Laura Esquivel's 1989 Mexican novel Like Water for Chocolate, neither translated into English nor published in the United States until 1992, was both an American bestseller and the basis for an acclaimed motion picture. Interestingly, though, Esquivel's work also seems to be receiving glimmers of the type of critical attention generally reserved for less “popular” works. Two particular critical studies composed in English, one by Kathleen Glenn and the other by Cecelia Lawless, have been devoted entirely to Chocolate, and both of the scholar/authors grace the faculties of reputable American institutions of higher learning. As a student whose academic experience has been replete with elitist attitudes and expressions of disdain for anything that smacks of an appeal to the masses, I was intrigued by Chocolate for this very reason; in a world where scholarly boundaries seem unalterably fixed, a work that appears capable of crossing these rigid lines is, in my opinion, both rare and admirably refreshing. In my studies, I have often hoped for more communication between “popular” and “scholarly” literature; Esquivel's novel provides not only opportunities for this dialogue but for other cross-genre discussions as well.

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