Decolonizing Modernism: James Joyce and the Development of Contemporary Spanish American Narrative Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Venegas, José Luis
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • This dissertation provides a radical re-examination of literary scholarship that associates the experimental fiction written in Spanish America during the 1940s through the late 1970s with European (post-)modernism. This type of scholarship often finds support in Joyce's "influence" on the aesthetics of the so-called Spanish American "new narrative." I establish the necessary critical conditions to contest the assimilation of this narrative to Anglo-American modernism via Joyce by contextualizing the reception of the Irish writer's modernist aesthetics within the discursive framework of the cultural decolonization taking place in Spanish America and the Third World during the years of gestation and flourishing of the new narrative. This contextualization not only reveals the decolonizing potential of Joyce's prose when interpreted by Spanish American intellectuals writing in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s (a potential that has gained critical attention in the Anglo-American academy only over the last decade). It also takes decisive steps towards reconstructing a context for the literary production of "Joycean" authors such as Leopoldo Marechal, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, José Lezama Lima, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, and Fernando del Paso that does not necessarily link them to the development of European literature. From this perspective, I argue that the textual parallels between Joyce and these six authors configure a transatlantic aesthetic nodal point that stands in polemic dialogue with modernity as a philosophical paradigm and with Eurocentric literary history as a globalizing discourse.
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  • Leonard, Diane R.
  • Open access

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