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Artículos 7

The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf’s Carnivalesque Vision in Between the Acts Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas Between Güeras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and their Search for a Room of their Own Carolina Fernández Rodríguez

23

British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice Munro’s Narratives Mª Teresa González Mínguez

49

La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles Luisa Mª González Rodríguez

59

Tristram’s Identity Revisited Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera

77

The Bell Jar: Towards a Fading in Mind and Color Rosa Muñoz Luna

99

Joe Orton and the Subversion of the French Farcical Tradition Ignacio Ramos Gay

115

Violencia verbal en los medios de comunicación británicos: estudio de corpus Antonio García Gómez

131

Producción e interpretación de los titulares en prensa: visión pragmática María José González Rodríguez

153

Are Women Really Sweet? An Analysis of the Woman as Dessert Metaphor in the English and Spanish Written Press Irene López Rodríguez

179

Caracterización de los anuncios de empleo a través de un análisis semi-automático Victoria López Sanjuán

197

Historia y tradición en la enseñanza y aprendizaje de lenguas extranjeras en Europa (V): Edad Media – las otras lenguas, vernáculas, sapienciales y religiosas Mª José Corvo Sánchez

233

Learning how to Mitigate Requests through an Explicit Pragmatics-Based Method Esther Usó-Juan y Alicia Martínez-Flor

253

Reseñas Sonsoles Sánchez-Reyes Peñamaría y Ramiro Durán Martínez (eds.). 2006: Nuevas perspectivas en la didáctica de la fonética inglesa. Lorena Barrera Fernández

273

Eva Darias Beautell y María Jesús Hernáez Lerena (eds) 2007: Canon Disorders: Gendered Perspectives on Literature and Film in Canada and the United States. Belén Martín Lucas

281

Esther Vázquez y del Árbol y José Luis Vázquez Marruecos 2007: Poesía escocesa: Antología bilingüe. Pilar Villar Argáiz

287

ISSN

1132-7332

B A B E L 17 2008 A F I

Nº 17 - Ano 2008

17

A L

SERVIZO DE PUBLICACIÓNS

UNIVERSIDADE DE VIGO

COMITÉ EDITORIAL Elena de Prada Creo (Universidad de Vigo) Beatriz Figueroa Revilla (Universidad de Vigo) Cristina Larkin Galiñanes (Universidad de Vigo)

COMITÉ EDITORIAL Elena de Prada Creo (Universidad de Vigo) Beatriz Figueroa Revilla (Universidad de Vigo) Cristina Larkin Galiñanes (Universidad de Vigo)

COMITÉ DE REDACCIÓN Carlos Buján López (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) José Luis Chamoso González (Universidad de León) Mª Ángeles de la Concha Muñoz (UNED Madrid) Jorge Figueroa Dorrego (Universidade de Vigo) Francisco Garrudo Carabias (Universidad de Sevilla) Constante González Groba (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Manuel González Piñeiro (Universidade de Vigo) Pedro Guardia Masó (Universidad de Barcelona) Mª José López Couso (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Ramón López Ortega (Universidad de Extremadura) Félix Martín Gutiérrez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) Manuel Míguez Ben (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Rafael Monroy Casas (Universidad de Murcia) Catalina Montes Mozo (Universidad de Salamanca) Manuela Palacios González (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Javier Pérez Guerra (Universidade de Vigo) Veljka Ruzicka Kenfel (Universidade de Vigo) José Siles Artés (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) Eduardo Varela Bravo (Universidade de Vigo)

COMITÉ DE REDACCIÓN Carlos Buján López (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) José Luis Chamoso González (Universidad de León) Mª Ángeles de la Concha Muñoz (UNED Madrid) Jorge Figueroa Dorrego (Universidade de Vigo) Francisco Garrudo Carabias (Universidad de Sevilla) Constante González Groba (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Manuel González Piñeiro (Universidade de Vigo) Pedro Guardia Masó (Universidad de Barcelona) Mª José López Couso (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Ramón López Ortega (Universidad de Extremadura) Félix Martín Gutiérrez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) Manuel Míguez Ben (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Rafael Monroy Casas (Universidad de Murcia) Catalina Montes Mozo (Universidad de Salamanca) Manuela Palacios González (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Javier Pérez Guerra (Universidade de Vigo) Veljka Ruzicka Kenfel (Universidade de Vigo) José Siles Artés (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) Eduardo Varela Bravo (Universidade de Vigo)

Este volume publícase cunha subvención da DIRECCIÓN XERAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN, DESENVOLVEMENTO E INNOVACIÓN DA XUNTA DE GALICIA.

Este volume publícase cunha subvención da DIRECCIÓN XERAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN, DESENVOLVEMENTO E INNOVACIÓN DA XUNTA DE GALICIA.

BABEL-AFIAL Nº 17; Ano 2008

BABEL-AFIAL Nº 17; Ano 2008

EDITA Servizo de Publicacións da Universidade de Vigo Campus das Lagoas - Marcosende 36310 VIGO, España

EDITA Servizo de Publicacións da Universidade de Vigo Campus das Lagoas - Marcosende 36310 VIGO, España

IMPRIME Oficode, S.L.

IMPRIME Oficode, S.L.

ISSN 1132 - 7332 DEP. LEGAL PO - 603 - 02

ISSN 1132 - 7332 DEP. LEGAL PO - 603 - 02

© Servizo de Publicacións da Universidade de Vigo, 2008

© Servizo de Publicacións da Universidade de Vigo, 2008

COMITÉ EDITORIAL Elena de Prada Creo (Universidad de Vigo) Beatriz Figueroa Revilla (Universidad de Vigo) Cristina Larkin Galiñanes (Universidad de Vigo)

COMITÉ EDITORIAL Elena de Prada Creo (Universidad de Vigo) Beatriz Figueroa Revilla (Universidad de Vigo) Cristina Larkin Galiñanes (Universidad de Vigo)

COMITÉ DE REDACCIÓN Carlos Buján López (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) José Luis Chamoso González (Universidad de León) Mª Ángeles de la Concha Muñoz (UNED Madrid) Jorge Figueroa Dorrego (Universidade de Vigo) Francisco Garrudo Carabias (Universidad de Sevilla) Constante González Groba (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Manuel González Piñeiro (Universidade de Vigo) Pedro Guardia Masó (Universidad de Barcelona) Mª José López Couso (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Ramón López Ortega (Universidad de Extremadura) Félix Martín Gutiérrez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) Manuel Míguez Ben (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Rafael Monroy Casas (Universidad de Murcia) Catalina Montes Mozo (Universidad de Salamanca) Manuela Palacios González (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Javier Pérez Guerra (Universidade de Vigo) Veljka Ruzicka Kenfel (Universidade de Vigo) José Siles Artés (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) Eduardo Varela Bravo (Universidade de Vigo)

COMITÉ DE REDACCIÓN Carlos Buján López (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) José Luis Chamoso González (Universidad de León) Mª Ángeles de la Concha Muñoz (UNED Madrid) Jorge Figueroa Dorrego (Universidade de Vigo) Francisco Garrudo Carabias (Universidad de Sevilla) Constante González Groba (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Manuel González Piñeiro (Universidade de Vigo) Pedro Guardia Masó (Universidad de Barcelona) Mª José López Couso (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Ramón López Ortega (Universidad de Extremadura) Félix Martín Gutiérrez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) Manuel Míguez Ben (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Rafael Monroy Casas (Universidad de Murcia) Catalina Montes Mozo (Universidad de Salamanca) Manuela Palacios González (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) Javier Pérez Guerra (Universidade de Vigo) Veljka Ruzicka Kenfel (Universidade de Vigo) José Siles Artés (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) Eduardo Varela Bravo (Universidade de Vigo)

Este volume publícase cunha subvención da DIRECCIÓN XERAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN, DESENVOLVEMENTO E INNOVACIÓN DA XUNTA DE GALICIA.

Este volume publícase cunha subvención da DIRECCIÓN XERAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN, DESENVOLVEMENTO E INNOVACIÓN DA XUNTA DE GALICIA.

BABEL-AFIAL Nº 17; Ano 2008

BABEL-AFIAL Nº 17; Ano 2008

EDITA Servizo de Publicacións da Universidade de Vigo Campus das Lagoas - Marcosende 36310 VIGO, España

EDITA Servizo de Publicacións da Universidade de Vigo Campus das Lagoas - Marcosende 36310 VIGO, España

IMPRIME Oficode, S.L.

IMPRIME Oficode, S.L.

ISSN 1132 - 7332 DEP. LEGAL PO - 603 - 02

ISSN 1132 - 7332 DEP. LEGAL PO - 603 - 02

© Servizo de Publicacións da Universidade de Vigo, 2008

© Servizo de Publicacións da Universidade de Vigo, 2008

Dedicamos este número a la memoria del Profesor

Dedicamos este número a la memoria del Profesor

Enrique Alcaraz Varó, que durante los últimos

Enrique Alcaraz Varó, que durante los últimos

15 años ha sido un colaborador esencial para la

15 años ha sido un colaborador esencial para la

existencia de nuestra revista. Lo recordaremos

existencia de nuestra revista. Lo recordaremos

siempre con cariño y gratitud.

siempre con cariño y gratitud.

Dedicamos este número a la memoria del Profesor

Dedicamos este número a la memoria del Profesor

Enrique Alcaraz Varó, que durante los últimos

Enrique Alcaraz Varó, que durante los últimos

15 años ha sido un colaborador esencial para la

15 años ha sido un colaborador esencial para la

existencia de nuestra revista. Lo recordaremos

existencia de nuestra revista. Lo recordaremos

siempre con cariño y gratitud.

siempre con cariño y gratitud.

Índice

Índice

Artículos

Artículos

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf’s Carnivalesque Vision in Between the Acts

7

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf’s Carnivalesque Vision in Between the Acts

7

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Güeras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and their Search for a Room of their Own

23

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Güeras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and their Search for a Room of their Own

23

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice Munro’s Narratives

49

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice Munro’s Narratives

49

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

59

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

59

Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Tristram’s Identity Revisited

77

Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Tristram’s Identity Revisited

77

Rosa Muñoz Luna The Bell Jar: Towards a Fading in Mind and Color

99

Rosa Muñoz Luna The Bell Jar: Towards a Fading in Mind and Color

99

Ignacio Ramos Gay Joe Orton and the Subversion of the French Farcical Tradition

115

Ignacio Ramos Gay Joe Orton and the Subversion of the French Farcical Tradition

115

Antonio García Gómez Violencia verbal en los medios de comunicación británicos: estudio de corpus

131

Antonio García Gómez Violencia verbal en los medios de comunicación británicos: estudio de corpus

131

María José González Rodríguez Producción e interpretación de los titulares en prensa: visión pragmática

153

María José González Rodríguez Producción e interpretación de los titulares en prensa: visión pragmática

153

Irene López Rodríguez Are Women Really Sweet? An Analysis of the Woman as Dessert Metaphor in the English and Spanish Written Press

179

Irene López Rodríguez Are Women Really Sweet? An Analysis of the Woman as Dessert Metaphor in the English and Spanish Written Press

179

Victoria López Sanjuán Caracterización de los anuncios de empleo a través de un análisis semi-automático

197

Victoria López Sanjuán Caracterización de los anuncios de empleo a través de un análisis semi-automático

197

Mª José Corvo Sánchez Historia y tradición en la enseñanza y aprendizaje de lenguas extranjeras en Europa (V): Edad Media – las otras lenguas, vernáculas, sapienciales y religiosas

233

Mª José Corvo Sánchez Historia y tradición en la enseñanza y aprendizaje de lenguas extranjeras en Europa (V): Edad Media – las otras lenguas, vernáculas, sapienciales y religiosas

233

Esther Usó-Juan y Alicia Martínez-Flor Learning how to Mitigate Requests through an Explicit Pragmatics-Based Method

253

Esther Usó-Juan y Alicia Martínez-Flor Learning how to Mitigate Requests through an Explicit Pragmatics-Based Method

253

Reseñas

Reseñas

Lorena Barrera Fernández Sonsoles Sánchez-Reyes Peñamaría y Ramiro Durán Martínez (eds.). 2006: Nuevas perspectivas en la didáctica de la fonética inglesa.

273

Lorena Barrera Fernández Sonsoles Sánchez-Reyes Peñamaría y Ramiro Durán Martínez (eds.). 2006: Nuevas perspectivas en la didáctica de la fonética inglesa.

273

Belén Martín Lucas Eva Darias Beautell y María Jesús Hernáez Lerena (eds) 2007: Canon Disorders: Gendered Perspectives on Literature and Film in Canada and the United States.

281

Belén Martín Lucas Eva Darias Beautell y María Jesús Hernáez Lerena (eds) 2007: Canon Disorders: Gendered Perspectives on Literature and Film in Canada and the United States.

281

Pilar Villar Argáiz Esther Vázquez y del Árbol y José Luis Vázquez Marruecos 2007: Poesía escocesa: Antología bilingüe.

287

Pilar Villar Argáiz Esther Vázquez y del Árbol y José Luis Vázquez Marruecos 2007: Poesía escocesa: Antología bilingüe.

287

Índice

Índice

Artículos

Artículos

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf’s Carnivalesque Vision in Between the Acts

7

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf’s Carnivalesque Vision in Between the Acts

7

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Güeras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and their Search for a Room of their Own

23

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Güeras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and their Search for a Room of their Own

23

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice Munro’s Narratives

49

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice Munro’s Narratives

49

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

59

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

59

Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Tristram’s Identity Revisited

77

Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Tristram’s Identity Revisited

77

Rosa Muñoz Luna The Bell Jar: Towards a Fading in Mind and Color

99

Rosa Muñoz Luna The Bell Jar: Towards a Fading in Mind and Color

99

Ignacio Ramos Gay Joe Orton and the Subversion of the French Farcical Tradition

115

Ignacio Ramos Gay Joe Orton and the Subversion of the French Farcical Tradition

115

Antonio García Gómez Violencia verbal en los medios de comunicación británicos: estudio de corpus

131

Antonio García Gómez Violencia verbal en los medios de comunicación británicos: estudio de corpus

131

María José González Rodríguez Producción e interpretación de los titulares en prensa: visión pragmática

153

María José González Rodríguez Producción e interpretación de los titulares en prensa: visión pragmática

153

Irene López Rodríguez Are Women Really Sweet? An Analysis of the Woman as Dessert Metaphor in the English and Spanish Written Press

179

Irene López Rodríguez Are Women Really Sweet? An Analysis of the Woman as Dessert Metaphor in the English and Spanish Written Press

179

Victoria López Sanjuán Caracterización de los anuncios de empleo a través de un análisis semi-automático

197

Victoria López Sanjuán Caracterización de los anuncios de empleo a través de un análisis semi-automático

197

Mª José Corvo Sánchez Historia y tradición en la enseñanza y aprendizaje de lenguas extranjeras en Europa (V): Edad Media – las otras lenguas, vernáculas, sapienciales y religiosas

233

Mª José Corvo Sánchez Historia y tradición en la enseñanza y aprendizaje de lenguas extranjeras en Europa (V): Edad Media – las otras lenguas, vernáculas, sapienciales y religiosas

233

Esther Usó-Juan y Alicia Martínez-Flor Learning how to Mitigate Requests through an Explicit Pragmatics-Based Method

253

Esther Usó-Juan y Alicia Martínez-Flor Learning how to Mitigate Requests through an Explicit Pragmatics-Based Method

253

Reseñas

Reseñas

Lorena Barrera Fernández Sonsoles Sánchez-Reyes Peñamaría y Ramiro Durán Martínez (eds.). 2006: Nuevas perspectivas en la didáctica de la fonética inglesa.

273

Lorena Barrera Fernández Sonsoles Sánchez-Reyes Peñamaría y Ramiro Durán Martínez (eds.). 2006: Nuevas perspectivas en la didáctica de la fonética inglesa.

273

Belén Martín Lucas Eva Darias Beautell y María Jesús Hernáez Lerena (eds) 2007: Canon Disorders: Gendered Perspectives on Literature and Film in Canada and the United States.

281

Belén Martín Lucas Eva Darias Beautell y María Jesús Hernáez Lerena (eds) 2007: Canon Disorders: Gendered Perspectives on Literature and Film in Canada and the United States.

281

Pilar Villar Argáiz Esther Vázquez y del Árbol y José Luis Vázquez Marruecos 2007: Poesía escocesa: Antología bilingüe.

287

Pilar Villar Argáiz Esther Vázquez y del Árbol y José Luis Vázquez Marruecos 2007: Poesía escocesa: Antología bilingüe.

287

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

7

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

7

THE KING OF FOOLS AND THE BISHOP OF UNREASON: VIRGINIA WOLF’S CARNIVALISQUE VISION IN BETWEEN THE ACTS* Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas Universidad de Granada iandres@ugr.es

THE KING OF FOOLS AND THE BISHOP OF UNREASON: VIRGINIA WOLF’S CARNIVALISQUE VISION IN BETWEEN THE ACTS* Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas Universidad de Granada iandres@ugr.es

Impelled by the urgency of a society threatened by the imminence of an international conflict, along with the oppressive impositions of growing fascism, Virginia Woolf proposes a radically unconventional insight into this world through the determined subversion of the established values and patterns. Accordingly, it is by setting up a carnivalesque pageant of the world, ruled over by a catalogue of grotesques directly inherited from the carnival tradition, such as the King of Fools or the Abbot of Unreason – its ecclesiastical embodiment - that the narrator is enabled to promote the erosion and debunking of any form of centralized authority. Furthermore, as pertains to a carnival paradigm and its politics of praise and abuse, only through the debasement of the self-enclosing, monadic forms of power operating either in the name of royalty, Empire, religion, or patriarchy, will the process of regeneration of those prevailing structures and conceptions be thus fostered.

Impelled by the urgency of a society threatened by the imminence of an international conflict, along with the oppressive impositions of growing fascism, Virginia Woolf proposes a radically unconventional insight into this world through the determined subversion of the established values and patterns. Accordingly, it is by setting up a carnivalesque pageant of the world, ruled over by a catalogue of grotesques directly inherited from the carnival tradition, such as the King of Fools or the Abbot of Unreason – its ecclesiastical embodiment - that the narrator is enabled to promote the erosion and debunking of any form of centralized authority. Furthermore, as pertains to a carnival paradigm and its politics of praise and abuse, only through the debasement of the self-enclosing, monadic forms of power operating either in the name of royalty, Empire, religion, or patriarchy, will the process of regeneration of those prevailing structures and conceptions be thus fostered.

Keywords: carnival, grotesque, subversion, Modernism, narrative

Keywords: carnival, grotesque, subversion, Modernism, narrative

Impulsada por la urgencia de una sociedad ineludiblemente amenazada por la inminencia de un conflicto internacional, así como por las opresivas imposiciones del creciente fascismo, Virginia Woolf propone una visión radicalmente distinta con respecto a dicha sociedad a través de la subversión radical de los valores y modelos establecidos. De este modo, será mediante una carnavalesca representación del mundo,

Impulsada por la urgencia de una sociedad ineludiblemente amenazada por la inminencia de un conflicto internacional, así como por las opresivas imposiciones del creciente fascismo, Virginia Woolf propone una visión radicalmente distinta con respecto a dicha sociedad a través de la subversión radical de los valores y modelos establecidos. De este modo, será mediante una carnavalesca representación del mundo,

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

7

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

7

THE KING OF FOOLS AND THE BISHOP OF UNREASON: VIRGINIA WOLF’S CARNIVALISQUE VISION IN BETWEEN THE ACTS* Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas Universidad de Granada iandres@ugr.es

THE KING OF FOOLS AND THE BISHOP OF UNREASON: VIRGINIA WOLF’S CARNIVALISQUE VISION IN BETWEEN THE ACTS* Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas Universidad de Granada iandres@ugr.es

Impelled by the urgency of a society threatened by the imminence of an international conflict, along with the oppressive impositions of growing fascism, Virginia Woolf proposes a radically unconventional insight into this world through the determined subversion of the established values and patterns. Accordingly, it is by setting up a carnivalesque pageant of the world, ruled over by a catalogue of grotesques directly inherited from the carnival tradition, such as the King of Fools or the Abbot of Unreason – its ecclesiastical embodiment - that the narrator is enabled to promote the erosion and debunking of any form of centralized authority. Furthermore, as pertains to a carnival paradigm and its politics of praise and abuse, only through the debasement of the self-enclosing, monadic forms of power operating either in the name of royalty, Empire, religion, or patriarchy, will the process of regeneration of those prevailing structures and conceptions be thus fostered.

Impelled by the urgency of a society threatened by the imminence of an international conflict, along with the oppressive impositions of growing fascism, Virginia Woolf proposes a radically unconventional insight into this world through the determined subversion of the established values and patterns. Accordingly, it is by setting up a carnivalesque pageant of the world, ruled over by a catalogue of grotesques directly inherited from the carnival tradition, such as the King of Fools or the Abbot of Unreason – its ecclesiastical embodiment - that the narrator is enabled to promote the erosion and debunking of any form of centralized authority. Furthermore, as pertains to a carnival paradigm and its politics of praise and abuse, only through the debasement of the self-enclosing, monadic forms of power operating either in the name of royalty, Empire, religion, or patriarchy, will the process of regeneration of those prevailing structures and conceptions be thus fostered.

Keywords: carnival, grotesque, subversion, Modernism, narrative

Keywords: carnival, grotesque, subversion, Modernism, narrative

Impulsada por la urgencia de una sociedad ineludiblemente amenazada por la inminencia de un conflicto internacional, así como por las opresivas imposiciones del creciente fascismo, Virginia Woolf propone una visión radicalmente distinta con respecto a dicha sociedad a través de la subversión radical de los valores y modelos establecidos. De este modo, será mediante una carnavalesca representación del mundo,

Impulsada por la urgencia de una sociedad ineludiblemente amenazada por la inminencia de un conflicto internacional, así como por las opresivas imposiciones del creciente fascismo, Virginia Woolf propone una visión radicalmente distinta con respecto a dicha sociedad a través de la subversión radical de los valores y modelos establecidos. De este modo, será mediante una carnavalesca representación del mundo,

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

8

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

8

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

regido por una serie de grotescas figuras, directamente heredadas de la tradición del carnaval, tales como el Rey Bufón o el Obispo de la Locura – la versión eclesiástica de éste – lo que permita al narrador promover el destronamiento de toda forma centralizada de autoridad. Asimismo, tal y como corresponde al paradigma del carnaval y su política de alabanza-mofa, será precisamente la degradación e inversión de las formas de poder basadas en el monadismo y la imposición dictatorial, las cuales operan en el nombre de la monarquía, el imperio, la religión o el patriarcado, lo que posibilitará el proceso de regeneración de las estructuras y concepciones vigentes.

regido por una serie de grotescas figuras, directamente heredadas de la tradición del carnaval, tales como el Rey Bufón o el Obispo de la Locura – la versión eclesiástica de éste – lo que permita al narrador promover el destronamiento de toda forma centralizada de autoridad. Asimismo, tal y como corresponde al paradigma del carnaval y su política de alabanza-mofa, será precisamente la degradación e inversión de las formas de poder basadas en el monadismo y la imposición dictatorial, las cuales operan en el nombre de la monarquía, el imperio, la religión o el patriarcado, lo que posibilitará el proceso de regeneración de las estructuras y concepciones vigentes.

Palabras clave: carnaval, subversión, Modernismo, narrativa.

Palabras clave: carnaval, subversión, Modernismo, narrativa.

In the midst of a society threatened by the repressive forces of fascism and the imminence of an international conflict, Virginia Woolf advocates for a profound transformation of a system on the verge of collapse, yet paradoxically anchored to outmoded models. As the narrator envisions it, only through the subversiveness and decentralization inherent to the carnival paradigm, with its proposal of a monde à l’invers, will a real renovation of the cultural and socio-political bases underlying interwar Britain be enabled. Accordingly, the pivotal structures of power in British society, such as Empire, religion, monarchy, or canonical beliefs are subjected to a dramatic revision and subsequent debasement. At the same time, a whole microcosm of grotesque figures is brought to the fore in order to accomplish the final debunking of that anachronous post-Victorian society. As a result, in keeping with carnivalesque principles, and tallied with the destruction of the old order, the prospect of an invigorated world, released from the manacles of oppression and preceptive tradition, glimmers beneath the narrative in Woolf ’s last novel.

In the midst of a society threatened by the repressive forces of fascism and the imminence of an international conflict, Virginia Woolf advocates for a profound transformation of a system on the verge of collapse, yet paradoxically anchored to outmoded models. As the narrator envisions it, only through the subversiveness and decentralization inherent to the carnival paradigm, with its proposal of a monde à l’invers, will a real renovation of the cultural and socio-political bases underlying interwar Britain be enabled. Accordingly, the pivotal structures of power in British society, such as Empire, religion, monarchy, or canonical beliefs are subjected to a dramatic revision and subsequent debasement. At the same time, a whole microcosm of grotesque figures is brought to the fore in order to accomplish the final debunking of that anachronous post-Victorian society. As a result, in keeping with carnivalesque principles, and tallied with the destruction of the old order, the prospect of an invigorated world, released from the manacles of oppression and preceptive tradition, glimmers beneath the narrative in Woolf ’s last novel.

At the core of those grotesques populating the carnivalistic universe in Between the Acts, there lies the Carnival Fool or King of Fools. A constant within the carnival paradigm, this figure has been identified

At the core of those grotesques populating the carnivalistic universe in Between the Acts, there lies the Carnival Fool or King of Fools. A constant within the carnival paradigm, this figure has been identified

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

regido por una serie de grotescas figuras, directamente heredadas de la tradición del carnaval, tales como el Rey Bufón o el Obispo de la Locura – la versión eclesiástica de éste – lo que permita al narrador promover el destronamiento de toda forma centralizada de autoridad. Asimismo, tal y como corresponde al paradigma del carnaval y su política de alabanza-mofa, será precisamente la degradación e inversión de las formas de poder basadas en el monadismo y la imposición dictatorial, las cuales operan en el nombre de la monarquía, el imperio, la religión o el patriarcado, lo que posibilitará el proceso de regeneración de las estructuras y concepciones vigentes.

regido por una serie de grotescas figuras, directamente heredadas de la tradición del carnaval, tales como el Rey Bufón o el Obispo de la Locura – la versión eclesiástica de éste – lo que permita al narrador promover el destronamiento de toda forma centralizada de autoridad. Asimismo, tal y como corresponde al paradigma del carnaval y su política de alabanza-mofa, será precisamente la degradación e inversión de las formas de poder basadas en el monadismo y la imposición dictatorial, las cuales operan en el nombre de la monarquía, el imperio, la religión o el patriarcado, lo que posibilitará el proceso de regeneración de las estructuras y concepciones vigentes.

Palabras clave: carnaval, subversión, Modernismo, narrativa.

Palabras clave: carnaval, subversión, Modernismo, narrativa.

In the midst of a society threatened by the repressive forces of fascism and the imminence of an international conflict, Virginia Woolf advocates for a profound transformation of a system on the verge of collapse, yet paradoxically anchored to outmoded models. As the narrator envisions it, only through the subversiveness and decentralization inherent to the carnival paradigm, with its proposal of a monde à l’invers, will a real renovation of the cultural and socio-political bases underlying interwar Britain be enabled. Accordingly, the pivotal structures of power in British society, such as Empire, religion, monarchy, or canonical beliefs are subjected to a dramatic revision and subsequent debasement. At the same time, a whole microcosm of grotesque figures is brought to the fore in order to accomplish the final debunking of that anachronous post-Victorian society. As a result, in keeping with carnivalesque principles, and tallied with the destruction of the old order, the prospect of an invigorated world, released from the manacles of oppression and preceptive tradition, glimmers beneath the narrative in Woolf ’s last novel.

In the midst of a society threatened by the repressive forces of fascism and the imminence of an international conflict, Virginia Woolf advocates for a profound transformation of a system on the verge of collapse, yet paradoxically anchored to outmoded models. As the narrator envisions it, only through the subversiveness and decentralization inherent to the carnival paradigm, with its proposal of a monde à l’invers, will a real renovation of the cultural and socio-political bases underlying interwar Britain be enabled. Accordingly, the pivotal structures of power in British society, such as Empire, religion, monarchy, or canonical beliefs are subjected to a dramatic revision and subsequent debasement. At the same time, a whole microcosm of grotesque figures is brought to the fore in order to accomplish the final debunking of that anachronous post-Victorian society. As a result, in keeping with carnivalesque principles, and tallied with the destruction of the old order, the prospect of an invigorated world, released from the manacles of oppression and preceptive tradition, glimmers beneath the narrative in Woolf ’s last novel.

At the core of those grotesques populating the carnivalistic universe in Between the Acts, there lies the Carnival Fool or King of Fools. A constant within the carnival paradigm, this figure has been identified

At the core of those grotesques populating the carnivalistic universe in Between the Acts, there lies the Carnival Fool or King of Fools. A constant within the carnival paradigm, this figure has been identified

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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as a scapegoat or communal expiatory victim. Indeed, invariably receiving the scorn and harassment of the rest, the carnival Fool functions as the vehicle whereby collective evils and pains are expelled from the community and disposed of through symbolical or actual destruction of the carrier. Tracing back the origins of this Fool, Frazer finds its earlier roots in ancient civilizations, where not rarely, it was embodied by flesh-and-bone figures. In his study, the anthropologist notes the dual nature of the Carnival Fool as both the King, representative of the highest social, political, or even religious authority, and as a ridiculous personage, mostly characterized by its utter grotesqueness:

as a scapegoat or communal expiatory victim. Indeed, invariably receiving the scorn and harassment of the rest, the carnival Fool functions as the vehicle whereby collective evils and pains are expelled from the community and disposed of through symbolical or actual destruction of the carrier. Tracing back the origins of this Fool, Frazer finds its earlier roots in ancient civilizations, where not rarely, it was embodied by flesh-and-bone figures. In his study, the anthropologist notes the dual nature of the Carnival Fool as both the King, representative of the highest social, political, or even religious authority, and as a ridiculous personage, mostly characterized by its utter grotesqueness:

We have seen that in Italy, Spain, and France, that is, in the countries where the influence of Rome has been deepest and most lasting, a conspicuous feature of the Carnival is a burlesque figure personifying the festive season, which after a short career of glory and dissipation is publicly shot, burnt, or otherwise destroyed, to the feigned grief of genuine delight of the populace. If the view here suggested of the Carnival is correct, this grotesque personage is no other than a direct successor of the old King of the Saturnalia. (Frazer, 1913: 312)

We have seen that in Italy, Spain, and France, that is, in the countries where the influence of Rome has been deepest and most lasting, a conspicuous feature of the Carnival is a burlesque figure personifying the festive season, which after a short career of glory and dissipation is publicly shot, burnt, or otherwise destroyed, to the feigned grief of genuine delight of the populace. If the view here suggested of the Carnival is correct, this grotesque personage is no other than a direct successor of the old King of the Saturnalia. (Frazer, 1913: 312)

In Between the Acts, Albert is inescapably appointed as a Carnival Fool. Overtly referred to as “the village idiot” and apparently mentallyimpaired, Albert fits into Bakhtin's postulate of the twofold nature of that buffoon/monarch. Along with this duality, a further bidimensionality concerns this personage. Thus, while this king, ensuing his crowning, is beaten and ridiculed, Bakhtin also acknowledges him as the one acting as a herald and exponent of the new optics provided by the carnival sense of the world. Chiming in with this, his foolery becomes a means of getting rid of the official, false truth of the world, thereby gazed from a diametrically different perspective (Bakhtin, 1984a: 49).

In Between the Acts, Albert is inescapably appointed as a Carnival Fool. Overtly referred to as “the village idiot” and apparently mentallyimpaired, Albert fits into Bakhtin's postulate of the twofold nature of that buffoon/monarch. Along with this duality, a further bidimensionality concerns this personage. Thus, while this king, ensuing his crowning, is beaten and ridiculed, Bakhtin also acknowledges him as the one acting as a herald and exponent of the new optics provided by the carnival sense of the world. Chiming in with this, his foolery becomes a means of getting rid of the official, false truth of the world, thereby gazed from a diametrically different perspective (Bakhtin, 1984a: 49).

Accordingly, it is Albert, this acknowledged fool, who dares to enact precisely “the unacted part” of each of us (Woolf, 1992a: 179). Scorned and despaired by the attendants to the village pageant around

Accordingly, it is Albert, this acknowledged fool, who dares to enact precisely “the unacted part” of each of us (Woolf, 1992a: 179). Scorned and despaired by the attendants to the village pageant around

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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as a scapegoat or communal expiatory victim. Indeed, invariably receiving the scorn and harassment of the rest, the carnival Fool functions as the vehicle whereby collective evils and pains are expelled from the community and disposed of through symbolical or actual destruction of the carrier. Tracing back the origins of this Fool, Frazer finds its earlier roots in ancient civilizations, where not rarely, it was embodied by flesh-and-bone figures. In his study, the anthropologist notes the dual nature of the Carnival Fool as both the King, representative of the highest social, political, or even religious authority, and as a ridiculous personage, mostly characterized by its utter grotesqueness:

as a scapegoat or communal expiatory victim. Indeed, invariably receiving the scorn and harassment of the rest, the carnival Fool functions as the vehicle whereby collective evils and pains are expelled from the community and disposed of through symbolical or actual destruction of the carrier. Tracing back the origins of this Fool, Frazer finds its earlier roots in ancient civilizations, where not rarely, it was embodied by flesh-and-bone figures. In his study, the anthropologist notes the dual nature of the Carnival Fool as both the King, representative of the highest social, political, or even religious authority, and as a ridiculous personage, mostly characterized by its utter grotesqueness:

We have seen that in Italy, Spain, and France, that is, in the countries where the influence of Rome has been deepest and most lasting, a conspicuous feature of the Carnival is a burlesque figure personifying the festive season, which after a short career of glory and dissipation is publicly shot, burnt, or otherwise destroyed, to the feigned grief of genuine delight of the populace. If the view here suggested of the Carnival is correct, this grotesque personage is no other than a direct successor of the old King of the Saturnalia. (Frazer, 1913: 312)

We have seen that in Italy, Spain, and France, that is, in the countries where the influence of Rome has been deepest and most lasting, a conspicuous feature of the Carnival is a burlesque figure personifying the festive season, which after a short career of glory and dissipation is publicly shot, burnt, or otherwise destroyed, to the feigned grief of genuine delight of the populace. If the view here suggested of the Carnival is correct, this grotesque personage is no other than a direct successor of the old King of the Saturnalia. (Frazer, 1913: 312)

In Between the Acts, Albert is inescapably appointed as a Carnival Fool. Overtly referred to as “the village idiot” and apparently mentallyimpaired, Albert fits into Bakhtin's postulate of the twofold nature of that buffoon/monarch. Along with this duality, a further bidimensionality concerns this personage. Thus, while this king, ensuing his crowning, is beaten and ridiculed, Bakhtin also acknowledges him as the one acting as a herald and exponent of the new optics provided by the carnival sense of the world. Chiming in with this, his foolery becomes a means of getting rid of the official, false truth of the world, thereby gazed from a diametrically different perspective (Bakhtin, 1984a: 49).

In Between the Acts, Albert is inescapably appointed as a Carnival Fool. Overtly referred to as “the village idiot” and apparently mentallyimpaired, Albert fits into Bakhtin's postulate of the twofold nature of that buffoon/monarch. Along with this duality, a further bidimensionality concerns this personage. Thus, while this king, ensuing his crowning, is beaten and ridiculed, Bakhtin also acknowledges him as the one acting as a herald and exponent of the new optics provided by the carnival sense of the world. Chiming in with this, his foolery becomes a means of getting rid of the official, false truth of the world, thereby gazed from a diametrically different perspective (Bakhtin, 1984a: 49).

Accordingly, it is Albert, this acknowledged fool, who dares to enact precisely “the unacted part” of each of us (Woolf, 1992a: 179). Scorned and despaired by the attendants to the village pageant around

Accordingly, it is Albert, this acknowledged fool, who dares to enact precisely “the unacted part” of each of us (Woolf, 1992a: 179). Scorned and despaired by the attendants to the village pageant around

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which the novel revolves, Albert stands for “something hidden, the unconscious as they call it?” (Woolf, 1992a: 179). This observation by Reverend Streatfield signals Albert as the purest essence of the carnivalesque celebration, whereby man in the Middle Ages was temporarily allowed to live his second and most authentic life, unbounded from the oppressiveness and alienation entailed by the official one (Bakhtin, 1984b: 129-130). In this regard, Albert incarnates that fooled and decrowned expiatory figure through which societies can progress and survive. Thus, the remark by different characters in the novel, such as Mrs. Elmhurst or Mrs. Parker, admitting the existence of an idiot in every village – “’The village idiot’, whispered [...] Mrs. Elmhurst [...] who came from a village ten miles distant where they, too, had an idiot” (Woolf, 1992a: 79), directly echoes Freud's notion of this figure. Hence, the psychologist agrees with Frazer on noting the prevalence of this collective fool since ancient times. Moreover, Freud highlights its relevance as he observes the pervasive nature of this victimized figure throughout the centuries as a necessary safety valve for the endurance of societies. As he has affirmed, civilizations become more solid insofar as they may have “other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness” (Freud, 1949: 51). As a matter of fact, in the middle of a strictly-ruled society, still imbued by the haunting presence of the Victorian spirit, Woolf revisits the ancient past to poise the nearly rhetorical question - “’(s)urely [...], we're more civilized?’” (Woolf, 1992a: 100) – as voiced by Mrs. Parker, one of the attendants to the pageant. In the light of the evident answer, in a nation crowded with technological developments – though paradoxically on the verge of an international conflict – the inclusion of Albert, a patently carnivalesque buffoon, brings down the as rigid as inefficient system of values.

which the novel revolves, Albert stands for “something hidden, the unconscious as they call it?” (Woolf, 1992a: 179). This observation by Reverend Streatfield signals Albert as the purest essence of the carnivalesque celebration, whereby man in the Middle Ages was temporarily allowed to live his second and most authentic life, unbounded from the oppressiveness and alienation entailed by the official one (Bakhtin, 1984b: 129-130). In this regard, Albert incarnates that fooled and decrowned expiatory figure through which societies can progress and survive. Thus, the remark by different characters in the novel, such as Mrs. Elmhurst or Mrs. Parker, admitting the existence of an idiot in every village – “’The village idiot’, whispered [...] Mrs. Elmhurst [...] who came from a village ten miles distant where they, too, had an idiot” (Woolf, 1992a: 79), directly echoes Freud's notion of this figure. Hence, the psychologist agrees with Frazer on noting the prevalence of this collective fool since ancient times. Moreover, Freud highlights its relevance as he observes the pervasive nature of this victimized figure throughout the centuries as a necessary safety valve for the endurance of societies. As he has affirmed, civilizations become more solid insofar as they may have “other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness” (Freud, 1949: 51). As a matter of fact, in the middle of a strictly-ruled society, still imbued by the haunting presence of the Victorian spirit, Woolf revisits the ancient past to poise the nearly rhetorical question - “’(s)urely [...], we're more civilized?’” (Woolf, 1992a: 100) – as voiced by Mrs. Parker, one of the attendants to the pageant. In the light of the evident answer, in a nation crowded with technological developments – though paradoxically on the verge of an international conflict – the inclusion of Albert, a patently carnivalesque buffoon, brings down the as rigid as inefficient system of values.

