The introduction is loosely structured in three parts addressing questions of genre, geography, and period. It situates the book within comparative literature debates on world literature in order to defend a genre-based paradigm (in opposition to nation-based models) that produces a diachronic made all the more significant by the particular reception of comedy; debates in Latin American studies that cast this period exclusively in terms of cultural nationalism, that is, as complicit with nation-state consolidation; and, finally, debates in film studies on vernacular modernism and the intersections of cinema and modernity. The introduction explains how studying the transition to sound and the emergence of film comedy provides an endogenous and nonsynchronous rejoinder to the cosmopolitanism of these debates, a mock classicism reliant on an intertextual horizon that produces a semblance of continuity between screen and theater.
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