Postmodernity in Latin America

The Argentine Paradigm

Postmodernity in Latin America

Post-Contemporary Interventions

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Book Pages: 240 Illustrations: Published: November 1994

Author: Santiago Colás

Cultural Studies, Latin American Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

Postmodernity in Latin America contests the prevailing understanding of the relationship between postmodernity and Latin America by focusing on recent developments in Latin American, and particularly Argentine, political and literary culture. While European and North American theorists of postmodernity generally view Latin American fiction without regard for its political and cultural context, Latin Americanists often either uncritically apply the concept of postmodernity to Latin American literature and society or reject it in an equally uncritical fashion. The result has been both a limited understanding of the literature and an impoverished notion of postmodernity. Santiago Colás challenges both of these approaches and corrects their consequent distortions by locating Argentine postmodernity in the cultural dynamics of resistance as it operates within and against local expressions of late capitalism.
Focusing on literature, Colás uses Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch to characterize modernity for Latin America as a whole, Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman to identify the transition to a more localized postmodernity, and Ricardo Piglia’s Artificial Respiration to exemplify the cultural coordinates of postmodernity in Argentina. Informed by the cycle of political transformation beginning with the Cuban Revolution, including its effects on Peronism, to the period of dictatorship, and finally to redemocratization, Colás’s examination of this literary progression leads to the reconstruction of three significant moments in the history of Argentina. His analysis provokes both a revised understanding of that history and the recognition that multiple meanings of postmodernity must be understood in ways that incorporate the complexity of regional differences.
Offering a new voice in the debate over postmodernity, one that challenges that debate’s leading thinkers, Postmodernity in Latin America will be of particular interest to students of Latin American literature and to scholars in all disciplines concerned with theories of the postmodern.


“Santiago Colás’ Postmodernity in Latin America: The Argentine Paradigm positions itself among the celebrations of postmodernism, understood not as a retreat, obviously, but as the emergence of more democratic, less rigid forms of representation and resistance than those of its modernist predecessor, both in political and artistic terms. . . . Colás celebrates a postmodern rhetoric of impurity, valorized in opposition to an earlier politically Leftist or aesthetically vanguard discourse of absolutes, revolution, and clear binarisms. . . . This study, characterized by the considerable effort required to integrate politics and literature, results in a redemptive interpretation of the literary history of the last decades.” — , Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

“This lucid and accessible work deserves a wide readership; it is both a refreshing antidote to self-referential, esoteric critical debates and a serious contribution to current theoretical concerns.” — TLS

"Colás dares enter the postmodernism debate and ably takes on its leading thinkers. Not only literary critics and theoreticians, but historians, political scientists, and sociologists, too, will have to cite this study as an informed and solidly grounded foray into their respective disciplines. — Jonathan Tittler, Cornell University

"Santiago Colás’s book is one of the most richly nuanced contributions to the ‘postmodernism in Latin America’ debate yet to appear." — Neil Larsen, Northeastern University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Santiago Colás is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface and Acknowledgments ix

1. Resisting Postmodernity 1

I. Latin American Modernity 21

2. Beyond Western Modernity? Rayuela as Critique 23

3. Toward a Latin American Modernity: Rayuela, the Cuban Revolution, and the Leap 50

4. Latin American Modernity in Crisis: El beso de la mujer arana and the Argentine National Left 76

5. Beyond Valentin's Dream: From the Crisis of Latin American Modernity 100

II. Argentine Postmodernity 119

6. Resucitatating History in Respiracion artificial 121

7. The Importance of Writing History; or, On Louis Bonaparte and Juan Peron 149

III. Conclusion 159

8. Speculations Toward Articulating Latin American Postmodernities 161

Notes 173

Bibliography 201

Index 221
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1520-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1508-7
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