Indeed, it is precisely Albert who, in the midst of the conventionalisms surrounding the Elizabethan period which is being performed on stage, overtly laughs at the audience, “leering at each in turn” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). In keeping with the system of carnivalistic obscenities and profanations that constitute, for Bakhtin, a form of “debasing” and “bringing down to earth” whatever is officially worshipped as high and elevated (Bakhtin, 1984a: 123), Albert's openly lewd attitude to Queen Elizabeth contributes to the decrowning of the domineering and monolithic authority she represents: “Now he

Indeed, it is precisely Albert who, in the midst of the conventionalisms surrounding the Elizabethan period which is being performed on stage, overtly laughs at the audience, “leering at each in turn” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). In keeping with the system of carnivalistic obscenities and profanations that constitute, for Bakhtin, a form of “debasing” and “bringing down to earth” whatever is officially worshipped as high and elevated (Bakhtin, 1984a: 123), Albert's openly lewd attitude to Queen Elizabeth contributes to the decrowning of the domineering and monolithic authority she represents: “Now he

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

which the novel revolves, Albert stands for “something hidden, the unconscious as they call it?” (Woolf, 1992a: 179). This observation by Reverend Streatfield signals Albert as the purest essence of the carnivalesque celebration, whereby man in the Middle Ages was temporarily allowed to live his second and most authentic life, unbounded from the oppressiveness and alienation entailed by the official one (Bakhtin, 1984b: 129-130). In this regard, Albert incarnates that fooled and decrowned expiatory figure through which societies can progress and survive. Thus, the remark by different characters in the novel, such as Mrs. Elmhurst or Mrs. Parker, admitting the existence of an idiot in every village – “’The village idiot’, whispered [...] Mrs. Elmhurst [...] who came from a village ten miles distant where they, too, had an idiot” (Woolf, 1992a: 79), directly echoes Freud's notion of this figure. Hence, the psychologist agrees with Frazer on noting the prevalence of this collective fool since ancient times. Moreover, Freud highlights its relevance as he observes the pervasive nature of this victimized figure throughout the centuries as a necessary safety valve for the endurance of societies. As he has affirmed, civilizations become more solid insofar as they may have “other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness” (Freud, 1949: 51). As a matter of fact, in the middle of a strictly-ruled society, still imbued by the haunting presence of the Victorian spirit, Woolf revisits the ancient past to poise the nearly rhetorical question - “’(s)urely [...], we're more civilized?’” (Woolf, 1992a: 100) – as voiced by Mrs. Parker, one of the attendants to the pageant. In the light of the evident answer, in a nation crowded with technological developments – though paradoxically on the verge of an international conflict – the inclusion of Albert, a patently carnivalesque buffoon, brings down the as rigid as inefficient system of values.

which the novel revolves, Albert stands for “something hidden, the unconscious as they call it?” (Woolf, 1992a: 179). This observation by Reverend Streatfield signals Albert as the purest essence of the carnivalesque celebration, whereby man in the Middle Ages was temporarily allowed to live his second and most authentic life, unbounded from the oppressiveness and alienation entailed by the official one (Bakhtin, 1984b: 129-130). In this regard, Albert incarnates that fooled and decrowned expiatory figure through which societies can progress and survive. Thus, the remark by different characters in the novel, such as Mrs. Elmhurst or Mrs. Parker, admitting the existence of an idiot in every village – “’The village idiot’, whispered [...] Mrs. Elmhurst [...] who came from a village ten miles distant where they, too, had an idiot” (Woolf, 1992a: 79), directly echoes Freud's notion of this figure. Hence, the psychologist agrees with Frazer on noting the prevalence of this collective fool since ancient times. Moreover, Freud highlights its relevance as he observes the pervasive nature of this victimized figure throughout the centuries as a necessary safety valve for the endurance of societies. As he has affirmed, civilizations become more solid insofar as they may have “other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness” (Freud, 1949: 51). As a matter of fact, in the middle of a strictly-ruled society, still imbued by the haunting presence of the Victorian spirit, Woolf revisits the ancient past to poise the nearly rhetorical question - “’(s)urely [...], we're more civilized?’” (Woolf, 1992a: 100) – as voiced by Mrs. Parker, one of the attendants to the pageant. In the light of the evident answer, in a nation crowded with technological developments – though paradoxically on the verge of an international conflict – the inclusion of Albert, a patently carnivalesque buffoon, brings down the as rigid as inefficient system of values.

Indeed, it is precisely Albert who, in the midst of the conventionalisms surrounding the Elizabethan period which is being performed on stage, overtly laughs at the audience, “leering at each in turn” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). In keeping with the system of carnivalistic obscenities and profanations that constitute, for Bakhtin, a form of “debasing” and “bringing down to earth” whatever is officially worshipped as high and elevated (Bakhtin, 1984a: 123), Albert's openly lewd attitude to Queen Elizabeth contributes to the decrowning of the domineering and monolithic authority she represents: “Now he

Indeed, it is precisely Albert who, in the midst of the conventionalisms surrounding the Elizabethan period which is being performed on stage, overtly laughs at the audience, “leering at each in turn” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). In keeping with the system of carnivalistic obscenities and profanations that constitute, for Bakhtin, a form of “debasing” and “bringing down to earth” whatever is officially worshipped as high and elevated (Bakhtin, 1984a: 123), Albert's openly lewd attitude to Queen Elizabeth contributes to the decrowning of the domineering and monolithic authority she represents: “Now he

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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was picking and plucking at Great Eliza's skirts. She cuffed him on the ear. He tweaked her back. He was enjoying himself immensely [....] There he was pinching the Queen's skirts” (Woolf, 1992a: 78-79).

was picking and plucking at Great Eliza's skirts. She cuffed him on the ear. He tweaked her back. He was enjoying himself immensely [....] There he was pinching the Queen's skirts” (Woolf, 1992a: 78-79).

Nevertheless, this is not the only means through which political power is decried. Alluded to as “old Queen Bess” or “Great Eliza,” the eminent and dominant figure of Queen Elizabeth is actually unmasked as merely Eliza Clark, the village tobacco-seller. Furthermore, despite the ironical remark that “(s)he was splendidly dressed up” (Woolf, 1992a: 76), her appearance is no more dignifying – falling yet in the category of the grotesque aesthetics. In this sense, her “pearl-hung” head emerging from a ruff comes to epitomize the carnivalistic dismemberment whereby natural limits become transgressed and overexceeded as a means of degradation of the conventionally superior (Bakhtin, 1984a: 189).

Nevertheless, this is not the only means through which political power is decried. Alluded to as “old Queen Bess” or “Great Eliza,” the eminent and dominant figure of Queen Elizabeth is actually unmasked as merely Eliza Clark, the village tobacco-seller. Furthermore, despite the ironical remark that “(s)he was splendidly dressed up” (Woolf, 1992a: 76), her appearance is no more dignifying – falling yet in the category of the grotesque aesthetics. In this sense, her “pearl-hung” head emerging from a ruff comes to epitomize the carnivalistic dismemberment whereby natural limits become transgressed and overexceeded as a means of degradation of the conventionally superior (Bakhtin, 1984a: 189).

Similarly, her “splendid” royal vestments amount in fact to ridiculous fakeries of their original referents. This is the case of the “sixpenny brooches [glaring] like cats' eyes” –instead of the commonly expected and more majestic tiger’s eyes – that adorn the Queen’s garments, or the down-looking pearls that complete her attire. At the same time, the delusive depiction of her allegedly silver regal acquires a patently carnivalesque overtone reminiscent of the portrayal of Don Quixote, as concerns the description of kitchen utensils elevated to the rank of royal vestments: “her cape was made of cloth of silver – in fact swabs used to scour the saucepans” (Woolf, 1992a: 76).

Similarly, her “splendid” royal vestments amount in fact to ridiculous fakeries of their original referents. This is the case of the “sixpenny brooches [glaring] like cats' eyes” –instead of the commonly expected and more majestic tiger’s eyes – that adorn the Queen’s garments, or the down-looking pearls that complete her attire. At the same time, the delusive depiction of her allegedly silver regal acquires a patently carnivalesque overtone reminiscent of the portrayal of Don Quixote, as concerns the description of kitchen utensils elevated to the rank of royal vestments: “her cape was made of cloth of silver – in fact swabs used to scour the saucepans” (Woolf, 1992a: 76).

Mounted on what turns out to be a soap-box, serving as “perhaps a rock on the ocean,” the Queen reaches a grotesquely “gigantic” size, symptomatic of carnivalistic excesses. In tune with the system of carnival inversions, the Queen is literally straight away brought down from her intended summit in the midst of the ocean as the invincible commander of the Armada, to become disparaged to the status of a mere pawn placed, at the own will of the narrator, behind a counter in a shop: “(a)nd when she mounted the soap-box in the centre, representing perhaps a rock in the ocean, her size made her appear gigantic. She could reach a flitch of bacon or hawl a tub of oil with one sweep of her arm in the shop” (Woolf, 1992a: 76). Such a form of degradation and reversal of the wheel of social hierarchies

Mounted on what turns out to be a soap-box, serving as “perhaps a rock on the ocean,” the Queen reaches a grotesquely “gigantic” size, symptomatic of carnivalistic excesses. In tune with the system of carnival inversions, the Queen is literally straight away brought down from her intended summit in the midst of the ocean as the invincible commander of the Armada, to become disparaged to the status of a mere pawn placed, at the own will of the narrator, behind a counter in a shop: “(a)nd when she mounted the soap-box in the centre, representing perhaps a rock in the ocean, her size made her appear gigantic. She could reach a flitch of bacon or hawl a tub of oil with one sweep of her arm in the shop” (Woolf, 1992a: 76). Such a form of degradation and reversal of the wheel of social hierarchies

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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11

was picking and plucking at Great Eliza's skirts. She cuffed him on the ear. He tweaked her back. He was enjoying himself immensely [....] There he was pinching the Queen's skirts” (Woolf, 1992a: 78-79).

was picking and plucking at Great Eliza's skirts. She cuffed him on the ear. He tweaked her back. He was enjoying himself immensely [....] There he was pinching the Queen's skirts” (Woolf, 1992a: 78-79).

Nevertheless, this is not the only means through which political power is decried. Alluded to as “old Queen Bess” or “Great Eliza,” the eminent and dominant figure of Queen Elizabeth is actually unmasked as merely Eliza Clark, the village tobacco-seller. Furthermore, despite the ironical remark that “(s)he was splendidly dressed up” (Woolf, 1992a: 76), her appearance is no more dignifying – falling yet in the category of the grotesque aesthetics. In this sense, her “pearl-hung” head emerging from a ruff comes to epitomize the carnivalistic dismemberment whereby natural limits become transgressed and overexceeded as a means of degradation of the conventionally superior (Bakhtin, 1984a: 189).

Nevertheless, this is not the only means through which political power is decried. Alluded to as “old Queen Bess” or “Great Eliza,” the eminent and dominant figure of Queen Elizabeth is actually unmasked as merely Eliza Clark, the village tobacco-seller. Furthermore, despite the ironical remark that “(s)he was splendidly dressed up” (Woolf, 1992a: 76), her appearance is no more dignifying – falling yet in the category of the grotesque aesthetics. In this sense, her “pearl-hung” head emerging from a ruff comes to epitomize the carnivalistic dismemberment whereby natural limits become transgressed and overexceeded as a means of degradation of the conventionally superior (Bakhtin, 1984a: 189).

Similarly, her “splendid” royal vestments amount in fact to ridiculous fakeries of their original referents. This is the case of the “sixpenny brooches [glaring] like cats' eyes” –instead of the commonly expected and more majestic tiger’s eyes – that adorn the Queen’s garments, or the down-looking pearls that complete her attire. At the same time, the delusive depiction of her allegedly silver regal acquires a patently carnivalesque overtone reminiscent of the portrayal of Don Quixote, as concerns the description of kitchen utensils elevated to the rank of royal vestments: “her cape was made of cloth of silver – in fact swabs used to scour the saucepans” (Woolf, 1992a: 76).

Similarly, her “splendid” royal vestments amount in fact to ridiculous fakeries of their original referents. This is the case of the “sixpenny brooches [glaring] like cats' eyes” –instead of the commonly expected and more majestic tiger’s eyes – that adorn the Queen’s garments, or the down-looking pearls that complete her attire. At the same time, the delusive depiction of her allegedly silver regal acquires a patently carnivalesque overtone reminiscent of the portrayal of Don Quixote, as concerns the description of kitchen utensils elevated to the rank of royal vestments: “her cape was made of cloth of silver – in fact swabs used to scour the saucepans” (Woolf, 1992a: 76).

Mounted on what turns out to be a soap-box, serving as “perhaps a rock on the ocean,” the Queen reaches a grotesquely “gigantic” size, symptomatic of carnivalistic excesses. In tune with the system of carnival inversions, the Queen is literally straight away brought down from her intended summit in the midst of the ocean as the invincible commander of the Armada, to become disparaged to the status of a mere pawn placed, at the own will of the narrator, behind a counter in a shop: “(a)nd when she mounted the soap-box in the centre, representing perhaps a rock in the ocean, her size made her appear gigantic. She could reach a flitch of bacon or hawl a tub of oil with one sweep of her arm in the shop” (Woolf, 1992a: 76). Such a form of degradation and reversal of the wheel of social hierarchies

Mounted on what turns out to be a soap-box, serving as “perhaps a rock on the ocean,” the Queen reaches a grotesquely “gigantic” size, symptomatic of carnivalistic excesses. In tune with the system of carnival inversions, the Queen is literally straight away brought down from her intended summit in the midst of the ocean as the invincible commander of the Armada, to become disparaged to the status of a mere pawn placed, at the own will of the narrator, behind a counter in a shop: “(a)nd when she mounted the soap-box in the centre, representing perhaps a rock in the ocean, her size made her appear gigantic. She could reach a flitch of bacon or hawl a tub of oil with one sweep of her arm in the shop” (Woolf, 1992a: 76). Such a form of degradation and reversal of the wheel of social hierarchies

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reverberates of a similar episode in Mrs. Dalloway. In the latter, the very Prime Minister becomes debased to the position of a “poor chap” selling biscuits. Ironically, as in the case of the Queen, the politician attempts to shield his own preposterousness behind the pomp and arrogance of his acts:

reverberates of a similar episode in Mrs. Dalloway. In the latter, the very Prime Minister becomes debased to the position of a “poor chap” selling biscuits. Ironically, as in the case of the Queen, the politician attempts to shield his own preposterousness behind the pomp and arrogance of his acts:

One couldn't laugh at him. He looked so ordinary. You might have stood him behind a counter and bought biscuits – poor chap, all rigged up in gold lace. And to be fair, as he went his rounds, first with Clarissa, then with Richard escorting him, he did it very well. He tried to look somebody. It was amusing to watch. Nobody looked at him. They just went on talking, yet it was perfectly plain that they all knew [...] this majesty passing; this symbol of what they all stood for, English society. (Woolf, 1992b: 188-189)

One couldn't laugh at him. He looked so ordinary. You might have stood him behind a counter and bought biscuits – poor chap, all rigged up in gold lace. And to be fair, as he went his rounds, first with Clarissa, then with Richard escorting him, he did it very well. He tried to look somebody. It was amusing to watch. Nobody looked at him. They just went on talking, yet it was perfectly plain that they all knew [...] this majesty passing; this symbol of what they all stood for, English society. (Woolf, 1992b: 188-189)

Simultaneously, the association of the Queen with greasy food tallies with the numerous excesses associated with the carnival banquet. Bakhtin notes the enumeration of different sorts of venom and poultry in Rabelais' Gargantua, one of the most outstanding examples of carnivalized literature (Bakhtin, 1984a: 268). By all reckonings, the Queen's decrowning becomes evident. Hence, her presentation as “(t)he Queen of this great land” is overwhelmed by a “roar of laughter,” which is implicitly continued when Giles Oliver mutters “’(l)aughter, loud laughter’” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). As pertains to carnival principles, popular laughter utterly destroys official authority. Hence, even when Eliza has forgotten her lines, it is actually unnoticed – “the audience laughed so loud that it did not matter” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). Likewise, while Shakespeare is supposed to sing for her – as expressed through her lines – it is in fact “a cow moo[ing]” and “a bird twitter[ing]” that can be heard (Woolf, 1992a: 78). The impersonal gramophone also partakes in this demeanour through its sudden emission of cacophonic sounds which overlap the Queen’s tentative monologue. Furthermore, along with the disruption of linearity in art, represented by the chaotic reproduction of classical melodies, the discordance of the gramophone’s emissions is linked to the drink excess that is typical of carnival celebrations: “The tune on the gramophone reeled from side to side as if drunk with merriment”

Simultaneously, the association of the Queen with greasy food tallies with the numerous excesses associated with the carnival banquet. Bakhtin notes the enumeration of different sorts of venom and poultry in Rabelais' Gargantua, one of the most outstanding examples of carnivalized literature (Bakhtin, 1984a: 268). By all reckonings, the Queen's decrowning becomes evident. Hence, her presentation as “(t)he Queen of this great land” is overwhelmed by a “roar of laughter,” which is implicitly continued when Giles Oliver mutters “’(l)aughter, loud laughter’” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). As pertains to carnival principles, popular laughter utterly destroys official authority. Hence, even when Eliza has forgotten her lines, it is actually unnoticed – “the audience laughed so loud that it did not matter” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). Likewise, while Shakespeare is supposed to sing for her – as expressed through her lines – it is in fact “a cow moo[ing]” and “a bird twitter[ing]” that can be heard (Woolf, 1992a: 78). The impersonal gramophone also partakes in this demeanour through its sudden emission of cacophonic sounds which overlap the Queen’s tentative monologue. Furthermore, along with the disruption of linearity in art, represented by the chaotic reproduction of classical melodies, the discordance of the gramophone’s emissions is linked to the drink excess that is typical of carnival celebrations: “The tune on the gramophone reeled from side to side as if drunk with merriment”

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

reverberates of a similar episode in Mrs. Dalloway. In the latter, the very Prime Minister becomes debased to the position of a “poor chap” selling biscuits. Ironically, as in the case of the Queen, the politician attempts to shield his own preposterousness behind the pomp and arrogance of his acts:

reverberates of a similar episode in Mrs. Dalloway. In the latter, the very Prime Minister becomes debased to the position of a “poor chap” selling biscuits. Ironically, as in the case of the Queen, the politician attempts to shield his own preposterousness behind the pomp and arrogance of his acts:

One couldn't laugh at him. He looked so ordinary. You might have stood him behind a counter and bought biscuits – poor chap, all rigged up in gold lace. And to be fair, as he went his rounds, first with Clarissa, then with Richard escorting him, he did it very well. He tried to look somebody. It was amusing to watch. Nobody looked at him. They just went on talking, yet it was perfectly plain that they all knew [...] this majesty passing; this symbol of what they all stood for, English society. (Woolf, 1992b: 188-189)

One couldn't laugh at him. He looked so ordinary. You might have stood him behind a counter and bought biscuits – poor chap, all rigged up in gold lace. And to be fair, as he went his rounds, first with Clarissa, then with Richard escorting him, he did it very well. He tried to look somebody. It was amusing to watch. Nobody looked at him. They just went on talking, yet it was perfectly plain that they all knew [...] this majesty passing; this symbol of what they all stood for, English society. (Woolf, 1992b: 188-189)

Simultaneously, the association of the Queen with greasy food tallies with the numerous excesses associated with the carnival banquet. Bakhtin notes the enumeration of different sorts of venom and poultry in Rabelais' Gargantua, one of the most outstanding examples of carnivalized literature (Bakhtin, 1984a: 268). By all reckonings, the Queen's decrowning becomes evident. Hence, her presentation as “(t)he Queen of this great land” is overwhelmed by a “roar of laughter,” which is implicitly continued when Giles Oliver mutters “’(l)aughter, loud laughter’” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). As pertains to carnival principles, popular laughter utterly destroys official authority. Hence, even when Eliza has forgotten her lines, it is actually unnoticed – “the audience laughed so loud that it did not matter” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). Likewise, while Shakespeare is supposed to sing for her – as expressed through her lines – it is in fact “a cow moo[ing]” and “a bird twitter[ing]” that can be heard (Woolf, 1992a: 78). The impersonal gramophone also partakes in this demeanour through its sudden emission of cacophonic sounds which overlap the Queen’s tentative monologue. Furthermore, along with the disruption of linearity in art, represented by the chaotic reproduction of classical melodies, the discordance of the gramophone’s emissions is linked to the drink excess that is typical of carnival celebrations: “The tune on the gramophone reeled from side to side as if drunk with merriment”

Simultaneously, the association of the Queen with greasy food tallies with the numerous excesses associated with the carnival banquet. Bakhtin notes the enumeration of different sorts of venom and poultry in Rabelais' Gargantua, one of the most outstanding examples of carnivalized literature (Bakhtin, 1984a: 268). By all reckonings, the Queen's decrowning becomes evident. Hence, her presentation as “(t)he Queen of this great land” is overwhelmed by a “roar of laughter,” which is implicitly continued when Giles Oliver mutters “’(l)aughter, loud laughter’” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). As pertains to carnival principles, popular laughter utterly destroys official authority. Hence, even when Eliza has forgotten her lines, it is actually unnoticed – “the audience laughed so loud that it did not matter” (Woolf, 1992a: 78). Likewise, while Shakespeare is supposed to sing for her – as expressed through her lines – it is in fact “a cow moo[ing]” and “a bird twitter[ing]” that can be heard (Woolf, 1992a: 78). The impersonal gramophone also partakes in this demeanour through its sudden emission of cacophonic sounds which overlap the Queen’s tentative monologue. Furthermore, along with the disruption of linearity in art, represented by the chaotic reproduction of classical melodies, the discordance of the gramophone’s emissions is linked to the drink excess that is typical of carnival celebrations: “The tune on the gramophone reeled from side to side as if drunk with merriment”

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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(Woolf, 1992a: 77). Indeed, a literal decrowning and ripping-off of the Queen’s clothes ultimately confirms the derision of the centrality represented by the monarch when, not accidentally, her ruff is unpinned and her skirts “picked” and “plucked”, while “the wind [gives] a tug at her head dress,” which becomes undone (Woolf, 1992a: 77).

(Woolf, 1992a: 77). Indeed, a literal decrowning and ripping-off of the Queen’s clothes ultimately confirms the derision of the centrality represented by the monarch when, not accidentally, her ruff is unpinned and her skirts “picked” and “plucked”, while “the wind [gives] a tug at her head dress,” which becomes undone (Woolf, 1992a: 77).

Poignantly satiric and iconoclastic as this political mockery becomes, this is not yet the only form of institutional defilement in Between the Acts. Along with politics, religion, the other Victorian colossus, undergoes a similar debunking from its hegemonic position. Steadfastly committed to destroying the oppressive manacles of an outmoded Victorian system, Woolf never ignored the inestimable potential of ancient rituals and imagery for debasing pre-fixed conventions. Actually, as a direct inheritor of those ancient traditions, carnival imagery displayed a huge range of weapons for the derision and final annihilation of those anachronous values.

Poignantly satiric and iconoclastic as this political mockery becomes, this is not yet the only form of institutional defilement in Between the Acts. Along with politics, religion, the other Victorian colossus, undergoes a similar debunking from its hegemonic position. Steadfastly committed to destroying the oppressive manacles of an outmoded Victorian system, Woolf never ignored the inestimable potential of ancient rituals and imagery for debasing pre-fixed conventions. Actually, as a direct inheritor of those ancient traditions, carnival imagery displayed a huge range of weapons for the derision and final annihilation of those anachronous values.

In the novel, the most bluntly irreverent act occurs during the performance of the village pageant rememorating British history – significantly, while the Victorian period is being enacted. Hence, in one of its acts, the celebration of a mass is taking place when, in the middle of the parson’s prayers, a fake donkey embodied by Albert suddenly irrupts on the stage at the same time as it shows how its “hindquarters [...] became active” (Woolf, 1992a: 153). Blasphemy is taken to the utmost when, coinciding with this episode, the priest's homily paradoxically announces “a happy homecoming1 with bodies refreshed by thy bounty, and minds inspired by thy wisdom” (Woolf, 1992a: 153-154).

In the novel, the most bluntly irreverent act occurs during the performance of the village pageant rememorating British history – significantly, while the Victorian period is being enacted. Hence, in one of its acts, the celebration of a mass is taking place when, in the middle of the parson’s prayers, a fake donkey embodied by Albert suddenly irrupts on the stage at the same time as it shows how its “hindquarters [...] became active” (Woolf, 1992a: 153). Blasphemy is taken to the utmost when, coinciding with this episode, the priest's homily paradoxically announces “a happy homecoming1 with bodies refreshed by thy bounty, and minds inspired by thy wisdom” (Woolf, 1992a: 153-154).

This bizarre inclusion of the ass into the pageant directly remits to the Festivals of the Ass described by Frazer. As a variation of the Festival of Fools, the anthropologist observes the celebration in France of mock masses which, even though recalling the biblical episode of Mary's Flight to Egypt, were yet centred upon the figure of an ass. In these rituals, once the animal had been introduced into the church and positioned by the altar, the priest initiated the ceremony, which consisted of mixed “scraps” from different services. In keeping with the desacralized character of these celebrations, the intervals between

This bizarre inclusion of the ass into the pageant directly remits to the Festivals of the Ass described by Frazer. As a variation of the Festival of Fools, the anthropologist observes the celebration in France of mock masses which, even though recalling the biblical episode of Mary's Flight to Egypt, were yet centred upon the figure of an ass. In these rituals, once the animal had been introduced into the church and positioned by the altar, the priest initiated the ceremony, which consisted of mixed “scraps” from different services. In keeping with the desacralized character of these celebrations, the intervals between

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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(Woolf, 1992a: 77). Indeed, a literal decrowning and ripping-off of the Queen’s clothes ultimately confirms the derision of the centrality represented by the monarch when, not accidentally, her ruff is unpinned and her skirts “picked” and “plucked”, while “the wind [gives] a tug at her head dress,” which becomes undone (Woolf, 1992a: 77).

(Woolf, 1992a: 77). Indeed, a literal decrowning and ripping-off of the Queen’s clothes ultimately confirms the derision of the centrality represented by the monarch when, not accidentally, her ruff is unpinned and her skirts “picked” and “plucked”, while “the wind [gives] a tug at her head dress,” which becomes undone (Woolf, 1992a: 77).

Poignantly satiric and iconoclastic as this political mockery becomes, this is not yet the only form of institutional defilement in Between the Acts. Along with politics, religion, the other Victorian colossus, undergoes a similar debunking from its hegemonic position. Steadfastly committed to destroying the oppressive manacles of an outmoded Victorian system, Woolf never ignored the inestimable potential of ancient rituals and imagery for debasing pre-fixed conventions. Actually, as a direct inheritor of those ancient traditions, carnival imagery displayed a huge range of weapons for the derision and final annihilation of those anachronous values.

Poignantly satiric and iconoclastic as this political mockery becomes, this is not yet the only form of institutional defilement in Between the Acts. Along with politics, religion, the other Victorian colossus, undergoes a similar debunking from its hegemonic position. Steadfastly committed to destroying the oppressive manacles of an outmoded Victorian system, Woolf never ignored the inestimable potential of ancient rituals and imagery for debasing pre-fixed conventions. Actually, as a direct inheritor of those ancient traditions, carnival imagery displayed a huge range of weapons for the derision and final annihilation of those anachronous values.

In the novel, the most bluntly irreverent act occurs during the performance of the village pageant rememorating British history – significantly, while the Victorian period is being enacted. Hence, in one of its acts, the celebration of a mass is taking place when, in the middle of the parson’s prayers, a fake donkey embodied by Albert suddenly irrupts on the stage at the same time as it shows how its “hindquarters [...] became active” (Woolf, 1992a: 153). Blasphemy is taken to the utmost when, coinciding with this episode, the priest's homily paradoxically announces “a happy homecoming1 with bodies refreshed by thy bounty, and minds inspired by thy wisdom” (Woolf, 1992a: 153-154).

In the novel, the most bluntly irreverent act occurs during the performance of the village pageant rememorating British history – significantly, while the Victorian period is being enacted. Hence, in one of its acts, the celebration of a mass is taking place when, in the middle of the parson’s prayers, a fake donkey embodied by Albert suddenly irrupts on the stage at the same time as it shows how its “hindquarters [...] became active” (Woolf, 1992a: 153). Blasphemy is taken to the utmost when, coinciding with this episode, the priest's homily paradoxically announces “a happy homecoming1 with bodies refreshed by thy bounty, and minds inspired by thy wisdom” (Woolf, 1992a: 153-154).

This bizarre inclusion of the ass into the pageant directly remits to the Festivals of the Ass described by Frazer. As a variation of the Festival of Fools, the anthropologist observes the celebration in France of mock masses which, even though recalling the biblical episode of Mary's Flight to Egypt, were yet centred upon the figure of an ass. In these rituals, once the animal had been introduced into the church and positioned by the altar, the priest initiated the ceremony, which consisted of mixed “scraps” from different services. In keeping with the desacralized character of these celebrations, the intervals between

This bizarre inclusion of the ass into the pageant directly remits to the Festivals of the Ass described by Frazer. As a variation of the Festival of Fools, the anthropologist observes the celebration in France of mock masses which, even though recalling the biblical episode of Mary's Flight to Egypt, were yet centred upon the figure of an ass. In these rituals, once the animal had been introduced into the church and positioned by the altar, the priest initiated the ceremony, which consisted of mixed “scraps” from different services. In keeping with the desacralized character of these celebrations, the intervals between

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the acts of the mass were spent on drinking, while the ceremony ended with the merry mingling of the attendants, who joined the ass in a festive dance. The rite often continued with the participants marching in a procession towards a great theatre opposite the church, where dowdy parodies were performed:

the acts of the mass were spent on drinking, while the ceremony ended with the merry mingling of the attendants, who joined the ass in a festive dance. The rite often continued with the participants marching in a procession towards a great theatre opposite the church, where dowdy parodies were performed:

Amongst the buffooneries of the Festival of Fools one of the most remarkable was the introduction of an ass into the church, where various pranks were played with the animal [...] and on [its] entering the sacred edifice [...] a parody of the mass was performed [....] A young girl with a child in her arms rode on the back of the ass in imitation of the flight into Egypt. Escorted by the clergy and the people she was led in triumph from the cathedral to the parish church of St. Stephen. There she and her ass were introduced into the chancel and stationed on the left side of the altar; and a long mass was performed which consisted of scraps borrowed indiscriminately from the services of many church festivals throughout the year. In the intervals the singers quenched their thirst: the congregation imitated their example; and the ass was fed and watered. The services over, the animal was brought from the chancel into the nave, where the whole congregation, clergy and laity mixed up together, danced round the animal and brayed like asses. Finally, after vespers and compline, the merry procession, led by the precentor and preceeded by a huge lantern, defiled through the streets to wind up the day with indecent farces in a great theatre erected opposite the church. (Frazer, 1913: 335-336)

Amongst the buffooneries of the Festival of Fools one of the most remarkable was the introduction of an ass into the church, where various pranks were played with the animal [...] and on [its] entering the sacred edifice [...] a parody of the mass was performed [....] A young girl with a child in her arms rode on the back of the ass in imitation of the flight into Egypt. Escorted by the clergy and the people she was led in triumph from the cathedral to the parish church of St. Stephen. There she and her ass were introduced into the chancel and stationed on the left side of the altar; and a long mass was performed which consisted of scraps borrowed indiscriminately from the services of many church festivals throughout the year. In the intervals the singers quenched their thirst: the congregation imitated their example; and the ass was fed and watered. The services over, the animal was brought from the chancel into the nave, where the whole congregation, clergy and laity mixed up together, danced round the animal and brayed like asses. Finally, after vespers and compline, the merry procession, led by the precentor and preceeded by a huge lantern, defiled through the streets to wind up the day with indecent farces in a great theatre erected opposite the church. (Frazer, 1913: 335-336)

In the light of this, the pageant in Pointz Hall is not exempt from its own “festival of the ass.” Indeed, during the course of those fictional religious services, a donkey – even a commonly less noble version of the ass – also breaks into the mock church. Though not riding the animal, the presence of a young woman carrying a child is suggested by Isa Oliver, who significantly makes frequent references to her son. Moreover, in the name of parody, the divine child of the tradition becomes dubbed by Manresa, the whimsically childish lady

In the light of this, the pageant in Pointz Hall is not exempt from its own “festival of the ass.” Indeed, during the course of those fictional religious services, a donkey – even a commonly less noble version of the ass – also breaks into the mock church. Though not riding the animal, the presence of a young woman carrying a child is suggested by Isa Oliver, who significantly makes frequent references to her son. Moreover, in the name of parody, the divine child of the tradition becomes dubbed by Manresa, the whimsically childish lady

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

the acts of the mass were spent on drinking, while the ceremony ended with the merry mingling of the attendants, who joined the ass in a festive dance. The rite often continued with the participants marching in a procession towards a great theatre opposite the church, where dowdy parodies were performed:

the acts of the mass were spent on drinking, while the ceremony ended with the merry mingling of the attendants, who joined the ass in a festive dance. The rite often continued with the participants marching in a procession towards a great theatre opposite the church, where dowdy parodies were performed:

Amongst the buffooneries of the Festival of Fools one of the most remarkable was the introduction of an ass into the church, where various pranks were played with the animal [...] and on [its] entering the sacred edifice [...] a parody of the mass was performed [....] A young girl with a child in her arms rode on the back of the ass in imitation of the flight into Egypt. Escorted by the clergy and the people she was led in triumph from the cathedral to the parish church of St. Stephen. There she and her ass were introduced into the chancel and stationed on the left side of the altar; and a long mass was performed which consisted of scraps borrowed indiscriminately from the services of many church festivals throughout the year. In the intervals the singers quenched their thirst: the congregation imitated their example; and the ass was fed and watered. The services over, the animal was brought from the chancel into the nave, where the whole congregation, clergy and laity mixed up together, danced round the animal and brayed like asses. Finally, after vespers and compline, the merry procession, led by the precentor and preceeded by a huge lantern, defiled through the streets to wind up the day with indecent farces in a great theatre erected opposite the church. (Frazer, 1913: 335-336)

Amongst the buffooneries of the Festival of Fools one of the most remarkable was the introduction of an ass into the church, where various pranks were played with the animal [...] and on [its] entering the sacred edifice [...] a parody of the mass was performed [....] A young girl with a child in her arms rode on the back of the ass in imitation of the flight into Egypt. Escorted by the clergy and the people she was led in triumph from the cathedral to the parish church of St. Stephen. There she and her ass were introduced into the chancel and stationed on the left side of the altar; and a long mass was performed which consisted of scraps borrowed indiscriminately from the services of many church festivals throughout the year. In the intervals the singers quenched their thirst: the congregation imitated their example; and the ass was fed and watered. The services over, the animal was brought from the chancel into the nave, where the whole congregation, clergy and laity mixed up together, danced round the animal and brayed like asses. Finally, after vespers and compline, the merry procession, led by the precentor and preceeded by a huge lantern, defiled through the streets to wind up the day with indecent farces in a great theatre erected opposite the church. (Frazer, 1913: 335-336)

In the light of this, the pageant in Pointz Hall is not exempt from its own “festival of the ass.” Indeed, during the course of those fictional religious services, a donkey – even a commonly less noble version of the ass – also breaks into the mock church. Though not riding the animal, the presence of a young woman carrying a child is suggested by Isa Oliver, who significantly makes frequent references to her son. Moreover, in the name of parody, the divine child of the tradition becomes dubbed by Manresa, the whimsically childish lady

In the light of this, the pageant in Pointz Hall is not exempt from its own “festival of the ass.” Indeed, during the course of those fictional religious services, a donkey – even a commonly less noble version of the ass – also breaks into the mock church. Though not riding the animal, the presence of a young woman carrying a child is suggested by Isa Oliver, who significantly makes frequent references to her son. Moreover, in the name of parody, the divine child of the tradition becomes dubbed by Manresa, the whimsically childish lady

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Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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who, recurrently throughout the story, is alluded to as a “wild child of nature”. Nevertheless, if this pageant, which Reverend Streatfield describes by means of the same miscellaneous quality as the ass festival – a composite of “(s)craps, orts, and fragments” (Woolf, 1992a: 173) – is paramount within the narrative, no less emphasis is made on the intervals, which in fact provide the title for the novel. It is precisely during these periods between the acts, as in the ancient version observed by Frazer, that the audience gather together in the Barn to have tea. Not accidentally, the place is portrayed at the beginning of the narrative as a Greek temple, right of the same age and stone as the church:

who, recurrently throughout the story, is alluded to as a “wild child of nature”. Nevertheless, if this pageant, which Reverend Streatfield describes by means of the same miscellaneous quality as the ass festival – a composite of “(s)craps, orts, and fragments” (Woolf, 1992a: 173) – is paramount within the narrative, no less emphasis is made on the intervals, which in fact provide the title for the novel. It is precisely during these periods between the acts, as in the ancient version observed by Frazer, that the audience gather together in the Barn to have tea. Not accidentally, the place is portrayed at the beginning of the narrative as a Greek temple, right of the same age and stone as the church:

Those who had been to Greece always said it reminded them of a temple [....] The roof was weathered red-orange; and inside it was a hollow hall, sun-shafted, brown, [...] dark when the doors were shut, but splendidly illuminated when the doors at the end stood open [....] (Woolf, 1992a: 24)

Those who had been to Greece always said it reminded them of a temple [....] The roof was weathered red-orange; and inside it was a hollow hall, sun-shafted, brown, [...] dark when the doors were shut, but splendidly illuminated when the doors at the end stood open [....] (Woolf, 1992a: 24)

This exaltation of the Barn as a sacred place inexorably dooms it, according to the carnivalistic maxims governing this microcosm, to its own decrowning. As Bakhtin notes in his taxonomy of carnivalesque principles, any act of enhancement or crowning is invariably linked in carnival to the idea of degradation – or decrowning – of the previously elevated:

This exaltation of the Barn as a sacred place inexorably dooms it, according to the carnivalistic maxims governing this microcosm, to its own decrowning. As Bakhtin notes in his taxonomy of carnivalesque principles, any act of enhancement or crowning is invariably linked in carnival to the idea of degradation – or decrowning – of the previously elevated:

Crowning already contains the idea of immanent decrowning: it is ambivalent from the start. And he who is crowned is the antipode of a real king, a slave or a jester; this act, as it were, opens and sanctifies the inside-out world of carnival. In the ritual of crowning all aspects of the actual ceremony – the symbols of authority that are handed over to the newly crowned king and the clothing in which he is dressed – all become ambivalent and acquire a veneer of joyful relativity; they become almost stage props [...]; their symbolic meaning becomes two-leveled. From the very beginning, a decrowning glimmers through the crowning. (Bakhtin, 1984b: 124-125)

Crowning already contains the idea of immanent decrowning: it is ambivalent from the start. And he who is crowned is the antipode of a real king, a slave or a jester; this act, as it were, opens and sanctifies the inside-out world of carnival. In the ritual of crowning all aspects of the actual ceremony – the symbols of authority that are handed over to the newly crowned king and the clothing in which he is dressed – all become ambivalent and acquire a veneer of joyful relativity; they become almost stage props [...]; their symbolic meaning becomes two-leveled. From the very beginning, a decrowning glimmers through the crowning. (Bakhtin, 1984b: 124-125)

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who, recurrently throughout the story, is alluded to as a “wild child of nature”. Nevertheless, if this pageant, which Reverend Streatfield describes by means of the same miscellaneous quality as the ass festival – a composite of “(s)craps, orts, and fragments” (Woolf, 1992a: 173) – is paramount within the narrative, no less emphasis is made on the intervals, which in fact provide the title for the novel. It is precisely during these periods between the acts, as in the ancient version observed by Frazer, that the audience gather together in the Barn to have tea. Not accidentally, the place is portrayed at the beginning of the narrative as a Greek temple, right of the same age and stone as the church:

who, recurrently throughout the story, is alluded to as a “wild child of nature”. Nevertheless, if this pageant, which Reverend Streatfield describes by means of the same miscellaneous quality as the ass festival – a composite of “(s)craps, orts, and fragments” (Woolf, 1992a: 173) – is paramount within the narrative, no less emphasis is made on the intervals, which in fact provide the title for the novel. It is precisely during these periods between the acts, as in the ancient version observed by Frazer, that the audience gather together in the Barn to have tea. Not accidentally, the place is portrayed at the beginning of the narrative as a Greek temple, right of the same age and stone as the church:

Those who had been to Greece always said it reminded them of a temple [....] The roof was weathered red-orange; and inside it was a hollow hall, sun-shafted, brown, [...] dark when the doors were shut, but splendidly illuminated when the doors at the end stood open [....] (Woolf, 1992a: 24)

Those who had been to Greece always said it reminded them of a temple [....] The roof was weathered red-orange; and inside it was a hollow hall, sun-shafted, brown, [...] dark when the doors were shut, but splendidly illuminated when the doors at the end stood open [....] (Woolf, 1992a: 24)

This exaltation of the Barn as a sacred place inexorably dooms it, according to the carnivalistic maxims governing this microcosm, to its own decrowning. As Bakhtin notes in his taxonomy of carnivalesque principles, any act of enhancement or crowning is invariably linked in carnival to the idea of degradation – or decrowning – of the previously elevated:

This exaltation of the Barn as a sacred place inexorably dooms it, according to the carnivalistic maxims governing this microcosm, to its own decrowning. As Bakhtin notes in his taxonomy of carnivalesque principles, any act of enhancement or crowning is invariably linked in carnival to the idea of degradation – or decrowning – of the previously elevated:

Crowning already contains the idea of immanent decrowning: it is ambivalent from the start. And he who is crowned is the antipode of a real king, a slave or a jester; this act, as it were, opens and sanctifies the inside-out world of carnival. In the ritual of crowning all aspects of the actual ceremony – the symbols of authority that are handed over to the newly crowned king and the clothing in which he is dressed – all become ambivalent and acquire a veneer of joyful relativity; they become almost stage props [...]; their symbolic meaning becomes two-leveled. From the very beginning, a decrowning glimmers through the crowning. (Bakhtin, 1984b: 124-125)

Crowning already contains the idea of immanent decrowning: it is ambivalent from the start. And he who is crowned is the antipode of a real king, a slave or a jester; this act, as it were, opens and sanctifies the inside-out world of carnival. In the ritual of crowning all aspects of the actual ceremony – the symbols of authority that are handed over to the newly crowned king and the clothing in which he is dressed – all become ambivalent and acquire a veneer of joyful relativity; they become almost stage props [...]; their symbolic meaning becomes two-leveled. From the very beginning, a decrowning glimmers through the crowning. (Bakhtin, 1984b: 124-125)

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Thus, formerly revered as a sanctuary of tradition and a religious symbol, the Barn is afterwards implicitly profaned and degraded as merely a tea-place, whereby it is relocated onto that lower stratum suggested by Bakhtin. Mr. Hardcastle's speech is later continued by Reverend Streatfield, a confessed “fool” who cannot conceal his own grotesqueness (Woolf, 1992a: 170-171). Yet, his attempted discourse is continually interrupted, as in its French equivalent, by the spontaneous irruption of animal sounds, which overlap his words to the extent of becoming “painfully audible” (Woolf, 1992a: 175).

