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Theater & Drama / Latin American & Latino Studies / Women's Studies

 

The Plays of Josefina Niggli
Recovered Landmarks of Latino Literature
Josefina Niggli
Edited by William Orchard and Yolanda Padilla

Josefina Niggli's ghost haunts the fields of Mexican American and Chicana/o Studies, which have been uncomfortable with her exclusion but hesitant to embrace her fully.”–from the introduction

Josefina Niggli (1910–1983) was one of the most successful Mexican American writers of the early twentieth century. Born of European parents and raised in Mexico, she spent most of her adult life in the United States, and in her plays and novels she aimed to portray authentic Mexican experiences for English-speaking audiences. Niggli crossed borders, cultures, and genres, and her life and work prompt interesting questions about race, class, gender, modernity, ethnic and national identity, and the formation of literary canons.

Although Niggli is perhaps best known for her fiction and folk plays, this anthology recovers her historical dramas, most of which have been long out of print or were never published. These plays are deeply concerned with the aftermath of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, imagining its implications for Mexico, Mexican Americans, and U.S.–Mexico relations. Included are Mexican Silhouettes (1928), Singing Valley (1936), The Cry of Dolores (1936), The Fair God (1936), Soldadera (1938), This is Villa! (1939), and The Ring of General Macias (1943). These works reflect on the making of history and often portray the Revolution through the lens of women's experiences.

Also included in this volume are an extensive critical introduction to Niggli, a chronology of her life and writings, and a selection of letters and reviews by, to, and about Josefina Niggli that provide illuminating context for the plays.

Padilla and Orchard have completed the formidable task of revitalizing the archive of Mexican American author Josefina Niggli, a writer whose production defies easy categorization but whose time has arrived thanks to the vicissitudes of cultural styles and newer rehearsals in Chicano-Latino literary history.–Roberto Tejada, University of California, San Diego

this is an old black and white photo of Niggli in Mexican costume. Josefina Niggli was an accomplished playwright, novelist, screenwriter, and teacher. She was associated with the San Antonio Little Theater, the Carolina Playmakers, and the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. As a screenwriter, she worked for Twentieth Century Fox and MGM, where she adapted her novel Mexican Village for the screen. Niggli was a faculty member at the University of North Carolina and at Western Carolina University, where a campus theater is named for her.

William Orchard is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Chicago and was a Cesar Chavez Fellow at Dartmouth College. Yolanda Padilla is assistant professor in the Department of English and in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at publicity@uwpress.wisc.edu or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

Of Related Interest:
A Pan-American Life
Muna Lee
Edited and with biography by Jonathan Cohen
Foreword by Aurora Levins Morales



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Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at publicity@uwpress.wisc.edu or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)


The cover of the Niggli book is illustrated with an old photo of Niggli in Mexican costume.

October 2007

328 pp.  6 x 9

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ISBN 978-0-299-22454-6
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