Issue #41 in 2024 year, 56-78

Copper face of ancient America: representation of Mesoamerican civilizations in American pulp-magazine Weird tales in the interwar period

N. Lapaev

In the Interwar period different form of Ancient civilization had been one the most frequent theme in American popular culture. Lost Indian civilization wasn’t exception, but this issue is still poorly investigate in the popular culture’s field. The article examines, based on John Cavelti's theory of formular fiction and John Saler’s “imaginary worlds”, the representation of pre-Columbian civilizations in one of the most significant American pulp magazines, Weird tales, and the ways in which their heritage is appropriated by American popular culture. We come to conclusion that representation of pre-Colombian indian civilization was within the general narrative of the ancient (like Egypt and Babylon), but had difference in tropes. This concerned attention to the phenomenon of sacrifices. Also, the authors were anxious about issues of race, since the racist view of Latin Americans was a constitutive stereotype for many Americans. To prevent this problem from interfering with the appropriation of the Indian ancient heritage as uniquely American, the writers excluded the intermediary in the person of a modern resident of Mexico. Mexico was represented as a poor, unstable country, just an epigone of its magnificent ancestors.

popular culture, mass literature, mass culture, pulp-magazine Weird tales, imagology, historical imagination, Mexico–United States relations, historical memory

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