Dr. Lopez - President of New Mexico Tech
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Dr. Lopez - President of New Mexico Tech

the performance of Spanish c


EMRTConquest finds its refuge, and later a final resting place, in a practice of writing. When the epic is reviewed by the royal

censors in 1609, it seems at first to succeed on Villagra's terms. The censor Professor Espinel writes, "T

he verses are many and though lacking in imagination and poetical worth, are a true and connected history" (Villagra 269). However, in 1614, Villagra is charged and f

ound guilty with a crime related to his participation in the conquest of New Mexico. The poet-soldier had apparently taken up writing in New Mexico once before, prior to his Histor

ia: "From that place he wrote a letter to the viceroy of Spain, praising the high quality, richness, and fertility of the provinces of New Mexico, when the opposite is true, as it is a sterile and poor land" (D/O 1116).' Villagra's writing is found guilty, in other words, of lacking truth and offering far too m

uch imagination. Onate, in turn, is also tried and found guilty of brutality in New Mexico at the battle of Acoma. In the end, the law exiles both men from the New Mexico they "conquered," and both die stripped of their desired mili

tary honors. Despite Onate and Villagra's attempts to invoke performatively in act and word the "honor" of conquest, the final word rests with the royal court of law, whose discourse cannot afford to speak the violence of conquest, even as it benefits

from its practice. NOTES I am grateful to Ted Ziter, Erin Hurley, Joseph

Roach, Peggy Phelan, and Robert Potter for thoughtful commen
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