Nature, Neo-Colonialism and the Spanish-American Regional Writers (Reencounters with Colonialism: New Perspectives on the Americas)

Most scholarship on the work of Horacio Quiroga, Jose Eustasio Rivera and other Spanish-American writers of the 1920s has viewed their works as symbolic assertions of Latin America’s cultural identity issued in response to the United States’ aggression in the Caribbean basin. In this study, Jennifer L. French brilliantly revises that tendency by considering the Spanish-American regionalist texts as responses to the cultural, social, and economic changes brought about by Britain’s economic supremacy in the region from the early national period to the First World War. She identifies previously unrecognized intertextual relations between the works of regionalist writers and British colonial literature by authors including Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling. French’s study adroitly incorporates recent theories of environmental justice and eco-criticism, which address the regionalists’ consistent revision of capitalist and Eurocentric discourses of nature. Ultimately, the author identifies and elevates the Spanish-American regionalist writers’ representations of the changing relationship between humans and the environment on South America’s internal economic frontiers. Scholars and students of the Spanish-American regionalist writers, comparative colonial and postcolonial literature, and the emerging field of environmental criticism will welcome this expert and provocative new interrogation of British neo-colonialism in South America.