Reclaiming the Author

Figures and Fictions from Spanish America

Reclaiming the Author

Book Pages: 248 Illustrations: Published: April 1992

Author: Lucille Kerr

Latin American Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

The recent fiction of Spanish America has been widely acclaimed for its experimental and revolutionary qualities. In Reclaiming the Author, Lucille Kerr studies the sources of power of this newly emergent literature in her detailed examination of the critical concept of "the author." Kerr considers how Spanish American narratives raise questions about authorial identity and activity through the different figures of the author they propose. These author-figures, she maintains, both complement and contradict notions of authority that exist outside of the world of fiction.
By focusing on works by well-known Spanish American authors—Cortazar, Donoso, Fuentes, Poniatowska, Puig, and Vargas Llosa—Kerr shows how the Spanish Americans have formed a radical poetics of the author. Her readings demonstrate how exemplary Spanish American texts, such as Rayuela, Terra nostra, and El hablador, call into question the author as a unitary or uniform, and therefore unproblematical, figure. Individually and together, Kerr's readings reclaim "the author" as a complex critical concept encompassing diverse, conflicting, even competitive roles.


“Kerr undertakes . . . the reading of a number of works whose point of departure is the problematization of some aspect of not only the traditional, received idea of the author, but of the critical proclamations regarding the author’s supposed demise as well. . . . Reclaiming the Author is without question an important and timely contribution to the field of Spanish American literature.” — Carlos J. Alonso, Modern Fiction Studies

"Lucille Kerr has undertaken to show us how Spanish American novelists have 'done' theory—in particular, the theory of the Author—by 'doing' literary fiction. . . . [She] wears her mastery of theory lightly, but it is clear that she knows whereof she speaks, not only when it comes to theories of the Author and authority, but also over a whole range of other relevant theoretical topics, including verisimilitude and truth, narrative structure and its relation to authority, and the problem of style." — Brian McHale, coeditor of Poetics Today

"Lucille Kerr performs a remarkably intelligent rereading of major modern Latin American texts. Her rich, multilayered study invites the reader to revise accepted notions of authority and dependence, of center and margins, of seduction and submission, of presence and fragmentation, opening a space for new and exciting critical discussion." — Sylvia Molloy, Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities, New York University

"This book offers a fresh view of certain Spanish American novels . . . presenting them as texts in which the question of the author/authority is an essential part of their narrative structure. In doing so, it offers a new angle for the critical reading of these works and reveals a rich field for intellectual debate." — Jose Miguel Oviedo, University of Pennsylvania


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Lucille Kerr is Chair of the Department of Hispanic Studies at Northwestern University.

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Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Winner, 1993 Choice Outstanding Academic Books

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1224-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1227-7
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