Latin American Literature

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Latin American Literature


literature from the countries of Latin America, which make up a single linguistic and cultural region. Latin American literature emerged during the colonization of the American continent in the 16th century, with the spread of the languages of the conquerors (Spanish in most of the countries, Portuguese in Brazil, and French in Haiti). Gradually the culture of the colonizers interacted with that of the native Indian population and, in several countries, with that of the Negro population. (Negro slaves brought their own mythology and folklore to America from Africa.)

Even after the yoke of colonialism was thrown off and independent Latin American republics emerged, the synthesis of native and colonialist cultures survived. The development of a literature in each country—a process that led to the emergence of specific national identities—dates from the time when independence was achieved (that is, in most of the countries of Latin America, from the early 19th century). However, the rise of separate national literatures does not mean that an examination of the literary development of Latin America as a whole is unjustifiable or unnecessary. As one of the centers of the anti-imperialist, national liberation struggle, this region shares a literary culture as well as a historical destiny.


Kuteishchikova, V. N. Roman Latinskoi Ameriki ν XX v. Moscow, 1964.
Formirovanie natsional’nykh literatur Latinskoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1970.
Mamontov, S. P. “Mnogoobrazie i edinstvo kul’tur.” Latinskaia Amerika, 1972, no. 3.
Torres-Rioseco, A. Bol’shaia latinoamerikanskaia literatura. Moscow, 1972.
Henríquez Ureña, P. Las corrientes literarias en la América hispánica. Mexico City-Buenos Aires, 1954.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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