Myth and Archive: A Theory of Latin American Narrative by Roberto González Echevarría

By Roberto González Echevarría

Fantasy and Archive bargains a brand new thought concerning the beginning and evolution of the Latin American narrative, and in regards to the emergence of the fashionable novel. rather than following the conventional different types arrange by means of literary background, Professor González Echevarría explores the connection of the narrative to the language of authority: the legislation within the colonial interval, technology within the 19th century, and anthropology within the 20th century. The publication includes readings of significant works within the culture reminiscent of Garcilaso el Inca's Comentarios reales, Sarmiento's Facundo, Carpentier's Los pasos perdidos, and García Marquez's Cien años de soledad.

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It deprives us of our continuities; it dissipates that temporal identity in which we are pleased to look at ourselves when we wish to exorcise the discontinuities of history; it snaps the thread of transcendental teleologies; and where anthropological thought once questioned man's being or subjectivity, it now bursts open the other and the outside. In this sense, the diagnosis does not establish the fact of our identity by the play of distinctions. It establishes that we are difference, that our reason is the difference of discourses, our history the difference of times, our selves the difference of masks.

The Archive keeps and hides, it guards the secrets, which is the first law. Mastai keeps his papers in a portfolio which, one assumes, is part of the Vatican Archive. This Archive is evoked in the novel through yet another repository: the Vatican's stockpile of saints' bones, the ostea sacra kept and classified to be distributed around the world to constitute the relics each church requires. This is the lipsanateca. The Archive safeguards, retains, orders dissemination, both commands it and organizes its regularities as a discourse.

Is an insurance that the individual consciousness of a historian/writer will filter the ahistorical pretense of myth by subjecting events to the temporality of A CLEARING IN THE JUNGLE 27 writing. But in Cien ahos de soledad the death of these figures is indicative of a mythic power that lurks within the realm of writing, a story that makes the Archive possible. In Yo el Supremo this is clearly indicated by Patino's being a "swollen foot," that is an Oedipus who pays a high price for his knowledge.

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