The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Mary Ellis Kahler's compilation of the calendar, and J. Benedict War-
ren's painstaking translation of selected documents, together make this guide
an important aid to the study of sixteenth-century New Spain. There is,
unfortunately, little of specific value for students of the Mexican north or
the borderlands aside from some isolated references to preparations for the
conquest of Nueva Galicia (in the late Howard F. Cline's explanatory notes
on the Huejotzingo Codex.)
Southwest Missouri State University DAVID B. ADAMS
American and British Writers in Mexico, 1556-1973. By Drewey Wayne
Gunn. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1974. Pp. iv+30I. Bibli-
ography, index. $12.50.)
Professor Gunn has staked out a territory large enough to include many
writers of particular interest to students of southwestern literature and of
Mexico. He has attempted to put into perspective as many travel accounts,
poems, novels, and stories about Mexico, written by American or British
authors, as he can include. The work is sometimes a survey, sometimes a
more comprehensive study of individual writers, with the main considera-
tion being that an author's work somehow touch on the culture of Mexico.
While some writers have only minor connections (Joseph Conrad, for ex-
ample), major literary figures receive lengthy assessment: Graham Greene,
D. H. Lawrence, and Malcolm Lowry among the English, and Hart Crane,
Archibald MacLeish, Tennessee Williams, and Katherine Anne Porter
among the American.
The early twentieth century is really the focus of the book. Devoting a
chapter each to Lawrence and Porter, Gunn moves through the lesser
luminaries with rapid appraisals. Langston Hughes, whose father had sought
refuge in Mexico because of racial discrimination; R. B. Cunninghame
Graham, occasional cowpuncher in Texas and full time English eccentric;
the mysterious B. Traven, author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre-
the reader is often surprised to discover just who was in Mexico, and when.
Unfortunately, even the panorama of the 192os and I930s is too large,
and the author, in trying to give us biography, literary criticism, and literary
history, mostly in the context of the political scene, passes lightly over cer-
tain writers. Tom Lea gets two sentences, only slightly less than J.' Frank
Dobie, whose "intimate knowledge" of Mexican culture is apparently unac-
ceptable because it is "romanticized." To balance this, though, we are
spared having to dwell at length on the Beat generation that followed Jack
Kerouac into Mexico.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/. Accessed August 29, 2014.