Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Drinking to Fraternity: Alcohol, Masculinity and National Identity in the Novels of Manuel Payno and Heriberto Frías

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2012), 89, (4), 397–412.

Abstract

This essay explores literary representations of drinking, drunkenness and alcoholism, and their relationship to issues of masculinity and national identity, in nineteenth-century Mexican fiction. I focus on the novels of Manuel Payno and Heriberto Frías, who used images of drinking to create contrasting male characters and to articulate their differing views on the meanings of manhood in nineteenth-century Mexico. Payno celebrated the values of fraternity and patriotism in Los bandidos de Río Frío (1888-91) in his heroic male prototype, Juan Robreño, who drinks in a moderate and socially appropriate manner, and condemned a macho-style pattern of heavy drinking, irresponsibility and violent behaviour through his portrait of Evaristo, a murderous worker and cruel bandit, in the same novel. In contrast, Frías created an alcoholic protagonist in his 1893 novel Tomóchic to challenge the validity of nationalist ideology centred on the values of fraternity and patriotism.

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Payno, Manuel, 2006 [1888-91]. Los bandidos de Río Frío (Mexico City: Tomo). Los bandidos de Río Frío Google Scholar

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Sommer, Doris, 1991. Foundational Fictions. The National Romances of Latin America (Berkeley: University of California Press). Foundational Fictions. The National Romances of Latin America Google Scholar

Spell, Jefferson Rea, 1929. ‘The Literary Work of Manuel Payno’, Hispania, 12.4: 347-56. ‘The Literary Work of Manuel Payno’ Hispania 12 347 56 Google Scholar

Toor, Francis, 1947. A Treasury of Mexican Folkways (New York: Crown). A Treasury of Mexican Folkways Google Scholar

Treviño, Blanca Estela, 2005. ‘Los bandidos de Río Frío, de Manuel Payno: una lectura’, in La república de las letras: asomos a la cultura escrita del México decimonónico, ed. Belem Clark de Lara and Elisa Speckman Guerra, 3 vols. (Mexico City: UNAM), I, pp. 377-91. La república de las letras: asomos a la cultura escrita del México decimonónico 3 377 91 Google Scholar

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Anderson, Benedict, 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, rev. edn). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism Google Scholar

Arrom, Silvia M., 1988. ‘Vagos y mendigos en la legislación mexicana, 1745-1845’, Memoria del IV Congreso de Historia del Derecho Mexicano, 1: 71-87. ‘Vagos y mendigos en la legislación mexicana, 1745-1845’ Memoria del IV Congreso de Historia del Derecho Mexicano 1 71 87 Google Scholar

Brown, James M., 1967. ‘Heriberto Frías, a Mexican Zola’, Hispania, 50.3: 467-71. ‘Heriberto Frías, a Mexican Zola’ Hispania 50 467 71 Google Scholar

Bruman, Henry J., 2000. Alcohol in Ancient Mexico (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press). Alcohol in Ancient Mexico Google Scholar

Brushwood, John S., 1981. Genteel Barbarism: Experiments in Analysis of Nineteenth-Century Spanish American Novels (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press). Genteel Barbarism: Experiments in Analysis of Nineteenth-Century Spanish American Novels Google Scholar

Buffington, Robert M., 2000. Criminal and Citizen in Modern Mexico (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press). Criminal and Citizen in Modern Mexico Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Chaves, José Ricardo, 2003. ‘Payno criptofantástico: Intermitencias mágicas en El fistol del Diablo’, Literatura Mexicana, 14.2: 63-74. ‘Payno criptofantástico: Intermitencias mágicas en El fistol del Diablo’, Literatura Mexicana 14 63 74 Google Scholar

Dabove, Juan Pablo, 2004. ‘Tomóchic de Heriberto Frías: violencia campesina, melancolia y genealogía fratricida’, Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana, 60: 351-73. ‘Tomóchic de Heriberto Frías: violencia campesina, melancolia y genealogía fratricida’ Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana 60 351 73 Google Scholar

Díaz y de Ovando, Clementina, 2000. Los cafés en México en el siglo XIX (Mexico City: UNAM). Los cafés en México en el siglo XIX Google Scholar

