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Latino Autobiography, the Aesthetic, and Political Criticism: The Case of Hunger of Memory

  • Author(s): Durán, Isabel
  • et al.
Abstract

This 2003 essay, entitled “Latino Autobiography, the Aesthetic, and Political Criticism: The Case of Hunger of Memory,” was previously published in Nor Shall Diamond Die: American Studies in Honour of Javier Coy, edited by Carme Manuel and Paul Scott Derrick (Valencia: Biblioteca Javier Coy d’estudis nord-americans, Universitat de València). In a fierce defense of the aesthetic properties of the ethnic autobiography, Isabel Durán, “as an outsider” to the politics of “Chicano” critics working in the US (“I am Spanish, and live in Spain”), argues that certain politicized critical approaches to ethnic autobiography inside the US have insisted on an identity politics that reads ethnic or minority writing as “good” if and only if it is “obedient” to the critic’s political ideology, regardless of its aesthetic value as art. Proposing a “renewed theory of the aesthetic,” Durán offers a strong refutation of Ramón Saldívar’s critical assessment of Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory, while simultaneously demonstrating how a transnational American Studies produces very different intellectual concerns.

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