Saint or Scoundrel? Representing Padre Martínez in Early (Auto)Biography and Fiction

Haas, Astrid orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8628-8129 (2021) Saint or Scoundrel? Representing Padre Martínez in Early (Auto)Biography and Fiction. In: InterAmerican Perspectives in the 21st Century: Festschrift in Honor of Josef Raab. Inter-American Studies / Estudios interamericanos (23). WVT and University of New Orleans Press, Trier, Germany, and New Orleans, pp. 121-131. ISBN 978-3-86821-803-9

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The eminent 19th-century priest and politician Padre Antonio José Martínez of Taos is known primarily for his antagonism to the first bishop of New Mexico. He is held in high esteem among Latina/o New Mexicans to this day as a community activist and educator and has become the subject of several scholarly biographies since the mid-twentieth century. The present essay addresses the complexity of written representations of the padre preceding these scholarly assessments. It studies selected (auto)biographical and fictional representations of Martínez’s life and work from his lifetime to the 1930s. Discussing these works against the backdrop of the changing historical contexts, I argue that they paint a contradictory picture of this historical figure in line with their respective poetic-political agendas for distinct target audiences.

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