Queer Readings, Hispanic Writings

Book Pages: 448 Illustrations: 7 b&w photographs Published: May 1995

Chicanx and Latinx Studies, Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

"¿Entiendes?" is literally translated as "Do you understand? Do you get it?" But those who do "get it" will also hear within this question a subtler meaning: "Are you queer? Are you one of us?" The issues of gay and lesbian identity represented by this question are explored for the first time in the context of Spanish and Hispanic literature in this groundbreaking anthology.
Combining intimate knowledge of Spanish-speaking cultures with contemporary queer theory, these essays address texts that share both a common language and a concern with lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities. Using a variety of approaches, the contributors tease the homoerotic messages out of a wide range of works, from chronicles of colonization in the Caribbean to recent Puerto Rican writing, from the work of Cervantes to that of the most outrageous contemporary Latina performance artists. This volume offers a methodology for examining work by authors and artists whose sexuality is not so much open as "an open secret," respecting, for example, the biographical privacy of writers like Gabriela Mistral while responding to the voices that speak in their writing. Contributing to an archeology of queer discourses, ¿Entiendes? also includes important studies of terminology and encoded homosexuality in Argentine literature and Caribbean journalism of the late nineteenth century.
Whether considering homosexual panic in the stories of Borges, performances by Latino AIDS activists in Los Angeles, queer lives in turn-of-the-century Havana and Buenos Aires, or the mapping of homosexual geographies of 1930s New York in Lorca’s "Ode to Walt Whitman," ¿Entiendes? is certain to stir interest at the crossroads of sexual and national identities while proving to be an invaluable resource.


“This is a courageous book, not just because of the sensitivity of its central topic, homosexuality in the Spanish-speaking world, but because it attempts a very wide coverage in terms of approaches, countries, and periods of a subject on which, inevitably, almost everything in the way of evidence is patchy or just plain lacking. . . . An admirable volume.” — John Gledson , Bulletin of Latin American Research

"People working in gay and lesbian studies in Hispanic literatures or cultural studies will not be able to continue to work without this volume close at hand. ¿Entiendes? provides both impetus and standards for all subsequent work in the field." — Benigno Sánchez-Eppler, Brandeis University

"This is a groundbreaking collection of essays on gay and lesbian topics in Hispanic literatures—there is nothing that compares with it." — George Yúdice, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Emilie L. Bergmann is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of California, Berkeley and a coauthor of Women, Culture and Politics in Latin America.

Paul Julian Smith is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Cambridge University. He is the author of many books including, Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar and Laws of Desire: Questions of Homosexuality in Spanish Writing and Film, 1960–90.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments xi

Introduction / Paul Julian Smith and Emilie L. Bergmann 1

One. Re-Loading the Canon

Aldonza as Butch: Narrative and the Play of Gender in Don Quixote / Mary S. Gossy 17

The "Fecal Dialectic": Homosexual Panic and the Origin of Writing in Borges / Daniel Balderston 29

Two. (Neo)historical Retrievals

The Argentine Dissemination of Homosexuality, 1890–1914 / Jorge Salessi 49

Julián del Casal and the Queers of Havana / Oscar Montero 92

Three. Nationalisms, Ethnicities, and (Homo)sexualities

Community at Its Limits: Orality, Law, Silence, and the Homosexual Body in Luis Rafael Sánchez's 'Jum' / Agnes I. Lugo-Ortiz 115

Toward an Art of Transvestism: Colonialism and Homosexuality in Puerto Rican Literature / Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé 137

Fleshing Out Virgilio Piñera from the Cuban Closet / José Quiroga 168

The Lesbian Body in Latina Cultural Production / Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano 181

Four. Biographical Constructions, Textual Encodings

The "Schoolteacher of America": Gender, Sexuality, and Nation in Gabriela Mistral / Licia Fiol-Matta 201

Disappearing Acts: Reading Lesbian in Teresa de la Parra / Sylvia Molloy 230

A Logic in Lorca's Ode to Walt Whitman / John K. Walsh 257

Five. Queer Readers/Queer Texts

The Look that Kills: The "Unacceptable Beauty" of Alejandra Piznarnik's La condesa sangrienta / Suzanne Chávez Silverman 281

Lesbian Tantalizing in Carmen Lugo Filippi's "Milagros, Calle Mercurio" / Luz María Umpierre 306

Six. Call to Theory/Call to Action

Virtual Sexuality: Lesbianism, Loss, and Deliverance in Carme Rierra's "Te deix, amor, la mar com a penyora" / Brad Epps 317

Teatro Viva!: Latino Performance and the Politics of AIDS in Los Angeles / David Román 346

Nationalizing Sissies / José Piedra 370

Index 411

Contributors 427
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1615-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1600-8
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