Generation versus style: how to read the puking-rainbow-viz on my test-site

The whole secret reason why I did this, is because lists of names make me dizzy. After reading Alicia Perales two-hundred-and-something book on Literary Associations in Mexico during the 19th century I couldn’t tell any more who-was-where-when. The whole other not-so-secret-more-academic-slash-nerd-curiosity-driven-reason is that I have always wondered which groups and conditions define what is “literary(-ish)” in different eras. And having been born in Mexico I have a let’s-say-“natural”-inclination to wonder how this even started in a


that was being invented as such as of 1912.

Inspired by the lectures of Pascale Casanova and Pierre Bourdieu, I decided to find out, one of the aspects that modelled the literary field in Mexico: namely the associations in which writers were formed as such, whose membership was many times an almost obliged step to get published (bear in mind that many associations had their own literary magazines and that many of them acted as censors of the plays to-be-represented). However, capturing a panoramic of this was no piece of cake. As you might know if you know anything about associations in Mexico, is that everyone wants to make their own and thus, also in the 19th century, there were hundreds of them.
One way to get around the complicated diversity of things, is through classification, and I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. In 2005 Belem Clark de Lara, the head of an ambitious editorial project on 19th-century Mexican literature, asked herself in her prologue to the volume on “literary associations” how to classify these diverse groups. A generations-clustering was proposed in that same book by Fernando Tola de Habich (informed by the attempts of many others before him). However, Belem Clark de Lara decided to follow Perales’ approach which groups these associations according to the prevailing literary movement of their time.

After reading the multiple discussions about the subject I was like: why don’t we try both?

And that’s the story of how that super-coloured visualization came to being.
So the first thing you need to know in order to be able to read it, is how it is colour-coded (although you get all the information you need when you hover over it), and the easiest way to explain this is through an example:


  • The first thing you need to know about this graphic is that writers and associations are ordered chronologically; the former, from top to bottom, the latter, from left to right.
  • The second important thing to know is that the colour on the background changes every time a new “generation” group begins according to Tola’s division which you can find at the end of the post.
  • Finally, the strong colours appear each time a character was member of a given association. Each different colour represents each literary movement as proposed by Perales/Belem Clark de Lara.

Perales/Belem C. de Lara literary movements clustering:

Tola’s classification:
1. The “Arcadia” generation (1806): born between 1776 y 1790
2. The “Independencia” generation  (1821): born between 1791 y 1805
3. The “Academia de Letrán” generation (1836): born between 1806 y 1820
4. The “Liceo Hidalgo” generation  (1851): born between 1821 y 1835
5. The “Renacimiento” generation  (1866): born between 1836 y 1850
6. The “Transición” generation (1881); born between 1851 y 1865
7. The “Modernismo” generation (1896): born between 1866 y 1880
8. The Revolución generation (1911): born between 1881 y 1895



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