La Otra Cara del Imperio Español: Gulf Coast Failure Texts as a Subgenre
Whitlock, Nancy Lee
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The purpose of this research is to identify the characteristics that unify the texts written during the early Spanish exploration of what is now the United States Gulf Coast. These documents come from or are inspired by the disastrous Spanish expeditions to Florida and the region of the Gulf Coast, and they can be grouped together as a subgenre of Gulf Coast failure texts. The nine features that are found to unite the subgenre of Gulf Coast failure texts can help readers approach these texts a group with a new appreciation for the less studied documents. Teachers or scholars of colonial, Renaissance, southern, or U. S. Hispanic literature may use these characteristics as a jumping-off point, using the sub-genre features to provide at least a beginning framework for exploring and analyzing such a large variety of expedition works. The Gulf Coast failure text characteristics discussed in this study are elements such as: 1) the presence of subordinate voices, 2) the lack of emphasis on the shipwreck, 3) the emphasis on starvation and thirst, 4) the use of everyday European items for other purposes, 5) the search for a city-state template (Apalachee), 6) the emphasis on geographical and natural difficulties, 7) the avoidance of work, 8) the importance of the interpreter, and 9) the various strategies to maintain Spanishness and masculinity in the wake of failure.