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In this essay, I study the connection between the act of reading and the circulation of Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzmán’s Carta dirigida a los españoles americanos (1801). Drawing from a perspective that regards materiality as a central element to understanding the relationship between readers and texts, I explore Francisco de Miranda’s intervention as editor of the letter in relation to notions of authenticity, authority, identity, and culture in the context of colonial discourse. Specifically, I argue that Miranda’s additions to the text provide an opportunity to trace his reading of the text, showing the complicated history of how Viscardo’s letter has been constructed as a text while positing reading as a creative and productive act.
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