Latin American Studies

Excellence in Scholarship and Learning


The Body, Subject & Subjected

The Representation of the Body Itself, Illness, Injury, Treatment & Death in Spain and Indigenous and Hispanic American Art & Literature

The Editor, 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 Body, Subject & Subjected has won the South Central Modern Language Association book prize for 2016

Hominids have always been obsessed with representing their own bodies. The first “selfies” were prehistoric negative hand images and human stick figures, followed by stone and ceramic representations of the human figure. Thousands of years later, moving via historic art and literature to contemporary social media, the contemporary term “selfie” was self-generated.

The Body, Subject & Subjected illuminates some “selfies.” This collection of critical essays about the fixation on the human self addresses a multi-faceted geographic set of cultures – the Iberian Peninsula to pre-Columbian America and Hispanic America – analyzing such representations from medical, literal and metaphorical perspectives over centuries. Chapter contributions address the representation of the body itself as subject, in both visual and textual manners, and illuminate attempts at control of the environment, of perception, of behavior and of actions, by artists and authors. Other chapters address the body as subjected to circumstance, representing the body as affected by factors such as illness, injury, treatment and death. These myriad effects on the body are interpreted through the brushes of painters and the pens of authors for social and/or personal control purposes. The essays reveal critics’ insights when “selfies” are examined through a focused “lens” over a breadth of cultures. The result, complex and unique, is that what is viewed – the visual art and literature under discussion – becomes a mirror image, indistinguishable from the component viewing apparatus, the “lens”.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-740-7
Hardback Price: £55.00 / $69.95
Release Date: January 2016
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: Yes


Part I. Introduction to the Body as Subject: The Body Itself & Its Functions
I. The Body and Indigenous Control of Environment. The Fluids of Life: Blood, Water, Power and Bugs a la Tlaxcalteca, Jeanne Gillespie, PhD
II. The Body and Control via Artistic Exercise. Pablo Picasso: From Physical to Mental Dissection of the Human Body, Enrique Mallen, PhD
III. The Female Body and Control via Transformation: The Beauty and the Beast, Debra D. Andrist, PhD
IV. The Body and Caricature for Socio-Political Control. Aesthetically Resilient: Josep Bartolí Guiu’s Political Cartoons in España Libre (1939-1977 NYC), a Spanish Civil War Exile Newspaper, María Montserrat Feu López, PhD

Part II. Introduction to the Body as Subjected to Dysfunctions, Illness & Injury
V. Control of the Dysfunctional Body. Seeing With Eyes Shut: Representations of Blindness in Pablo Picasso, Enrique Mallén, PhD
VI. Control of the Female Body. Threats and Violence vs. Strategies, Debra D. Andrist, PhD
VII. Control of the “Gay” Male Body. Ravaged by Disease, AIDS in the Latin-American Literature Scenario, Jorge Chavarro, MD, MA (co-translated by Debra D. Andrist, PhD)

Part III. Introduction to the Body as Subjected: Prescriptions for Treatment/Cures (Medical and/or Other Interventions)
VIII. The Body Cured by Cleansing: Washing Away the Evidence: Midwives and Ritual Cleansing in Mesoamerica and Colonial New Spain, Jeanne Gillespie, PhD
IX. The Body Cured by Plants: Where Have all the (Chocolate and Popcorn) Flowers Gone? Recovering Healing Botanicals in Nahuatl Poetry, Jeanne Gillespie, PhD
X. The (Spiritual) Body Cured by Alchemy: Francisco de Quevedo and His Knowledge of Alchemy, RoseMary Salum-Nemer, MA (translated by Debra D. Andrist, PhD)

Part IV. The Body as Subjected: Death
XI. The Body as Sacrifice for the Future: La Llorona: Death of a Boy, Birth of a Nation, Norma A. Mouton, PhD
XII. The (Dead) Body as Catharsis in Art: Death & the Mask in Pablo Picasso, Enrique Mallen, PhD
XIII. The Transcendence of the Body: Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera: Love and Death as New-World Mosaic, Lauren M. P. Derby, ABD



Contributors in languages and literatures examine the art and literature of the Hispanic world, looking at representations of the human body in art and literature of the Iberian Peninsula, Spain, pre-Columbian America, and Hispanic America. Chapters are grouped in sections on representations of the body itself and its functions; representations of the body’s dysfunctions, illness, and injury; and representations of treatments and cures. The book includes chapter-length studies of art and writing by figures including painter Pablo Picasso, political cartoonist Josep Bartol<’i> Guiu, and writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Other topics addressed include control of the female body, the gay male body ravaged by AIDS in Latin American literature, and midwives and ritual cleansing in Mesoamerica and Colonial New Spain. Black and white photos of art are included.

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