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ISBN NFT: 9788411268394
Illustrated rustic ISBN: 9788498974133
Hardcover ISBN: 9788411264181
Typographic rustic ISBN: 9788490075234
Cumandá, also titled Un drama entre salvajes, is a novel by Ecuadorian Juan León Mera.
Juan León Mera, as a true son of his country and his land, reveals in all his work a clear predilection for native themes. Cumandá is a foretaste of the indigenist novel that will come a few years later, since it already reflects in this book the indigenous social protest and its revenge against its oppressor.
Three thematic threads make up this novel by Juan León Mera:
- The Indian
- and the jungle.
The subtitle warns of this and the narrative is outlined between passions, flights, persecutions and sacrifices. Cumandá is a founding novel of Ecuadorian narrative, and is also an exemplary heir of the Latin American romantic tradition.
In his own way, he gives continuity and reorganizes it. Thus the impossible love of an Indian and a white man is linked with the figure of the noble savage. Together they open the sublime and mysterious universe of the jungle. There is no lack of intrigue, nor amazement.
In Cumandá there are echoes of those women imagined in María by Jorge Isaacs, Cecilia Valdés by Cirilo Villaverde or Amalia by José Marmol. In the bodies of these literary characters, biopolitical projects and civilizational programs were devised.
We also find a dialogue with the texts of the explorers, both admired and terrified, in front of the American nature. It also dialogues with the chronicles of the New World and the Traditions. Those ingenious reconstructions of the past that Ricardo Palma took to its peak.
No less interesting are the ways in which Juan León Mera contests theories about the inferiority of the Indian. Here Buffon, Montesquieu, Robertson, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento or José Ingenieros are questioned. At the same time it puts in check all those conceptions of Roussonian origin, which raised the Indian as a desired other.
The idea of the Indian as a banner that ensures the colonial dream of America as an ideal, virgin and pristine place is questioned.
It remains to be decided whether Cumandá straddles an Indianist current that insists on an exotic, decorative and folkloric image of the Indian, and another indigenist current that puts him at the center of the stage, gives him a voice and echoes his complex cultural universe.
In any case, this novel brings together many of the questions that accompany and still accompany the future of Ecuador and Latin America:
- the projects of Modernity and their difficulties,
- national identity and its homogenizations,
- The problem of the Indian
- and the confluence of races and cultures,
- modernisation and capitalisation of local economies,
- governance and biopower,
- nature and ecological management.
Edited by Adriana López-Labourdette.
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