Synopses & Reviews
(meaning "inheritance" or "heritage") is the first anthology to bring together literature spanning the entire history of Hispanic writing in the United States, from the age of exploration to the present. The product of a ten-year project involving hundreds of scholars nationwide, Herencia
is the most comprehensive literary collection available, covering over three centuries and including writers from all the major Hispanic ethnic communities as well as a broad sample of writing from diverse genres.
Here is the voice of the conqueror and the conquered, the revolutionary and the reactionary, the native and the uprooted or landless. Of course, readers will find pieces by such leading writers as Piri Thomas, Luis Valdez, Isabel Allende, Oscar Hijuelos, and Reinaldo Arenas. But what truly distinguish this anthology are its historical depth and its rich, complex portrait of Hispanic literature in the United States. Beginning with Cabeza de Vaca's account of his explorations in the New World, the anthology includes a passage from La Florida, a narrative historical poem of 22,000 verses, written by Franciscan friar Alonso de Escobedo. It also features an attack on Mexican stereotypes in the nascent movie industry written by Nicasio Idar, editor of Laredo's La Cronica; and an essay about Coney Island written by revolutionary Jose Marti.
Embracing Chicano, Nuyorican, Cuban American, and Latino writings, the voices of immigrants and the voices of exiles, Herencia makes a vital contribution to our understanding not only of Hispanic writing in the United States, but also of the great contribution Hispanics have made to the United States.
"The publication of Herencia marks the formal birth in the academy of an entire genre of literature. For an apt comparison, we would have to turn to comparable anthologies of American literature first published in the nineteenth century. Nicolas Kanellos has made a major contribution to redefining even what it means to speak of 'American' literature." --Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"0nce in a while, a book comes along which topples institutional thinking and set beliefs. Herencia is such a book! Nicolas Kanellos's brilliant introduction is more than that. It is a manifesto. A turning-point document of American literary history."--Ishmael Reed
"Finally a major, out-reaching, reliable map of the Hispanic experience in the U.S. With impressive range, texture, and resonance, Herencia illuminates the history, emotions, and meaning of Hispanic-American life. Because of his long-standing devotion to this literature, only Nicolas Kanellos could have been able to accomplish this task with such authority and care. As a living memory, this magnificent book opens its pages to the cross-cultural language of our best future."--Julio Ortega, Professor of Hispanic Studies, Brown University
"Libraries should own a copy of Herencia; teachers should incorporate it into classes on American and U.S. Hispanic literature, history, politics, or cultural diversity; students should turn to it for authoritative excerpts of Hispanic writing; and general readers should browse Herencia for its sheer insight into the literary and historical legacy of contemporary Hispanic culture."--Hispanic Outlook
"Ten years in the making, this anthology is an unprecedented collection of writing in North America from the age of the Spanish explorers in the 16th century to the present.... Herencia is absolutely indispensable."--Library Journal
- A major anthology of Hispanic writing in the United States, ranging from the early Spanish explorers right up to the present day
About the Author
is the Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Literature at the University of Houston and the Director of Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, a major national research program. He is also founding publisher of the noted Hispanic literary journal The Americas Review
and founder of the nation's oldest and most esteemed Hispanic publishing house, Arte Público Press.