This excellent literary history is subtly written, sensitive to irony and surprise, and illuminating in its use of literary theories to shed new light on old texts. Escribiendo desde los márgenes focuses on a remarkable body of Jesuit chronicles and letters written in eighteenth-century northwest Mexico. Ivonne del Valle argues that the Jesuit authors of these texts were agents of an enlightened monarchy seeking to conquer the world with science. She complicates this argument by showing that the Jesuits were ordinary men with hard jobs and personal failings, and that there were many instances in which the Black Robes were threatened and frustrated by the native people they were trying to conquer. Del Valle’s key themes are thus the vulnerabilities of the Jesuits and the weakness of the empire they worked for. This perceptive choice of subject matter and the book’s many sparkling...

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