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Title: Lo barroco en la obra de Carlos Fuentes. Una propuesta de lectura de cuatro novelas.
Other Titles: The Baroque in the Work of Carlos Fuentes. A Reading of Four Novels.
Authors: Dhondt, Reindert
Issue Date: 17-May-2011
Abstract: Although Carlos Fuentes is generally regarded as one of the leading figures of contemporary Mexican literature, the literary criticism tends to connect the complex, sumptuous style of some of his works with the seventeenth-century Spanish baroque. Strangely enough, the author’s reflections on the European and Latin-American baroque are systematically disregarded in those analyses. Contrary to existing studies on particular aspects of the baroque in Fuentes’s work, we propose to analyze its baroqueness in a constant dialogue with the reflections of the author himself and those of other theoreticians of the baroque. Hence the first text we take into account is the novella Aura (1962), which Fuentes has attributed in an ironic essay from 1982 to the baroque poet Quevedo. By means of this “explicit” intertextual links between the love poetry of Quevedo and Aura, we first examine a number of baroque topoi or recurring themes such as the transitoriness of all earthy things (the experience of vanitas), the interaction between illusion (engaño) and disillusion (desengaño) or the fading of a eschatological horizon without any possibility of salvation, a sensibility which is made concrete in the complex of melancholia. A second, “implicit” intertext is the study by the philosopher Walter Benjamin on the German baroque mourning play as an allegory or a concrete representation of a general and abstract concept, in this case an episode of the Mexican national history.Like Aura, the short story cycle Constancia and Other Stories for Virgins (1989) is commonly associated with the “gothic novel”, characterized by supernatural elements and horrifying, often ruinous landscapes. A “baroque” interpretation of these elements sheds a new light on the historical vision that underlies Constancia. On the basis of Benjanin’s theory of baroque tragedy we first analyze some topoi such as the ruin and the labyrinth. Next, the time experience of the present is far from being homogeneous in Constancia: the characters regard time rather as “spectral” since a traumatic past keeps haunting their present, resulting in a melancholic humour. Moreover, Benjamin appears as a character in one of the stories, which also contains quotations of his ninth historical-philosophical thesis, in which the paralyzed “angel of history” is driven backwards into the future while her gaze is fixed on the ruins of the past. As illustrated by the front cover of the novel, the author has clearly been inspired by the religious paintings by the Spanish baroque master Zurbarán, which he seeks to parody in one of the stories.According to Benjamin the baroque topos of the ruin must be regarded as a spatial representation of time. In addition to the “baroque” vision of the historical process as illustrated by Constancia, our discussion of the “novel in nine stories” The Crystal Frontier (1995) involves the Bakhtinian concept of the “chronotope”, which describes a specific coexistence of time and space and a specific world-view. This perspective enables us to counterbalance the one-sided emphasis on the “spatial turn” that many critics observe in the evolution of Fuentes’s oeuvre. More concretely, we read the novel as an encounter of a “chronotope of the frontier” and a “baroque chronotope” that undermines the stability of the classic concept of the chronotope. To this process not only contributes the interplay between illusion and disillusion, but also the omnipresent melancholia, which not only stems from the irremediable loss of an era, but also of a place such as the native region or the territories which were incorporated by the United States in 1848. From this perspective, The Crystal Frontier points to an instable time-space construction that can be compared to what is called “dischronotope” in recent studies on diaspora.In Happy Families (2006), finally, the baroqueness takes the form of the tragic. The short stories from this volume are interconnected by means of poetic choruses which are closer to the baroque drama as described by Benjamin than to the more didactic, univocal choruses of the classic tragedy. The polyphonic lamentations are a source of consolation because they stress a sense of community in a society in which the traditional family ties are breaking down, as is thematized in the short stories. This interpretation is also based on what Fuentes, with regard to William Faulkner (whom he calls “the only baroque author from North-America”), has called “the novel as tragedy”, in which different voices and opposite values come together without neutralizing each other. Drawing on the assumption that the Latin-American culture lacks a sense of the tragic, Fuentes tries in Happy Families to go beyond the black-and-white melodrama as well as the melancholic disposition (turned to the past) by means of a novel that incorporates a sense of the tragic and the utopian thought (looking to the future).Besides putting into practice an “organic” and “spiral” method of reading that exploits the interconnections between theory, novel, essay and literary critique, the thesis intends to contribute to the study of the work by Fuentes, on the one hand, and to the debate on the current interest of the baroque, on the other. The implicit and explicit dialogue with the Benjamin’s thought shows that the affinity with the baroque reaches further than the mere homage to a specific author of the baroque period: both Fuentes and Benjamin try to think modernity from the baroque.
