Dance Macabre

 La portentosa vida de la muerte (The Prodigious Life of Death) by Joaquín Bolaños, is a late 18th century Mexican novel that stars Death as a female protagonist ( la muerte in Spanish is a feminine noun).  The story begins in the Garden of Eden, where Death is born as a result of Adam’s sin and Eve’s guilt. Isn’t baby Death cute in her little cradle?  

Over the course of the book, Death grows up, goes on adventures, gets married several times (and kills all her husbands, of course), and is finally herself conquered on the Judgment Day.  Although Bolaños, a Franciscan, recommended the book “a los hombres de buen gusto” (to men of good taste or education), most contemporary people found the book too irreverent, morbid, and just plain weird.  Despite its poor reception, historians now see it as an important example of eighteenth-century Mexican literature and culture.

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