Voces que matan: narradores violentos en la ficción latinoamericanan contemporánea

Mutis, Ana María., Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Pellon, Gustavo, As-Spanish Italian & Portuguese, University of Virginia
Pope, Randolph, As-Spanish Italian & Portuguese, University of Virginia
Secada, Jorge, Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia
Lagos, Maria-Ines, As-Spanish Italian & Portuguese, University of Virginia

This dissertation examines fictional narratives of violence told in the first-person voices of the perpetrators. By comparing and questioning the modes of representation of the violent subject and its discourse, I seek to demonstrate that the intersection between narrative authority and criminal agency (responsibility) in fiction provides a vehicle to go beyond a psychological exploration of the violent mind. I argue that in place of the self-exploration that is characteristic of first-person narratives, these texts display a variety of aesthetic and rhetorical strategies that comment on violence and its connection with ideology, power, and more importantly, language. I further assert that in most of these works, underlying the violent narrators' monologue, there is a dialogue with literary tradition that implicates literature and literacy in the violence depicted.

The first chapter examines the dialogue that Jorge Luis Borges' and Adolfo Bioy Casares' "La fiesta del monstruo" and Osvaldo Lamborghini's "El niño proletario" establish with the Gauchesca and Modernist poetry respectively. Through their articulation of the voice of the murderer and its dialogue with literary tradition, these authors unveil the ideological message of their texts and comment on the role that language, literacy and literature play in political and social violence. The second chapter compares the authoritarian discourse of the torturer in Elvira Orphée's La última conquista de El Ángel to the polyphonic, fragmented discourse in the dictatorship novels by Alejo Carpentier, Augusto Roa Bastos and Gabriel García Márquez. I argue thatdespite their differences, these narratives address the relationship between violence, power, and discourse. The third chapter deals with Colombian narratives about young assassins hired by drug traffickers, commonly known as sicarescas. This chapter begins by questioning the use of the label sicaresca and its association to the picaresque.I then examine the role and discourse of the first-person narrator of La Virgen de los sicarios by Fernando Vallejo. I argue that in the self-fashioning of this violent narrator, and in the linguistic plurality of his voice, resides a critique on the nature of Colombia's turmoil.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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