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Lima: A Cultural History Americas South America Peru James Higgins Oxford University Press USA


6th July 2013 History Books 0 Comments

Lima boasts a Nobel Prize-winning author (Mario Vargas Llosa) and a wealth of lesser known poets and novelists, who have created its rich literary history. Higgins, an academic specialist in Peruvian literature, quotes extensively from these writers as he chronicles Lima’s history from its founding by conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 to the political gyrations of recent decades. Most of all, Higgins encourages readers to linger in Lima instead of rushing through en route to Machu Picchu. Both works will reward the traveler in search of a city’s character. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

James Higgins Professor at Liverpool University, specializes in Peruvian literature. A regular visitor to Lima since the 1960s, he is an honorary professor of the city’s University of San Marcos and a corresponding fellow of the Peruvian Academy.

Formerly the viceregal capital of Spain’s vast South American empire, Lima is today a sprawling metropolis struggling to cope with a population of eight million. Located on the coast between the Andean foothills and the Pacific Ocean, it is many cities in one, with an indigenous past, an old colonial heart, and turn-of-the-century quarters modeled on Paris. Leafy suburbs like San Isidro and tranquil seaside communities such as Barranco contrast with ever-expanding shantytowns. Lima has always dominated national life, as the center of political and economic power. Long a stronghold of the European elite, the city is now home to millions of Peruvians from the Andean region as well as the descendants of African slaves and migrants from Europe, China and Japan. As a popular saying puts it, the whole of Peru is now in Lima. James Higgins explores the city’s history and evolving identity as reflected in its architecture, literature, painting and music. Tracing its trajectory from colonial enclave to modern metropolis, he reveals how the capital now embodies the diversity and dynamism of Peru itself. — CITY OF HISTORY: ceremonial sites and museums of pre-Hispanic antiquities; colonial churches and mansions; the Museum of the Inquisition; monuments to the heroes of Independence. — CITY OF CULTURE: pre-Columbian textiles, pottery and goldwork; Baroque architecture and art; writers such as Mario Vargas Llosa and Alfredo Bryce Echenique; painters and sculptors; a vibrant popular culture. — CITY OF MULTICULTURAL EXCHANGE: the indigenous legacy; the imposition of Spanish culture; African slaves; European and Asian immigrants; mass migration from the provinces.

Lima: A Cultural History (Cityscapes)

The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics

“A livelier, more literate introduction to a foreign world could not be hoped for. A Peruvian trove, indeed; so much that one hardly knows where to begin dipping into its treasures.”—Alma Guillermoprieto, author of Dancing with Cuba: A Memoir of the Revolution

“This is an extremely deep, broad, and insightful collection on Peru.”—Jorge Castañeda, author of Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left after the Cold War and former Foreign Minister of Mexico

Sixteenth-century Spanish soldiers described Peru as a land filled with gold and silver, a place of untold wealth. Nineteenth-century travelers wrote of soaring Andean peaks plunging into luxuriant Amazonian canyons of orchids, pythons, and jaguars. The early-twentieth-century American adventurer Hiram Bingham told of the raging rivers and the wild jungles he traversed on his way to rediscovering the “Lost City of the Incas,” Machu Picchu. Seventy years later, news crews from ABC and CBS traveled to Peru to report on merciless terrorists, starving peasants, and Colombian drug runners in the “white gold” rush of the coca trade. As often as not, Peru has been portrayed in broad extremes: as the land of the richest treasures, the bloodiest conquest, the most poignant ballads, and the most violent revolutionaries. This revised and updated second edition of the bestselling Peru Reader offers a deeper understanding of the complex country that lies behind these claims.

Unparalleled in scope, the volume covers Peru’s history from its extraordinary pre-Columbian civilizations to its citizens’ twenty-first-century struggles to achieve dignity and justice in a multicultural nation where Andean, African, Amazonian, Asian, and European traditions meet. The collection presents a vast array of essays, folklore, historical documents, poetry, songs, short stories, autobiographical accounts, and photographs. Works by contemporary Peruvian intellectuals and politicians appear alongside accounts of those whose voices are less often heard—peasants, street vendors, maids, Amazonian Indians, and African-Peruvians. Including some of the most insightful pieces of Western journalism and scholarship about Peru, the selections provide the traveler and specialist alike with a thorough introduction to the country’s astonishing past and challenging present.

The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The Latin America Readers)










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