Spanish American Literature in the Age of Machines and Other Essays

By Ángel Rama
Edited and translated by José Eduardo González & Timothy R. Robbins
Introduction by José Eduardo González

Subjects: Latin American Studies, Literary Criticism, Cultural Studies, Literary History, Twentieth- And Twenty-first-century Studies
Hardcover : 9781438494494, 388 pages, September 2023
Paperback : 9781438494487, 388 pages, March 2024

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Table of contents

Introduction: The Density of Literary History
José Eduardo González

1. Mariano Azuela: Ambition and Frustration of the Middle Class (1966)

2. Criticism and Literature (1971)

3. Spanish American Literature in the Age of Machines (1972)

4. No More Demons (1972)

5. The Two Latin American Avant-Gardes (1973)

6. Literary System and Social System in Spanish America (1975)

7. Literature and Social Class (1976)

8. The Literary System of Gauchesque Poetry (1977)

9. The Boom in Perspective (1979)

10. A Research into Ideology in Poetry (The Diptych Series of Simple Verses) (1980)

11. Narrative Technification (1981)

12. Literature within an Anthropological Framework (1984)

Appendix: Publishing History of the Essays in This Volume

Brings together and makes available in English for the first time some of Ángel Rama’s most important essays.


Ángel Rama was among the most prominent Latin American literary and cultural critics of the twentieth century. This volume brings together—and makes available in English for the first time—some of his most influential writings from the 1960s up until his death in 1983. Meticulously curated and translated by José Eduardo González and Timothy R. Robbins, Spanish American Literature in the Age of Machines and Other Essays will give readers a new, deeper appreciation of how Rama's views on Latin American literary history reflect the dynamic between the region and the rest of the world. His rich meditations on the relation between narrative technique, social class, and group behavior—from the point of view of the periphery of capitalism—make this volume an important contribution to the study of world literature.

José Eduardo González is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the author of Appropriating Theory: Ángel Rama's Critical Work. Timothy R. Robbins is Professor of Spanish at Drury University. He is coeditor (with José Eduardo González) of Urban Spaces in Contemporary Latin American Literature.


"This volume marks a major contribution to the materialist critique of literary history. Taking a transnational approach to Latin American literature from the nineteenth century to 'the Boom' of the 1960s and 70s, when interest in writing from the region exploded, Rama underscores the indispensable role of literary systems for grasping the complexity and contradictions of cultural phenomena." — Gorica Majstorovic, author of Global South Modernities: Modernist Literature and the Avant-Garde in Latin America

"Spanish American Literature in the Age of Machines and Other Essays brings together a superb selection of classic and lesser-known essays. It invites us to read Rama's renowned books, The Lettered City and Writing across Cultures—his primary works previously translated into English—within the totality of his oeuvre and reconsider the multiple relationships his writing draws among critical theory, sociology of culture, anthropology, and print culture. José Eduardo González's excellent introduction offers a valuable guide for these endeavors and a solid overview of scholarship on Rama. This book will appeal to a broad array of scholars interested in Latin American literary and cultural history, world literature, and the subtle relation between society and literature.” — Javier García-Liendo, author of El Intelectual y la Cultura de Masas: Argumentos Latinoamericanos en Torno a Ángel Rama y José María Arguedas