In this book on early Latin American narrative, Rolena Adorno argues that the core of the Spanish American literary tradition consists of the writings in which the rights to Spanish dominion in the Americas and the treatment of its natives were debated. She places the works of canonical Spanish and Amerindian writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries within this larger polemic and shows how their works sought credibility within the narrative system itself, rather than in the irretrievable historical events that lay outside it.The triumph of the narrative mode over historical content is further revealed in Adornos demonstration of how these authors and their historical protagonists have been polemically reinvented up to the present day. Adorno traces the elaboration and persistence of colonial-era debates cast in narrative form to arrive at a new understanding of the role the polemics of possession plays in the history of Latin American literature and thought.

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