Centauros latinoamericanos: El bandido como símbolo cultural en el espacio fronterizo de América Latina
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This is a multidisciplinary and comparative study of the recurrent representations of bandits in Latin American literature from the second half of the 19th Century to the early 20th Century. After the wars of independence in the Americas, the founding of postcolonial nation-states or Creole Republics (Repúblicas Criollas) marginalized entire rural populations, composed of indigenous people but also of multiracial, mixed populations such as the gauchos, llaneros, and other people who were branded as “bandits” as they were not part of the idealized westernized nation. This complex conflict can also be read as a last struggle between two competing colonizing models in the Americas: the receding Hispanic Catholic rural/feudal model and the liberal “free-trade” capitalist model emerging from the Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment, represented by the United States in the hemisphere. Both socio-cultural models generated new mappings and diverse political narratives throughout the Americas: Hispanic and Hispanicized bandits created postcolonial cultural symbols of resistance to modernity capable of crossing borders. Joaquín Murrieta and Billy the Kid are extraordinary examples of the complex processes by which mythified and vilified bandits become multicultural transnational symbols. These phenomena are thoroughly studied here through the textual and contextual analysis of Facundo: Civilization and Barbarism (1845); El Zarco (1869); Martín Fierro (1872); Doña Bárbara (1929); The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit (1854); Vida y aventuras del más célebre bandido sonorense Joaquín Murrieta: sus grandes proezas en California (1904); Fulgor y muerte de Joaquín Murieta (1967); The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid (1882) and El bandido adolescente (1965). The peripheral individuals inhabiting these cultural and political borderlines raise important issues of nation, race, state and social identities and allow us to interrogate better the complex processes of Latin American and US national formation. This incursion into the cultural histories of these heterogeneous social conflicts in the Americas during a period of national expansion and construction also seeks to put in conversation diverse intellectual perspectives from the Global North and South.