MUERTE!: Death in Mexican Popular Culture

MUERTE!: Death in Mexican Popular Culture

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How a culture approaches and depicts death says a lot about the way it faces life. In America, death is a fixture of pop culture, shown in fantasies that are violent but curiously detached from reality and moral lessons. In Mexico, death occupies a much different cultural space. Muerte! explores the lurid history of Mexico’s fascination with death, starting with pre-Columbian mythological depictions of death as part of a constant cycle, to the Colonial period’s unhappy marriage of native views with Judeo-Christian fire and brimstone, to J.G. Posada’s remarkable turn-of-the-century engravings of death that were popular images in newspapers of the time. The author has organized a compellingly dark array of paintings, engravings, and photographs from the grisly but popular tabloids Alarma!, Peligro! and Poliester, to name a few. Essays by Diego Rivera and Mexican scholars offer insights on the Day of the Dead, Catholic ritual, and the current lust for sensational gore.