Forment, Carlos A., 2003. Democracy in Latin America, 1760-1900. Civic Selfhood and Public Life in Mexico and Peru (Chicago: University of Chicago Press). Democracy in Latin America, 1760-1900. Civic Selfhood and Public Life in Mexico and Peru Google Scholar

French, William E., 1999. ‘Imagining and the Cultural History of Nineteenth-Century Mexico’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 79.2: 249-67. ‘Imagining and the Cultural History of Nineteenth-Century Mexico’ Hispanic American Historical Review 79 249 67 Google Scholar

Frías, Heriberto, 2007 [1893]. Tomóchic (Mexico City: Random House). Tomóchic Google Scholar

Garza, James Alex, 2007. The Imagined Underworld. Sex, Crime and Vice in Porfirian Mexico City (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press). The Imagined Underworld. Sex, Crime and Vice in Porfirian Mexico City Google Scholar

Gerassi-Navarro, Nina, 1999. Pirate Novels: Fictions of Nation-Building in Spanish America (Durham, NC: Duke University Press). Pirate Novels: Fictions of Nation-Building in Spanish America Google Scholar

Gomáriz, José, 2001. ‘Nación, sexualidad y poder en Clemencia de Ignacio Manuel Altamirano’, Literatura Mexicana, 12.2: 39-65. ‘Nación, sexualidad y poder en Clemencia de Ignacio Manuel Altamirano’ Literatura Mexicana 12 39 65 Google Scholar

Gutmann, Matthew C., 1996. The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City (Berkeley: University of California Press). The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City Google Scholar

Irwin, Robert McKee, 1998. ‘El Periquillo Sarniento y sus cautes: el éxtasis misterioso del ambiente homosocial en el siglo diecinueve’, Literatura Mexicana, 9.1: 23-44. ‘El Periquillo Sarniento y sus cautes: el éxtasis misterioso del ambiente homosocial en el siglo diecinueve’ Literatura Mexicana 9 23 44 Google Scholar

Irwin, Robert McKee, 2003. Mexican Masculinities (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Mexican Masculinities Google Scholar

Lameiras, José, 1995. ‘Tres relatos, tres interpretaciones y un asunto: La identidad popular en Payno, Altamirano y López Portillo y Rojas’, in El verbo popular: discurso y identidad en la cultura mexicana, ed. José Lameiras and Andrew Roth Seneff (Zamora: El colegio de Michoacán), pp. 91-126. El verbo popular: discurso y identidad en la cultura mexicana 91 126 Google Scholar

Lomnitz, Claudio, 2001. Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthropology of Nationalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthropology of Nationalism Google Scholar

Macías-González, Víctor Manuel, 2007. ‘Masculine Friendships, Sentiment and Homoerotics in Nineteenth-Century Mexico: The Correspondance of José María Calderón y Tapia, 1820s-1850s’, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 16.3: 416-35. ‘Masculine Friendships, Sentiment and Homoerotics in Nineteenth-Century Mexico: The Correspondance of José María Calderón y Tapia, 1820s-1850s’ Journal of the History of Sexuality 16 416 35 Google Scholar

Melhuus, Marit and Kristi Anne Stølen, eds, 1996. Machos, Mistresses, Madonnas: Contesting the Power of Latin American Gender Imagery (London: Verso). Machos, Mistresses, Madonnas: Contesting the Power of Latin American Gender Imagery Google Scholar

Mitchell, Tim, 2004. Intoxicated Identities: Alcohol's Power in Mexican History and Culture (London: Routledge). Intoxicated Identities: Alcohol's Power in Mexican History and Culture Google Scholar

Ochoa, John A., 2004. The Uses of Failure in Mexican Literature and Identity (Austin: University of Texas Press). The Uses of Failure in Mexican Literature and Identity Google Scholar

Orozco y Berra, Fernando, 1850. La guerra de treinta años, 2 vols. (Mexico City: Vicente García Torres). La guerra de treinta años 2 Google Scholar

Paredes, Alfonso, 1975. ‘Social Control of Drinking among the Aztec Indians of Mesoamerica’, Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 36.9: 1139-53. ‘Social Control of Drinking among the Aztec Indians of Mesoamerica’ Journal of Studies on Alcohol 36 1139 53 Google Scholar