Thus, formerly revered as a sanctuary of tradition and a religious symbol, the Barn is afterwards implicitly profaned and degraded as merely a tea-place, whereby it is relocated onto that lower stratum suggested by Bakhtin. Mr. Hardcastle's speech is later continued by Reverend Streatfield, a confessed “fool” who cannot conceal his own grotesqueness (Woolf, 1992a: 170-171). Yet, his attempted discourse is continually interrupted, as in its French equivalent, by the spontaneous irruption of animal sounds, which overlap his words to the extent of becoming “painfully audible” (Woolf, 1992a: 175).

Significantly, once the mock mass is over in Pointz Hall, “a procession” is formed under the implicit guidance of the lamplit in the Victorian play – a reminiscence of the lantern in the ass parade. This is followed by boldly lewd acts which, initiated by the donkey's “becoming active,” covertly find their continuance through the character of Budge, whose part as a policeman evidences a preposterous image of contemporary authority. Furthermore, his performance is clearly presided by a grotesquely obscene overtone, as is suggested by his immutable position "truncheon in hand" while ironically guarding the respectability, prosperity, and purity of Victoria's land (Woolf, 1992a: 146). In fact, his ludicrous semblance constitutes a patent mockery of the purity he paradoxically tries to preserve in a land which has though corrupted itself with anachronous precepts incapable of avoiding national disaster. Additionally, the figure of Budge, “truncheon in hand,” epitomizes the masculine struggle for preserving women within the hard carcass that maintains them under male dominance. Through him, Woolf denounces the prevalence of an ideological apparatus aimed at buttressing male control, thereby allowing scarce opportunities for the Victorian middle-class woman. Indeed, poisoned with the same ideals, women themselves had come to accept a system of values which strictly circumscribed their role within marriage. Hence, in her manual for married women – The Wives of England: Their Relative Duties, Domestic Influence, and Social Obligations – Sarah Stickney Ellis reminds women of “[...] the superiority of your husband simply as a man” (Ellis, 1843: 53).

Significantly, once the mock mass is over in Pointz Hall, “a procession” is formed under the implicit guidance of the lamplit in the Victorian play – a reminiscence of the lantern in the ass parade. This is followed by boldly lewd acts which, initiated by the donkey's “becoming active,” covertly find their continuance through the character of Budge, whose part as a policeman evidences a preposterous image of contemporary authority. Furthermore, his performance is clearly presided by a grotesquely obscene overtone, as is suggested by his immutable position "truncheon in hand" while ironically guarding the respectability, prosperity, and purity of Victoria's land (Woolf, 1992a: 146). In fact, his ludicrous semblance constitutes a patent mockery of the purity he paradoxically tries to preserve in a land which has though corrupted itself with anachronous precepts incapable of avoiding national disaster. Additionally, the figure of Budge, “truncheon in hand,” epitomizes the masculine struggle for preserving women within the hard carcass that maintains them under male dominance. Through him, Woolf denounces the prevalence of an ideological apparatus aimed at buttressing male control, thereby allowing scarce opportunities for the Victorian middle-class woman. Indeed, poisoned with the same ideals, women themselves had come to accept a system of values which strictly circumscribed their role within marriage. Hence, in her manual for married women – The Wives of England: Their Relative Duties, Domestic Influence, and Social Obligations – Sarah Stickney Ellis reminds women of “[...] the superiority of your husband simply as a man” (Ellis, 1843: 53).

In this regard, the incongruous figure of Budge, the policeman – actually identified by his neighbours as a drunkard – enacts the decrowning of the Victorian attempt for imposing the patriarchal rule,

In this regard, the incongruous figure of Budge, the policeman – actually identified by his neighbours as a drunkard – enacts the decrowning of the Victorian attempt for imposing the patriarchal rule,

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Thus, formerly revered as a sanctuary of tradition and a religious symbol, the Barn is afterwards implicitly profaned and degraded as merely a tea-place, whereby it is relocated onto that lower stratum suggested by Bakhtin. Mr. Hardcastle's speech is later continued by Reverend Streatfield, a confessed “fool” who cannot conceal his own grotesqueness (Woolf, 1992a: 170-171). Yet, his attempted discourse is continually interrupted, as in its French equivalent, by the spontaneous irruption of animal sounds, which overlap his words to the extent of becoming “painfully audible” (Woolf, 1992a: 175).

Thus, formerly revered as a sanctuary of tradition and a religious symbol, the Barn is afterwards implicitly profaned and degraded as merely a tea-place, whereby it is relocated onto that lower stratum suggested by Bakhtin. Mr. Hardcastle's speech is later continued by Reverend Streatfield, a confessed “fool” who cannot conceal his own grotesqueness (Woolf, 1992a: 170-171). Yet, his attempted discourse is continually interrupted, as in its French equivalent, by the spontaneous irruption of animal sounds, which overlap his words to the extent of becoming “painfully audible” (Woolf, 1992a: 175).

Significantly, once the mock mass is over in Pointz Hall, “a procession” is formed under the implicit guidance of the lamplit in the Victorian play – a reminiscence of the lantern in the ass parade. This is followed by boldly lewd acts which, initiated by the donkey's “becoming active,” covertly find their continuance through the character of Budge, whose part as a policeman evidences a preposterous image of contemporary authority. Furthermore, his performance is clearly presided by a grotesquely obscene overtone, as is suggested by his immutable position "truncheon in hand" while ironically guarding the respectability, prosperity, and purity of Victoria's land (Woolf, 1992a: 146). In fact, his ludicrous semblance constitutes a patent mockery of the purity he paradoxically tries to preserve in a land which has though corrupted itself with anachronous precepts incapable of avoiding national disaster. Additionally, the figure of Budge, “truncheon in hand,” epitomizes the masculine struggle for preserving women within the hard carcass that maintains them under male dominance. Through him, Woolf denounces the prevalence of an ideological apparatus aimed at buttressing male control, thereby allowing scarce opportunities for the Victorian middle-class woman. Indeed, poisoned with the same ideals, women themselves had come to accept a system of values which strictly circumscribed their role within marriage. Hence, in her manual for married women – The Wives of England: Their Relative Duties, Domestic Influence, and Social Obligations – Sarah Stickney Ellis reminds women of “[...] the superiority of your husband simply as a man” (Ellis, 1843: 53).

Significantly, once the mock mass is over in Pointz Hall, “a procession” is formed under the implicit guidance of the lamplit in the Victorian play – a reminiscence of the lantern in the ass parade. This is followed by boldly lewd acts which, initiated by the donkey's “becoming active,” covertly find their continuance through the character of Budge, whose part as a policeman evidences a preposterous image of contemporary authority. Furthermore, his performance is clearly presided by a grotesquely obscene overtone, as is suggested by his immutable position "truncheon in hand" while ironically guarding the respectability, prosperity, and purity of Victoria's land (Woolf, 1992a: 146). In fact, his ludicrous semblance constitutes a patent mockery of the purity he paradoxically tries to preserve in a land which has though corrupted itself with anachronous precepts incapable of avoiding national disaster. Additionally, the figure of Budge, “truncheon in hand,” epitomizes the masculine struggle for preserving women within the hard carcass that maintains them under male dominance. Through him, Woolf denounces the prevalence of an ideological apparatus aimed at buttressing male control, thereby allowing scarce opportunities for the Victorian middle-class woman. Indeed, poisoned with the same ideals, women themselves had come to accept a system of values which strictly circumscribed their role within marriage. Hence, in her manual for married women – The Wives of England: Their Relative Duties, Domestic Influence, and Social Obligations – Sarah Stickney Ellis reminds women of “[...] the superiority of your husband simply as a man” (Ellis, 1843: 53).

In this regard, the incongruous figure of Budge, the policeman – actually identified by his neighbours as a drunkard – enacts the decrowning of the Victorian attempt for imposing the patriarchal rule,

In this regard, the incongruous figure of Budge, the policeman – actually identified by his neighbours as a drunkard – enacts the decrowning of the Victorian attempt for imposing the patriarchal rule,

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conceived as "God's law as laid down by man" (Marcus, 1987: 152). This, along with the “truncheon” that symbolizes the power of the absolute supremacy of patriarchal institutions, becomes determinedly subverted and belittled as merely the deplorable spectacle of a drunkard.

conceived as "God's law as laid down by man" (Marcus, 1987: 152). This, along with the “truncheon” that symbolizes the power of the absolute supremacy of patriarchal institutions, becomes determinedly subverted and belittled as merely the deplorable spectacle of a drunkard.

In resemblance to the merry dance after the mock mass, where, as Frazer recounts, the priest and his parishioners mixed together to dance and bray round the ass, once the pageant is over, the whole congregation in Pointz Hall gather together on the stage. In the midst of the great “jangle” and “din” that preside over the joyous festival, animals and men alike join the celebration. Moreover, as in the case of the braying men in its French equivalent, the audience in Pointz Hall experience a dramatic transgression of natural borders to the extent that “the barriers which should divide Man the Master from the Brute were dissolved ”(Woolf, 1992a: 165).

In resemblance to the merry dance after the mock mass, where, as Frazer recounts, the priest and his parishioners mixed together to dance and bray round the ass, once the pageant is over, the whole congregation in Pointz Hall gather together on the stage. In the midst of the great “jangle” and “din” that preside over the joyous festival, animals and men alike join the celebration. Moreover, as in the case of the braying men in its French equivalent, the audience in Pointz Hall experience a dramatic transgression of natural borders to the extent that “the barriers which should divide Man the Master from the Brute were dissolved ”(Woolf, 1992a: 165).

At the heart of this clerical parody, an extended variant of the Carnival King is represented by what Frazer baptized as “The Bishop of Fools” or “Abbot of Unreason” (Frazer, 1913: 312). In the carnival market-place of Pointz Hall, this figure is accurately embodied by the character of Reverend Streatfield. Mounting on the soap-box, the clergyman – as his precursor, “Queen Bess” – initiates his own dethroning. Thus, “the most grotesque and entire [...] of all incongruous sights” (Woolf, 1992a: 170-171), no sooner as Streatfield emerges, the Reverend is mocked and “laughed at by looking-glasses,” as the idiot he acknowledges himself to be (Woolf, 1992a: 172). Insofar as the priest is a patent fool and the donkey becomes the centre of the religious celebration, it cannot be other quality than the Folly that is to be worshipped. It is precisely Hogben's Folly, the field where Pointz Hall stands, that is praised by Miss La Trobe as “the very place […] for a pageant” (Woolf, 1992a: 52-53).

At the heart of this clerical parody, an extended variant of the Carnival King is represented by what Frazer baptized as “The Bishop of Fools” or “Abbot of Unreason” (Frazer, 1913: 312). In the carnival market-place of Pointz Hall, this figure is accurately embodied by the character of Reverend Streatfield. Mounting on the soap-box, the clergyman – as his precursor, “Queen Bess” – initiates his own dethroning. Thus, “the most grotesque and entire [...] of all incongruous sights” (Woolf, 1992a: 170-171), no sooner as Streatfield emerges, the Reverend is mocked and “laughed at by looking-glasses,” as the idiot he acknowledges himself to be (Woolf, 1992a: 172). Insofar as the priest is a patent fool and the donkey becomes the centre of the religious celebration, it cannot be other quality than the Folly that is to be worshipped. It is precisely Hogben's Folly, the field where Pointz Hall stands, that is praised by Miss La Trobe as “the very place […] for a pageant” (Woolf, 1992a: 52-53).

Determined to scapegoat the former character as an epitome of restrictive authority and censorship, the narrator endowed the derided priest with a multidimensional quality. On the other hand, by virtue of his identity as a carnival fool, Streatfield is constantly derided throughout the narrative and decrowned from his attempted authority. Hence, while he intends to gain the admiration of the villagers, his

Determined to scapegoat the former character as an epitome of restrictive authority and censorship, the narrator endowed the derided priest with a multidimensional quality. On the other hand, by virtue of his identity as a carnival fool, Streatfield is constantly derided throughout the narrative and decrowned from his attempted authority. Hence, while he intends to gain the admiration of the villagers, his

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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conceived as "God's law as laid down by man" (Marcus, 1987: 152). This, along with the “truncheon” that symbolizes the power of the absolute supremacy of patriarchal institutions, becomes determinedly subverted and belittled as merely the deplorable spectacle of a drunkard.

conceived as "God's law as laid down by man" (Marcus, 1987: 152). This, along with the “truncheon” that symbolizes the power of the absolute supremacy of patriarchal institutions, becomes determinedly subverted and belittled as merely the deplorable spectacle of a drunkard.

In resemblance to the merry dance after the mock mass, where, as Frazer recounts, the priest and his parishioners mixed together to dance and bray round the ass, once the pageant is over, the whole congregation in Pointz Hall gather together on the stage. In the midst of the great “jangle” and “din” that preside over the joyous festival, animals and men alike join the celebration. Moreover, as in the case of the braying men in its French equivalent, the audience in Pointz Hall experience a dramatic transgression of natural borders to the extent that “the barriers which should divide Man the Master from the Brute were dissolved ”(Woolf, 1992a: 165).

In resemblance to the merry dance after the mock mass, where, as Frazer recounts, the priest and his parishioners mixed together to dance and bray round the ass, once the pageant is over, the whole congregation in Pointz Hall gather together on the stage. In the midst of the great “jangle” and “din” that preside over the joyous festival, animals and men alike join the celebration. Moreover, as in the case of the braying men in its French equivalent, the audience in Pointz Hall experience a dramatic transgression of natural borders to the extent that “the barriers which should divide Man the Master from the Brute were dissolved ”(Woolf, 1992a: 165).

At the heart of this clerical parody, an extended variant of the Carnival King is represented by what Frazer baptized as “The Bishop of Fools” or “Abbot of Unreason” (Frazer, 1913: 312). In the carnival market-place of Pointz Hall, this figure is accurately embodied by the character of Reverend Streatfield. Mounting on the soap-box, the clergyman – as his precursor, “Queen Bess” – initiates his own dethroning. Thus, “the most grotesque and entire [...] of all incongruous sights” (Woolf, 1992a: 170-171), no sooner as Streatfield emerges, the Reverend is mocked and “laughed at by looking-glasses,” as the idiot he acknowledges himself to be (Woolf, 1992a: 172). Insofar as the priest is a patent fool and the donkey becomes the centre of the religious celebration, it cannot be other quality than the Folly that is to be worshipped. It is precisely Hogben's Folly, the field where Pointz Hall stands, that is praised by Miss La Trobe as “the very place […] for a pageant” (Woolf, 1992a: 52-53).

At the heart of this clerical parody, an extended variant of the Carnival King is represented by what Frazer baptized as “The Bishop of Fools” or “Abbot of Unreason” (Frazer, 1913: 312). In the carnival market-place of Pointz Hall, this figure is accurately embodied by the character of Reverend Streatfield. Mounting on the soap-box, the clergyman – as his precursor, “Queen Bess” – initiates his own dethroning. Thus, “the most grotesque and entire [...] of all incongruous sights” (Woolf, 1992a: 170-171), no sooner as Streatfield emerges, the Reverend is mocked and “laughed at by looking-glasses,” as the idiot he acknowledges himself to be (Woolf, 1992a: 172). Insofar as the priest is a patent fool and the donkey becomes the centre of the religious celebration, it cannot be other quality than the Folly that is to be worshipped. It is precisely Hogben's Folly, the field where Pointz Hall stands, that is praised by Miss La Trobe as “the very place […] for a pageant” (Woolf, 1992a: 52-53).

Determined to scapegoat the former character as an epitome of restrictive authority and censorship, the narrator endowed the derided priest with a multidimensional quality. On the other hand, by virtue of his identity as a carnival fool, Streatfield is constantly derided throughout the narrative and decrowned from his attempted authority. Hence, while he intends to gain the admiration of the villagers, his

Determined to scapegoat the former character as an epitome of restrictive authority and censorship, the narrator endowed the derided priest with a multidimensional quality. On the other hand, by virtue of his identity as a carnival fool, Streatfield is constantly derided throughout the narrative and decrowned from his attempted authority. Hence, while he intends to gain the admiration of the villagers, his

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only sight merely provokes the laughter of his neighbours. Furthermore, even though he thrives to become a leader for a community traditionally aimed as the passive targets of his speeches, his attempts are reiteratively sabotaged by background noises that either mutilate his discourse – “(t)he word was cut in two. A zoom severed it” (Woolf, 1992a: 174) – or annihilate his utterances:

only sight merely provokes the laughter of his neighbours. Furthermore, even though he thrives to become a leader for a community traditionally aimed as the passive targets of his speeches, his attempts are reiteratively sabotaged by background noises that either mutilate his discourse – “(t)he word was cut in two. A zoom severed it” (Woolf, 1992a: 174) – or annihilate his utterances:

He looked at the audience; then up at the sky. The whole lot of them, gentles and simples, felt embarrassed, for him, for themselves. There he stood their representative spokesman; their symbol; themselves; a butt, a clod, laughed at by looking-glasses; ignored by the cows, condemned by the clouds which continued their majestic rearrangement of the celestial landscape; an irrelevant forked stake in the flow and majesty of the summer silent world.

He looked at the audience; then up at the sky. The whole lot of them, gentles and simples, felt embarrassed, for him, for themselves. There he stood their representative spokesman; their symbol; themselves; a butt, a clod, laughed at by looking-glasses; ignored by the cows, condemned by the clouds which continued their majestic rearrangement of the celestial landscape; an irrelevant forked stake in the flow and majesty of the summer silent world.

His first words (the breeze had risen; the leaves were rustling) were lost. Then he was heard saying: ‘What.’ To that word he added another ‘Message;’ and at last a whole sentence emerged; not comprehensible [....] ‘I have been asking myself ’ —the words were repeated — what meaning, or message, this pageant was meant to convey?’ [....] ‘I will offer, very humbly [...] my interpretation.’ (Woolf, 1992a: 171)

His first words (the breeze had risen; the leaves were rustling) were lost. Then he was heard saying: ‘What.’ To that word he added another ‘Message;’ and at last a whole sentence emerged; not comprehensible [....] ‘I have been asking myself ’ —the words were repeated — what meaning, or message, this pageant was meant to convey?’ [....] ‘I will offer, very humbly [...] my interpretation.’ (Woolf, 1992a: 171)

Aside from this, the Reverend's role within the pageant entails further complexity. Thus, in her accounts of the celebrations of the primitive carnival, Jane Harrison had noted the presence of a ritual wooden pole which, placed in the middle of the acts performed on occasion of the festivity, was perceived as a symbol of the rite. Accordingly, this branch, which necessarily included a blossoming spring, was intended as an omen of the regenerated life that was to come after the removal of whatever old and waste (Harrison, 1913: 5759). Significantly, Reverend Streatfield, a “symbol” of the celebration in Pointz Hall (Woolf, 1992a: 171), comes to embody the maypole described in one of the Spring songs Harrison retrieves that were intoned, precisely, at ancient religious celebrations:

Aside from this, the Reverend's role within the pageant entails further complexity. Thus, in her accounts of the celebrations of the primitive carnival, Jane Harrison had noted the presence of a ritual wooden pole which, placed in the middle of the acts performed on occasion of the festivity, was perceived as a symbol of the rite. Accordingly, this branch, which necessarily included a blossoming spring, was intended as an omen of the regenerated life that was to come after the removal of whatever old and waste (Harrison, 1913: 5759). Significantly, Reverend Streatfield, a “symbol” of the celebration in Pointz Hall (Woolf, 1992a: 171), comes to embody the maypole described in one of the Spring songs Harrison retrieves that were intoned, precisely, at ancient religious celebrations:

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only sight merely provokes the laughter of his neighbours. Furthermore, even though he thrives to become a leader for a community traditionally aimed as the passive targets of his speeches, his attempts are reiteratively sabotaged by background noises that either mutilate his discourse – “(t)he word was cut in two. A zoom severed it” (Woolf, 1992a: 174) – or annihilate his utterances:

only sight merely provokes the laughter of his neighbours. Furthermore, even though he thrives to become a leader for a community traditionally aimed as the passive targets of his speeches, his attempts are reiteratively sabotaged by background noises that either mutilate his discourse – “(t)he word was cut in two. A zoom severed it” (Woolf, 1992a: 174) – or annihilate his utterances:

He looked at the audience; then up at the sky. The whole lot of them, gentles and simples, felt embarrassed, for him, for themselves. There he stood their representative spokesman; their symbol; themselves; a butt, a clod, laughed at by looking-glasses; ignored by the cows, condemned by the clouds which continued their majestic rearrangement of the celestial landscape; an irrelevant forked stake in the flow and majesty of the summer silent world.

He looked at the audience; then up at the sky. The whole lot of them, gentles and simples, felt embarrassed, for him, for themselves. There he stood their representative spokesman; their symbol; themselves; a butt, a clod, laughed at by looking-glasses; ignored by the cows, condemned by the clouds which continued their majestic rearrangement of the celestial landscape; an irrelevant forked stake in the flow and majesty of the summer silent world.

His first words (the breeze had risen; the leaves were rustling) were lost. Then he was heard saying: ‘What.’ To that word he added another ‘Message;’ and at last a whole sentence emerged; not comprehensible [....] ‘I have been asking myself ’ —the words were repeated — what meaning, or message, this pageant was meant to convey?’ [....] ‘I will offer, very humbly [...] my interpretation.’ (Woolf, 1992a: 171)

His first words (the breeze had risen; the leaves were rustling) were lost. Then he was heard saying: ‘What.’ To that word he added another ‘Message;’ and at last a whole sentence emerged; not comprehensible [....] ‘I have been asking myself ’ —the words were repeated — what meaning, or message, this pageant was meant to convey?’ [....] ‘I will offer, very humbly [...] my interpretation.’ (Woolf, 1992a: 171)

Aside from this, the Reverend's role within the pageant entails further complexity. Thus, in her accounts of the celebrations of the primitive carnival, Jane Harrison had noted the presence of a ritual wooden pole which, placed in the middle of the acts performed on occasion of the festivity, was perceived as a symbol of the rite. Accordingly, this branch, which necessarily included a blossoming spring, was intended as an omen of the regenerated life that was to come after the removal of whatever old and waste (Harrison, 1913: 5759). Significantly, Reverend Streatfield, a “symbol” of the celebration in Pointz Hall (Woolf, 1992a: 171), comes to embody the maypole described in one of the Spring songs Harrison retrieves that were intoned, precisely, at ancient religious celebrations:

Aside from this, the Reverend's role within the pageant entails further complexity. Thus, in her accounts of the celebrations of the primitive carnival, Jane Harrison had noted the presence of a ritual wooden pole which, placed in the middle of the acts performed on occasion of the festivity, was perceived as a symbol of the rite. Accordingly, this branch, which necessarily included a blossoming spring, was intended as an omen of the regenerated life that was to come after the removal of whatever old and waste (Harrison, 1913: 5759). Significantly, Reverend Streatfield, a “symbol” of the celebration in Pointz Hall (Woolf, 1992a: 171), comes to embody the maypole described in one of the Spring songs Harrison retrieves that were intoned, precisely, at ancient religious celebrations:

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A branch of May we have brought you, And at your door it stands; It is a sprout that is well budded out, The work of our Lord's hands. (Harrison, 1913: 59)

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A branch of May we have brought you, And at your door it stands; It is a sprout that is well budded out, The work of our Lord's hands. (Harrison, 1913: 59)

In the novel’s desacralized version of the Lord-modelled branch, Streatfield is identified as “a piece of traditional church furniture, [...] a corner cupboard, or the top beam of a gate fashioned by generations of village carpenters after some lost-in-the-mists-ofantiquity model” (Woolf, 1992a: 171). In keeping with that wooden/vegetable quality, the priest literally emerges from the ground. Concomitantly, he is considered as a “representative spokesman” for the community (Woolf, 1992a: 171). Self-appointed as the centripetal nucleus where the core meaning of the celebration is encapsulated, the Reverend turns into the actual maypole of the events in Pointz Hall.

In the novel’s desacralized version of the Lord-modelled branch, Streatfield is identified as “a piece of traditional church furniture, [...] a corner cupboard, or the top beam of a gate fashioned by generations of village carpenters after some lost-in-the-mists-ofantiquity model” (Woolf, 1992a: 171). In keeping with that wooden/vegetable quality, the priest literally emerges from the ground. Concomitantly, he is considered as a “representative spokesman” for the community (Woolf, 1992a: 171). Self-appointed as the centripetal nucleus where the core meaning of the celebration is encapsulated, the Reverend turns into the actual maypole of the events in Pointz Hall.

Certainly, an actual Spring Festival arises from the celebration of the pageant, which additionally includes, as in Harrison's outline of the ritual, its respective King and Queen of the May Day. Accordingly, Mrs. Manresa, portrayed from the very beginning as “the Queen of the Festival,” is explicitly bound to Giles, whom she has pointed as “[her] sulky hero” (Woolf, 1992a: 96). As pertains to carnival fools, Giles, who at a certain moment reveals his expiatory role through his “pose of one who bears the burden of the world's woe” (Woolf, 1992a: 100), suffers the harassment he cryptically inflicts on himself. Hence, previous to his lamentation, Giles had been exerted his cruelty upon a snake he had come across:

Certainly, an actual Spring Festival arises from the celebration of the pageant, which additionally includes, as in Harrison's outline of the ritual, its respective King and Queen of the May Day. Accordingly, Mrs. Manresa, portrayed from the very beginning as “the Queen of the Festival,” is explicitly bound to Giles, whom she has pointed as “[her] sulky hero” (Woolf, 1992a: 96). As pertains to carnival fools, Giles, who at a certain moment reveals his expiatory role through his “pose of one who bears the burden of the world's woe” (Woolf, 1992a: 100), suffers the harassment he cryptically inflicts on himself. Hence, previous to his lamentation, Giles had been exerted his cruelty upon a snake he had come across:

There, couched in the grass, curled in an olive green ring, was a snake. Dead? No, choked with a toad in its mouth. The snake was unable to swallow, the toad was unable to die. A spasm made the ribs contract; blood oozed. It was birth the wrong way round—a monstrous inversion. So, raising his foot, he stamped on them. The mass crushed and slithered. The white canvas on his tennis shoes was bloodstained and sticky. But it was action. Action relieved him. He strode to the Barn, with blood on his shoes. (Woolf 1992a: 89)

There, couched in the grass, curled in an olive green ring, was a snake. Dead? No, choked with a toad in its mouth. The snake was unable to swallow, the toad was unable to die. A spasm made the ribs contract; blood oozed. It was birth the wrong way round—a monstrous inversion. So, raising his foot, he stamped on them. The mass crushed and slithered. The white canvas on his tennis shoes was bloodstained and sticky. But it was action. Action relieved him. He strode to the Barn, with blood on his shoes. (Woolf 1992a: 89)

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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A branch of May we have brought you, And at your door it stands; It is a sprout that is well budded out, The work of our Lord's hands. (Harrison, 1913: 59)

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

19

A branch of May we have brought you, And at your door it stands; It is a sprout that is well budded out, The work of our Lord's hands. (Harrison, 1913: 59)

In the novel’s desacralized version of the Lord-modelled branch, Streatfield is identified as “a piece of traditional church furniture, [...] a corner cupboard, or the top beam of a gate fashioned by generations of village carpenters after some lost-in-the-mists-ofantiquity model” (Woolf, 1992a: 171). In keeping with that wooden/vegetable quality, the priest literally emerges from the ground. Concomitantly, he is considered as a “representative spokesman” for the community (Woolf, 1992a: 171). Self-appointed as the centripetal nucleus where the core meaning of the celebration is encapsulated, the Reverend turns into the actual maypole of the events in Pointz Hall.

In the novel’s desacralized version of the Lord-modelled branch, Streatfield is identified as “a piece of traditional church furniture, [...] a corner cupboard, or the top beam of a gate fashioned by generations of village carpenters after some lost-in-the-mists-ofantiquity model” (Woolf, 1992a: 171). In keeping with that wooden/vegetable quality, the priest literally emerges from the ground. Concomitantly, he is considered as a “representative spokesman” for the community (Woolf, 1992a: 171). Self-appointed as the centripetal nucleus where the core meaning of the celebration is encapsulated, the Reverend turns into the actual maypole of the events in Pointz Hall.

Certainly, an actual Spring Festival arises from the celebration of the pageant, which additionally includes, as in Harrison's outline of the ritual, its respective King and Queen of the May Day. Accordingly, Mrs. Manresa, portrayed from the very beginning as “the Queen of the Festival,” is explicitly bound to Giles, whom she has pointed as “[her] sulky hero” (Woolf, 1992a: 96). As pertains to carnival fools, Giles, who at a certain moment reveals his expiatory role through his “pose of one who bears the burden of the world's woe” (Woolf, 1992a: 100), suffers the harassment he cryptically inflicts on himself. Hence, previous to his lamentation, Giles had been exerted his cruelty upon a snake he had come across:

Certainly, an actual Spring Festival arises from the celebration of the pageant, which additionally includes, as in Harrison's outline of the ritual, its respective King and Queen of the May Day. Accordingly, Mrs. Manresa, portrayed from the very beginning as “the Queen of the Festival,” is explicitly bound to Giles, whom she has pointed as “[her] sulky hero” (Woolf, 1992a: 96). As pertains to carnival fools, Giles, who at a certain moment reveals his expiatory role through his “pose of one who bears the burden of the world's woe” (Woolf, 1992a: 100), suffers the harassment he cryptically inflicts on himself. Hence, previous to his lamentation, Giles had been exerted his cruelty upon a snake he had come across:

There, couched in the grass, curled in an olive green ring, was a snake. Dead? No, choked with a toad in its mouth. The snake was unable to swallow, the toad was unable to die. A spasm made the ribs contract; blood oozed. It was birth the wrong way round—a monstrous inversion. So, raising his foot, he stamped on them. The mass crushed and slithered. The white canvas on his tennis shoes was bloodstained and sticky. But it was action. Action relieved him. He strode to the Barn, with blood on his shoes. (Woolf 1992a: 89)

There, couched in the grass, curled in an olive green ring, was a snake. Dead? No, choked with a toad in its mouth. The snake was unable to swallow, the toad was unable to die. A spasm made the ribs contract; blood oozed. It was birth the wrong way round—a monstrous inversion. So, raising his foot, he stamped on them. The mass crushed and slithered. The white canvas on his tennis shoes was bloodstained and sticky. But it was action. Action relieved him. He strode to the Barn, with blood on his shoes. (Woolf 1992a: 89)

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In fact, a covert form of self-victimization is suggested through this episode, whereby the snake “couched in the grass” comes to reverberate a former image of Mr. Oliver, who had identified himself as “a flickering, mind-divided little snake in the grass” (Woolf, 1992a: 67).

In fact, a covert form of self-victimization is suggested through this episode, whereby the snake “couched in the grass” comes to reverberate a former image of Mr. Oliver, who had identified himself as “a flickering, mind-divided little snake in the grass” (Woolf, 1992a: 67).

Like that ancient pole, which should retain “a bunch of dark green foliage [...] as a memento that in it we have to do, not with a dead pole, but with a living tree from the greenwood” (Harrison, 1913: 60), Streatfield escapes his inertness to reveal some signs of his humanized side, evidenced by the tobacco stains in his forefinger. This fact “mitigated the horror” of his existential woodenness (Woolf, 1992a: 171). In her account of ancient rites, Harrison also quotes the description of the Cambridge May Day by Stubbs. According to the Puritan writer, the ritual maypole, after having been ceremonially carried by a yoke of oxen, was followed by men, women, and children alike, who worshipped it “with great d(e)votion” (cf. Harrison, 1913: 60). Stubbs continues to define the maypole as the “perfect patterne” of a heathen idol, “or rather the thyng itself ” (cf. Harrison, 1913: 60).

Like that ancient pole, which should retain “a bunch of dark green foliage [...] as a memento that in it we have to do, not with a dead pole, but with a living tree from the greenwood” (Harrison, 1913: 60), Streatfield escapes his inertness to reveal some signs of his humanized side, evidenced by the tobacco stains in his forefinger. This fact “mitigated the horror” of his existential woodenness (Woolf, 1992a: 171). In her account of ancient rites, Harrison also quotes the description of the Cambridge May Day by Stubbs. According to the Puritan writer, the ritual maypole, after having been ceremonially carried by a yoke of oxen, was followed by men, women, and children alike, who worshipped it “with great d(e)votion” (cf. Harrison, 1913: 60). Stubbs continues to define the maypole as the “perfect patterne” of a heathen idol, “or rather the thyng itself ” (cf. Harrison, 1913: 60).

Nevertheless, in keeping with the carnival sense of the world pervading Between the Acts, the sole attempt for leadership is doomed to appear as “an intolerable constriction, contraction, and reduction to simplified absurdity” (Woolf 1992a: 171). Hereby, Streatfield becomes “an irrelevant forked stake,” merely “a prominent bald branch” which, in opposition to the Cambridge maypole – transported by oxen – is condemned to remain “ignored by the cows” (Woolf, 1992a: 171).

Nevertheless, in keeping with the carnival sense of the world pervading Between the Acts, the sole attempt for leadership is doomed to appear as “an intolerable constriction, contraction, and reduction to simplified absurdity” (Woolf 1992a: 171). Hereby, Streatfield becomes “an irrelevant forked stake,” merely “a prominent bald branch” which, in opposition to the Cambridge maypole – transported by oxen – is condemned to remain “ignored by the cows” (Woolf, 1992a: 171).

As had been pointed out above, regarding his role as a carnival fool, Streatfield acts as a carrier of hope and life into the community of Pointz Hall, whose members eventually converge in a patently carnivalesque mésalliance encompassing Budge the policeman and Queen Bess, along with the Age of Reason, the foreparts of the donkey, the corrupt Mrs. Hardcastle, or the personified little England. Furthermore, it is after the speech of Streatfield, the “representative spokesman” (Woolf, 1992a: 171), that the narrator exposes her purpose of setting up a carnivalistic universe which, upon the removal of the barriers among individuals, should bring to a same level “’(t)he

As had been pointed out above, regarding his role as a carnival fool, Streatfield acts as a carrier of hope and life into the community of Pointz Hall, whose members eventually converge in a patently carnivalesque mésalliance encompassing Budge the policeman and Queen Bess, along with the Age of Reason, the foreparts of the donkey, the corrupt Mrs. Hardcastle, or the personified little England. Furthermore, it is after the speech of Streatfield, the “representative spokesman” (Woolf, 1992a: 171), that the narrator exposes her purpose of setting up a carnivalistic universe which, upon the removal of the barriers among individuals, should bring to a same level “’(t)he

20

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

In fact, a covert form of self-victimization is suggested through this episode, whereby the snake “couched in the grass” comes to reverberate a former image of Mr. Oliver, who had identified himself as “a flickering, mind-divided little snake in the grass” (Woolf, 1992a: 67).

In fact, a covert form of self-victimization is suggested through this episode, whereby the snake “couched in the grass” comes to reverberate a former image of Mr. Oliver, who had identified himself as “a flickering, mind-divided little snake in the grass” (Woolf, 1992a: 67).

