Perspectives of the River Plate around the time of Rosas : an analysis based upon the personal correspondence, private memoirs and published accounts of British settlers, as well as works by creole authors
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This thesis draws inspiration from the emergence of cultural studies as an academic pursuit, in addition to the current renewal of interest in the relationship between literary works and their socio-cultural milieux, to bring together an assortment of textual traces pertaining to the River Plate around the era of Juan Manuel de Rosas, governor of Buenos Aires and de facto dictator of Argentina for most of the period 1829-1852. The main texts analysed range from private documents relating to two Scottish settler families, through accounts published by British citizens with first-hand knowledge of the region (Un inglés, Cinco años en Buenos Aires and Beaumont, Travels in Buenos Ayres and the Adjacent Provinces), to three influential pieces of early Argentinian literature (Echeverria's El matadero, Mármol's Amalia and Sarmiento's Facundo). One justification of this apparently eclectic approach lies in the prominence accorded to the incomer in the thought of liberal Platine intellectuals, a concern evinced in their literary production. The methodology involves examining the representation of certain fundamental topics across this range of written artefacts, observing frequent points of thematic convergence amongst the various texts. In this fashion, I construct an image of the River Plate region around the Rosas period, whilst also appraising the degree to which early British settlers matched the idealized notion of the immigrant present in liberal creole writings. The study is divided into four main chapters, supplemented by an introduction, conclusion and appendix. The first chapter summarizes the historical context of the young Platine republics; the second deals with the themes of society, community and family, the third focuses upon religion; the fourth considers perspectives of politics, dictatorship and civil war. The appendix consists of an unpublished settler autobiography, a remarkable account of the tribulations faced on a daily basis in the developing Argentina.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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