News Center

Hendrix Spanish Professor Publishes New Book

CONWAY, Ark. (September 9, 2021) — Hendrix faculty member Dr. José Vilahomat, Professor of Spanish, has published a new book titled Satire and Minor Genres: Notes on Contemporary Latin American Literature.

“Borges tells us that from Edgar Allan Poe we derive the fact of ‘considering literature as an operation of the mind, not of the spirit,’” Vilahomat said. “Today, I would add, it is considered as an operation of instinct; a pretended instinct, a satirical one.”

About the publication

Satire and Minor Genres is the result of two decades of research. It includes lectures and articles published in academic journals and is geared toward readers who are Latin-Americanist researchers and literary critics.

Through the theory of Menippean satire and the commonsense tradition, the book analyzes how literary subgenres such as crime fiction, science fiction, dystopia, picaresque, and the new historic novel find new hybrid ways of expression and representation. This eclectic aesthetic reinvented or recreated by Latin American writers boast deliberate activism, and epistemological purpose to find individual truth amidst the present constructs that obfuscate the mind.

“Detective fiction is a kind of response to the picaresque in a bourgeois society ordered according to the laws of private property,” Vilahomat says.

The book traces the classical origins, evolution, and regional and aesthetic variants of literary genres, with numerous textual analyzes, regional symmetries, philosophical disquisitions, and identity validation strategies. It discusses the theoretical canon and includes writers such as the Chilean Roberto Bolaño, the Cubans Daína Chaviano and Leonardo Padura, and the Mexicans Homero Aridjis and Enrique Serna, who return to Latin American letters that status of innovators that Modernism and the boom once had. With masterful academic rigor, the new optimism is revealed, delving into the clarity that literature offers, aligned with equalities of genders, races, ecological systems, and democratic principles.

Read more

About Dr. Vilahomat

Dr. José Ramón Vilahomat joined the Hendrix College faculty in 2002. He has taught courses on Modernism, the Latin American boom, and seminars on Borges and Lezama. He specializes in new trends in current literature. His other publications include Fiction of rationalityMemory as a mythical operator in the polar aesthetics of Borges and Lezama, various academic articles, and poetry books.

Vilahomat was born in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba. His family settled in a suburb of Havana in 1962 where he lived until the age of 27. In 1978, Vilahomat studied Physics in the School of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Havana, where he worked for eight years as a Planar Technician, building solar cells and other non-conventional sources of energy in the Solid State Department. He combined his years in the lab with a new career in Philology, which was more in line with his love for poetry and creative writing. Vilahomat graduated in 1992 with a degree in Philology with a specialization on Cuban literature with a thesis on the Cuban writer Ezequiel Vieta.

After defecting from Cuba in 1994, he finished a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in Spanish, both at Florida International University. Some of Vilahomat’s work experience includes being a librarian at the cultural institution “Casa de las Americas” in Havana, a professional printer at Associated Photo in Miami, a paraprofessional of profound-mentally handicapped students, a high school teacher, a translator, an editor, and a photojournalist. Vilahomat enjoys the ambiance and integrated nature of the liberal arts at Hendrix College and sees a well-rounded education and experiential learning as a vital component of society. His own life reflects this with his love of family, people, nature, outdoors, traveling, reading, and water sports.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit