Guardians of Discourse: Journalism and Literature in Porfirian Mexico (Hardcover)

Guardians of Discourse: Journalism and Literature in Porfirian Mexico By Kevin M. Anzzolin Cover Image

Guardians of Discourse: Journalism and Literature in Porfirian Mexico (Hardcover)


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During Porfirio Díaz’s thirty-year rule, Mexico dealt with the press in disparate ways in hopes of forging an informed and, above all, orderly citizenry. Even as innumerable journalists were sent to prison on exaggerated and unfair charges of defamation or slander, Díaz’s government subsidized multiple newspapers to expand literacy and to aggrandize the image of the regime.

In Guardians of Discourse Kevin M. Anzzolin analyzes the role and representation of journalism in literary texts from Porfirian Mexico to argue that these writings created a literate, objective, refined, and informed public. By exploring works by Porfirian writers such as Emilio Rabasa, Ángel del Campo, Rafael Delgado, Laura Méndez de Cuenca, and Salvador Quevedo y Zubieta, Anzzolin demonstrates that a primary goal of the lettered class was to define and shape the character of public life, establish the social position of citizens, and interrogate the character of civil institutions.

These elite letrados—whom Anzzolin refers to as “guardians of discourse”—aimed to define the type of discourses that would buttress the transformed Mexico of the Díaz regime to forge a truly national literature that could be discussed among an expanded coterie of lettered thinkers. In addition, these Porfirian guardians hoped to construct an extensive and active public able to debate political and social issues via a press befitting a modern nation-state and create a press that would be independent, illuminating, and distinguished. Through an innovative look at Mexico’s public sphere via literary fiction in the Porfirian era, Anzzolin contributes to our knowledge of Mexican and Latin American political, cultural, and literary history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Kevin M. Anzzolin is a lecturer of Spanish at Christopher Newport University.
Product Details ISBN: 9781496233370
ISBN-10: 1496233379
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publication Date: May 1st, 2024
Pages: 284
Language: English
“Kevin Anzzolin’s Guardians of Discourse rereads major literary works from Porfirian Mexico and reframes them in ways that should, if there is justice, change how we talk about them in the future. Anzzolin boldly weaves together the history of journalism and literature to show their interdependence and how they stage struggles for meaning and power in a contested public sphere. The book’s adroit combination of theory, history, and literary studies makes it a laudable contribution to Mexican studies.”—Christopher Conway, author of Nineteenth-Century Spanish America: A Cultural History