Like that ancient pole, which should retain “a bunch of dark green foliage [...] as a memento that in it we have to do, not with a dead pole, but with a living tree from the greenwood” (Harrison, 1913: 60), Streatfield escapes his inertness to reveal some signs of his humanized side, evidenced by the tobacco stains in his forefinger. This fact “mitigated the horror” of his existential woodenness (Woolf, 1992a: 171). In her account of ancient rites, Harrison also quotes the description of the Cambridge May Day by Stubbs. According to the Puritan writer, the ritual maypole, after having been ceremonially carried by a yoke of oxen, was followed by men, women, and children alike, who worshipped it “with great d(e)votion” (cf. Harrison, 1913: 60). Stubbs continues to define the maypole as the “perfect patterne” of a heathen idol, “or rather the thyng itself ” (cf. Harrison, 1913: 60).

Like that ancient pole, which should retain “a bunch of dark green foliage [...] as a memento that in it we have to do, not with a dead pole, but with a living tree from the greenwood” (Harrison, 1913: 60), Streatfield escapes his inertness to reveal some signs of his humanized side, evidenced by the tobacco stains in his forefinger. This fact “mitigated the horror” of his existential woodenness (Woolf, 1992a: 171). In her account of ancient rites, Harrison also quotes the description of the Cambridge May Day by Stubbs. According to the Puritan writer, the ritual maypole, after having been ceremonially carried by a yoke of oxen, was followed by men, women, and children alike, who worshipped it “with great d(e)votion” (cf. Harrison, 1913: 60). Stubbs continues to define the maypole as the “perfect patterne” of a heathen idol, “or rather the thyng itself ” (cf. Harrison, 1913: 60).

Nevertheless, in keeping with the carnival sense of the world pervading Between the Acts, the sole attempt for leadership is doomed to appear as “an intolerable constriction, contraction, and reduction to simplified absurdity” (Woolf 1992a: 171). Hereby, Streatfield becomes “an irrelevant forked stake,” merely “a prominent bald branch” which, in opposition to the Cambridge maypole – transported by oxen – is condemned to remain “ignored by the cows” (Woolf, 1992a: 171).

Nevertheless, in keeping with the carnival sense of the world pervading Between the Acts, the sole attempt for leadership is doomed to appear as “an intolerable constriction, contraction, and reduction to simplified absurdity” (Woolf 1992a: 171). Hereby, Streatfield becomes “an irrelevant forked stake,” merely “a prominent bald branch” which, in opposition to the Cambridge maypole – transported by oxen – is condemned to remain “ignored by the cows” (Woolf, 1992a: 171).

As had been pointed out above, regarding his role as a carnival fool, Streatfield acts as a carrier of hope and life into the community of Pointz Hall, whose members eventually converge in a patently carnivalesque mésalliance encompassing Budge the policeman and Queen Bess, along with the Age of Reason, the foreparts of the donkey, the corrupt Mrs. Hardcastle, or the personified little England. Furthermore, it is after the speech of Streatfield, the “representative spokesman” (Woolf, 1992a: 171), that the narrator exposes her purpose of setting up a carnivalistic universe which, upon the removal of the barriers among individuals, should bring to a same level “’(t)he

As had been pointed out above, regarding his role as a carnival fool, Streatfield acts as a carrier of hope and life into the community of Pointz Hall, whose members eventually converge in a patently carnivalesque mésalliance encompassing Budge the policeman and Queen Bess, along with the Age of Reason, the foreparts of the donkey, the corrupt Mrs. Hardcastle, or the personified little England. Furthermore, it is after the speech of Streatfield, the “representative spokesman” (Woolf, 1992a: 171), that the narrator exposes her purpose of setting up a carnivalistic universe which, upon the removal of the barriers among individuals, should bring to a same level “’(t)he

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

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peasants; the kings; the fool and’ (she swallowed) ‘ourselves?’” (Woolf, 1992a: 192).

peasants; the kings; the fool and’ (she swallowed) ‘ourselves?’” (Woolf, 1992a: 192).

In conclusion, as the narrator envisions it, only by offering a deconventionalized portrayal of late Victorian society, in which the hierarchical poles of centralized power and extreme foolery become blurred, is it possible to demolish the authoritarian order enveloping the entire political and socio-cultural scaffolding. In particular, this transformation becomes imperative once the deformed lenses of that Victorian heritage have proven their pernicious inefficiency to focus the reality of a world in constant change and evolution.

In conclusion, as the narrator envisions it, only by offering a deconventionalized portrayal of late Victorian society, in which the hierarchical poles of centralized power and extreme foolery become blurred, is it possible to demolish the authoritarian order enveloping the entire political and socio-cultural scaffolding. In particular, this transformation becomes imperative once the deformed lenses of that Victorian heritage have proven their pernicious inefficiency to focus the reality of a world in constant change and evolution.

NOTES

NOTES

1

1

Note the obscene overtone of this word, whose second lexeme may denote the moment of sexual climax.

Note the obscene overtone of this word, whose second lexeme may denote the moment of sexual climax.

WORKS CITED

WORKS CITED

Bakhtin, M.M. 1984a. La Cultura Popular en la Edad Media y en el Renacimiento. El Contexto de François Rabelais. Trans. Julio Forcat y César Conroy. Madrid: Alianza. (Moscú: Literatura, 1965). -----------------. 1984b. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. Trans. Caryl Emerson. Manchester: Manchester University Press. (Moscú: Literatura, 1929). Ellis, S.S. 1843. The Wives of England: Their Relative Duties, Domestic Influence, and Social Obligations. New York: Appleton. Frazer, J.G. 1913. The Golden Bough. A Study in Magic and Religion, vol. 4, The Scapegoat. London and New York: MacMillan. Freud, S. 1949. Civilization and its Discontents. London: Hogarth Press. Harrison, J.E. 1913. Ancient Art and Ritual. London: Williams and Norgate. Marcus, J. 1987. “The Years as Gottërdammerung, Greek Play and Domestic Novel.” Virginia Woolf and the Languages of Patriarchy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 36-56.

Bakhtin, M.M. 1984a. La Cultura Popular en la Edad Media y en el Renacimiento. El Contexto de François Rabelais. Trans. Julio Forcat y César Conroy. Madrid: Alianza. (Moscú: Literatura, 1965). -----------------. 1984b. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. Trans. Caryl Emerson. Manchester: Manchester University Press. (Moscú: Literatura, 1929). Ellis, S.S. 1843. The Wives of England: Their Relative Duties, Domestic Influence, and Social Obligations. New York: Appleton. Frazer, J.G. 1913. The Golden Bough. A Study in Magic and Religion, vol. 4, The Scapegoat. London and New York: MacMillan. Freud, S. 1949. Civilization and its Discontents. London: Hogarth Press. Harrison, J.E. 1913. Ancient Art and Ritual. London: Williams and Norgate. Marcus, J. 1987. “The Years as Gottërdammerung, Greek Play and Domestic Novel.” Virginia Woolf and the Languages of Patriarchy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 36-56.

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

Isabel Mª Andrés Cuevas The King of Fools and the Bishop of Unreason: Virginia Wolf ’s...

21

21

peasants; the kings; the fool and’ (she swallowed) ‘ourselves?’” (Woolf, 1992a: 192).

peasants; the kings; the fool and’ (she swallowed) ‘ourselves?’” (Woolf, 1992a: 192).

In conclusion, as the narrator envisions it, only by offering a deconventionalized portrayal of late Victorian society, in which the hierarchical poles of centralized power and extreme foolery become blurred, is it possible to demolish the authoritarian order enveloping the entire political and socio-cultural scaffolding. In particular, this transformation becomes imperative once the deformed lenses of that Victorian heritage have proven their pernicious inefficiency to focus the reality of a world in constant change and evolution.

In conclusion, as the narrator envisions it, only by offering a deconventionalized portrayal of late Victorian society, in which the hierarchical poles of centralized power and extreme foolery become blurred, is it possible to demolish the authoritarian order enveloping the entire political and socio-cultural scaffolding. In particular, this transformation becomes imperative once the deformed lenses of that Victorian heritage have proven their pernicious inefficiency to focus the reality of a world in constant change and evolution.

NOTES

NOTES

1

1

Note the obscene overtone of this word, whose second lexeme may denote the moment of sexual climax.

Note the obscene overtone of this word, whose second lexeme may denote the moment of sexual climax.

WORKS CITED

WORKS CITED

Bakhtin, M.M. 1984a. La Cultura Popular en la Edad Media y en el Renacimiento. El Contexto de François Rabelais. Trans. Julio Forcat y César Conroy. Madrid: Alianza. (Moscú: Literatura, 1965). -----------------. 1984b. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. Trans. Caryl Emerson. Manchester: Manchester University Press. (Moscú: Literatura, 1929). Ellis, S.S. 1843. The Wives of England: Their Relative Duties, Domestic Influence, and Social Obligations. New York: Appleton. Frazer, J.G. 1913. The Golden Bough. A Study in Magic and Religion, vol. 4, The Scapegoat. London and New York: MacMillan. Freud, S. 1949. Civilization and its Discontents. London: Hogarth Press. Harrison, J.E. 1913. Ancient Art and Ritual. London: Williams and Norgate. Marcus, J. 1987. “The Years as Gottërdammerung, Greek Play and Domestic Novel.” Virginia Woolf and the Languages of Patriarchy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 36-56.

Bakhtin, M.M. 1984a. La Cultura Popular en la Edad Media y en el Renacimiento. El Contexto de François Rabelais. Trans. Julio Forcat y César Conroy. Madrid: Alianza. (Moscú: Literatura, 1965). -----------------. 1984b. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. Trans. Caryl Emerson. Manchester: Manchester University Press. (Moscú: Literatura, 1929). Ellis, S.S. 1843. The Wives of England: Their Relative Duties, Domestic Influence, and Social Obligations. New York: Appleton. Frazer, J.G. 1913. The Golden Bough. A Study in Magic and Religion, vol. 4, The Scapegoat. London and New York: MacMillan. Freud, S. 1949. Civilization and its Discontents. London: Hogarth Press. Harrison, J.E. 1913. Ancient Art and Ritual. London: Williams and Norgate. Marcus, J. 1987. “The Years as Gottërdammerung, Greek Play and Domestic Novel.” Virginia Woolf and the Languages of Patriarchy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 36-56.

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Woolf, V. 1992a. Between the Acts, ed. Frank Kermode. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (London: Hogarth Press, 1941). ------------. 1992b. Mrs. Dalloway, ed. Elaine Showalter. London: Harmondsworth. (London: Hogarth Press, 1925). ------------. 1996. Three Guineas, ed. Hermione Lee. London: Vintage. (London: Hogarth Press, 1938).

Woolf, V. 1992a. Between the Acts, ed. Frank Kermode. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (London: Hogarth Press, 1941). ------------. 1992b. Mrs. Dalloway, ed. Elaine Showalter. London: Harmondsworth. (London: Hogarth Press, 1925). ------------. 1996. Three Guineas, ed. Hermione Lee. London: Vintage. (London: Hogarth Press, 1938).

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Woolf, V. 1992a. Between the Acts, ed. Frank Kermode. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (London: Hogarth Press, 1941). ------------. 1992b. Mrs. Dalloway, ed. Elaine Showalter. London: Harmondsworth. (London: Hogarth Press, 1925). ------------. 1996. Three Guineas, ed. Hermione Lee. London: Vintage. (London: Hogarth Press, 1938).

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

Woolf, V. 1992a. Between the Acts, ed. Frank Kermode. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (London: Hogarth Press, 1941). ------------. 1992b. Mrs. Dalloway, ed. Elaine Showalter. London: Harmondsworth. (London: Hogarth Press, 1925). ------------. 1996. Three Guineas, ed. Hermione Lee. London: Vintage. (London: Hogarth Press, 1938).

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

23

BETWEEN GUERRAS AND CARNALES: CHICANA FEMINIST WRITERS AND THEIR SEARCH FOR A ROOM OF THEIR OWN* Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Universidad de Oviedo carol@uniovi.es

BETWEEN GUERRAS AND CARNALES: CHICANA FEMINIST WRITERS AND THEIR SEARCH FOR A ROOM OF THEIR OWN* Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Universidad de Oviedo carol@uniovi.es

In this paper I will analyse a number of literary texts that reflect the way in which Chicana feminist writers have responded to their problematic relationship with both the Chicano community and the white women’s movement. In particular, I will focus on a number of texts written during the years of the Chicano Movement (from the 1960s to the mid-1970s). These texts tend to argue either for a transformation of Chicanismo that implies the acceptance of Chicanas’ rights or for the breaking-off of relationships with white women’s movements unless they renounce their racism. In the concluding section, I will refer to the texts written in the Post-Movement years (from the mid1970s onwards) and to the strategies used in them to portray Chicana feminists’ identity problems in more recent decades.

In this paper I will analyse a number of literary texts that reflect the way in which Chicana feminist writers have responded to their problematic relationship with both the Chicano community and the white women’s movement. In particular, I will focus on a number of texts written during the years of the Chicano Movement (from the 1960s to the mid-1970s). These texts tend to argue either for a transformation of Chicanismo that implies the acceptance of Chicanas’ rights or for the breaking-off of relationships with white women’s movements unless they renounce their racism. In the concluding section, I will refer to the texts written in the Post-Movement years (from the mid1970s onwards) and to the strategies used in them to portray Chicana feminists’ identity problems in more recent decades.

Key words: Chicana literature, feminism, nationalism.

Key words: Chicana literature, feminism, nationalism.

En este artículo analizaré un conjunto de textos literarios que reflejan el modo en que las escritoras chicanas feministas han respondido a la problemática relación que mantienen con la comunidad chicana y el movimiento feminista blanco. En concreto, me centraré sobre varios textos escritos durante los años del Movimiento Chicano (de la década de los sesenta a la mitad de la década de los setenta). Estos textos suelen decantarse por una de estas posturas: o bien exigen una transformación del Movimiento Chicano para que acepte los derechos de las chicanas, o bien propugnan un cese en las relaciones con el movimiento feminista blanco a menos que éste renuncie al racismo. En la última sección

En este artículo analizaré un conjunto de textos literarios que reflejan el modo en que las escritoras chicanas feministas han respondido a la problemática relación que mantienen con la comunidad chicana y el movimiento feminista blanco. En concreto, me centraré sobre varios textos escritos durante los años del Movimiento Chicano (de la década de los sesenta a la mitad de la década de los setenta). Estos textos suelen decantarse por una de estas posturas: o bien exigen una transformación del Movimiento Chicano para que acepte los derechos de las chicanas, o bien propugnan un cese en las relaciones con el movimiento feminista blanco a menos que éste renuncie al racismo. En la última sección

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

23

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

23

BETWEEN GUERRAS AND CARNALES: CHICANA FEMINIST WRITERS AND THEIR SEARCH FOR A ROOM OF THEIR OWN* Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Universidad de Oviedo carol@uniovi.es

BETWEEN GUERRAS AND CARNALES: CHICANA FEMINIST WRITERS AND THEIR SEARCH FOR A ROOM OF THEIR OWN* Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Universidad de Oviedo carol@uniovi.es

In this paper I will analyse a number of literary texts that reflect the way in which Chicana feminist writers have responded to their problematic relationship with both the Chicano community and the white women’s movement. In particular, I will focus on a number of texts written during the years of the Chicano Movement (from the 1960s to the mid-1970s). These texts tend to argue either for a transformation of Chicanismo that implies the acceptance of Chicanas’ rights or for the breaking-off of relationships with white women’s movements unless they renounce their racism. In the concluding section, I will refer to the texts written in the Post-Movement years (from the mid1970s onwards) and to the strategies used in them to portray Chicana feminists’ identity problems in more recent decades.

In this paper I will analyse a number of literary texts that reflect the way in which Chicana feminist writers have responded to their problematic relationship with both the Chicano community and the white women’s movement. In particular, I will focus on a number of texts written during the years of the Chicano Movement (from the 1960s to the mid-1970s). These texts tend to argue either for a transformation of Chicanismo that implies the acceptance of Chicanas’ rights or for the breaking-off of relationships with white women’s movements unless they renounce their racism. In the concluding section, I will refer to the texts written in the Post-Movement years (from the mid1970s onwards) and to the strategies used in them to portray Chicana feminists’ identity problems in more recent decades.

Key words: Chicana literature, feminism, nationalism.

Key words: Chicana literature, feminism, nationalism.

En este artículo analizaré un conjunto de textos literarios que reflejan el modo en que las escritoras chicanas feministas han respondido a la problemática relación que mantienen con la comunidad chicana y el movimiento feminista blanco. En concreto, me centraré sobre varios textos escritos durante los años del Movimiento Chicano (de la década de los sesenta a la mitad de la década de los setenta). Estos textos suelen decantarse por una de estas posturas: o bien exigen una transformación del Movimiento Chicano para que acepte los derechos de las chicanas, o bien propugnan un cese en las relaciones con el movimiento feminista blanco a menos que éste renuncie al racismo. En la última sección

En este artículo analizaré un conjunto de textos literarios que reflejan el modo en que las escritoras chicanas feministas han respondido a la problemática relación que mantienen con la comunidad chicana y el movimiento feminista blanco. En concreto, me centraré sobre varios textos escritos durante los años del Movimiento Chicano (de la década de los sesenta a la mitad de la década de los setenta). Estos textos suelen decantarse por una de estas posturas: o bien exigen una transformación del Movimiento Chicano para que acepte los derechos de las chicanas, o bien propugnan un cese en las relaciones con el movimiento feminista blanco a menos que éste renuncie al racismo. En la última sección

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

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haré referencia a varios textos escritos en los años del Post-Movimiento Chicano (de la mitad de la década de los setenta en adelante) y a las estrategias que se usan en ellos para representar los problemas de identidad de las feministas chicanas en las últimas décadas.

haré referencia a varios textos escritos en los años del Post-Movimiento Chicano (de la mitad de la década de los setenta en adelante) y a las estrategias que se usan en ellos para representar los problemas de identidad de las feministas chicanas en las últimas décadas.

Palabras clave: Literatura chicana, feminismo, nacionalismo

Palabras clave: Literatura chicana, feminismo, nacionalismo

1. THE 1950S, 1960S AND EARLY 1970S. DEVELOPING A CHICANA FEMINIST CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE YEARS OF THE CHICANO MOVEMENT

1. THE 1950S, 1960S AND EARLY 1970S. DEVELOPING A CHICANA FEMINIST CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE YEARS OF THE CHICANO MOVEMENT

In the 1950s and 1960s the United States saw the birth and growth of many groups that actively fought for the recognition of human rights, and, in particular, in defence of minority groups. One of them was the Chicano Movement, also known as simply “The Movement,” “El Movimiento,” “La Causa” or “Chicanismo.” A great number of Chicanas who were involved in the Chicano Movement saw themselves primarily as “cultural nationalists,” but they gradually began to realize some of the contradictions of Chicanismo. According to Alma M. García, these Chicana activists started to evolve as “Chicana feminists” from the nationalist base from which they departed: “A Chicana feminist movement, like that of AfricanAmerican women, originated within the context of a nationalist movement” (1997: 4). In this way, their discourse acquired new nuances as it abandoned an exclusive focalization over “racial oppression” and took a greater interest in “gender oppression.” In any case, Alma M. García thinks that the Chicana movement implied a fight against both racial and gender discrimination: “a Chicana feminist movement represented a struggle that was both nationalistic and feminist” (1997: 4), so, in her opinion, one should always take into account those two ideologies and the influence that they played upon Chicana feminists.

In the 1950s and 1960s the United States saw the birth and growth of many groups that actively fought for the recognition of human rights, and, in particular, in defence of minority groups. One of them was the Chicano Movement, also known as simply “The Movement,” “El Movimiento,” “La Causa” or “Chicanismo.” A great number of Chicanas who were involved in the Chicano Movement saw themselves primarily as “cultural nationalists,” but they gradually began to realize some of the contradictions of Chicanismo. According to Alma M. García, these Chicana activists started to evolve as “Chicana feminists” from the nationalist base from which they departed: “A Chicana feminist movement, like that of AfricanAmerican women, originated within the context of a nationalist movement” (1997: 4). In this way, their discourse acquired new nuances as it abandoned an exclusive focalization over “racial oppression” and took a greater interest in “gender oppression.” In any case, Alma M. García thinks that the Chicana movement implied a fight against both racial and gender discrimination: “a Chicana feminist movement represented a struggle that was both nationalistic and feminist” (1997: 4), so, in her opinion, one should always take into account those two ideologies and the influence that they played upon Chicana feminists.

However, the situation of Chicana feminists within The Movement was very complex. These women opposed the image of the “Ideal Chicana” that the nationalist Chicanos had drawn for them. For

However, the situation of Chicana feminists within The Movement was very complex. These women opposed the image of the “Ideal Chicana” that the nationalist Chicanos had drawn for them. For

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

haré referencia a varios textos escritos en los años del Post-Movimiento Chicano (de la mitad de la década de los setenta en adelante) y a las estrategias que se usan en ellos para representar los problemas de identidad de las feministas chicanas en las últimas décadas.

haré referencia a varios textos escritos en los años del Post-Movimiento Chicano (de la mitad de la década de los setenta en adelante) y a las estrategias que se usan en ellos para representar los problemas de identidad de las feministas chicanas en las últimas décadas.

Palabras clave: Literatura chicana, feminismo, nacionalismo

Palabras clave: Literatura chicana, feminismo, nacionalismo

1. THE 1950S, 1960S AND EARLY 1970S. DEVELOPING A CHICANA FEMINIST CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE YEARS OF THE CHICANO MOVEMENT

1. THE 1950S, 1960S AND EARLY 1970S. DEVELOPING A CHICANA FEMINIST CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE YEARS OF THE CHICANO MOVEMENT

In the 1950s and 1960s the United States saw the birth and growth of many groups that actively fought for the recognition of human rights, and, in particular, in defence of minority groups. One of them was the Chicano Movement, also known as simply “The Movement,” “El Movimiento,” “La Causa” or “Chicanismo.” A great number of Chicanas who were involved in the Chicano Movement saw themselves primarily as “cultural nationalists,” but they gradually began to realize some of the contradictions of Chicanismo. According to Alma M. García, these Chicana activists started to evolve as “Chicana feminists” from the nationalist base from which they departed: “A Chicana feminist movement, like that of AfricanAmerican women, originated within the context of a nationalist movement” (1997: 4). In this way, their discourse acquired new nuances as it abandoned an exclusive focalization over “racial oppression” and took a greater interest in “gender oppression.” In any case, Alma M. García thinks that the Chicana movement implied a fight against both racial and gender discrimination: “a Chicana feminist movement represented a struggle that was both nationalistic and feminist” (1997: 4), so, in her opinion, one should always take into account those two ideologies and the influence that they played upon Chicana feminists.

In the 1950s and 1960s the United States saw the birth and growth of many groups that actively fought for the recognition of human rights, and, in particular, in defence of minority groups. One of them was the Chicano Movement, also known as simply “The Movement,” “El Movimiento,” “La Causa” or “Chicanismo.” A great number of Chicanas who were involved in the Chicano Movement saw themselves primarily as “cultural nationalists,” but they gradually began to realize some of the contradictions of Chicanismo. According to Alma M. García, these Chicana activists started to evolve as “Chicana feminists” from the nationalist base from which they departed: “A Chicana feminist movement, like that of AfricanAmerican women, originated within the context of a nationalist movement” (1997: 4). In this way, their discourse acquired new nuances as it abandoned an exclusive focalization over “racial oppression” and took a greater interest in “gender oppression.” In any case, Alma M. García thinks that the Chicana movement implied a fight against both racial and gender discrimination: “a Chicana feminist movement represented a struggle that was both nationalistic and feminist” (1997: 4), so, in her opinion, one should always take into account those two ideologies and the influence that they played upon Chicana feminists.

However, the situation of Chicana feminists within The Movement was very complex. These women opposed the image of the “Ideal Chicana” that the nationalist Chicanos had drawn for them. For

However, the situation of Chicana feminists within The Movement was very complex. These women opposed the image of the “Ideal Chicana” that the nationalist Chicanos had drawn for them. For

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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these men (the “carnales” in the title), cultural survival depended upon the survival of traditional gender roles, that is, those roles that kept women in subordinated positions, in the domestic sphere, and forced them to accept all kinds of social injustice with resignation. On the contrary, Chicana feminists were conscious of a long history of reform movements in which both Mexican and Chicana women had taken an active role. The image of the “Ideal Chicana” was for them but a fictitious story that they wished to deconstruct.

these men (the “carnales” in the title), cultural survival depended upon the survival of traditional gender roles, that is, those roles that kept women in subordinated positions, in the domestic sphere, and forced them to accept all kinds of social injustice with resignation. On the contrary, Chicana feminists were conscious of a long history of reform movements in which both Mexican and Chicana women had taken an active role. The image of the “Ideal Chicana” was for them but a fictitious story that they wished to deconstruct.

The fact that they dared oppose the Chicano Movement had its negative consequences for them. Thus, they had to endure harsh criticism, as many males within The Movement saw Chicana feminism as a threat for their particular project. These women were accused of being “white feminists,” “lesbians,” “gabachas,” “agringadas” or “women’s libber.” Similarly, some Chicanas within The Movement, the “loyalists,” were also against feminist vindications, since they thought that those demands collided with some of the basic tenets of Chicano culture, such as the precepts of Catholicism, among other things.

The fact that they dared oppose the Chicano Movement had its negative consequences for them. Thus, they had to endure harsh criticism, as many males within The Movement saw Chicana feminism as a threat for their particular project. These women were accused of being “white feminists,” “lesbians,” “gabachas,” “agringadas” or “women’s libber.” Similarly, some Chicanas within The Movement, the “loyalists,” were also against feminist vindications, since they thought that those demands collided with some of the basic tenets of Chicano culture, such as the precepts of Catholicism, among other things.

In Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings, Alma M. García (1997) compiled a great number of documents that give us a thorough view of the problems that Chicana feminists have been concerned with since the days of the Chicano Movement. Here are some of the main issues around which Chicana feminists developed their critique of the Chicano Movement:

In Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings, Alma M. García (1997) compiled a great number of documents that give us a thorough view of the problems that Chicana feminists have been concerned with since the days of the Chicano Movement. Here are some of the main issues around which Chicana feminists developed their critique of the Chicano Movement:

- Within The Movement, the control of leadership was in the hands of men, while women were excluded from that leadership. - In The Movement there was a clear contradiction: men were discriminating against women in much the same way in which the system was oppressing Chicanos. - The Movement saw itself as a revolutionary group, but as far as gender issues were concerned, it was absolutely conservative. - According to The Movement, women’s liberation could wait until the “revolution” had taken place.

- Within The Movement, the control of leadership was in the hands of men, while women were excluded from that leadership. - In The Movement there was a clear contradiction: men were discriminating against women in much the same way in which the system was oppressing Chicanos. - The Movement saw itself as a revolutionary group, but as far as gender issues were concerned, it was absolutely conservative. - According to The Movement, women’s liberation could wait until the “revolution” had taken place.

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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these men (the “carnales” in the title), cultural survival depended upon the survival of traditional gender roles, that is, those roles that kept women in subordinated positions, in the domestic sphere, and forced them to accept all kinds of social injustice with resignation. On the contrary, Chicana feminists were conscious of a long history of reform movements in which both Mexican and Chicana women had taken an active role. The image of the “Ideal Chicana” was for them but a fictitious story that they wished to deconstruct.

these men (the “carnales” in the title), cultural survival depended upon the survival of traditional gender roles, that is, those roles that kept women in subordinated positions, in the domestic sphere, and forced them to accept all kinds of social injustice with resignation. On the contrary, Chicana feminists were conscious of a long history of reform movements in which both Mexican and Chicana women had taken an active role. The image of the “Ideal Chicana” was for them but a fictitious story that they wished to deconstruct.

The fact that they dared oppose the Chicano Movement had its negative consequences for them. Thus, they had to endure harsh criticism, as many males within The Movement saw Chicana feminism as a threat for their particular project. These women were accused of being “white feminists,” “lesbians,” “gabachas,” “agringadas” or “women’s libber.” Similarly, some Chicanas within The Movement, the “loyalists,” were also against feminist vindications, since they thought that those demands collided with some of the basic tenets of Chicano culture, such as the precepts of Catholicism, among other things.

The fact that they dared oppose the Chicano Movement had its negative consequences for them. Thus, they had to endure harsh criticism, as many males within The Movement saw Chicana feminism as a threat for their particular project. These women were accused of being “white feminists,” “lesbians,” “gabachas,” “agringadas” or “women’s libber.” Similarly, some Chicanas within The Movement, the “loyalists,” were also against feminist vindications, since they thought that those demands collided with some of the basic tenets of Chicano culture, such as the precepts of Catholicism, among other things.

In Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings, Alma M. García (1997) compiled a great number of documents that give us a thorough view of the problems that Chicana feminists have been concerned with since the days of the Chicano Movement. Here are some of the main issues around which Chicana feminists developed their critique of the Chicano Movement:

In Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings, Alma M. García (1997) compiled a great number of documents that give us a thorough view of the problems that Chicana feminists have been concerned with since the days of the Chicano Movement. Here are some of the main issues around which Chicana feminists developed their critique of the Chicano Movement:

- Within The Movement, the control of leadership was in the hands of men, while women were excluded from that leadership. - In The Movement there was a clear contradiction: men were discriminating against women in much the same way in which the system was oppressing Chicanos. - The Movement saw itself as a revolutionary group, but as far as gender issues were concerned, it was absolutely conservative. - According to The Movement, women’s liberation could wait until the “revolution” had taken place.

- Within The Movement, the control of leadership was in the hands of men, while women were excluded from that leadership. - In The Movement there was a clear contradiction: men were discriminating against women in much the same way in which the system was oppressing Chicanos. - The Movement saw itself as a revolutionary group, but as far as gender issues were concerned, it was absolutely conservative. - According to The Movement, women’s liberation could wait until the “revolution” had taken place.

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- Chicana feminists thought that The Movement should not give priority to some issues in detriment of other questions, since all the factors that caused the discrimination of Chicanos/as complemented one another, especially those factors that were related to gender and economy. - Chicana feminists rejected the idea that they were to be held responsible for causing splits within The Movement because of their ideological opposition. Actually, they thought that it was men themselves that were creating divisions by accusing Chicana feminists of being disloyal.

- Chicana feminists thought that The Movement should not give priority to some issues in detriment of other questions, since all the factors that caused the discrimination of Chicanos/as complemented one another, especially those factors that were related to gender and economy. - Chicana feminists rejected the idea that they were to be held responsible for causing splits within The Movement because of their ideological opposition. Actually, they thought that it was men themselves that were creating divisions by accusing Chicana feminists of being disloyal.

In the context of society at large, Chicanas were likewise discriminated against on the basis not only of their ethnicity, as The Movement claimed, but also on the basis of their gender. They were therefore facing a number of problems that The Movement refused to tackle because they were issues that exclusively affected the female members of La Raza. Among these we could mention the following:

In the context of society at large, Chicanas were likewise discriminated against on the basis not only of their ethnicity, as The Movement claimed, but also on the basis of their gender. They were therefore facing a number of problems that The Movement refused to tackle because they were issues that exclusively affected the female members of La Raza. Among these we could mention the following:

- Women were fully responsible for family life. - Due to their poorer command of the English language (after all, they were “locked” in the domestic sphere and had fewer occasions to learn English), they had more obstacles than Chicano men when it came to dealing with certain institutions, such as the welfare system and the legal system. - Their health problems were also specific: the percentage of deaths after child-bearing was very high; sometimes they were chosen as guinea pigs for birthcontrol experiments without their consent, and on certain occasions they were sterilised without their knowledge. - At the workplace they received lower wages than Chicano men, and were also restricted to fewer employment opportunities. - Their access to education was also further limited than in the case of Chicano men.

- Women were fully responsible for family life. - Due to their poorer command of the English language (after all, they were “locked” in the domestic sphere and had fewer occasions to learn English), they had more obstacles than Chicano men when it came to dealing with certain institutions, such as the welfare system and the legal system. - Their health problems were also specific: the percentage of deaths after child-bearing was very high; sometimes they were chosen as guinea pigs for birthcontrol experiments without their consent, and on certain occasions they were sterilised without their knowledge. - At the workplace they received lower wages than Chicano men, and were also restricted to fewer employment opportunities. - Their access to education was also further limited than in the case of Chicano men.

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- Chicana feminists thought that The Movement should not give priority to some issues in detriment of other questions, since all the factors that caused the discrimination of Chicanos/as complemented one another, especially those factors that were related to gender and economy. - Chicana feminists rejected the idea that they were to be held responsible for causing splits within The Movement because of their ideological opposition. Actually, they thought that it was men themselves that were creating divisions by accusing Chicana feminists of being disloyal.

- Chicana feminists thought that The Movement should not give priority to some issues in detriment of other questions, since all the factors that caused the discrimination of Chicanos/as complemented one another, especially those factors that were related to gender and economy. - Chicana feminists rejected the idea that they were to be held responsible for causing splits within The Movement because of their ideological opposition. Actually, they thought that it was men themselves that were creating divisions by accusing Chicana feminists of being disloyal.

In the context of society at large, Chicanas were likewise discriminated against on the basis not only of their ethnicity, as The Movement claimed, but also on the basis of their gender. They were therefore facing a number of problems that The Movement refused to tackle because they were issues that exclusively affected the female members of La Raza. Among these we could mention the following:

In the context of society at large, Chicanas were likewise discriminated against on the basis not only of their ethnicity, as The Movement claimed, but also on the basis of their gender. They were therefore facing a number of problems that The Movement refused to tackle because they were issues that exclusively affected the female members of La Raza. Among these we could mention the following:

- Women were fully responsible for family life. - Due to their poorer command of the English language (after all, they were “locked” in the domestic sphere and had fewer occasions to learn English), they had more obstacles than Chicano men when it came to dealing with certain institutions, such as the welfare system and the legal system. - Their health problems were also specific: the percentage of deaths after child-bearing was very high; sometimes they were chosen as guinea pigs for birthcontrol experiments without their consent, and on certain occasions they were sterilised without their knowledge. - At the workplace they received lower wages than Chicano men, and were also restricted to fewer employment opportunities. - Their access to education was also further limited than in the case of Chicano men.

- Women were fully responsible for family life. - Due to their poorer command of the English language (after all, they were “locked” in the domestic sphere and had fewer occasions to learn English), they had more obstacles than Chicano men when it came to dealing with certain institutions, such as the welfare system and the legal system. - Their health problems were also specific: the percentage of deaths after child-bearing was very high; sometimes they were chosen as guinea pigs for birthcontrol experiments without their consent, and on certain occasions they were sterilised without their knowledge. - At the workplace they received lower wages than Chicano men, and were also restricted to fewer employment opportunities. - Their access to education was also further limited than in the case of Chicano men.

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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As time went on, Chicana feminists also began to realize the way in which, just as it had happened to other women of colour, their lives were determined by a great number of forms of oppression, besides race and gender, as for example social classes, religion, or language. Meanwhile, white feminism, which was mainly formed by women who belonged to the middle and upper-middle classes, had a Protestant upbringing, were English-speaking and of Anglo-Saxon origin (thus the “güeras” or “the blond ones” in the title), was turning a deaf ear to Chicanas’ problems:

As time went on, Chicana feminists also began to realize the way in which, just as it had happened to other women of colour, their lives were determined by a great number of forms of oppression, besides race and gender, as for example social classes, religion, or language. Meanwhile, white feminism, which was mainly formed by women who belonged to the middle and upper-middle classes, had a Protestant upbringing, were English-speaking and of Anglo-Saxon origin (thus the “güeras” or “the blond ones” in the title), was turning a deaf ear to Chicanas’ problems:

As women who participated in the larger society, Chicanas, like women of other Third World groups in the United States, shared with Anglo women the need to define their position in a society built on a male system of values. Certain social imperatives—the elimination of rape, the need for day-care centers, the lack of employment opportunities, and, to some extent, the abortion issue—put them squarely into the struggle of Anglo women. As Chicanas, however, they faced alienation in the larger society. Through participation in white women’s groups, Chicanas learned that certain items on their agenda (such as the struggle against racism and the crusade for bilingual and bicultural education) were not among the priorities of white women. Chicanas also found racism, tokenism, and ignorance in white women’s groups. (Sánchez 1985: 5)

As women who participated in the larger society, Chicanas, like women of other Third World groups in the United States, shared with Anglo women the need to define their position in a society built on a male system of values. Certain social imperatives—the elimination of rape, the need for day-care centers, the lack of employment opportunities, and, to some extent, the abortion issue—put them squarely into the struggle of Anglo women. As Chicanas, however, they faced alienation in the larger society. Through participation in white women’s groups, Chicanas learned that certain items on their agenda (such as the struggle against racism and the crusade for bilingual and bicultural education) were not among the priorities of white women. Chicanas also found racism, tokenism, and ignorance in white women’s groups. (Sánchez 1985: 5)

Chicanas, therefore, were facing a double set of restrictions, both as members of the Chicano community and as women. But because they seemed to be having difficulties to see their specific problems attended to, some of them began to form their own autonomous women’s groups, even at the risk of being judged disloyal by both their “carnales” and “las güeras.” At the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s, these Chicana feminists started to let themselves be heard outside the confines of The Movement. They did so thanks to their early publications, among which we can highlight Regeneración (first issued in 1970 and edited by Francisca Flores), the newspaper Hijas de Cuauhtémoc or the journal Encuentro Femenil, among

Chicanas, therefore, were facing a double set of restrictions, both as members of the Chicano community and as women. But because they seemed to be having difficulties to see their specific problems attended to, some of them began to form their own autonomous women’s groups, even at the risk of being judged disloyal by both their “carnales” and “las güeras.” At the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s, these Chicana feminists started to let themselves be heard outside the confines of The Movement. They did so thanks to their early publications, among which we can highlight Regeneración (first issued in 1970 and edited by Francisca Flores), the newspaper Hijas de Cuauhtémoc or the journal Encuentro Femenil, among

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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As time went on, Chicana feminists also began to realize the way in which, just as it had happened to other women of colour, their lives were determined by a great number of forms of oppression, besides race and gender, as for example social classes, religion, or language. Meanwhile, white feminism, which was mainly formed by women who belonged to the middle and upper-middle classes, had a Protestant upbringing, were English-speaking and of Anglo-Saxon origin (thus the “güeras” or “the blond ones” in the title), was turning a deaf ear to Chicanas’ problems:

As time went on, Chicana feminists also began to realize the way in which, just as it had happened to other women of colour, their lives were determined by a great number of forms of oppression, besides race and gender, as for example social classes, religion, or language. Meanwhile, white feminism, which was mainly formed by women who belonged to the middle and upper-middle classes, had a Protestant upbringing, were English-speaking and of Anglo-Saxon origin (thus the “güeras” or “the blond ones” in the title), was turning a deaf ear to Chicanas’ problems:

As women who participated in the larger society, Chicanas, like women of other Third World groups in the United States, shared with Anglo women the need to define their position in a society built on a male system of values. Certain social imperatives—the elimination of rape, the need for day-care centers, the lack of employment opportunities, and, to some extent, the abortion issue—put them squarely into the struggle of Anglo women. As Chicanas, however, they faced alienation in the larger society. Through participation in white women’s groups, Chicanas learned that certain items on their agenda (such as the struggle against racism and the crusade for bilingual and bicultural education) were not among the priorities of white women. Chicanas also found racism, tokenism, and ignorance in white women’s groups. (Sánchez 1985: 5)

As women who participated in the larger society, Chicanas, like women of other Third World groups in the United States, shared with Anglo women the need to define their position in a society built on a male system of values. Certain social imperatives—the elimination of rape, the need for day-care centers, the lack of employment opportunities, and, to some extent, the abortion issue—put them squarely into the struggle of Anglo women. As Chicanas, however, they faced alienation in the larger society. Through participation in white women’s groups, Chicanas learned that certain items on their agenda (such as the struggle against racism and the crusade for bilingual and bicultural education) were not among the priorities of white women. Chicanas also found racism, tokenism, and ignorance in white women’s groups. (Sánchez 1985: 5)

Chicanas, therefore, were facing a double set of restrictions, both as members of the Chicano community and as women. But because they seemed to be having difficulties to see their specific problems attended to, some of them began to form their own autonomous women’s groups, even at the risk of being judged disloyal by both their “carnales” and “las güeras.” At the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s, these Chicana feminists started to let themselves be heard outside the confines of The Movement. They did so thanks to their early publications, among which we can highlight Regeneración (first issued in 1970 and edited by Francisca Flores), the newspaper Hijas de Cuauhtémoc or the journal Encuentro Femenil, among

Chicanas, therefore, were facing a double set of restrictions, both as members of the Chicano community and as women. But because they seemed to be having difficulties to see their specific problems attended to, some of them began to form their own autonomous women’s groups, even at the risk of being judged disloyal by both their “carnales” and “las güeras.” At the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s, these Chicana feminists started to let themselves be heard outside the confines of The Movement. They did so thanks to their early publications, among which we can highlight Regeneración (first issued in 1970 and edited by Francisca Flores), the newspaper Hijas de Cuauhtémoc or the journal Encuentro Femenil, among

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others. Likewise, they began to organize workshops and conferences, after which they published the respective Proceedings.

others. Likewise, they began to organize workshops and conferences, after which they published the respective Proceedings.

