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The Magic Lantern: Having a Ball and Christmas Eve [Hardcover]

Jose Tomas de Cuellar


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Book Description

Nov. 16 2000 Library of Latin America
Jose Tomas de Cuellar (1830-1894) was a Mexican writer noted for his sharp sense of humor and gift for caricature. Having a Ball and Christmas Eve are two novellas written in the costumbrista style, made popular in the mid-nineteenth century by the periodical press in which these sketches of contemporary manners were first published. The stories are a sensitive reflection of the effects of modernization brought by an authoritarian regime dedicated to order and progress. Christmas Eve describes a volatile middle class in which people pursue pleasure and entertainment without regard to morality. Having a Ball depicts women and their dedication to fashion. It is through them that Cuellar examines a society susceptible to foreign values, the importation of which radically altered the face of Mexico and its traditional customs.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (Nov. 16 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195115023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195115024
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.7 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 399 g

Product Description

From Booklist

Oxford's Library of Latin America series is devoted to bringing the best of Central and South American literature to a North American audience; often these works are being translated into English for the first time. De Cuellar's The Magic Lantern provides a sardonic look at the manners of late-nineteenth-century Mexico in two novellas. The first, "Having a Ball," chronicles the planning of a party, hosted by a family among Mexico City's burgeoning nouveaux riches. The family, not knowing any of the "best" families but nonetheless wanting them to be invited, leaves the planning of the ball to a servant. The best families turn out to be the worst mannered, the house gets trashed, and reputations are ruined in this look at Mexican families adhering to European pretenses. "Christmas Eve" is an ambitious, short novella that presents a series of brief snapshots (or "exposed negatives," as the subtitle suggests) of a party given one Christmas Eve by a well-connected general for his mistress. The Magic Lantern is a well-constructed comedy of manners, showing de Cuellar to be Mexico's Balzac. Michael Spinella
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Today's reader will quickly draw parallels to these same issues in modern society and may find the depiction of racial prejudice especially disquieting...highly recommended."Library Journal

"The Magic Lantern is a well-constructed comedy of manners, showing de Cuellar to be Mexico's Balzac."--Booklist

"Oxford's Library of Latin America series is devoted to bringing the best of Central and South American literature to a North American audience; often these works are being translated into English for the first time....The Magic Lantern is a well-constructed comedy of manners, showing de Cuellar to be Mexico's Balzac."--Booklist

"Showing keen insight into the natures of men and women across race and class lines, de Cuellar addresses immorality, the breakdown of traditional family structure, and distorted ideals of female beauty. Today's reader will quickly draw parallels to these same issues in modern society and may find the depiction of racial prejudice especially disquieting....highly recommended..."--Library Journal

SERIES QUOTE: "With this new series by Oxford University Press, the library of Latin America is literally open to North Americans and English speakers everywhere."--Julia Alvarez

SERIES QUOTE: "With the Library of Latin America, Oxford has opened up a new fronteir that may prove as exciting and enigmatic as the continent itself."--The Herald, South Carolina --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It all begins with a birthday celebration for Matilde, the young lady of the house, and her papa-who loves her dearly, and has just turned a splendid business deal-is going to spare no expense. Read the first page
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