© 1996

Art and Anger

Essays on Politics and the Imagination

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-1
  2. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 3-8
  3. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 9-30
  4. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 31-34
  5. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 35-40
  6. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 41-67
  7. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 68-78
  8. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 79-84
  9. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 85-92
  10. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 93-111
  11. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 112-120
  12. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 121-130
  13. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 131-143
  14. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 144-149
  15. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 150-158
  16. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 159-166
  17. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 167-186
  18. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 187-203
  19. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 204-209
  20. Ilan Stavans
    Pages 210-235

About this book


Fascinated by the idea of Western civilization as being a sequence of numerous misinterpretations and misrepresentations, these nineteen essays cover a broad range of topics with the unifying theme being the crossroads where politics and the imagination meet. An essay on linguistics and culture discusses the shaping of Latin America's collective identity; Peru's modern history is approached as a bloody battle between enlightenment and darkness; and in critiques of Octavio Paz and Gabriel García Márquez, Stavans reflects on the dichotomy between pen and sword in the Hispanic world. In 'Letter to a German Friend', Stavans returns to his fate as a Jew in the Southern Hemisphere, and in 'The First Book,' he connects his passion for literature to his initiation into Jewishness. Finally, in a meditation on Columbus's afterlife, he reflects on the many ways in which we reinvent ourselves in order to make sense of the chaotic world that surrounds us.


enlightenment essay politics

About the authors

ILAN STAVANS is Professor of Spanish at Amherst College and the author/editor of over twenty books including The Hispanic Condition (sold over 30,000 copies, 7th printing) and Growing Up Latino (sold over 50,000 copies, 9th printing). In the next year, Stavans's upcoming books include On Borrowed Words: A Memoir of Language (Viking 01) and The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (02). The editor-in-chief of Hopscotch: A Cultural Review, Stavans has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Latino Literature Prize, and was nominated to the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Bibliographic information


"Stavans is lively and intelligent, eclectic, sharp-tongued." - Peter Matthiessen

"Ilan Stavans is an inventive interpreter of the contemporary cultures of the Americas." - Henry Louis Gates, Jr.