Examining representations of the female body in postrevolutionary genre literature
“Offers a highly engaging and original approach to feminine embodiment in Mexican literature through the critical figure of the muse. This book represents an important contribution to Mexican literary studies in dialogue with scholarship on gender, urban space, and techno-corporeality.”—Susan Antebi, author of Embodied Archive: Disability in Post-Revolutionary Mexican Cultural Production
“This excellent study illuminates the intersections between women and technology from the Mexican Revolution to the early twenty-first century. The compelling analysis examines art and literature from surrealist artists like Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo to literature from Karen Chacek and Guadalupe Nettel produced in the wake of NAFTA.”—Rebecca Janzen, author of The National Body in Mexican Literature: Collective Challenges to Biopolitical Control
In this volume, Sara Potter uses the idea of the muse from Greek mythology and the cyborg from posthuman theory to consider the portrayal of female characters and their bodies in Mexican art and literature from the 1920s to the present. Examining genres including science fiction, cyberpunk, and popular fiction, Potter finds that “technified muse” figures often appear in these texts at moments of violence and sociopolitical transformation.
Potter begins by looking at two avant-garde movements that emerged in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution: the Estridentistas and the Contemporáneos. Moving to the “Mexican Miracle,” a midcentury period of economic prosperity, she considers the work of surrealists Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo within their cultural and political climates. She then addresses the aftermath of the 1968 student massacre in Tlatelolco as explored in Fernando del Paso’s Palinuro de México and Juan García Ponce’s Crónica de la intervención. Finally, Potter engages with the era that began with the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement and Zapatista rebellion, drawing from Bernardo Fernández’s Gel azul, Guadalupe Nettel’s El huésped, and Karen Chacek’s La caída de los pájaros.
Technified Muses shows that during these key periods, writers created muse-like characters that interact with the technological discourses of their times. These figures reflect the increasing emphasis on science and progress throughout the twentieth century, embodying the modernization of Mexico while offering parallel narratives that challenge official portrayals of the nation’s history.
Sara A. Potter is associate professor of Spanish at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Publication of this work made possible by a Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.