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Title:The baroque in the late works of Alejo Carpentier
Author(s):Pancrazio, James J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Schulman, Ivan A.
Department / Program:Spanish
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Literature, Latin American
Literature, Caribbean
Abstract:There is, as Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria has noted an "unstable core" or a "radical and pervasive discord at the center of Carpentier's production" (The Pilgrim at Home 17). In this study, we focus on the notion of instability to approach the baroque. This style in Carpentier's work represents the tension between two modes of signification which produce narrative excess. While it appears that this instability is unconscious in the early works, it is argued that there is a conscious effort in the late works to exploit and revel in discursive instability.
This study provides a revision of the current critical construction of Carpentier's baroque style, drawing upon the studies of critics such as Severo Sarduy, Jose Lezama Lima and Eugenio D'Ors. Four novels are examined: El recurso del metodo (1974), Concierto barroco (1974), La consagracion de la primavera (1979), and El arpa y la sombra (1979). All consciously exploit the unstable center to challenge the traditional readings of confessional self-accounting, identity and self-definition.
There are two principal themes examined throughout this work. The first is called the "Adamic project". In the 1950s, Carpentier suggested that defining Latin American reality in the novel was the responsibility of the novelist. In these works, Carpentier subverts the pretenses of cultural self-definition. He suggests that these foundational acts are reductionist ideologies based on constructed notions of identity. The second predominant theme is a criticism of the baroque theatrical self. Carpentier examines how space imposes the notion of identity and, in so doing, he attempts to resolve the problematics established in the short story "Viaje a la semilla" (1944). Carpentier, demystifies the concept of identity as a theatrical, imposed by space and, in the process, attempts to recover the intimate self lost to capitulation and compromise.
The baroque, one of Europe's most complex and conservative discourses, becomes a counter-discourse which challenges the hegemonic notion of identity. Baroque discourse is a metaphor for Latin America, a world in a constant process of symbiosis, mutation and synthesis. For Carpentier, "el legitimo estilo del novelista latinoamericano actual es el barroco" (Ensayos 41).
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Pancrazio, James J.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9543690
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9543690

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