Literature and Liminality

Festive Readings in the Hispanic Tradition

Literature and Liminality

Book Pages: 203 Illustrations: Published: November 1985

Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

Recent literary studies and related disciplines have given much attention to phenomena that seem to occupy more or less permanently eccentric positions in our experience.
Gustavo Perez Firmat examines three of these marginal or liminal phenomena—paying particular attention to the distinction between "center" and "periphery"—as they appear in Hispanic literature. Carnival (the traditional festival in which normal behavior is overturned), choteo (an insulting form of humor), and disease are three liminal entities discussed. Less an attempt to frame a general theory of such "liminalities" than an effort to demonstrate the interpretive power of the liminality concept, this work challenges conventional boundaries of critical sense and offers new insights into a variety of questions, among them the notion of convertability in psychoanalysis and the relation of New World culture to its European forebears.



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Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments xi

Preliminaries xiii

Part One: Carnival

1. The Spirit of the Letter 3

2. Fathers and Sons 16

3. Circulation 32

Part Two: Choteo

4. Riddles of the Sphincter 53

5. Don Juan in the Tropics 75

6. The Devil's Dictionary 93

Part Three: Tumors and Twins

7. Magma 111

8. Phonic Rape 128

9. Carnival and Cure 141

Conclusion: Of Limits 159

Notes 163

Index of Names 181
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Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-0658-0