Who Would Have Thought It? (Penguin Classics)

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9780143105879: Who Would Have Thought It? (Penguin Classics)

A major rediscovery—the first novel by a Mexican American Woman

María Amparo Ruiz de Burton was the first Mexican American woman to write novels in English and the first nineteenth-century California writer to publish a novel in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War. Her first book, Who Would Have Thought It?, tells the story of Lola, a young, orphaned Mexican girl rescued from Indian captors by one Dr. Norval, who returns with Lola to his New England home. Though the townspeople initially shun the interloper, they become transfixed by Lola once word about the gold accompanying her gets out. Through the riveting personal story of a young girl’s coming-of-age, Who Would Have Thought It? offers a stunning portrayal of the clash of cultures and communities, and a fresh perspective on Civil War America.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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About the Author:

MarIa Amparo Ruiz De Burton (1832-1895) was born in Loreto, Baja Mexico to a military elite family. She experienced the Mexican American War, the Civil War, and the French invasion of Mexico. This led her to a life of writing. She is the first nineteenth-century Californian novelist, and nationally, she is the first Mexican American woman to publish a novel after the end of the Mexican-American War (1848). In addition to Who Would Have Thought It? (1872), she also published the novel, the Squatter and the Don (1885) and is the author of the play, Don Quixote de la Mancha: A Comedy in Five Acts. Amelia MarIa de la Luz Montes is Associate Professor of English and Director of The Institute for Ethnic Studies at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the co-editor of Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton: Critical and Pedagogical Perspectives (2004) and has published in nineteenth and twentieth-century literature and theory. She also publishes fiction. She is currently at work on a fictional memoir and critical text on Latina writers and artists of the Midwest. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.

From Publishers Weekly:

The insights into class and race in this clever satire set during and after the Civil War give it a thoroughly contemporary feel. It is even more astounding, then, to learn that it was first published in 1872, and that the author was not even a native English speaker. Burton (The Squatter and the Don) was a Baja California native who married a colonel in the Union Army, and here she combines to good effect both solid insider information and her perspective as an outsider. Dr. Norval returns to New England from a trip west carrying more than luggage. While in an Indian camp, Norval rescued a ten-year-old girl, whose mother was a kidnapped Mexican woman desperate to return Lola to the girl's father. Lola is scorned both by the local gentry, who believe she is either black or Indian, and by the doctor's wife?at least until Dr. Norval reveals that she was accompanied by a lot of gold. When word of her wealth gets out, Lola is treated like a lady as the townspeople begin complex plans to get close to her and her money. The details are exquisite. Burton excels at picking names for these supposedly good Christians, from Mrs. Cackle to the Reverends Hackwell and Hammerhard. In short chapters with titles like "Potations, Plotting and Propriety," Burton details the intricate mess of love and proposals?both honest and contrived. A thorough introduction traces specific themes like the novel's precocious portrayal of women entering the public sphere, and footnotes lend helpful historical background. In the end it is the story that counts, though, and this is a fully entertaining read that stands on its own against much of today's fiction.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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