Terry Caesar teaches American literature and literary theory at Clarion Univ., and is the author of Forgiving the Boundaries (1995), Conspiring with Forms (1992) and Writing in Disguise (1998). His essays have been published in American Literary History, History, Substance, and the Yale Journal of Criticism .
Can scholarly pursuit of soap operas and folk art actually reveal a national imagination? This innovative collection features studies of iconography in Mexico, telenovelas in Venezuela, drama in Chile, cinema in Brazil, comic strips and tango in Argentina, and ceramics in Peru. In examining these popular arts, the scholars gathered here ask the same broad questions: what precisely is a national culture at the level of the popular? The national idea in Latin America emerges from these pages as a problematic, divided one, worth sustained attention in the field of culture studies. Many different arts come forth in all their richness and vitality, compelling us to look, listen, and understand.