Giving shape to the past: Pre-columbia in nineteenth-century Mexican literary journals

2017-08-01T15:54:04Z (GMT) by Adam T. Sellen
<div><p>Abstract The literary journal “El Museo Mexicano” (1843-1845) marked a watershed in Mexican nationalism, and sought to shape aspirations of an elite segment of nineteenth-century Mexican society eager to claim a post-colonial identity by exploring the cultural and historical strands that were combined in the young Republic. The editors solicited contributions from Mexican authors on a wide range of subjects, from descriptions of contemporary provincial life to accounts of recent discoveries of pre-Hispanic monuments and artifacts. The aim was to provide a more complete and up-to-date image of Mexico, rich in anecdotal detail and lavishly illustrated. In this paper I will explore how this new literary platform argued for the validity of archaeological investigation in the American context, and ultimately shaped how Mexicans perceived their past. Though my focus is primarily on the articles in “El Museo Mexicano” I will also analyze some of the visual tropes and traditions, from the picturesque to the grotesque that inspired illustration in other Mexican journals of the same genre.</p></div>