Williams, Rigoberta Menchu, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, Jose Marti, Mark Knopfler (former lead singer of Dire Straits) and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. These texts are rarely if ever read together because of their discrete provenances in time and place, yet their juxtaposition reveals how the disjunctions and ruptures that took place on the eastern and western shores of the Atlantic upon the arrival of Europeans became insinuated as recurring and resistant absences in narratives ostensibly contextualized by the Conquest.The book concludes by proposing that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is the great American novel.After Specters of Conquest: Indigenous Absence in Transatlantic Literatures, America will never seem the same. Seller Inventory # POW9780823232383

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