Caught between the Lines


Caught between the Lines

Captives, Frontiers, and National Identity in Argentine Literature and Art

Carlos Riobó

New Hispanisms Series

198 pages
13 illustrations, index


April 2019


$45.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2019


$45.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2019


$45.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Caught between the Lines examines how the figure of the captive and the notion of borders have been used in Argentine literature and painting to reflect competing notions of national identity from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Challenging the conventional approach to the nineteenth-century trope of “civilization versus barbary,” which was intended to criticize the social and ethnic divisions within Argentina in order to create a homogenous society, Carlos Riobó traces the various versions of colonial captivity legends. He argues convincingly that the historical conditions of the colonial period created an ethnic hybridity—a mestizo or culturally mixed identity—that went against the state compulsion for a racially pure identity. This mestizaje was signified not only in Argentina’s literature but also in its art, and Riobó thus analyzes colonial paintings as well as texts.

Caught between the Lines focuses on borders and mestizaje (both biological and cultural) as they relate to captives: specifically, how captives have been used to create a national image of Argentina that relies on a logic of separation to justify concepts of national purity and to deny transculturation. 

Author Bio

Carlos Riobó is a professor of Spanish and comparative literature at the City College of New York and the Graduate Center–CUNY. He is the author of Sub-Versions of the Archive: Manuel Puig’s and Severo Sarduy’s Alternative Identities.


“An outstanding book. The subject of the captive is deeply embedded in the Argentine imagination, and Carlos Riobó reveals its every nuance, from nineteenth-century myths of national racial purity to the re-identification of all its components during the Perón era. A book like this can only be the product of a great teacher who has labored to make his subject attractive to undergraduates. With this book Riobó has established a niche for himself: it sets a professional standard.”—Alfred Mac Adam, professor of Spanish at Barnard College, Columbia University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. A National Trope: Captivity within Argentine History
2. Crossing Borders: Mestizaje and Frontiers
3. Ambivalent Histories: An Early Legend and a First-Person Account
4. Captives in Argentine Literature: A Mimetic Historical Record
5. Virtue-al Representations: Captives in Argentine Art