The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Wonder and Exile in the New World

Wonder and Exile in the New World

Alex Nava
  • Copyright: 2013
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 240 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-05993-8
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-05994-5
“A rare and brilliant book where exceptionally wide scholarship leads the Anglophone reader into a deeper understanding of some of the wondrous resources of Spanish-speaking cultures.”
Wonder and Exile in the New World is a truly exciting scholarly contribution with some profound insights into the soul of Spain and Latin America. Indeed, once I began reading this book, I could not put it down and read it in one day-long sitting. This is simply a mesmerizing work, which itself provokes the very sense of wonder that the author so painstakingly examines.”
“It is rare to find scholarly works that incorporate the qualities of profundity, novelty, and beauty in prose. Nava’s Wonder and Exile in the New World is one of these rare finds. And this says nothing of its most important achievement. Through a creative use of the concepts of wonder and exile, this work opens up possibilities for a new understanding of the creation of the Americas. And as if this were not enough already, it also helps us comprehend the religious dimensions in the works of classic Latin American writers. I can honestly say that I highly recommend reading this book.”
“Alex Nava traces the multiple and inextricable operations of wonder—awe and puzzlement, marvel and mystery, exuberance and exile—in Spain and Latin America over almost five centuries. Wonder is historicized, beginning with European wonderment at unknown territories and peoples in the Americas, moving to the very different kinds of wonderment in Cervantes and Sor Juana, and arriving at the magical realism of our own time. The Baroque and New World Baroque overarch this far-reaching study, underpin its comparative cultural insights, and amplify our own sense of wonder at the dimensions of our shared experience.”

In Wonder and Exile in the New World, Alex Nava explores the border regions between wonder and exile, particularly in relation to the New World. It traces the preoccupation with the concept of wonder in the history of the Americas, beginning with the first European encounters, goes on to investigate later representations in the Baroque age, and ultimately enters the twentieth century with the emergence of so-called magical realism. In telling the story of wonder in the New World, Nava gives special attention to the part it played in the history of violence and exile, either as a force that supported and reinforced the Conquest or as a voice of resistance and decolonization.

Focusing on the work of New World explorers, writers, and poets—and their literary descendants—Nava finds that wonder and exile have been two of the most significant metaphors within Latin American cultural, literary, and religious representations. Beginning with the period of the Conquest, especially with Cabeza de Vaca and Las Casas, continuing through the Baroque with Cervantes and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and moving into the twentieth century with Alejo Carpentier and Miguel Ángel Asturias, Nava produces a historical study of Latin American narrative in which religious and theological perspectives figure prominently.

Alex Nava is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Arizona.



List of Abbreviations


1 Wonder and Exile: Mystical and Prophetic Perspectives

2 Wanderers and Wonderers in the New World: Voices of the Dispossessed

3 The Hidden God of the Baroque: Baroque Wonders, Baroque Tragedies

4 Baroque Artists in Exile: Cervantes and Sor Juana

5 Mysticism and the Marvelous in Latin American Literature





Other Ways to Acquire

Buy from
Buy from an Independent Bookstore
Buy from Powell's Books
Get the Kobo Edition
Get the Kindle Edition
Get the iBook Edition

Also of Interest from Other University Presses

Also of interest book cover

Celestina′s Brood

Continuities of the Baroque in Spanish and Latin American Literature