Jovita González and Eve Raleigh's Caballero: A Historical Novel, a milestone in Mexican-American and Texas literature written during the 1930s and 1940s, centers on a mid-nineteenth-century Mexican landowner and his family living in the heart of southern Texas during a time of tumultuous change.
After covering the American military occupation of South Texas, the story involves the reader in romances between young lovers from opposing sides during the military conflict of the US-Mexico War. The young protagonists fall in love but face struggles with race, class, gender, and sexual contradictions.
This work, long lost in a collection of private paper and unavailable until now, serves as a literary enthnography of South Texas-Mexican folklore customs and traditions as well as a feminist critque of rigid patriarchal culture.
With an introduction by José E. Limón, epilogue by María Cotera, and foreward by Thomas H. Kreneck.
JOVITA GONZÁLEZ was and educator, folklorist, and historian who received her master's degree in history in 1930 from the University of Texas at Austin. She was a protégé of J. Frank Dobie and a Rockefeller grant award recipient.
EVE RALEIGH is co-author Margaret Eimer's pseudonym. She was residing in Missouri at the time of her death in 1978.
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Jose E. Limon is Professor of English and Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin.From Publishers Weekly:
Not only is this a historical novel, but its a novel with some history. Written during the 1930s and '40s by Gonzalez, a protege of folklorist J. Frank Dobie, and the pseudonymous Raleigh, the book was originally rejected by three East Coast publishers. The manuscripts (some complete, some partial) remained undiscovered for some 50 years. Now, the edited compilation has been published as a historical romance that chronicles both sides of the U.S.-Mexico War of 1846-47 and the subsequent ethnic tensions. Clearly, this will be of interest to scholars of Mexican-American history, but general readers will also find this a delightfully romantic story. Set in South Texas and Northern Mexico, the focus is the family of patriarch Don Santiago de Mendoza y Soria. As Don Santiago struggles to maintain a powerful hidalgo family devoid of Americano influence, each of his two daughters falls in love with a ranger sent to settle land disputes. The authors handle this merging of cultures realistically, and the early social ramifications of mixed unions are clearly delineated. There are minor omissions (portions of the original manuscripts were indecipherable), yet the flow remains unaffected. The title, as noted by the editors, is inappropriate, however. The English translation of caballero is gentleman, and this work is more about the strong women during this important historical period of two neighboring countries.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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