Nacionalismo, Ironía y Desilusión en la Obra Narrativa de José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi
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This study examines the concept of nationalism in two of the first modern novels written in Mexico during the War of Independence (1810-1821). Following the theoretical framework of nationalism as conceptualized by Benedict Anderson in his landmark Imagined Communities, I explore how José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi uses the novel as a means to create a national consciousness in his community. While in his first novel, El Periquillo Sarniento (The Mangy Parrot), Fernández de Lizardi preaches directly to his readers, critically presenting his moralistic ideologies regarding the customs and institutions of society, in his final novel, Don Catrín de la Fachenda, he expresses a proto-Romantic feeling of disillusion towards the progressive movement and the possibility of a cooperative Mexican community. While these novels have been seen as clear examples of nation-building by other critics, I argue that there is a shift from Neoclassical didactic tendencies to Romantic expression through satire that suggests the uncertainty of such projects. Regardless of Fernández de Lizardi’s intentions, the two novels continue to be valuable not only for their moral and philosophic musings, but also for their representation of Independence-era Mexico and its customs.