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THE PRAXIS OF QUOTATION IN TRANSITIONAL LATIN AMERICAN LITERATURE

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Abstract

The Praxis of Quotation in Transitional Latin American Literatures traces Latin American literary pragmatism through the figure of quotation. My first chapter analyzes Costa Rican author Yolanda Oreamuno’s novel, La ruta de su evasión, and its characterization of the choteador(a), a person who practices the art of choteo. I conclude that Oreamuno defines the latter, a form of Central American wit that hinges upon quotation, differently from her Caribbean counterparts, such as Jorge Mañach, as a politically sterilizing discourse and a form of collusion with an authoritarian regime. In my second chapter, I study Mexican author Rosario Castellanos’s Oficio de tinieblas, and its appropriation of historiography to reconstruct the character of the gossip. I propose that Castellanos democratizes this role, revealing this character to be potentially any member of civil society, while she represents the state of political emergency as one in which gossip is suspended. In Chapter three, I turn to Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa’s El Paraíso en la otra esquina, and its depiction of the revolutionary feminist Flora Tristán. The novel transcribes, translates and adapts selections from Tristán’s vast corpus of writing, and attributes to Tristán feelings of shame, guilt and also pride about these writings. I question whether quotation functions as a form of narrative voice. Ultimately, I argue that the novel theorizes a conflict between quotation’s potential to solicit either empathy or political cooperation with its quoted subject, offering the latter as the valid choice. Finally, my fourth chapter turns to the novel, Dora, in which Peruvian author José B. Adolph transcribes the memoirs of Dora Mayer de Zulen. These are memoirs in which Mayer analyzes the literature of Pedro Zulen, in order to prove Zulen’s status as a messiah of the indigenist movement, and also to prove that she and Zulen were married in the eyes of God. I argue that the novel stages a confrontation between the hermeneutic strategy of Mayer and the philosophy of Zulen; ultimately embracing Zulen’s perspective that the possibility of a correct reading depends upon the political saliency of the message that one reads for. In each chapter, I describe the conditions for the possibility of the use of quotation, the existence of the original text as a material support, and the author’s ability to recur to that text.

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2017-01-30

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Latin American Literature; Mario Vargas Llosa; Pedro Zulen; Quotation; Rosario Castellanos; Yolanda Oreamuno; Women's studies; Latin American studies

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Bosteels, Bruno

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Paz-Soldan, Jose Edmundo
de Bary, Brett

Degree Discipline

Romance Studies

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Ph. D., Romance Studies

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document

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dissertation or thesis

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