By Brian L. Price (auth.)

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Additional info for Cult of Defeat in Mexico’s Historical Fiction: Failure, Trauma, and Loss

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In fact, a long list of such phrases has entered Mexico’s popular history. Insurgent general José María Morelos, on trial before the colonial inquisition, heroically stated “Morir es nada cuando por la patria se muere,” [death is nothing when one dies for the nation] cited in the title of Pedro Angel Palou’s novel, Morelos: Morir es nada. Faced with the impending secession of Texas in 1836, Antonio López de Santa Anna harangued: “La línea divisoria entre México y Estados Unidos se fijará junto a la boca de mis cañones” [The border between Mexico and the United States will be established by the line of my cannons].

Because such a cry might question PRI legitimacy, or because calling on a Spanish ruler might diminish the American spirit of the father of independence, these embarrassing parts are erased from the historical record. Similarly, because the play ends with the grito de Dolores, the audience does not witness the chaotic and destructive march of the insurgent armies through the Mexican Bajío and does not reflect on the ugly aspects of the revolution. Ibargüengoitia symbolically purges the sackings, rapes, and murders from the historical record and leaves us a sanitized, politically correct version.

Novo told him that President Adolfo López Mateo had opened a competition for theatrical works celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Mexican Revolution and the one-hundred-fiftieth anniversary of independence, and Novo commissioned him on the spot for a play on either of the two subjects. Ibargüengoitia set off with half of the money and returned two weeks later with the finished piece only to find that the president had cancelled the competition and Novo was unable to pay the second half.

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