Posted by: Diana Ferraro | 4 January 2010

Carlos Monsiváis

 Mexico has great essayists, bright intellectuals concerned with the eternal Latin American theme of national identities. If Octavio Paz is the undeniable front-runner of this lineage of writers,  Carlos Monsiváis (Mexico, 1938)represents the contemporary continuity of his thought.

In his essay “Aires de familia, ” which won the Spanish award Premio Anagrama de Ensayo, he explores the common traits of Latin American societies and describes the visible and deep cultural unity  that lies under them.

Its chapters,  About the versions of pop, South of the Border, Down Mexico’s Way (sic), But, were there actually a thousand heroes?, and Prophets of a new world, among others, cover a variety of themes that go from soap operas to great writers, such as the Cuban Guillermo Cabrera Infante, from history to politics.

Monsiváis, the current best known Mexican cultural critic remains untranslated, as many or most of the authors  quoted in this informal library, showing a gap to fill if we are actually going fully continental.

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