The contradictory position of Chicana feminists—“apart from, yet necessarily within, each of their social milieus” (Sánchez 1985: 6)—informed not only their journals, newspapers, and critical writings, but also, and most interestingly for us, their literary writings. In the 1960s and 1970s, in particular, a number of poems criticised the blindness of Chicanas’ male counterparts in The Movement. Here we will analyse a couple of texts written in 1971, that is, still within the time span associated with The Chicano Movement (from the 1960s until 1975). As it will be seen, both are characterised by the language of “la Revolución,” but the aim of both its writers is to make the Revolution a struggle that incorporates not only the demands of the male leaders, but also the needs of its female members. In this sense, both texts expand the number of problems The Movement should be concerned with; therefore, they make the “Revolución” a more complex and richer issue. The fact that they also call for the integration of Chicanas as full citizens, not as mere “daughters,” “wives,” and “mothers,” implies a redefinition of the Chicana identity, which should not be determined by a Chicana’s dependency on a man, as well as of the Chicano identity, which should not be based on the subjugation of Chicanas.

The contradictory position of Chicana feminists—“apart from, yet necessarily within, each of their social milieus” (Sánchez 1985: 6)—informed not only their journals, newspapers, and critical writings, but also, and most interestingly for us, their literary writings. In the 1960s and 1970s, in particular, a number of poems criticised the blindness of Chicanas’ male counterparts in The Movement. Here we will analyse a couple of texts written in 1971, that is, still within the time span associated with The Chicano Movement (from the 1960s until 1975). As it will be seen, both are characterised by the language of “la Revolución,” but the aim of both its writers is to make the Revolution a struggle that incorporates not only the demands of the male leaders, but also the needs of its female members. In this sense, both texts expand the number of problems The Movement should be concerned with; therefore, they make the “Revolución” a more complex and richer issue. The fact that they also call for the integration of Chicanas as full citizens, not as mere “daughters,” “wives,” and “mothers,” implies a redefinition of the Chicana identity, which should not be determined by a Chicana’s dependency on a man, as well as of the Chicano identity, which should not be based on the subjugation of Chicanas.

The first poem I wish to analyse is “La Nueva Chicana,” written by Ana Montes and first published in 1971. The text begins by bringing together tradition and innovation. Both elements are essential for the success of the Revolution, as, according to the poetic persona, they both “do their part.” The “old woman” who goes to pray, the “young mother,” the “old man sitting on the porch,” and the “young husband” who goes to work are all members of the traditional Chicano community; the “young / Chicana”, on the other hand, symbolizes the new order of things.

The first poem I wish to analyse is “La Nueva Chicana,” written by Ana Montes and first published in 1971. The text begins by bringing together tradition and innovation. Both elements are essential for the success of the Revolution, as, according to the poetic persona, they both “do their part.” The “old woman” who goes to pray, the “young mother,” the “old man sitting on the porch,” and the “young husband” who goes to work are all members of the traditional Chicano community; the “young / Chicana”, on the other hand, symbolizes the new order of things.

The characters that stand for traditional values actually represent a very conservative view of Chicano culture. Old women are associated with religion and therefore they are in charge of the survival of traditional moral values, while old men, “sitting on the porch,” are not encumbered with such a difficult role. Young women, for their part,

The characters that stand for traditional values actually represent a very conservative view of Chicano culture. Old women are associated with religion and therefore they are in charge of the survival of traditional moral values, while old men, “sitting on the porch,” are not encumbered with such a difficult role. Young women, for their part,

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others. Likewise, they began to organize workshops and conferences, after which they published the respective Proceedings.

others. Likewise, they began to organize workshops and conferences, after which they published the respective Proceedings.

The contradictory position of Chicana feminists—“apart from, yet necessarily within, each of their social milieus” (Sánchez 1985: 6)—informed not only their journals, newspapers, and critical writings, but also, and most interestingly for us, their literary writings. In the 1960s and 1970s, in particular, a number of poems criticised the blindness of Chicanas’ male counterparts in The Movement. Here we will analyse a couple of texts written in 1971, that is, still within the time span associated with The Chicano Movement (from the 1960s until 1975). As it will be seen, both are characterised by the language of “la Revolución,” but the aim of both its writers is to make the Revolution a struggle that incorporates not only the demands of the male leaders, but also the needs of its female members. In this sense, both texts expand the number of problems The Movement should be concerned with; therefore, they make the “Revolución” a more complex and richer issue. The fact that they also call for the integration of Chicanas as full citizens, not as mere “daughters,” “wives,” and “mothers,” implies a redefinition of the Chicana identity, which should not be determined by a Chicana’s dependency on a man, as well as of the Chicano identity, which should not be based on the subjugation of Chicanas.

The contradictory position of Chicana feminists—“apart from, yet necessarily within, each of their social milieus” (Sánchez 1985: 6)—informed not only their journals, newspapers, and critical writings, but also, and most interestingly for us, their literary writings. In the 1960s and 1970s, in particular, a number of poems criticised the blindness of Chicanas’ male counterparts in The Movement. Here we will analyse a couple of texts written in 1971, that is, still within the time span associated with The Chicano Movement (from the 1960s until 1975). As it will be seen, both are characterised by the language of “la Revolución,” but the aim of both its writers is to make the Revolution a struggle that incorporates not only the demands of the male leaders, but also the needs of its female members. In this sense, both texts expand the number of problems The Movement should be concerned with; therefore, they make the “Revolución” a more complex and richer issue. The fact that they also call for the integration of Chicanas as full citizens, not as mere “daughters,” “wives,” and “mothers,” implies a redefinition of the Chicana identity, which should not be determined by a Chicana’s dependency on a man, as well as of the Chicano identity, which should not be based on the subjugation of Chicanas.

The first poem I wish to analyse is “La Nueva Chicana,” written by Ana Montes and first published in 1971. The text begins by bringing together tradition and innovation. Both elements are essential for the success of the Revolution, as, according to the poetic persona, they both “do their part.” The “old woman” who goes to pray, the “young mother,” the “old man sitting on the porch,” and the “young husband” who goes to work are all members of the traditional Chicano community; the “young / Chicana”, on the other hand, symbolizes the new order of things.

The first poem I wish to analyse is “La Nueva Chicana,” written by Ana Montes and first published in 1971. The text begins by bringing together tradition and innovation. Both elements are essential for the success of the Revolution, as, according to the poetic persona, they both “do their part.” The “old woman” who goes to pray, the “young mother,” the “old man sitting on the porch,” and the “young husband” who goes to work are all members of the traditional Chicano community; the “young / Chicana”, on the other hand, symbolizes the new order of things.

The characters that stand for traditional values actually represent a very conservative view of Chicano culture. Old women are associated with religion and therefore they are in charge of the survival of traditional moral values, while old men, “sitting on the porch,” are not encumbered with such a difficult role. Young women, for their part,

The characters that stand for traditional values actually represent a very conservative view of Chicano culture. Old women are associated with religion and therefore they are in charge of the survival of traditional moral values, while old men, “sitting on the porch,” are not encumbered with such a difficult role. Young women, for their part,

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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are responsible for the reproduction of “la raza,” as they are only taken into account inasmuch they are “mothers”; their husbands, on the other hand, are the family bread-winners. In short, gender roles are rigid and immutable in this picture of the traditional Chicano community.

are responsible for the reproduction of “la raza,” as they are only taken into account inasmuch they are “mothers”; their husbands, on the other hand, are the family bread-winners. In short, gender roles are rigid and immutable in this picture of the traditional Chicano community.

In this context, the appearance of the figure of the new Chicana represents a short of disruptive presence. The poetic persona sees the need to reassure her audience by stating that this young woman may be “new” in the sense that she behaves in ways so far unheard of for a Chicana girl, but she is tightly connected with tradition as well. The persona defines both her physical appearance and her behaviour. As far as her body is concerned, two aspects are highlighted. First, the fact that she is “still the soft brown-eyed / beauty you knew.” Second, the circumstance that she is “bareheaded” and “unshawled.” The colour of this woman’s eyes tells the audience that she is no “agringada,” no blue-eyed “güera.” Her physical traits, therefore, show her Mexican ancestry and, because of this, she is a “beauty.” As all women in a traditional and patriarchal context, she is first described in terms of her physique, and her “value” comes from her being agreeable to the beauty standards of her community. Nevertheless, she transcends those strict physical standards by means of clothes: as I have already stated, she is “bareheaded” and “unshawled,” that is, she has discarded the traditional “velos” (veils) and “rebozos” (shawls) worn by traditional Mexican women. These pieces of clothing may be traditional and in that sense relevant for Chicana women, but they are also representative of a repressive culture. That is why, despite their importance, the new Chicana has “cast off ” that symbolic “shawl of the past to show her face” and, we might add, to make herself heard by the male members of The Movement.

In this context, the appearance of the figure of the new Chicana represents a short of disruptive presence. The poetic persona sees the need to reassure her audience by stating that this young woman may be “new” in the sense that she behaves in ways so far unheard of for a Chicana girl, but she is tightly connected with tradition as well. The persona defines both her physical appearance and her behaviour. As far as her body is concerned, two aspects are highlighted. First, the fact that she is “still the soft brown-eyed / beauty you knew.” Second, the circumstance that she is “bareheaded” and “unshawled.” The colour of this woman’s eyes tells the audience that she is no “agringada,” no blue-eyed “güera.” Her physical traits, therefore, show her Mexican ancestry and, because of this, she is a “beauty.” As all women in a traditional and patriarchal context, she is first described in terms of her physique, and her “value” comes from her being agreeable to the beauty standards of her community. Nevertheless, she transcends those strict physical standards by means of clothes: as I have already stated, she is “bareheaded” and “unshawled,” that is, she has discarded the traditional “velos” (veils) and “rebozos” (shawls) worn by traditional Mexican women. These pieces of clothing may be traditional and in that sense relevant for Chicana women, but they are also representative of a repressive culture. That is why, despite their importance, the new Chicana has “cast off ” that symbolic “shawl of the past to show her face” and, we might add, to make herself heard by the male members of The Movement.

Actually, when we analyse the behaviour of this new Chicana, we see that by wearing no veils and no shawls she has made a number of breakthroughs. She has adopted a more active role in her community (she is now “on the go”), and she is very articulate, “no longer the silent one.” She has achieved the strength of a religious leader who can go “spreading the word.” Like a political leader, she utters mottoes such as “VIVA LA RAZA,” and, in this sense, she fights for the same goals that men are trying to attain. This fact, again, reassures the audience: despite all her newness, the new Chicana is still “the soft

Actually, when we analyse the behaviour of this new Chicana, we see that by wearing no veils and no shawls she has made a number of breakthroughs. She has adopted a more active role in her community (she is now “on the go”), and she is very articulate, “no longer the silent one.” She has achieved the strength of a religious leader who can go “spreading the word.” Like a political leader, she utters mottoes such as “VIVA LA RAZA,” and, in this sense, she fights for the same goals that men are trying to attain. This fact, again, reassures the audience: despite all her newness, the new Chicana is still “the soft

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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are responsible for the reproduction of “la raza,” as they are only taken into account inasmuch they are “mothers”; their husbands, on the other hand, are the family bread-winners. In short, gender roles are rigid and immutable in this picture of the traditional Chicano community.

are responsible for the reproduction of “la raza,” as they are only taken into account inasmuch they are “mothers”; their husbands, on the other hand, are the family bread-winners. In short, gender roles are rigid and immutable in this picture of the traditional Chicano community.

In this context, the appearance of the figure of the new Chicana represents a short of disruptive presence. The poetic persona sees the need to reassure her audience by stating that this young woman may be “new” in the sense that she behaves in ways so far unheard of for a Chicana girl, but she is tightly connected with tradition as well. The persona defines both her physical appearance and her behaviour. As far as her body is concerned, two aspects are highlighted. First, the fact that she is “still the soft brown-eyed / beauty you knew.” Second, the circumstance that she is “bareheaded” and “unshawled.” The colour of this woman’s eyes tells the audience that she is no “agringada,” no blue-eyed “güera.” Her physical traits, therefore, show her Mexican ancestry and, because of this, she is a “beauty.” As all women in a traditional and patriarchal context, she is first described in terms of her physique, and her “value” comes from her being agreeable to the beauty standards of her community. Nevertheless, she transcends those strict physical standards by means of clothes: as I have already stated, she is “bareheaded” and “unshawled,” that is, she has discarded the traditional “velos” (veils) and “rebozos” (shawls) worn by traditional Mexican women. These pieces of clothing may be traditional and in that sense relevant for Chicana women, but they are also representative of a repressive culture. That is why, despite their importance, the new Chicana has “cast off ” that symbolic “shawl of the past to show her face” and, we might add, to make herself heard by the male members of The Movement.

In this context, the appearance of the figure of the new Chicana represents a short of disruptive presence. The poetic persona sees the need to reassure her audience by stating that this young woman may be “new” in the sense that she behaves in ways so far unheard of for a Chicana girl, but she is tightly connected with tradition as well. The persona defines both her physical appearance and her behaviour. As far as her body is concerned, two aspects are highlighted. First, the fact that she is “still the soft brown-eyed / beauty you knew.” Second, the circumstance that she is “bareheaded” and “unshawled.” The colour of this woman’s eyes tells the audience that she is no “agringada,” no blue-eyed “güera.” Her physical traits, therefore, show her Mexican ancestry and, because of this, she is a “beauty.” As all women in a traditional and patriarchal context, she is first described in terms of her physique, and her “value” comes from her being agreeable to the beauty standards of her community. Nevertheless, she transcends those strict physical standards by means of clothes: as I have already stated, she is “bareheaded” and “unshawled,” that is, she has discarded the traditional “velos” (veils) and “rebozos” (shawls) worn by traditional Mexican women. These pieces of clothing may be traditional and in that sense relevant for Chicana women, but they are also representative of a repressive culture. That is why, despite their importance, the new Chicana has “cast off ” that symbolic “shawl of the past to show her face” and, we might add, to make herself heard by the male members of The Movement.

Actually, when we analyse the behaviour of this new Chicana, we see that by wearing no veils and no shawls she has made a number of breakthroughs. She has adopted a more active role in her community (she is now “on the go”), and she is very articulate, “no longer the silent one.” She has achieved the strength of a religious leader who can go “spreading the word.” Like a political leader, she utters mottoes such as “VIVA LA RAZA,” and, in this sense, she fights for the same goals that men are trying to attain. This fact, again, reassures the audience: despite all her newness, the new Chicana is still “the soft

Actually, when we analyse the behaviour of this new Chicana, we see that by wearing no veils and no shawls she has made a number of breakthroughs. She has adopted a more active role in her community (she is now “on the go”), and she is very articulate, “no longer the silent one.” She has achieved the strength of a religious leader who can go “spreading the word.” Like a political leader, she utters mottoes such as “VIVA LA RAZA,” and, in this sense, she fights for the same goals that men are trying to attain. This fact, again, reassures the audience: despite all her newness, the new Chicana is still “the soft

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brown-eyed / beauty” who pleases men on a physical level, and who should arouse no suspicions intellectually speaking, since her aim is not to cause splits in The Movement, but to contribute her strength to the Revolution.

brown-eyed / beauty” who pleases men on a physical level, and who should arouse no suspicions intellectually speaking, since her aim is not to cause splits in The Movement, but to contribute her strength to the Revolution.

The language of the poem shows a mixture of two cultures thanks to the use of code-switching. The Spanish title of the poem introduces the Mexican heritage of Chicano culture, as do a few other capitalized phrases that summarize the most important issues: “LA NUEVA CHICANA” and “VIVA LA RAZA” tell, in short, that the new Chicana also works for the success of the Revolution. On the other hand, most of the lines are written in English, which testifies to the fact that Chicano culture is immersed, for good or bad, in an Anglo community. Just so, the mixture of mottoes of the Chicano Movement (“VIVA LA RAZA”) and demands of the Anglo feminist movement (women should take active roles in the public sphere, their voices should be heard) shows that the new Chicana is both a racial and a cultural hybrid that comprises two worlds in one body. Marta Esther Sánchez has referred to the half-bred prototype these new Chicanas modelled themselves after in these terms:

The language of the poem shows a mixture of two cultures thanks to the use of code-switching. The Spanish title of the poem introduces the Mexican heritage of Chicano culture, as do a few other capitalized phrases that summarize the most important issues: “LA NUEVA CHICANA” and “VIVA LA RAZA” tell, in short, that the new Chicana also works for the success of the Revolution. On the other hand, most of the lines are written in English, which testifies to the fact that Chicano culture is immersed, for good or bad, in an Anglo community. Just so, the mixture of mottoes of the Chicano Movement (“VIVA LA RAZA”) and demands of the Anglo feminist movement (women should take active roles in the public sphere, their voices should be heard) shows that the new Chicana is both a racial and a cultural hybrid that comprises two worlds in one body. Marta Esther Sánchez has referred to the half-bred prototype these new Chicanas modelled themselves after in these terms:

Although the women’s movement inspired them to search for new definitions of feminine identity, an awareness of their own cultural heritage encouraged them to affirm the traditions bequeathed to them by their female predecessors. (Sánchez 1985: 6)

Although the women’s movement inspired them to search for new definitions of feminine identity, an awareness of their own cultural heritage encouraged them to affirm the traditions bequeathed to them by their female predecessors. (Sánchez 1985: 6)

The second poem I want to comment on is entitled “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera.” It was published in 1971 and was written by Anna NietoGomez. In many ways, this is a text that perfectly represents the main features of “Movement poetry,” or the poetry written during the years of the Chicano Movement. To start with, the “Revolución” is the central topic. That is why we find terms such as “la raza,” “el movimiento,” and “revolución.” The latter is used only twice, but it appears in positions of special relevance: first in the title, and secondly in the final line. The fact that the three of them are Spanish terms also highlights their importance, since virtually all the other words in the poem are in English. Besides, the poem is made up of a limited number of words that are insistently repeated. Among

The second poem I want to comment on is entitled “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera.” It was published in 1971 and was written by Anna NietoGomez. In many ways, this is a text that perfectly represents the main features of “Movement poetry,” or the poetry written during the years of the Chicano Movement. To start with, the “Revolución” is the central topic. That is why we find terms such as “la raza,” “el movimiento,” and “revolución.” The latter is used only twice, but it appears in positions of special relevance: first in the title, and secondly in the final line. The fact that the three of them are Spanish terms also highlights their importance, since virtually all the other words in the poem are in English. Besides, the poem is made up of a limited number of words that are insistently repeated. Among

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brown-eyed / beauty” who pleases men on a physical level, and who should arouse no suspicions intellectually speaking, since her aim is not to cause splits in The Movement, but to contribute her strength to the Revolution.

brown-eyed / beauty” who pleases men on a physical level, and who should arouse no suspicions intellectually speaking, since her aim is not to cause splits in The Movement, but to contribute her strength to the Revolution.

The language of the poem shows a mixture of two cultures thanks to the use of code-switching. The Spanish title of the poem introduces the Mexican heritage of Chicano culture, as do a few other capitalized phrases that summarize the most important issues: “LA NUEVA CHICANA” and “VIVA LA RAZA” tell, in short, that the new Chicana also works for the success of the Revolution. On the other hand, most of the lines are written in English, which testifies to the fact that Chicano culture is immersed, for good or bad, in an Anglo community. Just so, the mixture of mottoes of the Chicano Movement (“VIVA LA RAZA”) and demands of the Anglo feminist movement (women should take active roles in the public sphere, their voices should be heard) shows that the new Chicana is both a racial and a cultural hybrid that comprises two worlds in one body. Marta Esther Sánchez has referred to the half-bred prototype these new Chicanas modelled themselves after in these terms:

The language of the poem shows a mixture of two cultures thanks to the use of code-switching. The Spanish title of the poem introduces the Mexican heritage of Chicano culture, as do a few other capitalized phrases that summarize the most important issues: “LA NUEVA CHICANA” and “VIVA LA RAZA” tell, in short, that the new Chicana also works for the success of the Revolution. On the other hand, most of the lines are written in English, which testifies to the fact that Chicano culture is immersed, for good or bad, in an Anglo community. Just so, the mixture of mottoes of the Chicano Movement (“VIVA LA RAZA”) and demands of the Anglo feminist movement (women should take active roles in the public sphere, their voices should be heard) shows that the new Chicana is both a racial and a cultural hybrid that comprises two worlds in one body. Marta Esther Sánchez has referred to the half-bred prototype these new Chicanas modelled themselves after in these terms:

Although the women’s movement inspired them to search for new definitions of feminine identity, an awareness of their own cultural heritage encouraged them to affirm the traditions bequeathed to them by their female predecessors. (Sánchez 1985: 6)

Although the women’s movement inspired them to search for new definitions of feminine identity, an awareness of their own cultural heritage encouraged them to affirm the traditions bequeathed to them by their female predecessors. (Sánchez 1985: 6)

The second poem I want to comment on is entitled “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera.” It was published in 1971 and was written by Anna NietoGomez. In many ways, this is a text that perfectly represents the main features of “Movement poetry,” or the poetry written during the years of the Chicano Movement. To start with, the “Revolución” is the central topic. That is why we find terms such as “la raza,” “el movimiento,” and “revolución.” The latter is used only twice, but it appears in positions of special relevance: first in the title, and secondly in the final line. The fact that the three of them are Spanish terms also highlights their importance, since virtually all the other words in the poem are in English. Besides, the poem is made up of a limited number of words that are insistently repeated. Among

The second poem I want to comment on is entitled “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera.” It was published in 1971 and was written by Anna NietoGomez. In many ways, this is a text that perfectly represents the main features of “Movement poetry,” or the poetry written during the years of the Chicano Movement. To start with, the “Revolución” is the central topic. That is why we find terms such as “la raza,” “el movimiento,” and “revolución.” The latter is used only twice, but it appears in positions of special relevance: first in the title, and secondly in the final line. The fact that the three of them are Spanish terms also highlights their importance, since virtually all the other words in the poem are in English. Besides, the poem is made up of a limited number of words that are insistently repeated. Among

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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them we find “struggle,” the English version of “revolución,” which appears four times, and a number of phrases such as “They make us,” “seek the knowledge,” “Then we shall see,” etc. The title itself is repeated in the final line in exactly the same terms. Moreover, Movement poetry typically resorts to imperatives uttered by the poetic persona, who addresses the members of the Chicano community in order to give them commands that may help them attain their objectives. Here in this text, for example, we find imperatives such as “seek the knowledge of all women,” “seek the knowledge of all men,” “Now bring them together,” among others.

them we find “struggle,” the English version of “revolución,” which appears four times, and a number of phrases such as “They make us,” “seek the knowledge,” “Then we shall see,” etc. The title itself is repeated in the final line in exactly the same terms. Moreover, Movement poetry typically resorts to imperatives uttered by the poetic persona, who addresses the members of the Chicano community in order to give them commands that may help them attain their objectives. Here in this text, for example, we find imperatives such as “seek the knowledge of all women,” “seek the knowledge of all men,” “Now bring them together,” among others.

The purpose of most of the literary texts produced in the years of The Movement was of a didactic nature: writers wanted to explain the purposes of Chicanismo to their audiences, to help the Chicano community know their rights and their cultural heritage or to increase their self-esteem. For that reason, their language was bound to be simple and the main ideas had to be reiterated so that they could be grasped by everybody. This is also NietoGomez’s aim when she uses a colloquial idiom and when she recurs, once and again, to the same few words and expressions. However, in her case, as we will see, her message is not exactly the same as that of the official leaders of the Revolution, nor will her commands reproduce those of the sanctioned discourse.

The purpose of most of the literary texts produced in the years of The Movement was of a didactic nature: writers wanted to explain the purposes of Chicanismo to their audiences, to help the Chicano community know their rights and their cultural heritage or to increase their self-esteem. For that reason, their language was bound to be simple and the main ideas had to be reiterated so that they could be grasped by everybody. This is also NietoGomez’s aim when she uses a colloquial idiom and when she recurs, once and again, to the same few words and expressions. However, in her case, as we will see, her message is not exactly the same as that of the official leaders of the Revolution, nor will her commands reproduce those of the sanctioned discourse.

As a matter of fact, she refuses to represent the Chicano community as a group that is devoid of internal conflicts and fissures, which is what the official discourse had chosen to do. In fact, she depicts a minority group (“Our men are few / Our women are few”) that faces not only the problem of its marginalization in the context of society, but also that of intestine fights between men and women due to the existence of “[r]igid boundaries of roles” which “do not move” and which contribute to their further decimation: “They make us separate / They make us fewer.” Gender roles, then, are accused of bringing dissension between men and women, and, what is worse, of making the “struggle” even longer, its goals more difficult to attain: “The struggle is longer / The struggle demands more.”

As a matter of fact, she refuses to represent the Chicano community as a group that is devoid of internal conflicts and fissures, which is what the official discourse had chosen to do. In fact, she depicts a minority group (“Our men are few / Our women are few”) that faces not only the problem of its marginalization in the context of society, but also that of intestine fights between men and women due to the existence of “[r]igid boundaries of roles” which “do not move” and which contribute to their further decimation: “They make us separate / They make us fewer.” Gender roles, then, are accused of bringing dissension between men and women, and, what is worse, of making the “struggle” even longer, its goals more difficult to attain: “The struggle is longer / The struggle demands more.”

The poetic persona knows the solution to this conflict and conveys it in the final two stanzas; the same message is expressed in

The poetic persona knows the solution to this conflict and conveys it in the final two stanzas; the same message is expressed in

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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them we find “struggle,” the English version of “revolución,” which appears four times, and a number of phrases such as “They make us,” “seek the knowledge,” “Then we shall see,” etc. The title itself is repeated in the final line in exactly the same terms. Moreover, Movement poetry typically resorts to imperatives uttered by the poetic persona, who addresses the members of the Chicano community in order to give them commands that may help them attain their objectives. Here in this text, for example, we find imperatives such as “seek the knowledge of all women,” “seek the knowledge of all men,” “Now bring them together,” among others.

them we find “struggle,” the English version of “revolución,” which appears four times, and a number of phrases such as “They make us,” “seek the knowledge,” “Then we shall see,” etc. The title itself is repeated in the final line in exactly the same terms. Moreover, Movement poetry typically resorts to imperatives uttered by the poetic persona, who addresses the members of the Chicano community in order to give them commands that may help them attain their objectives. Here in this text, for example, we find imperatives such as “seek the knowledge of all women,” “seek the knowledge of all men,” “Now bring them together,” among others.

The purpose of most of the literary texts produced in the years of The Movement was of a didactic nature: writers wanted to explain the purposes of Chicanismo to their audiences, to help the Chicano community know their rights and their cultural heritage or to increase their self-esteem. For that reason, their language was bound to be simple and the main ideas had to be reiterated so that they could be grasped by everybody. This is also NietoGomez’s aim when she uses a colloquial idiom and when she recurs, once and again, to the same few words and expressions. However, in her case, as we will see, her message is not exactly the same as that of the official leaders of the Revolution, nor will her commands reproduce those of the sanctioned discourse.

The purpose of most of the literary texts produced in the years of The Movement was of a didactic nature: writers wanted to explain the purposes of Chicanismo to their audiences, to help the Chicano community know their rights and their cultural heritage or to increase their self-esteem. For that reason, their language was bound to be simple and the main ideas had to be reiterated so that they could be grasped by everybody. This is also NietoGomez’s aim when she uses a colloquial idiom and when she recurs, once and again, to the same few words and expressions. However, in her case, as we will see, her message is not exactly the same as that of the official leaders of the Revolution, nor will her commands reproduce those of the sanctioned discourse.

As a matter of fact, she refuses to represent the Chicano community as a group that is devoid of internal conflicts and fissures, which is what the official discourse had chosen to do. In fact, she depicts a minority group (“Our men are few / Our women are few”) that faces not only the problem of its marginalization in the context of society, but also that of intestine fights between men and women due to the existence of “[r]igid boundaries of roles” which “do not move” and which contribute to their further decimation: “They make us separate / They make us fewer.” Gender roles, then, are accused of bringing dissension between men and women, and, what is worse, of making the “struggle” even longer, its goals more difficult to attain: “The struggle is longer / The struggle demands more.”

As a matter of fact, she refuses to represent the Chicano community as a group that is devoid of internal conflicts and fissures, which is what the official discourse had chosen to do. In fact, she depicts a minority group (“Our men are few / Our women are few”) that faces not only the problem of its marginalization in the context of society, but also that of intestine fights between men and women due to the existence of “[r]igid boundaries of roles” which “do not move” and which contribute to their further decimation: “They make us separate / They make us fewer.” Gender roles, then, are accused of bringing dissension between men and women, and, what is worse, of making the “struggle” even longer, its goals more difficult to attain: “The struggle is longer / The struggle demands more.”

The poetic persona knows the solution to this conflict and conveys it in the final two stanzas; the same message is expressed in

The poetic persona knows the solution to this conflict and conveys it in the final two stanzas; the same message is expressed in

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each of them, but the phrasing is slightly different so that the main idea can be perfectly understood by the audience or reading public: first, “seek the knowledge of all women / seek the knowledge of all men / Now bring them together / Make them a union / Then we shall see the strength of la raza / then we shall see the success of el movimiento”; secondly, “First / Humanity and freedom between men and women / Only then / Empieza la revolución verdadera.” The idea is therefore to put an end to internal splits between men and women, and this will be achieved the moment the official discourse stops curtailing women’s actions with norms of the type, “Thou shall not do,” “Thou dare not do.” Real democracy within The Movement will imply greater strength for “la Raza,” and, eventually, the attainment of its goals. That will be the beginning of the “revolución verdadera,” the “real revolution.”

each of them, but the phrasing is slightly different so that the main idea can be perfectly understood by the audience or reading public: first, “seek the knowledge of all women / seek the knowledge of all men / Now bring them together / Make them a union / Then we shall see the strength of la raza / then we shall see the success of el movimiento”; secondly, “First / Humanity and freedom between men and women / Only then / Empieza la revolución verdadera.” The idea is therefore to put an end to internal splits between men and women, and this will be achieved the moment the official discourse stops curtailing women’s actions with norms of the type, “Thou shall not do,” “Thou dare not do.” Real democracy within The Movement will imply greater strength for “la Raza,” and, eventually, the attainment of its goals. That will be the beginning of the “revolución verdadera,” the “real revolution.”

In short, for Anna NietoGomez the Chicano Revolution must face gender discrimination before it sets off to deal with racial discrimination, since the former brings dissention into The Movement, and with divisions among its members, no movement can possibly reach its goals. NietoGomez’s proposals are thus far from resembling those of other nationalists who have stated that feminist demands should be paid attention to only after racial issues have been successfully dealt with. For instance, in his poem “Letter to a Feminist Friend” (Ashcroft et al. 1995: 252-253), the Malawian poet Feliz MnThali addresses a female comrade to remind her of all the injustices Western civilization has inflicted upon them: “You and I were slaves together / uprooted and humiliated together / Rapes and lynchings – the lash of the overseer / and the lust of the slave-owner.” Next, he goes on to warn her against the dangers of listening to white feminism: “AND NOW / the women of Europe and America / after drinking and carousing / on my sweat / rise up to castigate / and castrate / their menfolk / from the cushions of a world / I have built!” Finally, he concludes by advising her to postpone all her feminist demands until the time when nationalist demands have been achieved: “When Africa / at Home and across the seas / is truly free / there will be time for me / and time for you / to share the cooking / and change the nappies – / Till then, / first things first!” For this poet, it is obvious that the nationalist movement is the “thing” that comes first. By contrast, for Anna NietoGomez, in whose poem we also find the term “first” in the

In short, for Anna NietoGomez the Chicano Revolution must face gender discrimination before it sets off to deal with racial discrimination, since the former brings dissention into The Movement, and with divisions among its members, no movement can possibly reach its goals. NietoGomez’s proposals are thus far from resembling those of other nationalists who have stated that feminist demands should be paid attention to only after racial issues have been successfully dealt with. For instance, in his poem “Letter to a Feminist Friend” (Ashcroft et al. 1995: 252-253), the Malawian poet Feliz MnThali addresses a female comrade to remind her of all the injustices Western civilization has inflicted upon them: “You and I were slaves together / uprooted and humiliated together / Rapes and lynchings – the lash of the overseer / and the lust of the slave-owner.” Next, he goes on to warn her against the dangers of listening to white feminism: “AND NOW / the women of Europe and America / after drinking and carousing / on my sweat / rise up to castigate / and castrate / their menfolk / from the cushions of a world / I have built!” Finally, he concludes by advising her to postpone all her feminist demands until the time when nationalist demands have been achieved: “When Africa / at Home and across the seas / is truly free / there will be time for me / and time for you / to share the cooking / and change the nappies – / Till then, / first things first!” For this poet, it is obvious that the nationalist movement is the “thing” that comes first. By contrast, for Anna NietoGomez, in whose poem we also find the term “first” in the

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each of them, but the phrasing is slightly different so that the main idea can be perfectly understood by the audience or reading public: first, “seek the knowledge of all women / seek the knowledge of all men / Now bring them together / Make them a union / Then we shall see the strength of la raza / then we shall see the success of el movimiento”; secondly, “First / Humanity and freedom between men and women / Only then / Empieza la revolución verdadera.” The idea is therefore to put an end to internal splits between men and women, and this will be achieved the moment the official discourse stops curtailing women’s actions with norms of the type, “Thou shall not do,” “Thou dare not do.” Real democracy within The Movement will imply greater strength for “la Raza,” and, eventually, the attainment of its goals. That will be the beginning of the “revolución verdadera,” the “real revolution.”

each of them, but the phrasing is slightly different so that the main idea can be perfectly understood by the audience or reading public: first, “seek the knowledge of all women / seek the knowledge of all men / Now bring them together / Make them a union / Then we shall see the strength of la raza / then we shall see the success of el movimiento”; secondly, “First / Humanity and freedom between men and women / Only then / Empieza la revolución verdadera.” The idea is therefore to put an end to internal splits between men and women, and this will be achieved the moment the official discourse stops curtailing women’s actions with norms of the type, “Thou shall not do,” “Thou dare not do.” Real democracy within The Movement will imply greater strength for “la Raza,” and, eventually, the attainment of its goals. That will be the beginning of the “revolución verdadera,” the “real revolution.”

In short, for Anna NietoGomez the Chicano Revolution must face gender discrimination before it sets off to deal with racial discrimination, since the former brings dissention into The Movement, and with divisions among its members, no movement can possibly reach its goals. NietoGomez’s proposals are thus far from resembling those of other nationalists who have stated that feminist demands should be paid attention to only after racial issues have been successfully dealt with. For instance, in his poem “Letter to a Feminist Friend” (Ashcroft et al. 1995: 252-253), the Malawian poet Feliz MnThali addresses a female comrade to remind her of all the injustices Western civilization has inflicted upon them: “You and I were slaves together / uprooted and humiliated together / Rapes and lynchings – the lash of the overseer / and the lust of the slave-owner.” Next, he goes on to warn her against the dangers of listening to white feminism: “AND NOW / the women of Europe and America / after drinking and carousing / on my sweat / rise up to castigate / and castrate / their menfolk / from the cushions of a world / I have built!” Finally, he concludes by advising her to postpone all her feminist demands until the time when nationalist demands have been achieved: “When Africa / at Home and across the seas / is truly free / there will be time for me / and time for you / to share the cooking / and change the nappies – / Till then, / first things first!” For this poet, it is obvious that the nationalist movement is the “thing” that comes first. By contrast, for Anna NietoGomez, in whose poem we also find the term “first” in the

In short, for Anna NietoGomez the Chicano Revolution must face gender discrimination before it sets off to deal with racial discrimination, since the former brings dissention into The Movement, and with divisions among its members, no movement can possibly reach its goals. NietoGomez’s proposals are thus far from resembling those of other nationalists who have stated that feminist demands should be paid attention to only after racial issues have been successfully dealt with. For instance, in his poem “Letter to a Feminist Friend” (Ashcroft et al. 1995: 252-253), the Malawian poet Feliz MnThali addresses a female comrade to remind her of all the injustices Western civilization has inflicted upon them: “You and I were slaves together / uprooted and humiliated together / Rapes and lynchings – the lash of the overseer / and the lust of the slave-owner.” Next, he goes on to warn her against the dangers of listening to white feminism: “AND NOW / the women of Europe and America / after drinking and carousing / on my sweat / rise up to castigate / and castrate / their menfolk / from the cushions of a world / I have built!” Finally, he concludes by advising her to postpone all her feminist demands until the time when nationalist demands have been achieved: “When Africa / at Home and across the seas / is truly free / there will be time for me / and time for you / to share the cooking / and change the nappies – / Till then, / first things first!” For this poet, it is obvious that the nationalist movement is the “thing” that comes first. By contrast, for Anna NietoGomez, in whose poem we also find the term “first” in the

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concluding stanza, it is feminism that should be foremost. Given the conservative ideas of the Chicano Movement as far as gender issues were concerned, it is evident that a change of priorities of the kind suggested by NietoGomez in her poem would certainly imply a “revolución verdadera.”

concluding stanza, it is feminism that should be foremost. Given the conservative ideas of the Chicano Movement as far as gender issues were concerned, it is evident that a change of priorities of the kind suggested by NietoGomez in her poem would certainly imply a “revolución verdadera.”

