Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage

Authored by: José F. Aranda

The Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  October  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415666060
eBook ISBN: 9780203097199
Adobe ISBN: 9781136221613


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Without a doubt, one of the most significant events in the development of US Hispanic literary history was the establishment of Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage. Now in its third decade of operation, the Recovery Project (as it’s affectionately known) originally began as a ten-year initiative in the fall of 1990 with a broad mandate to locate, preserve, evaluate, and disseminate by way of publication or digital media “primary literary sources written by Hispanics in the geographic area that is now the United States from the Colonial Period to 1960” (Kanellos 1993: 13). This project was designed and implemented to combat the institutional absence and historic neglect of Hispanic contributions to US history, literature, culture, and politics. Although the terms “Hispanic” and “literary” were adopted as umbrella terms to forward the mission of the project, great editorial pains were taken to unpack the diversity of Latino/a communities from 1492 to 1960 that might be represented or impacted by the research. Recovery of the “literary” went beyond the usual genres of novels, poems, and short stories. In short, the Recovery Project envisioned a Herculean mission that included “letters, diaries, oral lore and popular culture by Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Spanish and other Hispanic residents of what has become the United States,” as well as the print culture of these communities found in newspapers and periodicals (Kanellos 1993: 13).

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