English 363: Experimental Hispanic Literatures

Queens College, City University of New York

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Class Notes, 21 Nov. 2011

November 21st, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized

NO CLASS  11/23/2011:    H  A  P  P  Y    T  H  A  N  K  S  G  I  V  I  N  G

NEXT RESPONSE DUE NEXT CLASS: remember to focus on Latin American Literature or something with history or culture.

For notes on Foster’s method of composing Atomik Aztex and its “plot secrets” check out his blog:


Summary of early chapters of the novel (class discussion)

Ch.1: Aztek world: Z told by his commander he will go toRussia, and Z has visions, and he’s searching for a cure . . . Z working in the meat factory and Z describes the slaughter of the pigs; also introduced to the two shifting realities (Pg. 5 Wurlitzer); mention of ghosts


Ch.2: Z’s encounter with the prostitutes; introduction to Aztek time; captives and slaves in the Aztek reality (Aztek slave market/trade—globalization); two portrayals of Z’s wife Xiuh X is “sh”, Xiuh at the meat packing plant, marriage falling apart, his kids in this reality he doesn’t seem to have a relationship / Xiuh the Aztek reality, she takes care of him, she has more power, and also gives him political advice; they have sex . . . or she’s still married to him.


Ch.3: Z going to work with 3Turkey, Z has a bad feeling, maybe he would get fired; Max (Z’s foreman at the Farmer John); Nita (union representative), N wants the workers to unionize; she wants Z’s help . . . Z has fantasies about her . . . switch to Aztek visions: Z spitting random visions from “the other world” on to Russia to fight the Nazis; the jazz scene, mention of the “jaguar spirit” (all the human characters connected to animal spirits) “Nahua” or animal guardian angel—MAGIC, see pg. 64


Ch.4: Z meets with Nita, discusses the future union organizing; man burning in the street . . . Z tries to explain the realities (Dante’s Inferno), “In one world . . .” ; Z is the constant between realities, but he changes within realities too; sarcasm in the explanation of the different realities (political critique of this reality we live in the USA 2000s);

Pg. 64: “the Aztex are just better”; Aztek nahuales, European angels: satire of Aztek ethnocentrism, critique on USA’s global dominance and ethnocentrism.


OED defintion for “Nahual” or “Nagual” (alternate spelling):

nagual, n.

Pronunciation:  Brit. /nəˈgwɑːl/ , U.S. /nəˈgwɑl/
Inflections:  Plural nagualsnaguales Brit. /nəˈgwɑːleɪz/ , U.S. /nəˈgwɑˌleɪz/ nahuales Brit. /nəˈ(h)wɑːleɪz/ , U.S. /nəˈ(h)wɑˌleɪz/ .
Forms:  18– nagual, 19– nahual Brit. /nəˈ(h)wɑːl/ , U.S. /nəˈ(h)wɑl/ , 19– nawal (rare). Also with capital initial.
Etymology:  < Mexican Spanish nagual , nahual sorceror, companion < Nahuatl nahualli guardian spirit residing in an animal.

  Among certain indigenous peoples of Mexico and surrounding countries: a guardian spirit in animal form, believed to accompany and guide an individual through life; an animal form believed to be assumed by a human through magical or supernatural means.

1822    P. F. Cabrera tr. N. de la Vega in Teatro Critico Americano 123   They persuade the children, by their infernal cunning, that this Nagual is an angel, sent by God to watch over their fortunes.
1877    Catholic World Apr. 6/2   All those who have studied at all the pueblos of New Mexico describe to some extent the nagual rites, some of which are indeed hidden under the veil of secrecy in their estufas, but others are more open and avowed.
1902    Rep. Brit. Assoc. Advancem. Sci. 741   The guardian spirit was obtained in various ways by different American tribes, but the dream apparition was the most widely spread.‥ It is termed by the Algonkin manitu, by the Huron okki, by the Salish Indians sulia, and nagual in Mexico.
1939    Sci. Monthly 49 63/2   A man became a nahual without realizing for some time.
1974    Encycl. Brit. Micropædia VII. 165/3   Among many modern Meso-American Indians, it is believed that the first creature to cross over the ashes spread before a newborn baby becomes that child’s nagual.
1993    R. Rucker et al. Mondo 2000 213/2   Most compelling was the morph from Michael Jackson into his panther nagual.


Foster reading poetry from his book World Ball Notebook (http://www.amazon.com/World-Ball-Notebook-Sesshu-Foster/dp/0872864677/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321886174&sr=1-3)



Based on this Mayan (and greater Mesoamerican) ballgame:


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