A different attitude seems to be defended in the next poem with which I would like to conclude this section, “Mujer,” by Leticia Hernández (1971). I will not extensively comment on it, since it is written in Spanish and my primary interest here is the analysis of texts written in English. But I nevertheless call the readers’ attention to it for two reasons. First, because, like the other poems I have commented on, it also deals with the racial and gender oppression Chicanas have endured: “Mujer que has sufrido a las manos del / gabacho, y peor, a las manos de tu hombre.” Secondly, because, unlike the other texts, to a certain extent it seems to advice Chicanas to disentangle themselves from the Chicano Movement and to care for their own problems. They have never abandoned their men, despite male mistreatment of Chicanas (“Mujer, valiente y luchadora que nunca has / dejado el lado de tu hombre”), and they themselves have maintained the patriarchal status quo (“Mujer Chicana has perdurado las injusticias / de / los hombres). Now it is high time they woke up and acted differently. To start with, they should concern themselves, first and foremost, with their own liberation: “¡Despierta! / Despierta mujer, y lucha por tu libertad.”

A different attitude seems to be defended in the next poem with which I would like to conclude this section, “Mujer,” by Leticia Hernández (1971). I will not extensively comment on it, since it is written in Spanish and my primary interest here is the analysis of texts written in English. But I nevertheless call the readers’ attention to it for two reasons. First, because, like the other poems I have commented on, it also deals with the racial and gender oppression Chicanas have endured: “Mujer que has sufrido a las manos del / gabacho, y peor, a las manos de tu hombre.” Secondly, because, unlike the other texts, to a certain extent it seems to advice Chicanas to disentangle themselves from the Chicano Movement and to care for their own problems. They have never abandoned their men, despite male mistreatment of Chicanas (“Mujer, valiente y luchadora que nunca has / dejado el lado de tu hombre”), and they themselves have maintained the patriarchal status quo (“Mujer Chicana has perdurado las injusticias / de / los hombres). Now it is high time they woke up and acted differently. To start with, they should concern themselves, first and foremost, with their own liberation: “¡Despierta! / Despierta mujer, y lucha por tu libertad.”

2. THE 1970S. FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF A CHICANA FEMINIST CONSCIOUSNESS

2. THE 1970S. FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF A CHICANA FEMINIST CONSCIOUSNESS

As Alma M. García points out (1997), in the 1970s Chicana feminists realized that their particular struggle for women’s rights would still have to go on facing the opposition of the male members of The Movement and of “the Loyalists,” as well as the resistance of white feminism to accept its own biases against women of colour. Their disillusionment with the sexism of the Chicano Movement continued, as did their realization that they had to redefine the role of Chicanas within it. They also kept fighting for equal opportunities and social justice and they started to revise a number of by-laws and

As Alma M. García points out (1997), in the 1970s Chicana feminists realized that their particular struggle for women’s rights would still have to go on facing the opposition of the male members of The Movement and of “the Loyalists,” as well as the resistance of white feminism to accept its own biases against women of colour. Their disillusionment with the sexism of the Chicano Movement continued, as did their realization that they had to redefine the role of Chicanas within it. They also kept fighting for equal opportunities and social justice and they started to revise a number of by-laws and

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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concluding stanza, it is feminism that should be foremost. Given the conservative ideas of the Chicano Movement as far as gender issues were concerned, it is evident that a change of priorities of the kind suggested by NietoGomez in her poem would certainly imply a “revolución verdadera.”

concluding stanza, it is feminism that should be foremost. Given the conservative ideas of the Chicano Movement as far as gender issues were concerned, it is evident that a change of priorities of the kind suggested by NietoGomez in her poem would certainly imply a “revolución verdadera.”

A different attitude seems to be defended in the next poem with which I would like to conclude this section, “Mujer,” by Leticia Hernández (1971). I will not extensively comment on it, since it is written in Spanish and my primary interest here is the analysis of texts written in English. But I nevertheless call the readers’ attention to it for two reasons. First, because, like the other poems I have commented on, it also deals with the racial and gender oppression Chicanas have endured: “Mujer que has sufrido a las manos del / gabacho, y peor, a las manos de tu hombre.” Secondly, because, unlike the other texts, to a certain extent it seems to advice Chicanas to disentangle themselves from the Chicano Movement and to care for their own problems. They have never abandoned their men, despite male mistreatment of Chicanas (“Mujer, valiente y luchadora que nunca has / dejado el lado de tu hombre”), and they themselves have maintained the patriarchal status quo (“Mujer Chicana has perdurado las injusticias / de / los hombres). Now it is high time they woke up and acted differently. To start with, they should concern themselves, first and foremost, with their own liberation: “¡Despierta! / Despierta mujer, y lucha por tu libertad.”

A different attitude seems to be defended in the next poem with which I would like to conclude this section, “Mujer,” by Leticia Hernández (1971). I will not extensively comment on it, since it is written in Spanish and my primary interest here is the analysis of texts written in English. But I nevertheless call the readers’ attention to it for two reasons. First, because, like the other poems I have commented on, it also deals with the racial and gender oppression Chicanas have endured: “Mujer que has sufrido a las manos del / gabacho, y peor, a las manos de tu hombre.” Secondly, because, unlike the other texts, to a certain extent it seems to advice Chicanas to disentangle themselves from the Chicano Movement and to care for their own problems. They have never abandoned their men, despite male mistreatment of Chicanas (“Mujer, valiente y luchadora que nunca has / dejado el lado de tu hombre”), and they themselves have maintained the patriarchal status quo (“Mujer Chicana has perdurado las injusticias / de / los hombres). Now it is high time they woke up and acted differently. To start with, they should concern themselves, first and foremost, with their own liberation: “¡Despierta! / Despierta mujer, y lucha por tu libertad.”

2. THE 1970S. FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF A CHICANA FEMINIST CONSCIOUSNESS

2. THE 1970S. FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF A CHICANA FEMINIST CONSCIOUSNESS

As Alma M. García points out (1997), in the 1970s Chicana feminists realized that their particular struggle for women’s rights would still have to go on facing the opposition of the male members of The Movement and of “the Loyalists,” as well as the resistance of white feminism to accept its own biases against women of colour. Their disillusionment with the sexism of the Chicano Movement continued, as did their realization that they had to redefine the role of Chicanas within it. They also kept fighting for equal opportunities and social justice and they started to revise a number of by-laws and

As Alma M. García points out (1997), in the 1970s Chicana feminists realized that their particular struggle for women’s rights would still have to go on facing the opposition of the male members of The Movement and of “the Loyalists,” as well as the resistance of white feminism to accept its own biases against women of colour. Their disillusionment with the sexism of the Chicano Movement continued, as did their realization that they had to redefine the role of Chicanas within it. They also kept fighting for equal opportunities and social justice and they started to revise a number of by-laws and

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platforms of political organizations such as La Raza Unida Party, in order to denounce their lack of concern with feminist demands.

platforms of political organizations such as La Raza Unida Party, in order to denounce their lack of concern with feminist demands.

As far as their relationship with white feminism is concerned, Chicana feminists went on showing an ambivalent attitude towards it, since they recognized both the similarities that existed between white feminists and Chicana feminists, as well as the differences that set them apart. Among the former we find their common goal of achieving equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women; besides, it was in this period that many Chicanas realized the need to question strict ethnic / race categories. As regards the differences, we find a larger list:

As far as their relationship with white feminism is concerned, Chicana feminists went on showing an ambivalent attitude towards it, since they recognized both the similarities that existed between white feminists and Chicana feminists, as well as the differences that set them apart. Among the former we find their common goal of achieving equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women; besides, it was in this period that many Chicanas realized the need to question strict ethnic / race categories. As regards the differences, we find a larger list:

- Many Chicanas thought that their true identity was with the Chicano Movement or “la familia”; for them, racism was stronger than sexism. - White feminists focused too narrowly on men as their enemies. - Chicanas endured a double or triple oppression if class differences were considered. - Some of the goals promoted by the white women’s movement, such as access to executive positions, made no sense for Chicanas, who predominantly belonged to the working class.

- Many Chicanas thought that their true identity was with the Chicano Movement or “la familia”; for them, racism was stronger than sexism. - White feminists focused too narrowly on men as their enemies. - Chicanas endured a double or triple oppression if class differences were considered. - Some of the goals promoted by the white women’s movement, such as access to executive positions, made no sense for Chicanas, who predominantly belonged to the working class.

But, apart from these conflicts with both the Chicano and the white feminist movements, Chicana feminists of the 1970s also discovered that they themselves were not a homogenous group. Because of this, they had to learn how to further negotiate their “new” identity in view of the disparities that threatened their struggle. These are some of the internal issues they had to contend with:

But, apart from these conflicts with both the Chicano and the white feminist movements, Chicana feminists of the 1970s also discovered that they themselves were not a homogenous group. Because of this, they had to learn how to further negotiate their “new” identity in view of the disparities that threatened their struggle. These are some of the internal issues they had to contend with:

- The issue of abortion was one of the most controversial problems. Nevertheless, some of the major conferences passed resolutions which included support for its legalization, and they also called for low-cost clinics, which were community controlled and which had bilingual staff. - Some Chicana feminists thought that Chicanas had to

- The issue of abortion was one of the most controversial problems. Nevertheless, some of the major conferences passed resolutions which included support for its legalization, and they also called for low-cost clinics, which were community controlled and which had bilingual staff. - Some Chicana feminists thought that Chicanas had to

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platforms of political organizations such as La Raza Unida Party, in order to denounce their lack of concern with feminist demands.

platforms of political organizations such as La Raza Unida Party, in order to denounce their lack of concern with feminist demands.

As far as their relationship with white feminism is concerned, Chicana feminists went on showing an ambivalent attitude towards it, since they recognized both the similarities that existed between white feminists and Chicana feminists, as well as the differences that set them apart. Among the former we find their common goal of achieving equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women; besides, it was in this period that many Chicanas realized the need to question strict ethnic / race categories. As regards the differences, we find a larger list:

As far as their relationship with white feminism is concerned, Chicana feminists went on showing an ambivalent attitude towards it, since they recognized both the similarities that existed between white feminists and Chicana feminists, as well as the differences that set them apart. Among the former we find their common goal of achieving equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women; besides, it was in this period that many Chicanas realized the need to question strict ethnic / race categories. As regards the differences, we find a larger list:

- Many Chicanas thought that their true identity was with the Chicano Movement or “la familia”; for them, racism was stronger than sexism. - White feminists focused too narrowly on men as their enemies. - Chicanas endured a double or triple oppression if class differences were considered. - Some of the goals promoted by the white women’s movement, such as access to executive positions, made no sense for Chicanas, who predominantly belonged to the working class.

- Many Chicanas thought that their true identity was with the Chicano Movement or “la familia”; for them, racism was stronger than sexism. - White feminists focused too narrowly on men as their enemies. - Chicanas endured a double or triple oppression if class differences were considered. - Some of the goals promoted by the white women’s movement, such as access to executive positions, made no sense for Chicanas, who predominantly belonged to the working class.

But, apart from these conflicts with both the Chicano and the white feminist movements, Chicana feminists of the 1970s also discovered that they themselves were not a homogenous group. Because of this, they had to learn how to further negotiate their “new” identity in view of the disparities that threatened their struggle. These are some of the internal issues they had to contend with:

But, apart from these conflicts with both the Chicano and the white feminist movements, Chicana feminists of the 1970s also discovered that they themselves were not a homogenous group. Because of this, they had to learn how to further negotiate their “new” identity in view of the disparities that threatened their struggle. These are some of the internal issues they had to contend with:

- The issue of abortion was one of the most controversial problems. Nevertheless, some of the major conferences passed resolutions which included support for its legalization, and they also called for low-cost clinics, which were community controlled and which had bilingual staff. - Some Chicana feminists thought that Chicanas had to

- The issue of abortion was one of the most controversial problems. Nevertheless, some of the major conferences passed resolutions which included support for its legalization, and they also called for low-cost clinics, which were community controlled and which had bilingual staff. - Some Chicana feminists thought that Chicanas had to

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participate in electoral politics at the local and state levels, while others warned that this participation might deprive the movement of its oppositional political force. - Chicana feminist lesbians began to surface in the last years of the 1970s, but in this decade they still had to face much hostility. It was not until the mid-1980s that their concerns began to be addressed by Chicana feminist organizations. - Other differences among them included issues related to social class differences, political orientation, their views on the white women’s feminist movement, their relationship with other women of colour, their affinity with Third World women (specifically Latin American women), and their role as feminists within the Chicano Movement.

participate in electoral politics at the local and state levels, while others warned that this participation might deprive the movement of its oppositional political force. - Chicana feminist lesbians began to surface in the last years of the 1970s, but in this decade they still had to face much hostility. It was not until the mid-1980s that their concerns began to be addressed by Chicana feminist organizations. - Other differences among them included issues related to social class differences, political orientation, their views on the white women’s feminist movement, their relationship with other women of colour, their affinity with Third World women (specifically Latin American women), and their role as feminists within the Chicano Movement.

Literarily speaking, this period meant a continuation with the issues and stylistic techniques used in the previous decades. It will not be until the mid-1980s and the 1990s that new topics are pursued and different literary styles adopted. The texts selected to illustrate the concerns of Chicana feminists in the 1970s are, for that reason, a sort of “extension” of the texts we have already commented on. The four examples I would like to analyse are a revision of the canonical text “I Am Joaquín” (written in 1967 by Chicano poet Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez) by Bernice Rincón (1975); “Para Un Revolucionario,” also published in 1975 and written by Lorna Dee Cervantes; “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`,” by Bernice Zamora (1977), and, finally, “The Brown Women,” by Anita Sarah Duarte (1975).

Literarily speaking, this period meant a continuation with the issues and stylistic techniques used in the previous decades. It will not be until the mid-1980s and the 1990s that new topics are pursued and different literary styles adopted. The texts selected to illustrate the concerns of Chicana feminists in the 1970s are, for that reason, a sort of “extension” of the texts we have already commented on. The four examples I would like to analyse are a revision of the canonical text “I Am Joaquín” (written in 1967 by Chicano poet Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez) by Bernice Rincón (1975); “Para Un Revolucionario,” also published in 1975 and written by Lorna Dee Cervantes; “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`,” by Bernice Zamora (1977), and, finally, “The Brown Women,” by Anita Sarah Duarte (1975).

Bernice Rincón introduces her article “Chicanas on the Move” (1975) with a brief poem which revisits some of the concluding lines of Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez’s poem “I Am Joaquín” (1967). This text, which is one of the most important poems of Chicano Movement poetry, addresses a Chicano audience that supposedly comprises both men and women. Yet, due to the fact that certain adjectives are used in Spanish and this language does differentiate between the feminine and the masculine gender, the impression it causes on the female reading public is that, as it happens with the Chicano Movement, the

Bernice Rincón introduces her article “Chicanas on the Move” (1975) with a brief poem which revisits some of the concluding lines of Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez’s poem “I Am Joaquín” (1967). This text, which is one of the most important poems of Chicano Movement poetry, addresses a Chicano audience that supposedly comprises both men and women. Yet, due to the fact that certain adjectives are used in Spanish and this language does differentiate between the feminine and the masculine gender, the impression it causes on the female reading public is that, as it happens with the Chicano Movement, the

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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participate in electoral politics at the local and state levels, while others warned that this participation might deprive the movement of its oppositional political force. - Chicana feminist lesbians began to surface in the last years of the 1970s, but in this decade they still had to face much hostility. It was not until the mid-1980s that their concerns began to be addressed by Chicana feminist organizations. - Other differences among them included issues related to social class differences, political orientation, their views on the white women’s feminist movement, their relationship with other women of colour, their affinity with Third World women (specifically Latin American women), and their role as feminists within the Chicano Movement.

participate in electoral politics at the local and state levels, while others warned that this participation might deprive the movement of its oppositional political force. - Chicana feminist lesbians began to surface in the last years of the 1970s, but in this decade they still had to face much hostility. It was not until the mid-1980s that their concerns began to be addressed by Chicana feminist organizations. - Other differences among them included issues related to social class differences, political orientation, their views on the white women’s feminist movement, their relationship with other women of colour, their affinity with Third World women (specifically Latin American women), and their role as feminists within the Chicano Movement.

Literarily speaking, this period meant a continuation with the issues and stylistic techniques used in the previous decades. It will not be until the mid-1980s and the 1990s that new topics are pursued and different literary styles adopted. The texts selected to illustrate the concerns of Chicana feminists in the 1970s are, for that reason, a sort of “extension” of the texts we have already commented on. The four examples I would like to analyse are a revision of the canonical text “I Am Joaquín” (written in 1967 by Chicano poet Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez) by Bernice Rincón (1975); “Para Un Revolucionario,” also published in 1975 and written by Lorna Dee Cervantes; “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`,” by Bernice Zamora (1977), and, finally, “The Brown Women,” by Anita Sarah Duarte (1975).

Literarily speaking, this period meant a continuation with the issues and stylistic techniques used in the previous decades. It will not be until the mid-1980s and the 1990s that new topics are pursued and different literary styles adopted. The texts selected to illustrate the concerns of Chicana feminists in the 1970s are, for that reason, a sort of “extension” of the texts we have already commented on. The four examples I would like to analyse are a revision of the canonical text “I Am Joaquín” (written in 1967 by Chicano poet Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez) by Bernice Rincón (1975); “Para Un Revolucionario,” also published in 1975 and written by Lorna Dee Cervantes; “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`,” by Bernice Zamora (1977), and, finally, “The Brown Women,” by Anita Sarah Duarte (1975).

Bernice Rincón introduces her article “Chicanas on the Move” (1975) with a brief poem which revisits some of the concluding lines of Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez’s poem “I Am Joaquín” (1967). This text, which is one of the most important poems of Chicano Movement poetry, addresses a Chicano audience that supposedly comprises both men and women. Yet, due to the fact that certain adjectives are used in Spanish and this language does differentiate between the feminine and the masculine gender, the impression it causes on the female reading public is that, as it happens with the Chicano Movement, the

Bernice Rincón introduces her article “Chicanas on the Move” (1975) with a brief poem which revisits some of the concluding lines of Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez’s poem “I Am Joaquín” (1967). This text, which is one of the most important poems of Chicano Movement poetry, addresses a Chicano audience that supposedly comprises both men and women. Yet, due to the fact that certain adjectives are used in Spanish and this language does differentiate between the feminine and the masculine gender, the impression it causes on the female reading public is that, as it happens with the Chicano Movement, the

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poet also fails to recognize Chicanas’ particular concerns. That is why Rincón changes the gender of the adjectives, thus amplifying the meaning of the poetical source. If Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez had written a poem that called for equality between Anglo men and Chicanos, Bernice Rincón writes hers to push for equality between Chicanos and Chicanas. In other words, her own version is an attempt to transform Chicanismo into a truly comprehensive movement:

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poet also fails to recognize Chicanas’ particular concerns. That is why Rincón changes the gender of the adjectives, thus amplifying the meaning of the poetical source. If Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez had written a poem that called for equality between Anglo men and Chicanos, Bernice Rincón writes hers to push for equality between Chicanos and Chicanas. In other words, her own version is an attempt to transform Chicanismo into a truly comprehensive movement:

La Raza! Mexicana Española Latina Hispana Chicana or whatever I call myself, I look the same I feel the same I cry and sing the same…

La Raza! Mexicana Española Latina Hispana Chicana or whatever I call myself, I look the same I feel the same I cry and sing the same…

The second poem I would like to analyse is “Para Un Revolucionario,” by Lorna Dee Cervantes (1975). As in the case of Movement poetry, in this poem we find references to key words in the discourse of the Chicano Movement, such as “raza,” “revolución,” “carnales,” “freedom,” and “liberación.” The main topic of the poem is likewise that of the “Revolución.” Thus, Cervantes’s poetic persona presents herself as a fighter for the goals of the Movement, and that is why, when she addresses the “You” of the poem, her Chicano lover / husband, she tells him that she shares her love for “freedom” with him, and states, “for I too am raza.” However, as other Chicana feminists, she has also discovered a number of contradictions in a man (and, by extension, a movement) that proclaims himself / itself revolutionary, yet adopts the most conservative positions in terms of gender roles.

The second poem I would like to analyse is “Para Un Revolucionario,” by Lorna Dee Cervantes (1975). As in the case of Movement poetry, in this poem we find references to key words in the discourse of the Chicano Movement, such as “raza,” “revolución,” “carnales,” “freedom,” and “liberación.” The main topic of the poem is likewise that of the “Revolución.” Thus, Cervantes’s poetic persona presents herself as a fighter for the goals of the Movement, and that is why, when she addresses the “You” of the poem, her Chicano lover / husband, she tells him that she shares her love for “freedom” with him, and states, “for I too am raza.” However, as other Chicana feminists, she has also discovered a number of contradictions in a man (and, by extension, a movement) that proclaims himself / itself revolutionary, yet adopts the most conservative positions in terms of gender roles.

As a matter of fact, her male partner has a number of prerogatives that are inaccessible for her. First, he has the right to speak of sublime topics: “You speak of art,” “You speak of your love of mountains, / Freedom,” “You speak of a new way, / A new life.” On the contrary, she is the one who rapturously listens to him: “When you

As a matter of fact, her male partner has a number of prerogatives that are inaccessible for her. First, he has the right to speak of sublime topics: “You speak of art,” “You speak of your love of mountains, / Freedom,” “You speak of a new way, / A new life.” On the contrary, she is the one who rapturously listens to him: “When you

36

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poet also fails to recognize Chicanas’ particular concerns. That is why Rincón changes the gender of the adjectives, thus amplifying the meaning of the poetical source. If Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez had written a poem that called for equality between Anglo men and Chicanos, Bernice Rincón writes hers to push for equality between Chicanos and Chicanas. In other words, her own version is an attempt to transform Chicanismo into a truly comprehensive movement: La Raza! Mexicana Española Latina Hispana Chicana or whatever I call myself, I look the same I feel the same I cry and sing the same…

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

poet also fails to recognize Chicanas’ particular concerns. That is why Rincón changes the gender of the adjectives, thus amplifying the meaning of the poetical source. If Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez had written a poem that called for equality between Anglo men and Chicanos, Bernice Rincón writes hers to push for equality between Chicanos and Chicanas. In other words, her own version is an attempt to transform Chicanismo into a truly comprehensive movement: La Raza! Mexicana Española Latina Hispana Chicana or whatever I call myself, I look the same I feel the same I cry and sing the same…

The second poem I would like to analyse is “Para Un Revolucionario,” by Lorna Dee Cervantes (1975). As in the case of Movement poetry, in this poem we find references to key words in the discourse of the Chicano Movement, such as “raza,” “revolución,” “carnales,” “freedom,” and “liberación.” The main topic of the poem is likewise that of the “Revolución.” Thus, Cervantes’s poetic persona presents herself as a fighter for the goals of the Movement, and that is why, when she addresses the “You” of the poem, her Chicano lover / husband, she tells him that she shares her love for “freedom” with him, and states, “for I too am raza.” However, as other Chicana feminists, she has also discovered a number of contradictions in a man (and, by extension, a movement) that proclaims himself / itself revolutionary, yet adopts the most conservative positions in terms of gender roles.

The second poem I would like to analyse is “Para Un Revolucionario,” by Lorna Dee Cervantes (1975). As in the case of Movement poetry, in this poem we find references to key words in the discourse of the Chicano Movement, such as “raza,” “revolución,” “carnales,” “freedom,” and “liberación.” The main topic of the poem is likewise that of the “Revolución.” Thus, Cervantes’s poetic persona presents herself as a fighter for the goals of the Movement, and that is why, when she addresses the “You” of the poem, her Chicano lover / husband, she tells him that she shares her love for “freedom” with him, and states, “for I too am raza.” However, as other Chicana feminists, she has also discovered a number of contradictions in a man (and, by extension, a movement) that proclaims himself / itself revolutionary, yet adopts the most conservative positions in terms of gender roles.

As a matter of fact, her male partner has a number of prerogatives that are inaccessible for her. First, he has the right to speak of sublime topics: “You speak of art,” “You speak of your love of mountains, / Freedom,” “You speak of a new way, / A new life.” On the contrary, she is the one who rapturously listens to him: “When you

As a matter of fact, her male partner has a number of prerogatives that are inaccessible for her. First, he has the right to speak of sublime topics: “You speak of art,” “You speak of your love of mountains, / Freedom,” “You speak of a new way, / A new life.” On the contrary, she is the one who rapturously listens to him: “When you

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

37

speak like this / I could listen forever.” Secondly, he has the right to become the spokesperson for the Revolution, a topic hinted at in the words “Freedom” and “a new way, / A New Life,” among others. Meanwhile, she is just a body, “breasts and hair” that receive his liberating words as if they were a “soft powder raining.” Thirdly, he has the right to increase his knowledge, since he has books about important issues: “Your books are of the souls of men.” She has none of that; instead, she has “dishes,” a “stove,” and “beans.” Fourthly, he is in the company of his friends, his “carnales,” his “brothers” in The Movement. Even the “hijos” they presumably have had together are referred to as “tus hijos” (your children). Unlike him, the poetic persona is on her own, for even if she is looking after the children, she is understood by no one and has no partner by her side. Finally, the man and the woman occupy different domestic spaces. Thus, he spends his time in “la sala” (the living room), probably talking about politics, Chicano rights, and other “important” topics. Quite the opposite, she is stuck in the kitchen, and her ears are exposed to “the wail” of children and “the clatter of dishes,” that is, to mere noises that imply no challenge for her mind.

speak like this / I could listen forever.” Secondly, he has the right to become the spokesperson for the Revolution, a topic hinted at in the words “Freedom” and “a new way, / A New Life,” among others. Meanwhile, she is just a body, “breasts and hair” that receive his liberating words as if they were a “soft powder raining.” Thirdly, he has the right to increase his knowledge, since he has books about important issues: “Your books are of the souls of men.” She has none of that; instead, she has “dishes,” a “stove,” and “beans.” Fourthly, he is in the company of his friends, his “carnales,” his “brothers” in The Movement. Even the “hijos” they presumably have had together are referred to as “tus hijos” (your children). Unlike him, the poetic persona is on her own, for even if she is looking after the children, she is understood by no one and has no partner by her side. Finally, the man and the woman occupy different domestic spaces. Thus, he spends his time in “la sala” (the living room), probably talking about politics, Chicano rights, and other “important” topics. Quite the opposite, she is stuck in the kitchen, and her ears are exposed to “the wail” of children and “the clatter of dishes,” that is, to mere noises that imply no challenge for her mind.

Just as it had happened in “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera,” here the poetic persona denounces the lack of communication between the male and the female members of The Movement. In Cervantes’s poem, the poetic persona adds another problem: the only kind of contact which is possible between men and women is of a sexual nature: “it seems I can only touch you / With my body. / You lie with me / And my body es la hamaca / That spans the void between us.” Once again, for The Movement the woman seems to be valuable only insofar as she is a body that satisfies the demands that the male members make.

Just as it had happened in “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera,” here the poetic persona denounces the lack of communication between the male and the female members of The Movement. In Cervantes’s poem, the poetic persona adds another problem: the only kind of contact which is possible between men and women is of a sexual nature: “it seems I can only touch you / With my body. / You lie with me / And my body es la hamaca / That spans the void between us.” Once again, for The Movement the woman seems to be valuable only insofar as she is a body that satisfies the demands that the male members make.

Given these facts, it is only logical that the poem should conclude in a pessimistic tone. In particular, it finishes with a couple of stanzas in which the poetic persona warns her male partner about the looming future, that is, the failure of the Chicano Movement to achieve its goals due to its inability to take into account feminist demands:

Given these facts, it is only logical that the poem should conclude in a pessimistic tone. In particular, it finishes with a couple of stanzas in which the poetic persona warns her male partner about the looming future, that is, the failure of the Chicano Movement to achieve its goals due to its inability to take into account feminist demands:

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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37

speak like this / I could listen forever.” Secondly, he has the right to become the spokesperson for the Revolution, a topic hinted at in the words “Freedom” and “a new way, / A New Life,” among others. Meanwhile, she is just a body, “breasts and hair” that receive his liberating words as if they were a “soft powder raining.” Thirdly, he has the right to increase his knowledge, since he has books about important issues: “Your books are of the souls of men.” She has none of that; instead, she has “dishes,” a “stove,” and “beans.” Fourthly, he is in the company of his friends, his “carnales,” his “brothers” in The Movement. Even the “hijos” they presumably have had together are referred to as “tus hijos” (your children). Unlike him, the poetic persona is on her own, for even if she is looking after the children, she is understood by no one and has no partner by her side. Finally, the man and the woman occupy different domestic spaces. Thus, he spends his time in “la sala” (the living room), probably talking about politics, Chicano rights, and other “important” topics. Quite the opposite, she is stuck in the kitchen, and her ears are exposed to “the wail” of children and “the clatter of dishes,” that is, to mere noises that imply no challenge for her mind.

speak like this / I could listen forever.” Secondly, he has the right to become the spokesperson for the Revolution, a topic hinted at in the words “Freedom” and “a new way, / A New Life,” among others. Meanwhile, she is just a body, “breasts and hair” that receive his liberating words as if they were a “soft powder raining.” Thirdly, he has the right to increase his knowledge, since he has books about important issues: “Your books are of the souls of men.” She has none of that; instead, she has “dishes,” a “stove,” and “beans.” Fourthly, he is in the company of his friends, his “carnales,” his “brothers” in The Movement. Even the “hijos” they presumably have had together are referred to as “tus hijos” (your children). Unlike him, the poetic persona is on her own, for even if she is looking after the children, she is understood by no one and has no partner by her side. Finally, the man and the woman occupy different domestic spaces. Thus, he spends his time in “la sala” (the living room), probably talking about politics, Chicano rights, and other “important” topics. Quite the opposite, she is stuck in the kitchen, and her ears are exposed to “the wail” of children and “the clatter of dishes,” that is, to mere noises that imply no challenge for her mind.

Just as it had happened in “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera,” here the poetic persona denounces the lack of communication between the male and the female members of The Movement. In Cervantes’s poem, the poetic persona adds another problem: the only kind of contact which is possible between men and women is of a sexual nature: “it seems I can only touch you / With my body. / You lie with me / And my body es la hamaca / That spans the void between us.” Once again, for The Movement the woman seems to be valuable only insofar as she is a body that satisfies the demands that the male members make.

Just as it had happened in “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera,” here the poetic persona denounces the lack of communication between the male and the female members of The Movement. In Cervantes’s poem, the poetic persona adds another problem: the only kind of contact which is possible between men and women is of a sexual nature: “it seems I can only touch you / With my body. / You lie with me / And my body es la hamaca / That spans the void between us.” Once again, for The Movement the woman seems to be valuable only insofar as she is a body that satisfies the demands that the male members make.

Given these facts, it is only logical that the poem should conclude in a pessimistic tone. In particular, it finishes with a couple of stanzas in which the poetic persona warns her male partner about the looming future, that is, the failure of the Chicano Movement to achieve its goals due to its inability to take into account feminist demands:

Given these facts, it is only logical that the poem should conclude in a pessimistic tone. In particular, it finishes with a couple of stanzas in which the poetic persona warns her male partner about the looming future, that is, the failure of the Chicano Movement to achieve its goals due to its inability to take into account feminist demands:

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

Hermano raza, I am afraid that you will lie with me And awaken too late To find that you have fallen

Hermano raza, I am afraid that you will lie with me And awaken too late To find that you have fallen

And my hands will be left groping For you and your dream In the midst of la revolución

And my hands will be left groping For you and your dream In the midst of la revolución

In other words, the poetic persona is saying that if women are considered by The Movement as mere bodies and sexual partners, every body will lose: men will find they have “fallen,” as the original sinners in Paradise; women will be “left groping,” as if they were blind and could not properly walk; the Revolution, in short, will be but a vacuous word.

In other words, the poetic persona is saying that if women are considered by The Movement as mere bodies and sexual partners, every body will lose: men will find they have “fallen,” as the original sinners in Paradise; women will be “left groping,” as if they were blind and could not properly walk; the Revolution, in short, will be but a vacuous word.

The third poem I wish to analyse is “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`,” by Bernice Zamora (1977). The speaker or poetic persona of Zamora’s poem is a Chicana who addresses her Chicano lover, who is married and has five children. Both of them are “academic Chicanos” who have been educated in coeducational institutions. This would seem to indicate that there is no gender discrimination in their relationship, but, in fact, the poem tells a different story. One of the addressee’s best-loved utterances is quoted on a number of occasions by his Chicano mistress: “It’s the gringo who oppresses you, Babe.” By means of this sentence, he clearly tries to convince her that she has to worry about racial oppression and forget about other forms of discrimination. Besides, the way in which he calls her “Babe” indicates that he adopts a paternalistic attitude towards her which, in its turn, speaks of gender inequality.

The third poem I wish to analyse is “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`,” by Bernice Zamora (1977). The speaker or poetic persona of Zamora’s poem is a Chicana who addresses her Chicano lover, who is married and has five children. Both of them are “academic Chicanos” who have been educated in coeducational institutions. This would seem to indicate that there is no gender discrimination in their relationship, but, in fact, the poem tells a different story. One of the addressee’s best-loved utterances is quoted on a number of occasions by his Chicano mistress: “It’s the gringo who oppresses you, Babe.” By means of this sentence, he clearly tries to convince her that she has to worry about racial oppression and forget about other forms of discrimination. Besides, the way in which he calls her “Babe” indicates that he adopts a paternalistic attitude towards her which, in its turn, speaks of gender inequality.

The text offers a number of markers of that inequality. First, the fact that the Chicano lover is the recipient of a GI Bill and a Ford Fellowship; in other words, he enjoys economic comforts and several privileges. By contrast, his Chicano mistress endures economic hardships. She has worked in “beet fields / as a child” and as “a waitress / eight hours at night to / get through high school”; also, she has been “a / seamstress, typist, and field clerk / to get through college”; finally, “in graduate school” she “held two jobs, seven days / a week.”

The text offers a number of markers of that inequality. First, the fact that the Chicano lover is the recipient of a GI Bill and a Ford Fellowship; in other words, he enjoys economic comforts and several privileges. By contrast, his Chicano mistress endures economic hardships. She has worked in “beet fields / as a child” and as “a waitress / eight hours at night to / get through high school”; also, she has been “a / seamstress, typist, and field clerk / to get through college”; finally, “in graduate school” she “held two jobs, seven days / a week.”

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

Hermano raza, I am afraid that you will lie with me And awaken too late To find that you have fallen

Hermano raza, I am afraid that you will lie with me And awaken too late To find that you have fallen

And my hands will be left groping For you and your dream In the midst of la revolución

And my hands will be left groping For you and your dream In the midst of la revolución

In other words, the poetic persona is saying that if women are considered by The Movement as mere bodies and sexual partners, every body will lose: men will find they have “fallen,” as the original sinners in Paradise; women will be “left groping,” as if they were blind and could not properly walk; the Revolution, in short, will be but a vacuous word.

In other words, the poetic persona is saying that if women are considered by The Movement as mere bodies and sexual partners, every body will lose: men will find they have “fallen,” as the original sinners in Paradise; women will be “left groping,” as if they were blind and could not properly walk; the Revolution, in short, will be but a vacuous word.

The third poem I wish to analyse is “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`,” by Bernice Zamora (1977). The speaker or poetic persona of Zamora’s poem is a Chicana who addresses her Chicano lover, who is married and has five children. Both of them are “academic Chicanos” who have been educated in coeducational institutions. This would seem to indicate that there is no gender discrimination in their relationship, but, in fact, the poem tells a different story. One of the addressee’s best-loved utterances is quoted on a number of occasions by his Chicano mistress: “It’s the gringo who oppresses you, Babe.” By means of this sentence, he clearly tries to convince her that she has to worry about racial oppression and forget about other forms of discrimination. Besides, the way in which he calls her “Babe” indicates that he adopts a paternalistic attitude towards her which, in its turn, speaks of gender inequality.

The third poem I wish to analyse is “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`,” by Bernice Zamora (1977). The speaker or poetic persona of Zamora’s poem is a Chicana who addresses her Chicano lover, who is married and has five children. Both of them are “academic Chicanos” who have been educated in coeducational institutions. This would seem to indicate that there is no gender discrimination in their relationship, but, in fact, the poem tells a different story. One of the addressee’s best-loved utterances is quoted on a number of occasions by his Chicano mistress: “It’s the gringo who oppresses you, Babe.” By means of this sentence, he clearly tries to convince her that she has to worry about racial oppression and forget about other forms of discrimination. Besides, the way in which he calls her “Babe” indicates that he adopts a paternalistic attitude towards her which, in its turn, speaks of gender inequality.

The text offers a number of markers of that inequality. First, the fact that the Chicano lover is the recipient of a GI Bill and a Ford Fellowship; in other words, he enjoys economic comforts and several privileges. By contrast, his Chicano mistress endures economic hardships. She has worked in “beet fields / as a child” and as “a waitress / eight hours at night to / get through high school”; also, she has been “a / seamstress, typist, and field clerk / to get through college”; finally, “in graduate school” she “held two jobs, seven days / a week.”

The text offers a number of markers of that inequality. First, the fact that the Chicano lover is the recipient of a GI Bill and a Ford Fellowship; in other words, he enjoys economic comforts and several privileges. By contrast, his Chicano mistress endures economic hardships. She has worked in “beet fields / as a child” and as “a waitress / eight hours at night to / get through high school”; also, she has been “a / seamstress, typist, and field clerk / to get through college”; finally, “in graduate school” she “held two jobs, seven days / a week.”

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Nevertheless, each day she still keeps asking herself the same distressing question: “Can I feed my children today?” Secondly, the Chicano lover enjoys sentimental stability, since he has a “proper” wife who has borne him five children. The persona has none of that: she is his mistress, and, therefore, unlawful; besides, for that very reason she is bound to be invisible. Finally, he has the right to give her orders (for example: “you’re quick to point out / that I must write / about social reality”), and he presumes to know the truth (for instance, when he categorically says: “The gringo is our oppressor!”). For her part, she accepts his commands. Thus, even though she would rather write about birds and butterflies to escape her real life, she writes about social reality, which is what he asks her to do.

Nevertheless, each day she still keeps asking herself the same distressing question: “Can I feed my children today?” Secondly, the Chicano lover enjoys sentimental stability, since he has a “proper” wife who has borne him five children. The persona has none of that: she is his mistress, and, therefore, unlawful; besides, for that very reason she is bound to be invisible. Finally, he has the right to give her orders (for example: “you’re quick to point out / that I must write / about social reality”), and he presumes to know the truth (for instance, when he categorically says: “The gringo is our oppressor!”). For her part, she accepts his commands. Thus, even though she would rather write about birds and butterflies to escape her real life, she writes about social reality, which is what he asks her to do.

