Liste-Noya, José and Eduardo Barros-Grela, eds. American Secrets: The Politics and
Poetics of Secrecy in the Literature and Culture of the United States. Lanham, Maryland:
Farleigh Dickinson UP, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-61147-007-9; 265 páginas).
Predicated upon the principles of political freedom, cultural openness, religious tolerance,
individual self-reliance, and ethnic diversity, the United States of America has been tempted
recurrently by the lures of the secret. American Secrets explores this political, historical, and
cultural phenomenon from many, often surprisingly, overlapping angles in these analyses of
the literary and cultural uses and abuses of secrecy within a democratic culture. Through
analyses of diverse literary works and cultural manifestations-from Mark Twain's antiimperialist
prophecies to 9/11 conspiracy theories, from the traumas of the Vietnam war to
the homophobia of the American military establishment, from the unresolved dilemmas of
nuclear politics to the secret ecologies shunted aside by the exploitation of the environment,
from the questionings of national identity on the ethnic and (trans)sexual margins to the
confessional modes of poetry and the poetics of the unspeakable and unrepresentable-these
essays reveal the politics within the poetics and, indissociably, the poetics fueling the politics
of secrecy in its ambivalent deployment.
Secrecy often seems to be a question without an answer or an answer that either seems to beg
the question or to be a question itself. These essays address this paradox with their own
questioning explorations. In answering such questions, the volume as a whole provides an
illuminating overview of the pervasiveness of the secret and its modalities in American
culture while also dealing specifically with the poetics of the secret in its various, historically
recurrent literary manifestations.
The chapters are contributed by: José Liste-Noya, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Carmen Méndez
García, Esther Pérez Villalba, David Río, Boris Vejdovsky, Robert Vorlicky, Marie C.
Bouchet, Carmen Induráin Eraso, Inmaculada Lara Bonilla, Steve Schessler, Paul Scott
Derrick, Jefferey Simons, Carmen Flys Junquera, Christian Hummelsund Voie, Aitor
Ibarrola-Armendáriz, and María Frías.
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