Chicano Novels and the Politics of Form

Race, Class, and Reification
Marcial González
Explores the relationship between race and class and between politics and literary form in major works of Chicano literature over the last hundred years


The field of Mexican American fiction has exploded since the 1990s, yet there has been relatively little critical assessment of this burgeoning area in American literature. Chicano Novels and the Politics of Form is a provocative and timely study of literary form that focuses on the fiction of four writers whose work spans a century: María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Danny Santiago, and Cecile Pineda.

Drawing on the Marxist concepts of reification to examine the connections between social history and narrative, Marcial González highlights the relationship between race and class in these works and situates them as historical responses to Mexican American racial, political, and social movements since the late nineteenth century.

The book sheds light on the relationship between politics and form in the novel, an issue that has long intrigued literary scholars. This timely and original study will appeal to scholars and students of American literature, ethnic studies, Latino studies, critical race theory, and Marxist literary theory.

Illustration: Untitled, charcoal, 1992, by Malaquias Montoya, courtesy of the artist.

Marcial González is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

Praise / Awards

  • "A well-theorized and provocative study that offers a much needed sustained focus on the impact of class through reification, on Chicano identity. . . [and] valuable contribution to ongoing debates about critical paradigms in Chicana/o studies, especially in the scholarship about power and limitations of the narrative form."
    —Louis Mendoza, University of Minnesota

  • "A first-rate book that will be widely read by scholars, teachers, and students interested in seeing how a Marxist goes beyond 'intersectionality' theory in his articulation of the multiple connections among politics, history, class, ethnicity/race, and identity."
    —Barbara Foley, Rutgers University

Look Inside

Copyright © 2008, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 280pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2008
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07045-9

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  • $94.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2008
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05045-1

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  • $33.95 U.S.



  • Chicano and Chicana literature, Mexican American culture, Marxist literary theory, Reification, Commodity Fetishism, Mexico, class studies, Latino studies, American studies, race studies, nineteenth century