The Burden of Modernity: The Rhetoric of Cultural Discourse in Spanish America

Oxford University Press, 1998 M09 24 - 240 páginas
This book offers a provocative interpretation of cultural discourse in Spanish America. Alonso argues that Spanish American cultural production constituted itself through commitment to what he calls the "narrative of futurity," that is, the uncompromising adoption of modernity. This commitment fueled a rhetorical crisis that followed the embracing of discourses regarded as "modern" in historical and economic circumstance that are themselves the negation of modernity. Through fresh readings of texts by Sarmiento, Mansilla, Quiroga, Vargos Llosa, Garcia Marquez, and others, Alonso tracks this textual dynamic in works from the nineteenth century to the present.

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Páginas seleccionadas


Modernity as Ideal and Curse
Once More with Passion
The Discourse of the Cuban Antislavery Novel
Lucio Mansillas Una excursion a los indios Ranqueles
Horacio Quirogas Poetics of the Short Story
Vargas Llosas La tia Julia y el escribidor
The End of Modernity in Spanish America
Epilogue They Have Never Been Modern Either
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Página 113 - A skilful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents — he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect.
Página 201 - We assume that life produces the autobiography as an act produces its consequences, but can we not suggest, with equal justice, that the autobiographical project may itself produce and determine the life and that whatever the writer does is in fact governed by the technical demands of self-portraiture and thus determined, in all its aspects, by the resources of his medium?
Página 84 - Death of the Father would deprive literature of many of its pleasures. If there is no longer a Father, why tell stories? Doesn't every narrative lead back to Oedipus? Isn't storytelling always a way of searching for one's origin, speaking one's conflicts with the Law, entering into the dialectic of tenderness and hatred?
Página 113 - ... to accommodate his incidents ; but having conceived with deliberate care a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents — he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. If his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step.
Página 29 - What is certain is that at some point during the first half of the nineteenth century an irreversible split occurred between modernity as a stage in the history of Western civilization — a product of scientific and technological progress, of the industrial revolution, of the sweeping economic and social changes brought about by capitalism — and modernity as an aesthetic concept.
Página 34 - The pact of interpretation is never simply an act of communication between the I and the You designated in the statement. The production of meaning requires that these two places be mobilized in the passage through a Third Space, which represents both the general conditions of language and the specific implication of the utterance in a performative and institutional strategy of which it cannot "in itself
Página 108 - Transgression carries the limit right to the limit of its being; transgression forces the limit to face the fact of its imminent disappearance, to find itself in what it excludes...
Página 33 - ... social function, but the structure of symbolization. It is this difference in the process of language that is crucial to the production of meaning and ensures, at the same time, that meaning is never simply mimetic and transparent. The linguistic difference that informs any cultural performance is dramatized in the common semiotic account of the disjuncture between the subject of a proposition (enonce) and the subject of enunciation, which is not represented in the statement but which is the...
Página 13 - Postcoloniality is the condition of what we might ungenerously call a comprador intelligentsia: a relatively small, Western-style, Westerntrained group of writers and thinkers, who mediate the trade in cultural commodities of world capitalism at the periphery.
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