The Sphynx of San Cosme: A Historian’s Thoughts on Writing a Biography

Autores/as

  • Eric Van Young University of California

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.22136/korpus212024167

Palabras clave:

Psychohistory, Sources, Unreliable Narrator, Memorias, Alamán

Resumen

This essay is drawn from the author’s experience researching and writing a biography of Lucas Alamán (1792-1853). The author recounts the path he followed leading him, as a historian, to tackle the genre of biography, and some of the  frustrations he encountered in choosing to write a biographical study of Alamán, a particularly opaque personality. The importance and pleasure of writing and reading biography in general is discussed, different frameworks for the writing of biography are proposed (one of the most promising, but riskiest, being that of psychohistory), sources of different sorts are analyzed, and narrative strategies addressed.

Biografía del autor/a

Eric Van Young, University of California

Is doctor in History from the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California at San Diego, corresponding member of both the Mexican Academy of Sciences and the Mexican Academy of History. His lines of research focus on 19th century colonial and Latin American history, with an emphasis on Mexico. His thematic interests include rural history, peasant movements and political violence, cultural history, historiography, and biography. He has received different awards, such as the Bolton-Johnson prize from the Conference on Latin American History, the “Hubert Herring Award” and the “Thomas F. McGann Memorial Prize in History”. His most recent publications include, as author: A Life Together: Lucas Alamán and Mexico, 1792-1853, New Haven, Yale University Press (2021); “Between Bustamante and Burke: Lucas Alamán’s Historical Project”, Korpus 21, 1 (3), Zinacantepec, El Colegio Mexiquense, pp. 395-418 (2021); Economía, política y cultura en la historia de México: Ensayos historiográficos, metodológicos y teóricos de tres décadas, San Luis Potosí, El Colegio de San Luis/El Colegio de Michoacán/El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (2010); and Writing Mexican History, Stanford, Stanford University Press (2012).

Citas

Anderson, Benedict O’G. (2006), Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed., London and New York, Verso.

Alamán, Lucas (2003), Épocas de los principales sucesos de mi vida, paleography by Isauro Rionda Arreguín and Amor Mildred Escalante, Guanajuato, Archivo General del Gobierno del Estado de Guanajuato.

Alamán, Lucas (2006), Examen imparcial de la administración de Bustamante, with an introduction by José Antonio Aguilar Rivera, Mexico City, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, pp. 47-193.

Alamán, Lucas (1968), Historia de Méjico desde los primeros movimientos que prepararon su independencia en el año de 1808, hasta la época presente, 2nd ed., 5 vol., México, Editorial Jus.

Arechederreta, Juan Bautista (1927), “Apuntes históricos de la revolución del reino de la Nueva España,” in Morelos: documentos inéditos y poco conocidos, vol. 3, Mexico City, Publicaciones de la Secretaría de Educación Pública, pp. 237-627.

Bird, Kai and Sherwin, Martin J. (2005), American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, New York, A.A. Knopf.

Brading, David A. (1971), Miners and Merchants in Bourbon Mexico, 1763-1810, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Campbell, J.F. (2008), “To Bury Freud on Wilson [sic]”, Modern Austrian Literature, 41 (2), Vienna, Association of Austrian Studies, pp. 41-56, <https://acortar.link/SXU0bg>, october 28, 2023.

Davis, Natalie Z. (1987), Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France, Stanford, Stanford University Press.

Ellman, Richard (1987), Oscar Wilde, New York, Vintage Books.

Erikson, Erik H. (1975), Life History and the Historical Moment, New York, W.W. Norton and Co.

Erikson, Erik H. (1967), “The Strange Case of Freud, Bullitt, and Woodrow Wilson: I”, in New York Review of Books, New York, February 9.

Foucault, Michel (ed.) (1975), I, Pierre Riviére, Having Slaughtered My Mother, My Sister, and my Brother…: A Case of Parricide in the 19th Century, translated by Frank Jelinek, New York, Pantheon Books.

Freud, Sigmund (2003), The Schreber Case, translated by Andrew Webber, with a contribution by Colin McCabe, New York, Penguin Classics.

Freud, Sigmund and Bullitt, William C. (1967), Thomas Woodrow Wilson, Twenty-eighth President of the United States: A Psychological Study, New York, Houghton Mifflin.

Freud, Sigmund (1957), “Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood [1910],” The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, translated from the German under the General Editorship of James Strachey, vol. XI, London, The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, pp. 59-137.

Ginzburg, Carlo (1980), The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller, translated by John Tedeschi, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Howard L. Kushner (1993), “Taking Erikson’s Identity Seriously: Psychoanalyzing the Psychohistorian”, The Psychohistory Review, 22, pp. 7-34.

Ladd, Doris M. (1976), The Mexican Nobility at Independence, 1780-1826, Austin: University of Texas Press.

Loewenberg, Peter J. (1983), Decoding the Past: The Psychohistorical Approach, New Brunswick, Transaction Publishers.

Mack, John E. (1998), A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T.E. Lawrence, Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press.

Morris, Edmund (2010), The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, 3 vols., Random House.

Prieto, Guillermo (1906), Memorias de mis tiempos…, Nicolás León (ed.), 2 vols., Paris, Vda. De Bouret.

Raspe, Rudolph Erich (1785), Baron Münchausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous [sic] Travels and Campaigns in Russia.

Rollyson, Carl (2005), A Higher Form of Cannibalism? Adventures in the Art and Politics of Biography, Chicago, Ivan R. Dee. Runyan, William McKinley (1988), Psychology and Historical Interpretation, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Schreber, Daniel Paul (2020), Memoirs of my Nervous Illness, New York, New York Review of Books.

Silva, Carlos and Álvarez de la Borda, Joel (eds.) (2013), Un documento, una época: 500 años del notariado en México, Mexico City, Quinta Chilla Ediciones.

Skidelsky, Robert (2005), John Maynard Keynes, 1883-1946: Economist, Philosopher, Statesman, New York, Penguin Books.

Valadés, José C. (1977), Alamán: estadista e historiador, Mexico City, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Van Young, Eric (2021), A Life Together: Lucas Alamán and Mexico, 1792-1853, New Haven, Yale University Press.

Van Young, Eric (2018), “Adventures with Don Luquitas: Exploring Our Obligations as Biographers”, The Americas, 75 (3), pp. 453-462.

Van Young, Eric (2012), La Otra Rebelión: La lucha por la independencia en México, 1810-1821, traducción del inglés por Rossana Reyes, México, Fondo de la Cultura Económica.

Van Young, Eric (2005), “Ascenso y caída de una loca utopía: El Manicomio General en la Ciudad de México a comienzos del siglo XX,” in Diego Armus (ed.), Avatares de la medicalización en América Latina, Buenos Aires, Lugar Editorial, pp. 253-273.

Van Young, Eric (2001), “Ascenso y caída de una loca utopía: Estudio introductorio”, Secuencia: Revista de historia y ciencias sociales, Mexico City, Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José María Luis Mora, 51, pp. 11-29.

Van Young, Eric (1992), “El sociópata: Agustín Marroquín,” in Felipe Castro Gutiérrez, Virginia Guedea, and José Luis Mirafuentes (eds.), Organización y liderazgo de los movimientos populares novohispanos, México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, pp. 219-253.

Van Young, Eric (1986), “Millennium on the Northern Marches: The Mad Messiah of Durango and Popular Rebellion in Mexico, 1800-1815,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 28, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 385-413.

Publicado

2023-12-15

Número

Sección

Artículos