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  You are in: Home > Cultural & Social Studies > Insult to Injury  

Insult to Injury
Violence in Spanish, Hispanic American and Latino Art & Literature

Edited by Debra D. Andrist

The Editor, Dr. Debra D. Andrist, Professor of Spanish at Sam Houston State University (SHSU), was multi-term founding chair of Foreign Languages there, former multi-term Chair of Modern & Classical Languages/Cullen Professor of Spanish at the University of St. Thomas/Houston (UST) and rose to Associate Professor of Spanish, Baylor University. Her scholarly work focuses on art and literature by and about women and medical topics.


The stark reality of all life, from the biology of the food chain incorporating all living beings to the social stratification and hierarchies of human cultures, revolves around violence – physical or psychological. That unavoidable, black-and-white, worldview of survival of the fittest with little if any gray to mitigate it is colored only by the red lifeblood of the victims of the bigger, the stronger, the smarter, the wilier, who literally and/or figuratively “eat” their victims – overcoming, overwhelming, controlling, oppressing them.

The premise behind Insult to Injury: Violence in Spanish, Hispanic American and Latino Art and Literature focuses on the representation of the visual and literary artistic products of a group of seemingly alike yet divergent societies, with linguistic and cultural ties that reflect those societies’ means of control. These representations socialize viewers and/or readers in personal or public situations, establishing ubiquitous hierarchies. French social anthropologist/literary critic/theorist René Girard maintains in Violence & the Sacred that “the oldest means of social control is . . . violence.” While the incorporated violence itself is not the overweening theme of this work, the representation or threat of violence functions in reality in terms that imply its consequences to the viewer or reader. These consequences are discussed in terms of control-directed violence based on gender roles and politics, socio-cultural power, and environmental issues or eco-violence. The underlying message is that of the necessity to behave according to imposed norms, stated or implied, or suffer those consequences – a convincing leitmotif in works by Spanish, Hispanic American and Latino visual artists and writers in the Spanish language over the ages.


Part I. Introduction to Violence, Artistic/Literary Portrayal and the “Other”
I. Confrontation With the Other in Pablo Picasso’s Suite Vollard. Enrique Mallén, PhD

Violence and Ethnicity/Race
II. The Evolution of Hispanic Artistic Violent Imagery through Postmodernism: Federico García Lorca, Carlos Fuentes, Roberto Bolaño. Elizabeth White Coscio, PhD

III. Lebanese Children Against War: The Children’s Speech Artifice in Rose Mary Salum’s El Agua Que Mece El Silencio/The Water That Rocks the Silence. Eduardo Cerdán. Translated by Debra D. Andrist, PhD

Part II. Introduction to Violence and Gender/Sexual Orientation

IV. Incest in Medieval/Renaissance Spanish Poetry. Debra D. Andrist, PhD

V. Gender Violence: Social & Personal Control Techniques Through the Ages in Hispanic Worlds. Debra D. Andrist, PhD

VI. Violence and the Victimization of Difference in Hispanic American Literature, Jorge Chavarro, MD, MA, translated by Debra D. Andrist, PhD

Part III. Introduction to Violence, Ethnicity/Race and Socio-Economic/Eco-Violence
VII. Brutality, Borderlands, and Bildungsromans: Violence and Cultural Conflict in Américo Parades’ George Washington Gómez and Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Última. Lauren P. Derby, MA

VIII. Julio Nombela’s La Fiebre de Riquezas/The Fever of Riches: A Proletarian Folletín about Joaquín Murieta, the Californian Bandit. María Monserrat (Montse).Feu López, PhD

IX. Violence, Trauma, and Ecology in John Rollin Ridge’s Joaquín Murieta. Jason Payton, PhD

Part IV. Introduction to Violence in Society and Politics
X. Norms Violated: The Breakdown of Social Structures & Role Expectations in Arturo Uslar Pietri’s Las lanzas coloradas/The Bloody Lances, Debra D. Andrist, PhD

XI. Life on Edge: Havana During the Last Fifty Years in Mirta Yáñez's Novel, Sangra por la herida/The Bleeding Wound. Patricia González Gómez-Cásseres, PhD

Biographies of Contributors
Index of Artists & Authors

“Insult to Injury launches profound and academically-challenging examinations of violence and sufferings in different social-historical stances and their radiance as represented in art, literature and social culture in the Hispanic world. The book provides an impressively valuable opportunity for both scholars and general readers to detect/approach the crisis and conflicts embedded in our social and emotional life from which no one can escape—although may refuse to face, from ancient time to today.”
Haiqing Sun, PhD Chair, Languages, Texas Southern University

“This collection of essays explores the victimization of the other as portrayed in literary texts and art from Spanish, Hispanic American, and Latino cultures over time. Recognizing that societies’ willingness to exercise control through violence is not limited to one part of the world, the essays selected provide insight into how art depicts abuses including incest, racism, political oppression, and gender violence in both Spanish-speaking cultures and in the world at large. The effects of these abuses, and the consequences to those who defy the established order, offer compelling reading for both academics and students concerned with issues of social justice and artistic representation.” Kimberly Habegger, Professor of Spanish/Chair of Languages, Regis University

“One look at the table of contents of this book and one is immediately attracted to the myriad of fascinating topics examined. The essays deal with subjects from medieval times to the present, and the topics are investigated through literary theory as well as a social sciences perspective. Hispanic writers (Chicanos, in particular) are examined and some very thought-provoking conclusions are reached. The editor and contributors should be commended for bringing together such diverse and fascinating issues, and the readers interested in Latino literature will find the essays very informative and relevant to contemporary issues.” Genaro J. Pérez, PhD, Professor of Spanish, Texas Tech University

“Debra Andrist has created a fascinating patchwork from very diverse sources of Spanish and Latin American art and literature, providing us with a deeper understanding of the violence that surrounds us.” David Kaufman, Founder, Conversa Language Schools, Santa Ana, Costa Rica

“These wide-ranging essays will challenge and enrich the reader. They summon the ever-present and vulnerable ‘other’ from the shadows and produce an enduring awareness of the too-human dilemma. This is a collection of timeless value.” Patricia Lacy Collins, Founder, San Rafael Films, Houston, Texas


Publication Details

Hardback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
240 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
January 2017
  Illustrated:   No
Hardback Price:
£55.00 / $69.95

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