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A World Not to Come

A World Not to Come

A History of Latino Writing and Print Culture

Raúl Coronado

ISBN 9780674970908

Publication date: 08/29/2016

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A shift of global proportions occurred in May 1808. Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain and deposed the Spanish king. Overnight, the Hispanic world was transformed forever. Hispanics were forced to confront modernity, and to look beyond monarchy and religion for new sources of authority. A World Not to Come focuses on how Spanish Americans in Texas used writing as a means to establish new sources of authority, and how a Latino literary and intellectual life was born in the New World.

The geographic locale that became Texas changed sovereignty four times, from Spanish colony to Mexican republic to Texan republic and finally to a U.S. state. Following the trail of manifestos, correspondence, histories, petitions, and periodicals, Raúl Coronado goes to the writings of Texas Mexicans to explore how they began the slow process of viewing the world as no longer being a received order but a produced order. Through reconfigured publics, they debated how best to remake the social fabric even as they were caught up in a whirlwind of wars, social upheaval, and political transformations.

Yet, while imagining a new world, Texas Mexicans were undergoing a transformation from an elite community of "civilizing" conquerors to an embattled, pauperized, racialized group whose voices were annihilated by war. In the end, theirs was a world not to come. Coronado sees in this process of racialization the birth of an emergent Latino culture and literature.


  • Reading British colonial writers as the sole founders of American culture lends our history a false sense of teleology, as though we were always going to end up here. One of the greatest strengths of Coronado’s book is its ability to remind us of other paths we might have taken; other worlds different ‘we’s’ might have made… A World Not to Come boldly challenges the dominance of the westward expansion narrative… At once a gripping history, a dizzying synthesis of Enlightenment philosophical currents, and a breathtaking feat of original archival research, his book merits reading by anyone interested in American literature, Latina/o studies, economic history, or Western philosophy. A World Not to Come demands that we recalibrate our sense of what ‘American’ literary history looks like.

    —John Alba Cutler, Los Angeles Review of Books


  • 2014, Winner of the Renato Ramírez Scholarly Book Award
  • 2013, Winner of the MLA Prize for a First Book


  • Raúl Coronado is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Book Details

  • 574 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press