In this essay, Mariátegui offers an analysis of Peruvian literary practices and a criticism of some of its central figures. He argues that what has been construed as a “national literature” erases the contributions of Indigenous cultures to Peruvian identity, and, in doing so, it partly contributes to the marginalization of Indigenous Peruvians.
Comment (from this Blueprint): Mariátegui’s criticism of the Latin American literary canon is interesting because he brings forward the way in which Eurocentric mestizaje has shaped the aesthetic practices that are regarded as constitutive of Latin American identity. Much like Adrian Piper’s criticism of critical hegemony in the arts, Mariátegui argues that the Latin American literary canon is built on “Hispanism, colonialism, and social privilege” that is passed as a neutral academic spirit. Mariátegui shows, therefore, how even in mestizaje taste remains racialized.