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Central American Avant-Garde Narrative: Literary Innovation and Cultural Change (1926 ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Central American Avant-Garde Narrative:

Chapter 1

Introduction

Purpose, Selection of Texts, and Chronology

Historically, Central American avant-garde fiction has been overlooked in Latin American literary criticism. Until the 1980s, critics of the Spanish American avant-garde had focused on poetry and manifestos rather than fiction, and although Spanish American novels from the 1920s avant-garde have received a considerable increase in critical attention during the last thirty years, Central American fiction from the 1920s and 1930s has, for the most part, been ignored.1 This stems in part from the fact that within the field of Latin American literary criticism, Central American literature has traditionally received less attention than it merits. Indeed, as Arturo Arias has argued, despite the presence of a host of first-rate authors and a Nobel laureate, Central American literature is still seen as peripheral to the rest of Latin American literature (“Gioconda Belli” 182). What is more, he has argued, “the exclusion of Central America is not just a problem in ‘mainstream’ or canonical studies of Latin American literatures; it is even the norm in studies of ‘marginal’ literatures” (Taking Their Word 187). Owing to this confluence of scholarly trends, Central American avant-garde fiction is a field that has been marginalized by scholars within both Latin American literary criticism and avant-garde studies, as they have tended to focus on works