Table of Contents: 0. Introducción general ...................................................................... 1
0.1 La actualidad de lo barroco........................................................1
0.2 Estado de la cuestión ...................................................................3
0.3 Concepción del estudio: corpus y desarrollo.............................7
1. Fuentes sobre lo barroco.............................................................. 11
1.1 Introducción...............................................................................11
1.2 Definiciones de lo barroco.........................................................12
1.3 Fuentes sobre lo barroco...........................................................14
1.3.1 Lo barroco como lenguaje del mestizaje y de la incertidumbre 15
1.3.2 Lo barroco como expresión de la contracultura y de la
continuidad cultural...................................................................23
1.3.3 Lo barroco como visión melancólica y refugio de la utopía .....28
1.4 Conclusiones...............................................................................33
2. Lo barroco como sensibilidad: Aura........................................... 37
2.1 Introducción...............................................................................37
2.1.1 Presentación de la obra .......................................................37
2.1.2 Procedimiento.....................................................................42
2.2 La intertextualidad explícita ....................................................44
2.2.1 Las “fuentes” de Fuentes ....................................................44
2.2.2 La figura de Quevedo en la obra de Fuentes.......................52
2.2.3 El intertexto quevedesco en Aura .......................................56
2.2.4 Ampliación del topos quevedesco amor-muerte.................64
2.3 La intertextualidad implícita....................................................72
2.3.1 Introducción........................................................................72
2.3.2 Melancolía y alegoría en el pensamiento de Benjamin ......73
2.3.3 La melancolía en Aura........................................................80
2.3.4 Aura como alegoría barroca................................................96
2.4 Conclusiones.............................................................................101
3. Lo barroco como visión histórica: Constancia......................... 105
3.1 Introducción.............................................................................105
3.1.1 Presentación de la obra .....................................................105
3.1.2 Procedimiento...................................................................111
3.2 El carácter barroco de Constancia.........................................112
3.2.1 Visión externa...................................................................113
3.2.1.1 Constancia en la crítica................................................113
3.2.1.2 El juicio del autor.........................................................116
3.2.2 Visión interna....................................................................122
3.2.2.1 Aspectos formales.........................................................122
3.2.2.2 Aspectos temáticos .......................................................124
3.2.2.2.1 Modalidades barrocas: melancolía y alegoría........124
3.2.2.2.2 La melancolía como rasgo del barroco y de la
Spätzeit ..................................................................127
3.3 La dimensión intertextual.......................................................133
3.3.1 La historia como catástrofe...............................................133
3.3.2 El intertexto explícito con Benjamin: “Constancia” y el
Angelus Novus ..................................................................140
3.3.2.1 La constancia de la historia .........................................140
3.3.2.2 Walter Benjamin y el avatar del ángel de la historia...146
3.3.2.3 Ruina y laberinto..........................................................154
3.3.2.4 La preeminencia del presente.......................................161
3.3.2.5 Relectura de Benjamin .................................................165
3.3.3 El intertexto implícito en “Gente de razón”......................172
3.3.3.1 El intertexto con Benjamin: las ruinas.........................172
3.3.3.2 El intertexto pictórico con Zurbarán............................185
3.4 Conclusiones.............................................................................196
4. Lo barroco como cronotopo: La frontera de cristal ................. 201
4.1 Presentación de la obra...........................................................201
4.2 Del giro espacial a un enfoque espacio-temporal..................205
4.3 El cronotopo de la frontera y el cronotopo barroco.............208
4.4 Análisis cronotópico de La frontera de cristal .......................213
4.4.1 Una historia de desengaño................................................214
4.4.2 Lugares fronterizos imaginarios .......................................218
4.4.3 Desplazamientos en el espacio y el tiempo ......................226
4.4.4 Desarraigo e inmovilismo.................................................231
4.4.5 Desubicación social ..........................................................236
4.4.6 Lugares de visibilidad e invisibilidad ...............................241
4.5 Conclusiones.............................................................................247
5. Lo barroco como tragedia: Todas las familias felices.............. 251
5.1 Introducción.............................................................................251
5.1.1 Presentación de la obra .....................................................252
5.1.2 Procedimiento...................................................................259
5.2 Una novela trágica...................................................................261
5.2.1 Tragedia griega y drama barroco......................................262
5.2.1.1 Introducción .................................................................262
5.2.1.2 El tiempo trágico y dramático......................................262
5.2.1.3 La función del coro.......................................................264
5.2.2 Fuentes sobre la novela como tragedia en Faulkner .........267
5.2.2.1 Introducción .................................................................267
5.2.2.2 Utopía, melancolía y tragedia......................................270
5.2.2.3 Tragedia y lenguaje barroco........................................273
5.2.2.4 Faulkner como escritor trágico....................................281
5.3 Análisis .....................................................................................291
5.3.1 Introducción......................................................................291
5.3.2 Historias nostálgicas de conformismo social....................292
5.3.2.1 Una familia de tantas ...................................................297
5.3.2.2 Los novios.....................................................................302
5.3.2.3 La madre del mariachi .................................................306
5.3.3 Los coros...........................................................................309
5.4 Conclusiones.............................................................................316
6. A modo de conclusión................................................................. 321
7. Bibliografía.................................................................................. 331
7.1 Literatura primaria.................................................................331
7.1.1 Obra literaria y ensayística de Carlos Fuentes..................331
7.1.2 Entrevistas.........................................................................334
7.2 Literatura secundaria .............................................................335
7.2.1 Estudios sobre Carlos Fuentes ..........................................335
7.2.2 Estudios sobre lo barroco..................................................345
7.2.3 Otros estudios consultados ...............................................349
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Literature, Discourse and Identity, Leuven (-)

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