Legras's Literature and Subjection offers excellent readings of both Latin American fiction and Western theory. He illustrates the particularity of the link between Latin American fiction and history, on the one hand, and between Latin American culture and modern European epistemology on the other. This combination of discourses represents a rare feat in the field of Latin American studies, and makes for an outstanding book.
In Literature and Subjection, Horacio Legras employs theoretical, philosophical, cultural, political, and historical analysis to assess the factors that have both facilitated and stifled the integration of peripheral experiences into Latin American literature. Legras examines a handful of contemporary authors who have attempted in earnest to present marginalized voices to the Western world, and evaluates the success or failure of these endeavors. His deep and insightful evaluation of key works by novelists Juan Jose Saer (The Witness), Nellie Campobello (Cartucho), Roa Bastos (Son of Man), and Jose Maria Arguedas (The Fox from Up Above and the Fox from Down Below), among others, provides a theoretical basis for understanding the plight of the author, the peripheral voice, and the confines of the literary medium. What emerges is an intricate discussion of the clash and subjugation of cultures and the tragedy of a lost worldview.
Legras proposes to rethink the history of Latin American literature as a project whose purpose is to deal with peripheral peoples while he analyzes its role in the machinery that creates and maintains subjection. It is a conceptual project that reorganizes the corpus in ways that allow the emergence of new insights and a novel understanding of Latin American literature.