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Other research product . 2022

Lunar Wastelands to Fertile Fields: Representations of the Landscape in Mexican Novels, Illustrations, and Film Adaptations (1899-2019)

Larkin, Audrey Joy Anderson;
Open Access
Published: 01 Jan 2022
Publisher: eScholarship, University of California
Country: United States
This dissertation explores the interaction between visual, cinematic, and literary landscapes by examining how this dialogue is used to both establish and question racial, gender, and national identity. Rather than being simply a detail or a decorative element, I see these visual and literary representations of the landscape as essential components of an exploration of otherness and belonging in Mexican novels, film, and visual arts. Through an analysis of the relationship between literary and visual landscapes, my project will contribute to a growing body of literature on the intersection of word and image in the Mexican landscape by scholars such as Larrucea Garritz, an area of study often overlooked by literary scholars.The first chapter explores the relationship between the lithographs and photographs found in the 1911 edition of Tomochic, by Heriberto Fr�as, and the text. I argue that the illustrations underscore the dichotomous portrayal of the villagers and their landscapes in the novel, forcing the reader/viewer to confront opposing views of Mexico’s north. In my second chapter on Los de abajo by Mariano Azuela, Jos� Clemente Orozco’s illustrations of the Mexican Revolution depict scenes of violence in aninhospitable landscape while Diego Rivera’s celebratory illustrations show the revolutionaries in a benign setting. The illustrations emphasize opposing elements of the novel’s portrayal of the revolutionaries as alternatively civilized and barbaric, illustrating different sides of the author’s framing of the revolutionaries and their landscapes. My third chapter looks at Pedro P�ramo by Juan Rulfo and the 1967 movie adaptation directed by Carlos Velo, where I argue that the movie facilitates the audience’s gaze over Susana’s sexualized body rather than focusing on Susana’s own imagined spaces foregrounded in the novel. In my fourth chapter on Gringo viejo by Carlos Fuentes, I explore how the novel depicts fluid and constantly changing landscapes, where the boundaries between the U.S. and Mexico are blurred and questioned. Yet, the film Old Gringo, directed by Luis Puenzo, prioritizes the English-speaking audience’s somewhat stereotypical gaze over Mexico, rather than attempting to replicate the novel’s approach. The last chapter on Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli investigates how the protagonist’s stepson—who narrates the second half of the novel— takes pictures of people and of the landscape on a family trip to the Mexican—United States border that are included in the novel. The photographs represent a youthful way of looking at the landscape more akin to that of the migrant children, but the son is also separated from these children by situation, nationality, class, and language, raising questions about how the suffering of migrant children can be ethically represented by a more privileged subject.

Latin American literature, Film studies, Art history, film, illustrations, landscape, Mexico, visual culture, word/image

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