Beyond Literary Landscapes—Mexican Literature

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.

Who

This column serves as an introduction to Mexican Literature, a reminder of some of the country’s classics, and as an inspiration for further reading.

Some well-known Mexican authors include Carlos Fuentes, Laura Esquivel, and Octavio Paz.

Readers may also consider the works of Valeria Luiselli.

Fuentes was a “Mexican novelist, short-story writer, playwright, critic, and diplomat,” whose works are available in translation in a variety of languages, including English.

Esquivel is a well-known Mexican author, journalist, and screenwriter, whose popular novel Like Water for Chocolate is also available as a 1992 film of the same name.

Paz was a Mexican writer, poet, and diplomat, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990.

What

Some popular Mexican literary works include Esquivel’s novel Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua para Chocolate), Fuentes’ novel The Old Gringo (Gringo Viejo), and Paz’s collection of essays The Labyrinth of Solitude (El Laberinto de la Soledad).

Where

These works are set throughout Mexico.

When

These works take place during the 20 and 21 centuries.

Why

AU students interested in Mexican history, culture, and traditions may find these works a great starting point.

How

AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to Mexican Literature are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with a counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may consider ENGL 341: World Literature, a senior-level, six-credit course, which focuses on “[c]anonical and lesser-known authors” from around the world.

Other courses to consider are POLI 342: Comparative Politics, a senior-level, three-credit course, which “studies the political systems of a number of different countries (including Mexico), providing the opportunity to examine the features of individual political systems and to investigate the similarities and differences among political systems in two or more countries.”

Finally, students can also consider POLI 480: Politics of Our Networked World in the Digital Era, a senior-level, three-credit course, which analyzes Mexico and  “explores the emergence of the networked society, the information technology revolution, and the consequences for power, production, and culture on a global and a local scale as examined by such disciplines as political science, political economy, sociology, and communications.”  Happy reading!

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