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Unformatted text preview: Can anything new be said about Malintzin (Doa Marina, La Malinche), Hernn Corts's Nahuatl-speaking interpreter during the conquest of the Aztecs? Ethnohistorical research has already recovered the outlines of the remarkable woman who lies beneath popular images of traitor, whore, victim, and mother of the mestizo Mexican nation, and has reevaluated conquest history from indigenous points of view. Yet Camilla Townsend quickly convinced this reader that the traces of the "real" Malintzin merit a book-length elaboration, and she sets these traces into an extensively researched and delightfully absorbing story. Given the limited and often contradictory evidence, it is more a book about Malintzin's "contexts" than a conventional biography, and Townsend dabbles in the "what would she have felt?" speculations that bedevil biographers of poorly documented subjects. But although her conjectures sometimes cross into the fanciful, they are never jarring or absurd, and she often presents multiple possible scenarios....
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- Spring '11