Christian Duverger (compiler), Cortés, writer, Government of the State of Guanajuato/Cervantina Foundation of Mexico, A.C./Centro de Estudios Cervantinos, A.C., 2020

This book is an anthology of papers that revolve around the figure of Cortés the writer, presented within the framework of the International Cervantino Colloquium, whose last three editions (2017, 2018 and 2019) have been dedicated to the study of early Mexican literature, specifically investigating its mestizo dimension. The concept of “literature”, here, includes the stories of the conquest, ethnographic chronicles, the transcriptions of pictographic manuscripts in Latin characters… In this abundant literature, the writings of Hernán Cortés stand out: they are equally important as his exploits of conquest.

Nine texts make up the book, which is divided into two parts: the first brings together five works on the Cartas de Relacion by Cortés officially addressed to the King of Spain, which were always intended for printing and saw various editions; the second includes the studies of four professors who explore the inherent duality of this narrative form, which, in Duverger’s words, “pretends to express submission to royal power, but in reality obeys a great freedom of spirit.”

Cortés, writer, enjoys a great distinction: it is illustrated by Emiliano Gironella, who has already used his artistic talent to defend the cause of Mexico´s reconciliation with its past. In the series of 13 illustrations, 8 made expressly for this collaboration, the feather is a constant element. As a symbol of the wars between indigenous people and a symbol of Hispanic culture, the feather synthesizes the dual life of the conqueror-writer, who straddles the two worlds.