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Tropes of Enlightenment in the Age of Bolívar: Simón Rodríguez and the American Essay at Revolution

Abstract

A recovery and interpretation of Simón Rodríguez’s aesthetic for the post-independence American essay.

Briggs, Ronald D. Tropes of Enlightenment in the Age of Bolívar: Simón Rodríguez and the American Essay at Revolution. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2010. Print.

This book analyzes the entire body of Rodríguez’s work—letters, essays, scientific treatises—and demonstrate his place in and influence on the intellectual and literary history of the Americas. By breaking Rodríguez’s conception of American enlightenment into a series of rhetorical and philosophical tropes—asylum, encounters with nature, progressive educational reform, revolution, utopianism—it argues that Rodríguez’s writings self-consciously recycle the already fossilized terminology of intellectual progress inherited from Europe to forge a radical vision for an avant-garde society in equally experimental prose.

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