Payno, Manuel, 1976 [1887]. El fistol del Diablo. Novela de costumbres mexicanas (Mexico City: Porrúa, 3rd edn). El fistol del Diablo. Novela de costumbres mexicanas Google Scholar

Payno, Manuel, 2006 [1888-91]. Los bandidos de Río Frío (Mexico City: Tomo). Los bandidos de Río Frío Google Scholar

Piccato, Pablo, 2001. City of Suspects: Crime in Mexico City, 1900-1931 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press). City of Suspects: Crime in Mexico City, 1900-1931 Google Scholar

Read, John Lloyd, 1973. The Mexican Historical Novel, 1826-1910 (New York: Russell and Russell). The Mexican Historical Novel 1826-1910 Google Scholar

Rodríguez González, Yliana, 2005. ‘Heriberto Frías’, in La república de las letras: asomos a la cultura escrita del México decimonónico, ed. Belem Clark de Lara and Elisa Speckman Guerra, 3 vols. (Mexico City: UNAM), III, pp. 521-30. La república de las letras: asomos a la cultura escrita del México decimonónico 3 521 30 Google Scholar

Rosado, Juan Antonio, 1995. ‘El pensamiento social en Los bandidos de Río Frío, de Manuel Payno’, Literatura Mexicana, 6.1: 45-55. ‘El pensamiento social en Los bandidos de Río Frío, de Manuel Payno’ Literatura Mexicana 6 45 55 Google Scholar

Sandoval, Adriana, 2002. ‘Madres, viudas y vírgenes en Los bandidos de Río Frío’, Literatura Mexicana, 13.1: 55-88. ‘Madres, viudas y vírgenes en Los bandidos de Río Frío’, Literatura Mexicana 13 55 88 Google Scholar

Santoni, Pedro, 2002. ‘"Where did the Other Heroes Go?" Exalting the Polko National Guard Battalions in Nineteenth-Century Mexico’, Journal of Latin American Studies, 34.4: 807-44. ‘"Where did the Other Heroes Go?" Exalting the Polko National Guard Battalions in Nineteenth-Century Mexico’ Journal of Latin American Studies 34 807 44 Google Scholar

Sommer, Doris, 1991. Foundational Fictions. The National Romances of Latin America (Berkeley: University of California Press). Foundational Fictions. The National Romances of Latin America Google Scholar

Spell, Jefferson Rea, 1929. ‘The Literary Work of Manuel Payno’, Hispania, 12.4: 347-56. ‘The Literary Work of Manuel Payno’ Hispania 12 347 56 Google Scholar

Toor, Francis, 1947. A Treasury of Mexican Folkways (New York: Crown). A Treasury of Mexican Folkways Google Scholar

Treviño, Blanca Estela, 2005. ‘Los bandidos de Río Frío, de Manuel Payno: una lectura’, in La república de las letras: asomos a la cultura escrita del México decimonónico, ed. Belem Clark de Lara and Elisa Speckman Guerra, 3 vols. (Mexico City: UNAM), I, pp. 377-91. La república de las letras: asomos a la cultura escrita del México decimonónico 3 377 91 Google Scholar

Unzueta, Fernando, 2003. ‘Scenes of Reading: Imagining Nations/Romancing History in Spanish America’, in Beyond Imagined Communities. Reading and Writing the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America, ed. Sara Castro-Klein and John Charles Chasteen (Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press), pp. 115-60. Beyond Imagined Communities. Reading and Writing the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America 115 60 Google Scholar

Vigil, José María, 3 September 1872. ‘La embriaguez’, El Siglo XIX. ‘La embriaguez’ El Siglo XIX Google Scholar

Xavier-Guerra, François, 2003. ‘Forms of Communication, Political Spheres, and Cultural Identities in the Creation of Spanish American Nations’, in Beyond Imagined Communities. Reading and Writing the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America, ed. Sara Castro-Klein and John Charles Chasteen (Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press), pp. 3-32. Beyond Imagined Communities. Reading and Writing the Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America 3 32 Google Scholar

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Toner, Deborah