But, despite her apparent acceptance of this gender inequality, the Chicana mistress has realized all her lover’s contradictions, his hypocritical behaviour and discourse, and has decided to put him in his place by means of a very intelligent manoeuvre: after all, she writes a poem about “social reality,” just as her lover urged her to do, but not the reality of racial oppression, but of gender discrimination within The Movement itself. Thus, she exposes his economic privileges; the irony of his making love to her in “alleys” (hidden places), and then boasting of his sacrifices for her: “Then you tell me how you / bear the brunt of the / gringo’s oppression for me, / and how you would go / to prison for me”; the irony, too, of his making so much of the racial issue, and then having “three gabacha guisas” or Anglo “chicks”; finally, the hypocrisy inherent in his warning her against the white women’s movement right after he has asked her to write his thesis: “then you ask me to / write your thesis, / you’re quick to shout, / ´Don’t give that Women’s Lib trip, mujer, / that only divides us, / and we have to work / together for the movimiento / the gabacho is oppressing us!`”

But, despite her apparent acceptance of this gender inequality, the Chicana mistress has realized all her lover’s contradictions, his hypocritical behaviour and discourse, and has decided to put him in his place by means of a very intelligent manoeuvre: after all, she writes a poem about “social reality,” just as her lover urged her to do, but not the reality of racial oppression, but of gender discrimination within The Movement itself. Thus, she exposes his economic privileges; the irony of his making love to her in “alleys” (hidden places), and then boasting of his sacrifices for her: “Then you tell me how you / bear the brunt of the / gringo’s oppression for me, / and how you would go / to prison for me”; the irony, too, of his making so much of the racial issue, and then having “three gabacha guisas” or Anglo “chicks”; finally, the hypocrisy inherent in his warning her against the white women’s movement right after he has asked her to write his thesis: “then you ask me to / write your thesis, / you’re quick to shout, / ´Don’t give that Women’s Lib trip, mujer, / that only divides us, / and we have to work / together for the movimiento / the gabacho is oppressing us!`”

In Zamora’s poem, therefore, once again we encounter a woman who is divided between her loyalty to The Movement and her belief in many of the white women’s demands. As Marta Esther Sánchez says:

In Zamora’s poem, therefore, once again we encounter a woman who is divided between her loyalty to The Movement and her belief in many of the white women’s demands. As Marta Esther Sánchez says:

the woman has to decide whether to engage in a struggle against the gringo, her racial oppressor, or against the Chicano, her sexual oppressor. As he puts it, her choice is between “women’s lib” and the movimiento

the woman has to decide whether to engage in a struggle against the gringo, her racial oppressor, or against the Chicano, her sexual oppressor. As he puts it, her choice is between “women’s lib” and the movimiento

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

39

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Nevertheless, each day she still keeps asking herself the same distressing question: “Can I feed my children today?” Secondly, the Chicano lover enjoys sentimental stability, since he has a “proper” wife who has borne him five children. The persona has none of that: she is his mistress, and, therefore, unlawful; besides, for that very reason she is bound to be invisible. Finally, he has the right to give her orders (for example: “you’re quick to point out / that I must write / about social reality”), and he presumes to know the truth (for instance, when he categorically says: “The gringo is our oppressor!”). For her part, she accepts his commands. Thus, even though she would rather write about birds and butterflies to escape her real life, she writes about social reality, which is what he asks her to do.

Nevertheless, each day she still keeps asking herself the same distressing question: “Can I feed my children today?” Secondly, the Chicano lover enjoys sentimental stability, since he has a “proper” wife who has borne him five children. The persona has none of that: she is his mistress, and, therefore, unlawful; besides, for that very reason she is bound to be invisible. Finally, he has the right to give her orders (for example: “you’re quick to point out / that I must write / about social reality”), and he presumes to know the truth (for instance, when he categorically says: “The gringo is our oppressor!”). For her part, she accepts his commands. Thus, even though she would rather write about birds and butterflies to escape her real life, she writes about social reality, which is what he asks her to do.

But, despite her apparent acceptance of this gender inequality, the Chicana mistress has realized all her lover’s contradictions, his hypocritical behaviour and discourse, and has decided to put him in his place by means of a very intelligent manoeuvre: after all, she writes a poem about “social reality,” just as her lover urged her to do, but not the reality of racial oppression, but of gender discrimination within The Movement itself. Thus, she exposes his economic privileges; the irony of his making love to her in “alleys” (hidden places), and then boasting of his sacrifices for her: “Then you tell me how you / bear the brunt of the / gringo’s oppression for me, / and how you would go / to prison for me”; the irony, too, of his making so much of the racial issue, and then having “three gabacha guisas” or Anglo “chicks”; finally, the hypocrisy inherent in his warning her against the white women’s movement right after he has asked her to write his thesis: “then you ask me to / write your thesis, / you’re quick to shout, / ´Don’t give that Women’s Lib trip, mujer, / that only divides us, / and we have to work / together for the movimiento / the gabacho is oppressing us!`”

But, despite her apparent acceptance of this gender inequality, the Chicana mistress has realized all her lover’s contradictions, his hypocritical behaviour and discourse, and has decided to put him in his place by means of a very intelligent manoeuvre: after all, she writes a poem about “social reality,” just as her lover urged her to do, but not the reality of racial oppression, but of gender discrimination within The Movement itself. Thus, she exposes his economic privileges; the irony of his making love to her in “alleys” (hidden places), and then boasting of his sacrifices for her: “Then you tell me how you / bear the brunt of the / gringo’s oppression for me, / and how you would go / to prison for me”; the irony, too, of his making so much of the racial issue, and then having “three gabacha guisas” or Anglo “chicks”; finally, the hypocrisy inherent in his warning her against the white women’s movement right after he has asked her to write his thesis: “then you ask me to / write your thesis, / you’re quick to shout, / ´Don’t give that Women’s Lib trip, mujer, / that only divides us, / and we have to work / together for the movimiento / the gabacho is oppressing us!`”

In Zamora’s poem, therefore, once again we encounter a woman who is divided between her loyalty to The Movement and her belief in many of the white women’s demands. As Marta Esther Sánchez says:

In Zamora’s poem, therefore, once again we encounter a woman who is divided between her loyalty to The Movement and her belief in many of the white women’s demands. As Marta Esther Sánchez says:

the woman has to decide whether to engage in a struggle against the gringo, her racial oppressor, or against the Chicano, her sexual oppressor. As he puts it, her choice is between “women’s lib” and the movimiento

the woman has to decide whether to engage in a struggle against the gringo, her racial oppressor, or against the Chicano, her sexual oppressor. As he puts it, her choice is between “women’s lib” and the movimiento

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(ll. 60-65). If she chooses the former, she asserts her womanhood but presumably betrays the movement in the eyes of her Chicano addressee. If she chooses the movement, she embraces the Chicano’s racial struggle, but she incurs the liability of sexual inequalities imposed on Chicanas by Chicano men. Zamora’s speaker exposes the contradictions of the Chicano’s simplistic slogan. The real struggle is too complex, she argues, to be reduced to an opposition between herself and the gringo. (Sánchez 1985: 233)

(ll. 60-65). If she chooses the former, she asserts her womanhood but presumably betrays the movement in the eyes of her Chicano addressee. If she chooses the movement, she embraces the Chicano’s racial struggle, but she incurs the liability of sexual inequalities imposed on Chicanas by Chicano men. Zamora’s speaker exposes the contradictions of the Chicano’s simplistic slogan. The real struggle is too complex, she argues, to be reduced to an opposition between herself and the gringo. (Sánchez 1985: 233)

Because the real struggle is much more complex than the lover’s slogan indicates, the poetic persona cannot possibly choose one side and reject the other. She stresses her affiliation with Chicano culture when she remembers her lover that she too was brought up in a “barrio,” which means that throughout her life she has undergone many difficulties and is not easily deluded. For that reason, she is unable to see her lover as her saviour, despite his claim that he bears “the brunt of the gringo’s oppression” for her. Besides, she has learnt that her situation resembles that of other Chicanas who endure gender oppression as well. Thus, contrary to all expectations, rather than feeling jealous for the wife, the poetic persona identifies with her problems, and, by extension, with the troubles of other Chicana women whose voice is likewise annulled. Actually, she does take her lover’s wife for a partner with whom she shares a “common identity” (Sánchez 1985: 234). In fact, both are poets who write about birds and butterflies; both smell the fragrance of perfume on his collar; both are oppressed by him; in short, both are frustrated.

Because the real struggle is much more complex than the lover’s slogan indicates, the poetic persona cannot possibly choose one side and reject the other. She stresses her affiliation with Chicano culture when she remembers her lover that she too was brought up in a “barrio,” which means that throughout her life she has undergone many difficulties and is not easily deluded. For that reason, she is unable to see her lover as her saviour, despite his claim that he bears “the brunt of the gringo’s oppression” for her. Besides, she has learnt that her situation resembles that of other Chicanas who endure gender oppression as well. Thus, contrary to all expectations, rather than feeling jealous for the wife, the poetic persona identifies with her problems, and, by extension, with the troubles of other Chicana women whose voice is likewise annulled. Actually, she does take her lover’s wife for a partner with whom she shares a “common identity” (Sánchez 1985: 234). In fact, both are poets who write about birds and butterflies; both smell the fragrance of perfume on his collar; both are oppressed by him; in short, both are frustrated.

To conclude, we should emphasize the fact that her lover has asked her to denounce the gringo´s oppression, but that she ends up unveiling the Chicano’s oppression as well. Similarly, she presents herself as an apparently submissive Chicana who obeys her lover’s commands, but eventually she shows her strength by exposing the hypocrisy of her lover without forgetting that the gabacho also tries to limit the topics she writes about, and, in a more general sense, the way in which she leads her own life. As the final stanza puts it: “Still, because of the gabacho, / I must write poems about / pájaros, mariposas, and the fragrance / of oppressing perfume I smell somewhere.”

To conclude, we should emphasize the fact that her lover has asked her to denounce the gringo´s oppression, but that she ends up unveiling the Chicano’s oppression as well. Similarly, she presents herself as an apparently submissive Chicana who obeys her lover’s commands, but eventually she shows her strength by exposing the hypocrisy of her lover without forgetting that the gabacho also tries to limit the topics she writes about, and, in a more general sense, the way in which she leads her own life. As the final stanza puts it: “Still, because of the gabacho, / I must write poems about / pájaros, mariposas, and the fragrance / of oppressing perfume I smell somewhere.”

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

(ll. 60-65). If she chooses the former, she asserts her womanhood but presumably betrays the movement in the eyes of her Chicano addressee. If she chooses the movement, she embraces the Chicano’s racial struggle, but she incurs the liability of sexual inequalities imposed on Chicanas by Chicano men. Zamora’s speaker exposes the contradictions of the Chicano’s simplistic slogan. The real struggle is too complex, she argues, to be reduced to an opposition between herself and the gringo. (Sánchez 1985: 233)

(ll. 60-65). If she chooses the former, she asserts her womanhood but presumably betrays the movement in the eyes of her Chicano addressee. If she chooses the movement, she embraces the Chicano’s racial struggle, but she incurs the liability of sexual inequalities imposed on Chicanas by Chicano men. Zamora’s speaker exposes the contradictions of the Chicano’s simplistic slogan. The real struggle is too complex, she argues, to be reduced to an opposition between herself and the gringo. (Sánchez 1985: 233)

Because the real struggle is much more complex than the lover’s slogan indicates, the poetic persona cannot possibly choose one side and reject the other. She stresses her affiliation with Chicano culture when she remembers her lover that she too was brought up in a “barrio,” which means that throughout her life she has undergone many difficulties and is not easily deluded. For that reason, she is unable to see her lover as her saviour, despite his claim that he bears “the brunt of the gringo’s oppression” for her. Besides, she has learnt that her situation resembles that of other Chicanas who endure gender oppression as well. Thus, contrary to all expectations, rather than feeling jealous for the wife, the poetic persona identifies with her problems, and, by extension, with the troubles of other Chicana women whose voice is likewise annulled. Actually, she does take her lover’s wife for a partner with whom she shares a “common identity” (Sánchez 1985: 234). In fact, both are poets who write about birds and butterflies; both smell the fragrance of perfume on his collar; both are oppressed by him; in short, both are frustrated.

Because the real struggle is much more complex than the lover’s slogan indicates, the poetic persona cannot possibly choose one side and reject the other. She stresses her affiliation with Chicano culture when she remembers her lover that she too was brought up in a “barrio,” which means that throughout her life she has undergone many difficulties and is not easily deluded. For that reason, she is unable to see her lover as her saviour, despite his claim that he bears “the brunt of the gringo’s oppression” for her. Besides, she has learnt that her situation resembles that of other Chicanas who endure gender oppression as well. Thus, contrary to all expectations, rather than feeling jealous for the wife, the poetic persona identifies with her problems, and, by extension, with the troubles of other Chicana women whose voice is likewise annulled. Actually, she does take her lover’s wife for a partner with whom she shares a “common identity” (Sánchez 1985: 234). In fact, both are poets who write about birds and butterflies; both smell the fragrance of perfume on his collar; both are oppressed by him; in short, both are frustrated.

To conclude, we should emphasize the fact that her lover has asked her to denounce the gringo´s oppression, but that she ends up unveiling the Chicano’s oppression as well. Similarly, she presents herself as an apparently submissive Chicana who obeys her lover’s commands, but eventually she shows her strength by exposing the hypocrisy of her lover without forgetting that the gabacho also tries to limit the topics she writes about, and, in a more general sense, the way in which she leads her own life. As the final stanza puts it: “Still, because of the gabacho, / I must write poems about / pájaros, mariposas, and the fragrance / of oppressing perfume I smell somewhere.”

To conclude, we should emphasize the fact that her lover has asked her to denounce the gringo´s oppression, but that she ends up unveiling the Chicano’s oppression as well. Similarly, she presents herself as an apparently submissive Chicana who obeys her lover’s commands, but eventually she shows her strength by exposing the hypocrisy of her lover without forgetting that the gabacho also tries to limit the topics she writes about, and, in a more general sense, the way in which she leads her own life. As the final stanza puts it: “Still, because of the gabacho, / I must write poems about / pájaros, mariposas, and the fragrance / of oppressing perfume I smell somewhere.”

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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The last poem I have chosen for this section is “The Brown Women,” by Anita Sarah Duarte (1975). As opposed to Zamora’s poem, which mainly focuses on how Chicanos have discriminated against Chicanas, Duarte’s text puts the emphasis on how white men and women have oppressed Chicanos/as and does not even refer to gender discrimination within the Chicano Movement. Duarte’s is a different option, then: for her, racism clearly comes first.

The last poem I have chosen for this section is “The Brown Women,” by Anita Sarah Duarte (1975). As opposed to Zamora’s poem, which mainly focuses on how Chicanos have discriminated against Chicanas, Duarte’s text puts the emphasis on how white men and women have oppressed Chicanos/as and does not even refer to gender discrimination within the Chicano Movement. Duarte’s is a different option, then: for her, racism clearly comes first.

In my view, Duarte’s text can be divided into three different sections. In the first one, from line 1 to line 10, the speaker, who presents herself as the spokesperson for all women of colour, expresses her agreement with the slogan of the white women’s movement, “sisters unite—unite and / together we / Shall all survive,” since it is only right that women should enjoy equality. However, in the second section (lines 11-78), which is the largest, the ready acceptance of that slogan is carefully qualified, as we will see. In the third and final section (lines 79103), the slogan of the white women’s movement is reiterated, as is the speaker’s belief in its accuracy, but its meaning is no longer the same.

In my view, Duarte’s text can be divided into three different sections. In the first one, from line 1 to line 10, the speaker, who presents herself as the spokesperson for all women of colour, expresses her agreement with the slogan of the white women’s movement, “sisters unite—unite and / together we / Shall all survive,” since it is only right that women should enjoy equality. However, in the second section (lines 11-78), which is the largest, the ready acceptance of that slogan is carefully qualified, as we will see. In the third and final section (lines 79103), the slogan of the white women’s movement is reiterated, as is the speaker’s belief in its accuracy, but its meaning is no longer the same.

In the second section the speaker summarizes the history of discrimination that both Chicanos and Chicanas have endured and refers to all the efforts they have made to overcome oppression, a fight that has brought them little profit, since the liberation of Brown people is yet to be achieved. Thus, she refers to the fact that the Brown fathers have worked very hard, they have “sweated like hell, For that equality to be ours.” “Brown brothers, husbands and / sweethearts” have fought in wars under the promise that they would be given full citizenship, but “the ground […] would never be theirs,” and they were actually sent off to die in wars that only benefited the “white folks,” who had the money to avoid conscription. The Brown mothers, for their part, have suffered in silence for all the injustices perpetrated against their families: “They stood back and cried, silently / they cried.” Finally, the Brown women have been denied the right to go to school, laughed at because they ate different food, made fun of because they spoke differently, discriminated against because they were poor and did not live in proper houses.

In the second section the speaker summarizes the history of discrimination that both Chicanos and Chicanas have endured and refers to all the efforts they have made to overcome oppression, a fight that has brought them little profit, since the liberation of Brown people is yet to be achieved. Thus, she refers to the fact that the Brown fathers have worked very hard, they have “sweated like hell, For that equality to be ours.” “Brown brothers, husbands and / sweethearts” have fought in wars under the promise that they would be given full citizenship, but “the ground […] would never be theirs,” and they were actually sent off to die in wars that only benefited the “white folks,” who had the money to avoid conscription. The Brown mothers, for their part, have suffered in silence for all the injustices perpetrated against their families: “They stood back and cried, silently / they cried.” Finally, the Brown women have been denied the right to go to school, laughed at because they ate different food, made fun of because they spoke differently, discriminated against because they were poor and did not live in proper houses.

The speaker, though, points out a difference between Brown mothers and their daughters, present-day Chicanas. While Brown

The speaker, though, points out a difference between Brown mothers and their daughters, present-day Chicanas. While Brown

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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The last poem I have chosen for this section is “The Brown Women,” by Anita Sarah Duarte (1975). As opposed to Zamora’s poem, which mainly focuses on how Chicanos have discriminated against Chicanas, Duarte’s text puts the emphasis on how white men and women have oppressed Chicanos/as and does not even refer to gender discrimination within the Chicano Movement. Duarte’s is a different option, then: for her, racism clearly comes first.

The last poem I have chosen for this section is “The Brown Women,” by Anita Sarah Duarte (1975). As opposed to Zamora’s poem, which mainly focuses on how Chicanos have discriminated against Chicanas, Duarte’s text puts the emphasis on how white men and women have oppressed Chicanos/as and does not even refer to gender discrimination within the Chicano Movement. Duarte’s is a different option, then: for her, racism clearly comes first.

In my view, Duarte’s text can be divided into three different sections. In the first one, from line 1 to line 10, the speaker, who presents herself as the spokesperson for all women of colour, expresses her agreement with the slogan of the white women’s movement, “sisters unite—unite and / together we / Shall all survive,” since it is only right that women should enjoy equality. However, in the second section (lines 11-78), which is the largest, the ready acceptance of that slogan is carefully qualified, as we will see. In the third and final section (lines 79103), the slogan of the white women’s movement is reiterated, as is the speaker’s belief in its accuracy, but its meaning is no longer the same.

In my view, Duarte’s text can be divided into three different sections. In the first one, from line 1 to line 10, the speaker, who presents herself as the spokesperson for all women of colour, expresses her agreement with the slogan of the white women’s movement, “sisters unite—unite and / together we / Shall all survive,” since it is only right that women should enjoy equality. However, in the second section (lines 11-78), which is the largest, the ready acceptance of that slogan is carefully qualified, as we will see. In the third and final section (lines 79103), the slogan of the white women’s movement is reiterated, as is the speaker’s belief in its accuracy, but its meaning is no longer the same.

In the second section the speaker summarizes the history of discrimination that both Chicanos and Chicanas have endured and refers to all the efforts they have made to overcome oppression, a fight that has brought them little profit, since the liberation of Brown people is yet to be achieved. Thus, she refers to the fact that the Brown fathers have worked very hard, they have “sweated like hell, For that equality to be ours.” “Brown brothers, husbands and / sweethearts” have fought in wars under the promise that they would be given full citizenship, but “the ground […] would never be theirs,” and they were actually sent off to die in wars that only benefited the “white folks,” who had the money to avoid conscription. The Brown mothers, for their part, have suffered in silence for all the injustices perpetrated against their families: “They stood back and cried, silently / they cried.” Finally, the Brown women have been denied the right to go to school, laughed at because they ate different food, made fun of because they spoke differently, discriminated against because they were poor and did not live in proper houses.

In the second section the speaker summarizes the history of discrimination that both Chicanos and Chicanas have endured and refers to all the efforts they have made to overcome oppression, a fight that has brought them little profit, since the liberation of Brown people is yet to be achieved. Thus, she refers to the fact that the Brown fathers have worked very hard, they have “sweated like hell, For that equality to be ours.” “Brown brothers, husbands and / sweethearts” have fought in wars under the promise that they would be given full citizenship, but “the ground […] would never be theirs,” and they were actually sent off to die in wars that only benefited the “white folks,” who had the money to avoid conscription. The Brown mothers, for their part, have suffered in silence for all the injustices perpetrated against their families: “They stood back and cried, silently / they cried.” Finally, the Brown women have been denied the right to go to school, laughed at because they ate different food, made fun of because they spoke differently, discriminated against because they were poor and did not live in proper houses.

The speaker, though, points out a difference between Brown mothers and their daughters, present-day Chicanas. While Brown

The speaker, though, points out a difference between Brown mothers and their daughters, present-day Chicanas. While Brown

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mothers have traditionally shown a conciliatory attitude towards white people and have forgiven their racism (“Poor them [white people], they do those things / Because they really don’t understand”), the Chicana women of today are much more belligerent: by no means are they ready to overlook white women’s oppression:

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mothers have traditionally shown a conciliatory attitude towards white people and have forgiven their racism (“Poor them [white people], they do those things / Because they really don’t understand”), the Chicana women of today are much more belligerent: by no means are they ready to overlook white women’s oppression:

Today the Brown women declare, “No, we are not alike, you the white women Have never felt the pain that we have Endured and suffered. You the white women Have never been discriminated as we have, You the white women have never been denied What we the Brown have known that we Should never seek.

Today the Brown women declare, “No, we are not alike, you the white women Have never felt the pain that we have Endured and suffered. You the white women Have never been discriminated as we have, You the white women have never been denied What we the Brown have known that we Should never seek.

So, when the speaker reaches the concluding section and she once again chants the slogan “Yes, Unite, Sisters, Unite!” the term “sisters” can no longer be understood as it is by white feminists (or, rather, I would like to think, as it was in the 1970s). The speaker has clearly stated that there can be no sisterhood between white women and brown women until racial discrimination has been totally banished from the white women’s movement:

So, when the speaker reaches the concluding section and she once again chants the slogan “Yes, Unite, Sisters, Unite!” the term “sisters” can no longer be understood as it is by white feminists (or, rather, I would like to think, as it was in the 1970s). The speaker has clearly stated that there can be no sisterhood between white women and brown women until racial discrimination has been totally banished from the white women’s movement:

We make no bones about it, Do not, we do not nor shall we ever accept Racism to be a friend to you, To be your sister. It is too much of an expense

We make no bones about it, Do not, we do not nor shall we ever accept Racism to be a friend to you, To be your sister. It is too much of an expense

In the final lines, then, the speaker, encouraged by present-day Chicanas’ determination not to fall to their knees again, concludes with great confidence and enthusiasm, chanting three slogans: “Viva La Brown Woman / Viva La Chicana / Viva Todo (sic) mi Raza.” All in all, the poem can be said to be mainly addressed at white women, and to be a sort of warning in which the speaker transmits young Chicanas’ resolution not to join the white women’s movement unless its principles are radically changed. When in the last line she says “Viva Todo mi Raza,” it becomes definitely clear that she raises no objection

In the final lines, then, the speaker, encouraged by present-day Chicanas’ determination not to fall to their knees again, concludes with great confidence and enthusiasm, chanting three slogans: “Viva La Brown Woman / Viva La Chicana / Viva Todo (sic) mi Raza.” All in all, the poem can be said to be mainly addressed at white women, and to be a sort of warning in which the speaker transmits young Chicanas’ resolution not to join the white women’s movement unless its principles are radically changed. When in the last line she says “Viva Todo mi Raza,” it becomes definitely clear that she raises no objection

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mothers have traditionally shown a conciliatory attitude towards white people and have forgiven their racism (“Poor them [white people], they do those things / Because they really don’t understand”), the Chicana women of today are much more belligerent: by no means are they ready to overlook white women’s oppression: Today the Brown women declare, “No, we are not alike, you the white women Have never felt the pain that we have Endured and suffered. You the white women Have never been discriminated as we have, You the white women have never been denied What we the Brown have known that we Should never seek.

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

mothers have traditionally shown a conciliatory attitude towards white people and have forgiven their racism (“Poor them [white people], they do those things / Because they really don’t understand”), the Chicana women of today are much more belligerent: by no means are they ready to overlook white women’s oppression: Today the Brown women declare, “No, we are not alike, you the white women Have never felt the pain that we have Endured and suffered. You the white women Have never been discriminated as we have, You the white women have never been denied What we the Brown have known that we Should never seek.

So, when the speaker reaches the concluding section and she once again chants the slogan “Yes, Unite, Sisters, Unite!” the term “sisters” can no longer be understood as it is by white feminists (or, rather, I would like to think, as it was in the 1970s). The speaker has clearly stated that there can be no sisterhood between white women and brown women until racial discrimination has been totally banished from the white women’s movement:

So, when the speaker reaches the concluding section and she once again chants the slogan “Yes, Unite, Sisters, Unite!” the term “sisters” can no longer be understood as it is by white feminists (or, rather, I would like to think, as it was in the 1970s). The speaker has clearly stated that there can be no sisterhood between white women and brown women until racial discrimination has been totally banished from the white women’s movement:

We make no bones about it, Do not, we do not nor shall we ever accept Racism to be a friend to you, To be your sister. It is too much of an expense

We make no bones about it, Do not, we do not nor shall we ever accept Racism to be a friend to you, To be your sister. It is too much of an expense

In the final lines, then, the speaker, encouraged by present-day Chicanas’ determination not to fall to their knees again, concludes with great confidence and enthusiasm, chanting three slogans: “Viva La Brown Woman / Viva La Chicana / Viva Todo (sic) mi Raza.” All in all, the poem can be said to be mainly addressed at white women, and to be a sort of warning in which the speaker transmits young Chicanas’ resolution not to join the white women’s movement unless its principles are radically changed. When in the last line she says “Viva Todo mi Raza,” it becomes definitely clear that she raises no objection

In the final lines, then, the speaker, encouraged by present-day Chicanas’ determination not to fall to their knees again, concludes with great confidence and enthusiasm, chanting three slogans: “Viva La Brown Woman / Viva La Chicana / Viva Todo (sic) mi Raza.” All in all, the poem can be said to be mainly addressed at white women, and to be a sort of warning in which the speaker transmits young Chicanas’ resolution not to join the white women’s movement unless its principles are radically changed. When in the last line she says “Viva Todo mi Raza,” it becomes definitely clear that she raises no objection

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to the sexist attitudes of the Chicano Movement; she is only concerned with the racist principles of the white women’s movement. In this, she fully agrees with Velia García’s opinion that “there is no qualitative difference between the social experience of the Chicana and the Chicano” (1977: 1), whereas that is not the case of white women and white men:

to the sexist attitudes of the Chicano Movement; she is only concerned with the racist principles of the white women’s movement. In this, she fully agrees with Velia García’s opinion that “there is no qualitative difference between the social experience of the Chicana and the Chicano” (1977: 1), whereas that is not the case of white women and white men:

In American society, white men have a distinct advantage and have used that advantage to limit the shape and lives of women with the same apparent lack of conscience with which they oppress racial minorities. It makes sense for white women to struggle against the controlling influence of white men just as it makes sense for Chicanos and Chicanas to struggle together against the forces of racism and economic exploitation that deny them the basic human right to self-determination. (García 1977: 1)

In American society, white men have a distinct advantage and have used that advantage to limit the shape and lives of women with the same apparent lack of conscience with which they oppress racial minorities. It makes sense for white women to struggle against the controlling influence of white men just as it makes sense for Chicanos and Chicanas to struggle together against the forces of racism and economic exploitation that deny them the basic human right to self-determination. (García 1977: 1)

3. BEYOND MOVEMENT CHICANA FEMINIST WRITERS

3. BEYOND MOVEMENT CHICANA FEMINIST WRITERS

By way of recollection, we could say that during the years of the Chicano Movement Chicana feminists maintained a problematic connection with both the Chicano community and the white women’s movement. After developing their consciousness and awakening to this conflict that split them into two, they began to write texts that, generally speaking, followed the formal features of Chicano Movement literature. Thus, in these early years the genres of poetry and theatre were preferred to others such as the short story or the novel. In the case of poetry, Movement texts were characterized for their emphasis on the topic of the Revolution, as far as their content was concerned, and, formally speaking, for the use of a simple and repetitive discourse that was full of slogans (for example, “Viva la Raza!”), words such as “carnales,” “raza,” “liberación,” among others, and imperatives that told the audience how they should behave and what they should do. The general purpose of these texts was to serve as a didactic medium for spreading the news of the Chicano Movement.

By way of recollection, we could say that during the years of the Chicano Movement Chicana feminists maintained a problematic connection with both the Chicano community and the white women’s movement. After developing their consciousness and awakening to this conflict that split them into two, they began to write texts that, generally speaking, followed the formal features of Chicano Movement literature. Thus, in these early years the genres of poetry and theatre were preferred to others such as the short story or the novel. In the case of poetry, Movement texts were characterized for their emphasis on the topic of the Revolution, as far as their content was concerned, and, formally speaking, for the use of a simple and repetitive discourse that was full of slogans (for example, “Viva la Raza!”), words such as “carnales,” “raza,” “liberación,” among others, and imperatives that told the audience how they should behave and what they should do. The general purpose of these texts was to serve as a didactic medium for spreading the news of the Chicano Movement.

Within this formal and thematic frame, Chicana feminist writers

Within this formal and thematic frame, Chicana feminist writers

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to the sexist attitudes of the Chicano Movement; she is only concerned with the racist principles of the white women’s movement. In this, she fully agrees with Velia García’s opinion that “there is no qualitative difference between the social experience of the Chicana and the Chicano” (1977: 1), whereas that is not the case of white women and white men:

to the sexist attitudes of the Chicano Movement; she is only concerned with the racist principles of the white women’s movement. In this, she fully agrees with Velia García’s opinion that “there is no qualitative difference between the social experience of the Chicana and the Chicano” (1977: 1), whereas that is not the case of white women and white men:

In American society, white men have a distinct advantage and have used that advantage to limit the shape and lives of women with the same apparent lack of conscience with which they oppress racial minorities. It makes sense for white women to struggle against the controlling influence of white men just as it makes sense for Chicanos and Chicanas to struggle together against the forces of racism and economic exploitation that deny them the basic human right to self-determination. (García 1977: 1)

In American society, white men have a distinct advantage and have used that advantage to limit the shape and lives of women with the same apparent lack of conscience with which they oppress racial minorities. It makes sense for white women to struggle against the controlling influence of white men just as it makes sense for Chicanos and Chicanas to struggle together against the forces of racism and economic exploitation that deny them the basic human right to self-determination. (García 1977: 1)

3. BEYOND MOVEMENT CHICANA FEMINIST WRITERS

3. BEYOND MOVEMENT CHICANA FEMINIST WRITERS

By way of recollection, we could say that during the years of the Chicano Movement Chicana feminists maintained a problematic connection with both the Chicano community and the white women’s movement. After developing their consciousness and awakening to this conflict that split them into two, they began to write texts that, generally speaking, followed the formal features of Chicano Movement literature. Thus, in these early years the genres of poetry and theatre were preferred to others such as the short story or the novel. In the case of poetry, Movement texts were characterized for their emphasis on the topic of the Revolution, as far as their content was concerned, and, formally speaking, for the use of a simple and repetitive discourse that was full of slogans (for example, “Viva la Raza!”), words such as “carnales,” “raza,” “liberación,” among others, and imperatives that told the audience how they should behave and what they should do. The general purpose of these texts was to serve as a didactic medium for spreading the news of the Chicano Movement.

By way of recollection, we could say that during the years of the Chicano Movement Chicana feminists maintained a problematic connection with both the Chicano community and the white women’s movement. After developing their consciousness and awakening to this conflict that split them into two, they began to write texts that, generally speaking, followed the formal features of Chicano Movement literature. Thus, in these early years the genres of poetry and theatre were preferred to others such as the short story or the novel. In the case of poetry, Movement texts were characterized for their emphasis on the topic of the Revolution, as far as their content was concerned, and, formally speaking, for the use of a simple and repetitive discourse that was full of slogans (for example, “Viva la Raza!”), words such as “carnales,” “raza,” “liberación,” among others, and imperatives that told the audience how they should behave and what they should do. The general purpose of these texts was to serve as a didactic medium for spreading the news of the Chicano Movement.

Within this formal and thematic frame, Chicana feminist writers

Within this formal and thematic frame, Chicana feminist writers

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chose to inscribe their own dilemma, that of their divided loyalties between Chicanismo and the white women’s movement. Some writers focused on the sexism and the machismo within The Movement. Among these we may mention Lorna Dee Cervantes’s “Para Un Revolucionario” (1975) and Bernice Zamora’s “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`” (1977). Both of them acknowledge the existence of racism in society at large, but they are of the opinion that if their male counterparts in The Movement do not accept women as equals, Chicanismo will completely fail in achieving its goals, and the Revolution will come to nothing. Actually, their poems are rather pessimistic as regards the possibilities of transforming The Movement into a fully egalitarian project and both portray a picture where failure is foreseen.

chose to inscribe their own dilemma, that of their divided loyalties between Chicanismo and the white women’s movement. Some writers focused on the sexism and the machismo within The Movement. Among these we may mention Lorna Dee Cervantes’s “Para Un Revolucionario” (1975) and Bernice Zamora’s “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`” (1977). Both of them acknowledge the existence of racism in society at large, but they are of the opinion that if their male counterparts in The Movement do not accept women as equals, Chicanismo will completely fail in achieving its goals, and the Revolution will come to nothing. Actually, their poems are rather pessimistic as regards the possibilities of transforming The Movement into a fully egalitarian project and both portray a picture where failure is foreseen.

Other texts of a slightly earlier period are more optimistic as to the evolution of Chicanismo into an egalitarian utopia. Thus, Ana Montes in “La Nueva Chicana” (1971) and Anna NietoGomez in “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera” (1971) record the birth of a “new Chicana” who manages to combine part of her Chicano cultural background with some of the rights the white women’s movements were also defending at that time. They argue for an integration of these new Chicanas into The Movement, and seem confident enough that such integration is not only necessary and desirable, but perfectly attainable.

Other texts of a slightly earlier period are more optimistic as to the evolution of Chicanismo into an egalitarian utopia. Thus, Ana Montes in “La Nueva Chicana” (1971) and Anna NietoGomez in “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera” (1971) record the birth of a “new Chicana” who manages to combine part of her Chicano cultural background with some of the rights the white women’s movements were also defending at that time. They argue for an integration of these new Chicanas into The Movement, and seem confident enough that such integration is not only necessary and desirable, but perfectly attainable.

So far, all the writers we have referred to insist on the need to transform Chicanismo. But we have also seen the case of Leticia Hernández, who in her poem “Mujer” (1971) seemed to invite Chicanas to disentangle themselves from The Movement and to worry about their own liberation, thus forgetting the plight of their male counterparts, who have contributed to their victimization. On the contrary, in “The Brown Women” (1975), Anita Sarah Duarte argued for exactly the opposite way-out—that of cutting all ties with the white women’s movement unless it renounces its racism, and closely adhering to the Chicano Movement, which is never found fault with.

So far, all the writers we have referred to insist on the need to transform Chicanismo. But we have also seen the case of Leticia Hernández, who in her poem “Mujer” (1971) seemed to invite Chicanas to disentangle themselves from The Movement and to worry about their own liberation, thus forgetting the plight of their male counterparts, who have contributed to their victimization. On the contrary, in “The Brown Women” (1975), Anita Sarah Duarte argued for exactly the opposite way-out—that of cutting all ties with the white women’s movement unless it renounces its racism, and closely adhering to the Chicano Movement, which is never found fault with.

After the mid-1970s, in the so-called “Post-Movement Years,” Chicana feminists have kept working on the Chicana identity and their efforts have given rise to “a new consciousness.” The idea of the “Revolution” has been largely abandoned, even though this has not

After the mid-1970s, in the so-called “Post-Movement Years,” Chicana feminists have kept working on the Chicana identity and their efforts have given rise to “a new consciousness.” The idea of the “Revolution” has been largely abandoned, even though this has not

44

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chose to inscribe their own dilemma, that of their divided loyalties between Chicanismo and the white women’s movement. Some writers focused on the sexism and the machismo within The Movement. Among these we may mention Lorna Dee Cervantes’s “Para Un Revolucionario” (1975) and Bernice Zamora’s “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`” (1977). Both of them acknowledge the existence of racism in society at large, but they are of the opinion that if their male counterparts in The Movement do not accept women as equals, Chicanismo will completely fail in achieving its goals, and the Revolution will come to nothing. Actually, their poems are rather pessimistic as regards the possibilities of transforming The Movement into a fully egalitarian project and both portray a picture where failure is foreseen.

chose to inscribe their own dilemma, that of their divided loyalties between Chicanismo and the white women’s movement. Some writers focused on the sexism and the machismo within The Movement. Among these we may mention Lorna Dee Cervantes’s “Para Un Revolucionario” (1975) and Bernice Zamora’s “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`” (1977). Both of them acknowledge the existence of racism in society at large, but they are of the opinion that if their male counterparts in The Movement do not accept women as equals, Chicanismo will completely fail in achieving its goals, and the Revolution will come to nothing. Actually, their poems are rather pessimistic as regards the possibilities of transforming The Movement into a fully egalitarian project and both portray a picture where failure is foreseen.

Other texts of a slightly earlier period are more optimistic as to the evolution of Chicanismo into an egalitarian utopia. Thus, Ana Montes in “La Nueva Chicana” (1971) and Anna NietoGomez in “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera” (1971) record the birth of a “new Chicana” who manages to combine part of her Chicano cultural background with some of the rights the white women’s movements were also defending at that time. They argue for an integration of these new Chicanas into The Movement, and seem confident enough that such integration is not only necessary and desirable, but perfectly attainable.

Other texts of a slightly earlier period are more optimistic as to the evolution of Chicanismo into an egalitarian utopia. Thus, Ana Montes in “La Nueva Chicana” (1971) and Anna NietoGomez in “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera” (1971) record the birth of a “new Chicana” who manages to combine part of her Chicano cultural background with some of the rights the white women’s movements were also defending at that time. They argue for an integration of these new Chicanas into The Movement, and seem confident enough that such integration is not only necessary and desirable, but perfectly attainable.

So far, all the writers we have referred to insist on the need to transform Chicanismo. But we have also seen the case of Leticia Hernández, who in her poem “Mujer” (1971) seemed to invite Chicanas to disentangle themselves from The Movement and to worry about their own liberation, thus forgetting the plight of their male counterparts, who have contributed to their victimization. On the contrary, in “The Brown Women” (1975), Anita Sarah Duarte argued for exactly the opposite way-out—that of cutting all ties with the white women’s movement unless it renounces its racism, and closely adhering to the Chicano Movement, which is never found fault with.

