The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
The well-known member of the avant-garde, Arturo Uslar Pietri, tracks the evolution of the portrayal of the Indian since the idyllic vision proposed by Columbus and Father Bartolomé de las Casas (both of whom were inspired by the myth of the Noble Savage), through the romantic view of inter-racial idylls expressed by François de Chateaubriand, to the first realistic image of a Latin American aborigine in his squalid native habitat (Clorinda Matto de Turner), which launched the “indigenist” protest literature of the twentieth century (Francisco de Icaza and Ciro Alegría).
Though the article focuses on the depiction of the Indian in literature, it also acknowledges an ideological relationship to the evolution of the Indian as portrayed in the visual arts, at least in places where “indigenist” art flourished (in the Andean and Mesoamerican countries). The Indian was idealized in terms of both his glorious past and his exotic present (Indianism), and was also the subject of critical and realistic views that were more closely aligned with a desire to denounce historic or current injustices, that is, colonial and nineteenth century exploitation or marginalization, respectively. Arturo Uslar Pietri was a member of a post-positivist generation whose interests, though cosmopolitan, were still to some extent rooted in “the American experience,” that acknowledged the value of Spanish culture as a guiding component of a broader mestizo culture.