So far, all the writers we have referred to insist on the need to transform Chicanismo. But we have also seen the case of Leticia Hernández, who in her poem “Mujer” (1971) seemed to invite Chicanas to disentangle themselves from The Movement and to worry about their own liberation, thus forgetting the plight of their male counterparts, who have contributed to their victimization. On the contrary, in “The Brown Women” (1975), Anita Sarah Duarte argued for exactly the opposite way-out—that of cutting all ties with the white women’s movement unless it renounces its racism, and closely adhering to the Chicano Movement, which is never found fault with.

After the mid-1970s, in the so-called “Post-Movement Years,” Chicana feminists have kept working on the Chicana identity and their efforts have given rise to “a new consciousness.” The idea of the “Revolution” has been largely abandoned, even though this has not

After the mid-1970s, in the so-called “Post-Movement Years,” Chicana feminists have kept working on the Chicana identity and their efforts have given rise to “a new consciousness.” The idea of the “Revolution” has been largely abandoned, even though this has not

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necessarily implied giving up the struggle for equality. Yet, the similarities they have seen between their case and the situation of other women of colour, and the consideration of differences among Chicana feminists themselves, has resulted in a thorough questioning of the Chicana identity. Just as Chicano Literature has explored other literary genres and abandoned the combative discourse of the Chicano Movement years for a more subtle one, Chicana feminist writers have began to enter new territories. They have also tackled the problem of their divided loyalties, but they have done so in ways which are not as conspicuous as those of their predecessors in The Movement years.

necessarily implied giving up the struggle for equality. Yet, the similarities they have seen between their case and the situation of other women of colour, and the consideration of differences among Chicana feminists themselves, has resulted in a thorough questioning of the Chicana identity. Just as Chicano Literature has explored other literary genres and abandoned the combative discourse of the Chicano Movement years for a more subtle one, Chicana feminist writers have began to enter new territories. They have also tackled the problem of their divided loyalties, but they have done so in ways which are not as conspicuous as those of their predecessors in The Movement years.

In particular, they revisit historical figures, such as Doña Marina, as in Lucha Corpi’s “Marina Mother” (1980), and Amerindian myths, as in Naomi Quiñonez’s “La Diosa in Every Woman” (1996). The goal of these revisionist projects is to draw inspiration from strong Mexican and Chicana figures so as to offer present-day Chicanas empowering models that may help them overcome their long history of victimization. Cherríe Moraga, in “En busca de la fuerza femenina” (1991), is also engaged in using the technique of revisionist mythmaking for achieving similar goals. Furthermore, like other Chicana feminist writers, Moraga is intent on redefining both the Chicana and the Chicano identity. She makes the issue of machismo and sexism within the Chicano community a major problem that should be urgently tackled. Eventually, her aim is to offer definitions of Chicanismo that are compatible with homosexuality and with a number of moral values that have not been traditionally associated with Chicano culture. Gloria Anzaldúa, as can be seen in “La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness” (1990), among other texts, is likewise interested in the issues of homosexuality and the Chicana identity. Like Moraga’s, her treatment of the latter is much more complex than the approaches made by Movement Chicana writers, since for Post-Movement writers the Chicana identity implies a number of concentric circles of discrimination that their predecessors had not been fully aware of or had lacked the courage to face. However, unlike Moraga, Anzaldúa moves a step forward in that she does not “stoop” to giving priority to either racism or sexism as the evil to eradicate first; instead, she is embarked on a larger project—that of creating a brand new culture, a hybrid culture, in which all binary opposites are transcended. Her prestige among Latina feminists (and

In particular, they revisit historical figures, such as Doña Marina, as in Lucha Corpi’s “Marina Mother” (1980), and Amerindian myths, as in Naomi Quiñonez’s “La Diosa in Every Woman” (1996). The goal of these revisionist projects is to draw inspiration from strong Mexican and Chicana figures so as to offer present-day Chicanas empowering models that may help them overcome their long history of victimization. Cherríe Moraga, in “En busca de la fuerza femenina” (1991), is also engaged in using the technique of revisionist mythmaking for achieving similar goals. Furthermore, like other Chicana feminist writers, Moraga is intent on redefining both the Chicana and the Chicano identity. She makes the issue of machismo and sexism within the Chicano community a major problem that should be urgently tackled. Eventually, her aim is to offer definitions of Chicanismo that are compatible with homosexuality and with a number of moral values that have not been traditionally associated with Chicano culture. Gloria Anzaldúa, as can be seen in “La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness” (1990), among other texts, is likewise interested in the issues of homosexuality and the Chicana identity. Like Moraga’s, her treatment of the latter is much more complex than the approaches made by Movement Chicana writers, since for Post-Movement writers the Chicana identity implies a number of concentric circles of discrimination that their predecessors had not been fully aware of or had lacked the courage to face. However, unlike Moraga, Anzaldúa moves a step forward in that she does not “stoop” to giving priority to either racism or sexism as the evil to eradicate first; instead, she is embarked on a larger project—that of creating a brand new culture, a hybrid culture, in which all binary opposites are transcended. Her prestige among Latina feminists (and

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necessarily implied giving up the struggle for equality. Yet, the similarities they have seen between their case and the situation of other women of colour, and the consideration of differences among Chicana feminists themselves, has resulted in a thorough questioning of the Chicana identity. Just as Chicano Literature has explored other literary genres and abandoned the combative discourse of the Chicano Movement years for a more subtle one, Chicana feminist writers have began to enter new territories. They have also tackled the problem of their divided loyalties, but they have done so in ways which are not as conspicuous as those of their predecessors in The Movement years.

necessarily implied giving up the struggle for equality. Yet, the similarities they have seen between their case and the situation of other women of colour, and the consideration of differences among Chicana feminists themselves, has resulted in a thorough questioning of the Chicana identity. Just as Chicano Literature has explored other literary genres and abandoned the combative discourse of the Chicano Movement years for a more subtle one, Chicana feminist writers have began to enter new territories. They have also tackled the problem of their divided loyalties, but they have done so in ways which are not as conspicuous as those of their predecessors in The Movement years.

In particular, they revisit historical figures, such as Doña Marina, as in Lucha Corpi’s “Marina Mother” (1980), and Amerindian myths, as in Naomi Quiñonez’s “La Diosa in Every Woman” (1996). The goal of these revisionist projects is to draw inspiration from strong Mexican and Chicana figures so as to offer present-day Chicanas empowering models that may help them overcome their long history of victimization. Cherríe Moraga, in “En busca de la fuerza femenina” (1991), is also engaged in using the technique of revisionist mythmaking for achieving similar goals. Furthermore, like other Chicana feminist writers, Moraga is intent on redefining both the Chicana and the Chicano identity. She makes the issue of machismo and sexism within the Chicano community a major problem that should be urgently tackled. Eventually, her aim is to offer definitions of Chicanismo that are compatible with homosexuality and with a number of moral values that have not been traditionally associated with Chicano culture. Gloria Anzaldúa, as can be seen in “La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness” (1990), among other texts, is likewise interested in the issues of homosexuality and the Chicana identity. Like Moraga’s, her treatment of the latter is much more complex than the approaches made by Movement Chicana writers, since for Post-Movement writers the Chicana identity implies a number of concentric circles of discrimination that their predecessors had not been fully aware of or had lacked the courage to face. However, unlike Moraga, Anzaldúa moves a step forward in that she does not “stoop” to giving priority to either racism or sexism as the evil to eradicate first; instead, she is embarked on a larger project—that of creating a brand new culture, a hybrid culture, in which all binary opposites are transcended. Her prestige among Latina feminists (and

In particular, they revisit historical figures, such as Doña Marina, as in Lucha Corpi’s “Marina Mother” (1980), and Amerindian myths, as in Naomi Quiñonez’s “La Diosa in Every Woman” (1996). The goal of these revisionist projects is to draw inspiration from strong Mexican and Chicana figures so as to offer present-day Chicanas empowering models that may help them overcome their long history of victimization. Cherríe Moraga, in “En busca de la fuerza femenina” (1991), is also engaged in using the technique of revisionist mythmaking for achieving similar goals. Furthermore, like other Chicana feminist writers, Moraga is intent on redefining both the Chicana and the Chicano identity. She makes the issue of machismo and sexism within the Chicano community a major problem that should be urgently tackled. Eventually, her aim is to offer definitions of Chicanismo that are compatible with homosexuality and with a number of moral values that have not been traditionally associated with Chicano culture. Gloria Anzaldúa, as can be seen in “La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness” (1990), among other texts, is likewise interested in the issues of homosexuality and the Chicana identity. Like Moraga’s, her treatment of the latter is much more complex than the approaches made by Movement Chicana writers, since for Post-Movement writers the Chicana identity implies a number of concentric circles of discrimination that their predecessors had not been fully aware of or had lacked the courage to face. However, unlike Moraga, Anzaldúa moves a step forward in that she does not “stoop” to giving priority to either racism or sexism as the evil to eradicate first; instead, she is embarked on a larger project—that of creating a brand new culture, a hybrid culture, in which all binary opposites are transcended. Her prestige among Latina feminists (and

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first-world feminists!) will certainly influence the theorizing on the issue of the Chicana identity in the twenty-first century.

first-world feminists!) will certainly influence the theorizing on the issue of the Chicana identity in the twenty-first century.

While theorists keep working on the new Chicana consciousness at the philosophical level, a number of literary characters who move within the realistic frame, and whose model can be argued to be closer to “real” present-day Chicanas, go on searching for their own places in society. For them, this quest still implies a confrontation with both their Chicano community and the values generally associated with white feminism. An example of this can be seen in Sandra Cisneros’s “Mericans.” This short story’s main character, Michaela/Michel, is still at a loss as to whether she should find her place inside the Church, which metaphorically represents a traditional Chicana identity, or in the plaza, the outside world presided over either by her brothers, who impersonate machismo, or by an American lady who stands for a subtle, but nevertheless vicious, form of racism.

While theorists keep working on the new Chicana consciousness at the philosophical level, a number of literary characters who move within the realistic frame, and whose model can be argued to be closer to “real” present-day Chicanas, go on searching for their own places in society. For them, this quest still implies a confrontation with both their Chicano community and the values generally associated with white feminism. An example of this can be seen in Sandra Cisneros’s “Mericans.” This short story’s main character, Michaela/Michel, is still at a loss as to whether she should find her place inside the Church, which metaphorically represents a traditional Chicana identity, or in the plaza, the outside world presided over either by her brothers, who impersonate machismo, or by an American lady who stands for a subtle, but nevertheless vicious, form of racism.

Ideally, in the years to come the Chicano community would develop a more egalitarian culture, while white feminism would keep rooting out its racist and class biases. While these utopian goals are achieved, Chicana feminist writers will keep offering their personal amalgamations of the Chicano culture and white feminism, and their journey in search of a better world will continue giving vitality to their texts, just as it has happened since the 1960s.

Ideally, in the years to come the Chicano community would develop a more egalitarian culture, while white feminism would keep rooting out its racist and class biases. While these utopian goals are achieved, Chicana feminist writers will keep offering their personal amalgamations of the Chicano culture and white feminism, and their journey in search of a better world will continue giving vitality to their texts, just as it has happened since the 1960s.

WORKS CITED

WORKS CITED

Anzaldúa, G. 1990. “La Conciencia de La Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness” in G. Anzaldúa ed. Making Face, Making Soul: Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Foundation Book. 377-389 Ashcroft, B., G. Griffiths & H. Tiffin eds. 1995. The Post-colonial Studies Reader. Londres: Routledge Castillo, A.R. del 1974. “Malintzín Tenepal: A Preliminary Look into a New Perspective.” Encuentro Femenil. 1.2: 58-77 Cervantes, L. D. 1975. “Para un Revolucionario.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 74-75

Anzaldúa, G. 1990. “La Conciencia de La Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness” in G. Anzaldúa ed. Making Face, Making Soul: Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Foundation Book. 377-389 Ashcroft, B., G. Griffiths & H. Tiffin eds. 1995. The Post-colonial Studies Reader. Londres: Routledge Castillo, A.R. del 1974. “Malintzín Tenepal: A Preliminary Look into a New Perspective.” Encuentro Femenil. 1.2: 58-77 Cervantes, L. D. 1975. “Para un Revolucionario.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 74-75

46

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

first-world feminists!) will certainly influence the theorizing on the issue of the Chicana identity in the twenty-first century.

first-world feminists!) will certainly influence the theorizing on the issue of the Chicana identity in the twenty-first century.

While theorists keep working on the new Chicana consciousness at the philosophical level, a number of literary characters who move within the realistic frame, and whose model can be argued to be closer to “real” present-day Chicanas, go on searching for their own places in society. For them, this quest still implies a confrontation with both their Chicano community and the values generally associated with white feminism. An example of this can be seen in Sandra Cisneros’s “Mericans.” This short story’s main character, Michaela/Michel, is still at a loss as to whether she should find her place inside the Church, which metaphorically represents a traditional Chicana identity, or in the plaza, the outside world presided over either by her brothers, who impersonate machismo, or by an American lady who stands for a subtle, but nevertheless vicious, form of racism.

While theorists keep working on the new Chicana consciousness at the philosophical level, a number of literary characters who move within the realistic frame, and whose model can be argued to be closer to “real” present-day Chicanas, go on searching for their own places in society. For them, this quest still implies a confrontation with both their Chicano community and the values generally associated with white feminism. An example of this can be seen in Sandra Cisneros’s “Mericans.” This short story’s main character, Michaela/Michel, is still at a loss as to whether she should find her place inside the Church, which metaphorically represents a traditional Chicana identity, or in the plaza, the outside world presided over either by her brothers, who impersonate machismo, or by an American lady who stands for a subtle, but nevertheless vicious, form of racism.

Ideally, in the years to come the Chicano community would develop a more egalitarian culture, while white feminism would keep rooting out its racist and class biases. While these utopian goals are achieved, Chicana feminist writers will keep offering their personal amalgamations of the Chicano culture and white feminism, and their journey in search of a better world will continue giving vitality to their texts, just as it has happened since the 1960s.

Ideally, in the years to come the Chicano community would develop a more egalitarian culture, while white feminism would keep rooting out its racist and class biases. While these utopian goals are achieved, Chicana feminist writers will keep offering their personal amalgamations of the Chicano culture and white feminism, and their journey in search of a better world will continue giving vitality to their texts, just as it has happened since the 1960s.

WORKS CITED

WORKS CITED

Anzaldúa, G. 1990. “La Conciencia de La Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness” in G. Anzaldúa ed. Making Face, Making Soul: Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Foundation Book. 377-389 Ashcroft, B., G. Griffiths & H. Tiffin eds. 1995. The Post-colonial Studies Reader. Londres: Routledge Castillo, A.R. del 1974. “Malintzín Tenepal: A Preliminary Look into a New Perspective.” Encuentro Femenil. 1.2: 58-77 Cervantes, L. D. 1975. “Para un Revolucionario.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 74-75

Anzaldúa, G. 1990. “La Conciencia de La Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness” in G. Anzaldúa ed. Making Face, Making Soul: Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Foundation Book. 377-389 Ashcroft, B., G. Griffiths & H. Tiffin eds. 1995. The Post-colonial Studies Reader. Londres: Routledge Castillo, A.R. del 1974. “Malintzín Tenepal: A Preliminary Look into a New Perspective.” Encuentro Femenil. 1.2: 58-77 Cervantes, L. D. 1975. “Para un Revolucionario.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 74-75

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Cisneros, S. 1991. “Mericans.” in Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. New York: Vintage. 17-20 Corpi, L. 1980. (2001) “Marina Mother.” in Palabras de Mediodía / Noon Words. Translated by Catherine Rodríguez-Nieto. Houston, Texas: Arte Público Press. 1980: 118 Duarte, A.S. 1975. “The Brown Women.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 194-196 García, A.M. ed. 1997. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge García, V. 1977 “La Chicana, Chicano Movement and Women’s Liberation.” Chicano Studies Newsletter. Berkeley: University of California-Berkeley. February and March 1977: 1-6 Gonzáles, R. 1967. “Yo soy Joaquín.” Available at: http://www.judybaca.com/dia/text/joaquin.html Hernández, L. 1971. “Mujer.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 109 Montes, A. 1971. “La Nueva Chicana.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 19 Moraga, C. 1991. “En busca de la fuerza femenina.” in L. Corpi ed. Máscaras. Series in Chicana / Latina Studies. Berkeley: Third Woman Press, 1997: 179-187 Nieto Gómez, A. 1971 “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 73 Quiñónez, N. 1987. “La Diosa in Every Woman.” in M. Herrera-Sobek & H.M. Viramontes eds. Chicana Creativity and Criticism. New Frontiers in American Literature. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996: 104-107 Rincón, B. 1975. “Chicanas on the Move.” Regeneración. 2.4: 52 Sánchez, M.E. 1985. Contemporary Chicana Poetry. A Critical Approach to an Emerging Literature. Berkeley: University of California Press Zamora, B. 1977 “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`.” Caracol. 3: 19

Cisneros, S. 1991. “Mericans.” in Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. New York: Vintage. 17-20 Corpi, L. 1980. (2001) “Marina Mother.” in Palabras de Mediodía / Noon Words. Translated by Catherine Rodríguez-Nieto. Houston, Texas: Arte Público Press. 1980: 118 Duarte, A.S. 1975. “The Brown Women.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 194-196 García, A.M. ed. 1997. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge García, V. 1977 “La Chicana, Chicano Movement and Women’s Liberation.” Chicano Studies Newsletter. Berkeley: University of California-Berkeley. February and March 1977: 1-6 Gonzáles, R. 1967. “Yo soy Joaquín.” Available at: http://www.judybaca.com/dia/text/joaquin.html Hernández, L. 1971. “Mujer.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 109 Montes, A. 1971. “La Nueva Chicana.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 19 Moraga, C. 1991. “En busca de la fuerza femenina.” in L. Corpi ed. Máscaras. Series in Chicana / Latina Studies. Berkeley: Third Woman Press, 1997: 179-187 Nieto Gómez, A. 1971 “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 73 Quiñónez, N. 1987. “La Diosa in Every Woman.” in M. Herrera-Sobek & H.M. Viramontes eds. Chicana Creativity and Criticism. New Frontiers in American Literature. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996: 104-107 Rincón, B. 1975. “Chicanas on the Move.” Regeneración. 2.4: 52 Sánchez, M.E. 1985. Contemporary Chicana Poetry. A Critical Approach to an Emerging Literature. Berkeley: University of California Press Zamora, B. 1977 “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`.” Caracol. 3: 19

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

Carolina Fernández Rodríguez Between Guerras and Carnales: Chicana Feminist Writers and ...

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Cisneros, S. 1991. “Mericans.” in Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. New York: Vintage. 17-20 Corpi, L. 1980. (2001) “Marina Mother.” in Palabras de Mediodía / Noon Words. Translated by Catherine Rodríguez-Nieto. Houston, Texas: Arte Público Press. 1980: 118 Duarte, A.S. 1975. “The Brown Women.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 194-196 García, A.M. ed. 1997. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge García, V. 1977 “La Chicana, Chicano Movement and Women’s Liberation.” Chicano Studies Newsletter. Berkeley: University of California-Berkeley. February and March 1977: 1-6 Gonzáles, R. 1967. “Yo soy Joaquín.” Available at: http://www.judybaca.com/dia/text/joaquin.html Hernández, L. 1971. “Mujer.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 109 Montes, A. 1971. “La Nueva Chicana.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 19 Moraga, C. 1991. “En busca de la fuerza femenina.” in L. Corpi ed. Máscaras. Series in Chicana / Latina Studies. Berkeley: Third Woman Press, 1997: 179-187 Nieto Gómez, A. 1971 “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 73 Quiñónez, N. 1987. “La Diosa in Every Woman.” in M. Herrera-Sobek & H.M. Viramontes eds. Chicana Creativity and Criticism. New Frontiers in American Literature. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996: 104-107 Rincón, B. 1975. “Chicanas on the Move.” Regeneración. 2.4: 52 Sánchez, M.E. 1985. Contemporary Chicana Poetry. A Critical Approach to an Emerging Literature. Berkeley: University of California Press Zamora, B. 1977 “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`.” Caracol. 3: 19

47

Cisneros, S. 1991. “Mericans.” in Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. New York: Vintage. 17-20 Corpi, L. 1980. (2001) “Marina Mother.” in Palabras de Mediodía / Noon Words. Translated by Catherine Rodríguez-Nieto. Houston, Texas: Arte Público Press. 1980: 118 Duarte, A.S. 1975. “The Brown Women.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 194-196 García, A.M. ed. 1997. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge García, V. 1977 “La Chicana, Chicano Movement and Women’s Liberation.” Chicano Studies Newsletter. Berkeley: University of California-Berkeley. February and March 1977: 1-6 Gonzáles, R. 1967. “Yo soy Joaquín.” Available at: http://www.judybaca.com/dia/text/joaquin.html Hernández, L. 1971. “Mujer.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 109 Montes, A. 1971. “La Nueva Chicana.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 19 Moraga, C. 1991. “En busca de la fuerza femenina.” in L. Corpi ed. Máscaras. Series in Chicana / Latina Studies. Berkeley: Third Woman Press, 1997: 179-187 Nieto Gómez, A. 1971 “Empieza la Revolución Verdadera.” in A.M. García ed. Chicana Feminist Thought. The Basic Historical Writings. New York and London: Routledge, 1997: 73 Quiñónez, N. 1987. “La Diosa in Every Woman.” in M. Herrera-Sobek & H.M. Viramontes eds. Chicana Creativity and Criticism. New Frontiers in American Literature. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996: 104-107 Rincón, B. 1975. “Chicanas on the Move.” Regeneración. 2.4: 52 Sánchez, M.E. 1985. Contemporary Chicana Poetry. A Critical Approach to an Emerging Literature. Berkeley: University of California Press Zamora, B. 1977 “Notes from a Chicana ´COED`.” Caracol. 3: 19

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

49

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

49

BRITISH TRADITION AND THE QUEST FOR CANADIAN IDENTITY IN ALICE MUNRO’S NARRATIVES* Mª Teresa González Mínguez mariateresa65@hotmail.com

BRITISH TRADITION AND THE QUEST FOR CANADIAN IDENTITY IN ALICE MUNRO’S NARRATIVES* Mª Teresa González Mínguez mariateresa65@hotmail.com

This article demonstrates how Alice Munro uses Lives of Girls and Women (1971), Hateship, Friendship, Courting, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) to highlight the importance of “Britishness” among the people of Anglo-Saxon origin in Canada and how it influences the other ethnic groups in this country in the quest for a real Canadian identity. Life in towns, British history and traditions, the English language, and its literature are the main factors which export the concept of Canada throughout the world as an unseparable part of the British Empire.

This article demonstrates how Alice Munro uses Lives of Girls and Women (1971), Hateship, Friendship, Courting, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) to highlight the importance of “Britishness” among the people of Anglo-Saxon origin in Canada and how it influences the other ethnic groups in this country in the quest for a real Canadian identity. Life in towns, British history and traditions, the English language, and its literature are the main factors which export the concept of Canada throughout the world as an unseparable part of the British Empire.

Key words: Britishness, small towns, English literature, the Scots, Ontario, the English language, ethnic minorites.

Key words: Britishness, small towns, English literature, the Scots, Ontario, the English language, ethnic minorites.

Este artículo demuestra como Alice Munro utiliza Lives of Girls and Women (1971), Hateship, Friendship, Courting, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) para enfatizar la importancia de la “britaneidad” entre la población de origen anglosajón en Canadá y como influye a los otros grupos étnicos de este país en la búsqueda de una auténtica identidad canadiense. La vida en pequeñas ciudades, la historia de Gran Bretaña y sus tradiciones, la lengua inglesa y su literatura son los principales factores que exportan el concepto de Canadá en el mundo como parte inseparable del imperio británico.

Este artículo demuestra como Alice Munro utiliza Lives of Girls and Women (1971), Hateship, Friendship, Courting, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) para enfatizar la importancia de la “britaneidad” entre la población de origen anglosajón en Canadá y como influye a los otros grupos étnicos de este país en la búsqueda de una auténtica identidad canadiense. La vida en pequeñas ciudades, la historia de Gran Bretaña y sus tradiciones, la lengua inglesa y su literatura son los principales factores que exportan el concepto de Canadá en el mundo como parte inseparable del imperio británico.

Palabras clave: Britaneidad, ciudades pequeñas, literatura inglesa, los escoceses, Ontario, la lengua inglesa, minorías étnicas.

Palabras clave: Britaneidad, ciudades pequeñas, literatura inglesa, los escoceses, Ontario, la lengua inglesa, minorías étnicas.

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

49

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

49

BRITISH TRADITION AND THE QUEST FOR CANADIAN IDENTITY IN ALICE MUNRO’S NARRATIVES* Mª Teresa González Mínguez mariateresa65@hotmail.com

BRITISH TRADITION AND THE QUEST FOR CANADIAN IDENTITY IN ALICE MUNRO’S NARRATIVES* Mª Teresa González Mínguez mariateresa65@hotmail.com

This article demonstrates how Alice Munro uses Lives of Girls and Women (1971), Hateship, Friendship, Courting, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) to highlight the importance of “Britishness” among the people of Anglo-Saxon origin in Canada and how it influences the other ethnic groups in this country in the quest for a real Canadian identity. Life in towns, British history and traditions, the English language, and its literature are the main factors which export the concept of Canada throughout the world as an unseparable part of the British Empire.

This article demonstrates how Alice Munro uses Lives of Girls and Women (1971), Hateship, Friendship, Courting, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) to highlight the importance of “Britishness” among the people of Anglo-Saxon origin in Canada and how it influences the other ethnic groups in this country in the quest for a real Canadian identity. Life in towns, British history and traditions, the English language, and its literature are the main factors which export the concept of Canada throughout the world as an unseparable part of the British Empire.

Key words: Britishness, small towns, English literature, the Scots, Ontario, the English language, ethnic minorites.

Key words: Britishness, small towns, English literature, the Scots, Ontario, the English language, ethnic minorites.

Este artículo demuestra como Alice Munro utiliza Lives of Girls and Women (1971), Hateship, Friendship, Courting, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) para enfatizar la importancia de la “britaneidad” entre la población de origen anglosajón en Canadá y como influye a los otros grupos étnicos de este país en la búsqueda de una auténtica identidad canadiense. La vida en pequeñas ciudades, la historia de Gran Bretaña y sus tradiciones, la lengua inglesa y su literatura son los principales factores que exportan el concepto de Canadá en el mundo como parte inseparable del imperio británico.

Este artículo demuestra como Alice Munro utiliza Lives of Girls and Women (1971), Hateship, Friendship, Courting, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) para enfatizar la importancia de la “britaneidad” entre la población de origen anglosajón en Canadá y como influye a los otros grupos étnicos de este país en la búsqueda de una auténtica identidad canadiense. La vida en pequeñas ciudades, la historia de Gran Bretaña y sus tradiciones, la lengua inglesa y su literatura son los principales factores que exportan el concepto de Canadá en el mundo como parte inseparable del imperio británico.

Palabras clave: Britaneidad, ciudades pequeñas, literatura inglesa, los escoceses, Ontario, la lengua inglesa, minorías étnicas.

Palabras clave: Britaneidad, ciudades pequeñas, literatura inglesa, los escoceses, Ontario, la lengua inglesa, minorías étnicas.

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

Since 1988 Canada is by law a multicultural country. However, we cannot deny the fact that Canada, as a nation, has been modelled on the code of Britishness. “They are the only ones nobody calls foreigners” (17), says the young protagonist of John Marlyn’s Under the Ribs of Death (1993) when he refers to the Britons. No doubt, their workings have shaped the perceptions of the rest of the nationalities co-existing in this wide territory. This is due in part to the fact that a British background has always been considered as more advanced in the scale of modernity and, also because Britishness –as a form of government, as a kind of civilization– has demonstrated that people can create “an orderly society … which provide[s] its members with freedom of conscience and access to economic opportunity regardless of differences of caste and creed” (Coleman 19). Nevertheless, it has been generally assumed that the standards of British Canadians should be assimilated by the non-British: Scottish, Welsh, and, later, Irish immigrants identified with “a certain arrogant superiority and exclusiveness, perhaps characteristic of the English race” (Woodsworth 240). In addition, a hierarchy of racial types organized in descending order from most to least assimilable was unconsciously established.

Since 1988 Canada is by law a multicultural country. However, we cannot deny the fact that Canada, as a nation, has been modelled on the code of Britishness. “They are the only ones nobody calls foreigners” (17), says the young protagonist of John Marlyn’s Under the Ribs of Death (1993) when he refers to the Britons. No doubt, their workings have shaped the perceptions of the rest of the nationalities co-existing in this wide territory. This is due in part to the fact that a British background has always been considered as more advanced in the scale of modernity and, also because Britishness –as a form of government, as a kind of civilization– has demonstrated that people can create “an orderly society … which provide[s] its members with freedom of conscience and access to economic opportunity regardless of differences of caste and creed” (Coleman 19). Nevertheless, it has been generally assumed that the standards of British Canadians should be assimilated by the non-British: Scottish, Welsh, and, later, Irish immigrants identified with “a certain arrogant superiority and exclusiveness, perhaps characteristic of the English race” (Woodsworth 240). In addition, a hierarchy of racial types organized in descending order from most to least assimilable was unconsciously established.

Teresa Gibert notes that the construction of a collective past is a central concept of postmodernism in Canada, where many writers involve readers in a process of remembering history through fiction with narratives (92). As a postmodernist writer, Alice Munro rejects a unified national identity giving an outstanding role to the British heritage in her works. In her first novel Lives of Girls and Women (1971) and in two of her collections of short stories Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) Munro highlights the Britons’ sense of self-improvement and enterprise as central principles of Canadian middle-class concepts. Parallel to this, she tries to show a purified and refined kind of Britishness, superior to the British Isles original.

Teresa Gibert notes that the construction of a collective past is a central concept of postmodernism in Canada, where many writers involve readers in a process of remembering history through fiction with narratives (92). As a postmodernist writer, Alice Munro rejects a unified national identity giving an outstanding role to the British heritage in her works. In her first novel Lives of Girls and Women (1971) and in two of her collections of short stories Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) Munro highlights the Britons’ sense of self-improvement and enterprise as central principles of Canadian middle-class concepts. Parallel to this, she tries to show a purified and refined kind of Britishness, superior to the British Isles original.

The aim of this article is to demonstrate how Alice Munro uses the works mentioned above to emphasize the importance of “Britishness” among the people of Anglo-Saxon stock and how it influences the other nationalities in the country in the quest for a real Canadian identity. Life in small towns, the history of Britain, the English language, the origins of the settlers, their customs and

The aim of this article is to demonstrate how Alice Munro uses the works mentioned above to emphasize the importance of “Britishness” among the people of Anglo-Saxon stock and how it influences the other nationalities in the country in the quest for a real Canadian identity. Life in small towns, the history of Britain, the English language, the origins of the settlers, their customs and

50

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

Since 1988 Canada is by law a multicultural country. However, we cannot deny the fact that Canada, as a nation, has been modelled on the code of Britishness. “They are the only ones nobody calls foreigners” (17), says the young protagonist of John Marlyn’s Under the Ribs of Death (1993) when he refers to the Britons. No doubt, their workings have shaped the perceptions of the rest of the nationalities co-existing in this wide territory. This is due in part to the fact that a British background has always been considered as more advanced in the scale of modernity and, also because Britishness –as a form of government, as a kind of civilization– has demonstrated that people can create “an orderly society … which provide[s] its members with freedom of conscience and access to economic opportunity regardless of differences of caste and creed” (Coleman 19). Nevertheless, it has been generally assumed that the standards of British Canadians should be assimilated by the non-British: Scottish, Welsh, and, later, Irish immigrants identified with “a certain arrogant superiority and exclusiveness, perhaps characteristic of the English race” (Woodsworth 240). In addition, a hierarchy of racial types organized in descending order from most to least assimilable was unconsciously established.

Since 1988 Canada is by law a multicultural country. However, we cannot deny the fact that Canada, as a nation, has been modelled on the code of Britishness. “They are the only ones nobody calls foreigners” (17), says the young protagonist of John Marlyn’s Under the Ribs of Death (1993) when he refers to the Britons. No doubt, their workings have shaped the perceptions of the rest of the nationalities co-existing in this wide territory. This is due in part to the fact that a British background has always been considered as more advanced in the scale of modernity and, also because Britishness –as a form of government, as a kind of civilization– has demonstrated that people can create “an orderly society … which provide[s] its members with freedom of conscience and access to economic opportunity regardless of differences of caste and creed” (Coleman 19). Nevertheless, it has been generally assumed that the standards of British Canadians should be assimilated by the non-British: Scottish, Welsh, and, later, Irish immigrants identified with “a certain arrogant superiority and exclusiveness, perhaps characteristic of the English race” (Woodsworth 240). In addition, a hierarchy of racial types organized in descending order from most to least assimilable was unconsciously established.

Teresa Gibert notes that the construction of a collective past is a central concept of postmodernism in Canada, where many writers involve readers in a process of remembering history through fiction with narratives (92). As a postmodernist writer, Alice Munro rejects a unified national identity giving an outstanding role to the British heritage in her works. In her first novel Lives of Girls and Women (1971) and in two of her collections of short stories Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) Munro highlights the Britons’ sense of self-improvement and enterprise as central principles of Canadian middle-class concepts. Parallel to this, she tries to show a purified and refined kind of Britishness, superior to the British Isles original.

Teresa Gibert notes that the construction of a collective past is a central concept of postmodernism in Canada, where many writers involve readers in a process of remembering history through fiction with narratives (92). As a postmodernist writer, Alice Munro rejects a unified national identity giving an outstanding role to the British heritage in her works. In her first novel Lives of Girls and Women (1971) and in two of her collections of short stories Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) and Runaway (2004) Munro highlights the Britons’ sense of self-improvement and enterprise as central principles of Canadian middle-class concepts. Parallel to this, she tries to show a purified and refined kind of Britishness, superior to the British Isles original.

The aim of this article is to demonstrate how Alice Munro uses the works mentioned above to emphasize the importance of “Britishness” among the people of Anglo-Saxon stock and how it influences the other nationalities in the country in the quest for a real Canadian identity. Life in small towns, the history of Britain, the English language, the origins of the settlers, their customs and

The aim of this article is to demonstrate how Alice Munro uses the works mentioned above to emphasize the importance of “Britishness” among the people of Anglo-Saxon stock and how it influences the other nationalities in the country in the quest for a real Canadian identity. Life in small towns, the history of Britain, the English language, the origins of the settlers, their customs and

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

51

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

51

traditions, and the books they read are the most remarkable factors which export the idea of Canada throughout the world as an indivisible part of the British empire.

traditions, and the books they read are the most remarkable factors which export the idea of Canada throughout the world as an indivisible part of the British empire.

Most of the first settlers who built Ontario’s small towns came from Ireland and the rural Highlands of Scotland. The old Scottish values were the source of the new Canadian citizens’ virtues. Scots in Canada have been perfectly able to adapt their rural traditions to contemporary problems and have made the standards of such small towns like Windsor, London, Hamilton, Kitchener, Kingston or Cornwall become models for the rest of the country.1 This way, in “Hateship” (Hateship) it is said that towns in Saskatchewan were not like in Eastern Canada with their beautiful Victorian mansions and old graveyards but “mostly pretty and rudimentary affairs” (5). In a similar way to the little places in Scotland and Ireland, Canadian small towns embrace farms which represent the ownership of the land, tranquillity, family, stability, and old money like the McQuaigs’ estate in “Post and Beam” (Hateship). Contrary to this, cities mean a mix of wealth, noise, violence, corruption, crowding, multicultural proximities, and the loss of old values. In “Trespasses” (Runaway) Toronto is defined as a “crappy town” where a young girl would not deserve to grow up (28). Ontario’s capital city has a shocking effect on Uncle Benny, one of the warmest characters of LGW. When he drives there to bring little Diana back to his small community in Western Ontario, he gets hopelessly lost on its streets. For him, the city landscape is a sinister wasteland full of fast cars and terrifying industrial buildings. Small towns symbolize beauty. Beauty and usefulness are synonymous concepts in the New World as far as they were in primitive farm communities in Britain where profits were extracted from the land and cattle. It does not matter how horrendous the Flats End looks like in LGW as Mr Jordan considers it most appropriate since it is useful for his fur business.

Most of the first settlers who built Ontario’s small towns came from Ireland and the rural Highlands of Scotland. The old Scottish values were the source of the new Canadian citizens’ virtues. Scots in Canada have been perfectly able to adapt their rural traditions to contemporary problems and have made the standards of such small towns like Windsor, London, Hamilton, Kitchener, Kingston or Cornwall become models for the rest of the country.1 This way, in “Hateship” (Hateship) it is said that towns in Saskatchewan were not like in Eastern Canada with their beautiful Victorian mansions and old graveyards but “mostly pretty and rudimentary affairs” (5). In a similar way to the little places in Scotland and Ireland, Canadian small towns embrace farms which represent the ownership of the land, tranquillity, family, stability, and old money like the McQuaigs’ estate in “Post and Beam” (Hateship). Contrary to this, cities mean a mix of wealth, noise, violence, corruption, crowding, multicultural proximities, and the loss of old values. In “Trespasses” (Runaway) Toronto is defined as a “crappy town” where a young girl would not deserve to grow up (28). Ontario’s capital city has a shocking effect on Uncle Benny, one of the warmest characters of LGW. When he drives there to bring little Diana back to his small community in Western Ontario, he gets hopelessly lost on its streets. For him, the city landscape is a sinister wasteland full of fast cars and terrifying industrial buildings. Small towns symbolize beauty. Beauty and usefulness are synonymous concepts in the New World as far as they were in primitive farm communities in Britain where profits were extracted from the land and cattle. It does not matter how horrendous the Flats End looks like in LGW as Mr Jordan considers it most appropriate since it is useful for his fur business.

Unfortunately, this idyllic microcosm is not perfect at all. As William New indicates, the portraits of Canadian towns “focus on hypocrisy as much as community” (157). From the point of view of a person lacking certain economic advantages and feeling like an outcast, Munro stresses duplicity as one of the most celebrated elements of these rural community values. One the one hand she lets us see the vision of those garden alternatives as prototypes of hope and possibility

Unfortunately, this idyllic microcosm is not perfect at all. As William New indicates, the portraits of Canadian towns “focus on hypocrisy as much as community” (157). From the point of view of a person lacking certain economic advantages and feeling like an outcast, Munro stresses duplicity as one of the most celebrated elements of these rural community values. One the one hand she lets us see the vision of those garden alternatives as prototypes of hope and possibility

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

51

51

traditions, and the books they read are the most remarkable factors which export the idea of Canada throughout the world as an indivisible part of the British empire.

traditions, and the books they read are the most remarkable factors which export the idea of Canada throughout the world as an indivisible part of the British empire.

Most of the first settlers who built Ontario’s small towns came from Ireland and the rural Highlands of Scotland. The old Scottish values were the source of the new Canadian citizens’ virtues. Scots in Canada have been perfectly able to adapt their rural traditions to contemporary problems and have made the standards of such small towns like Windsor, London, Hamilton, Kitchener, Kingston or Cornwall become models for the rest of the country.1 This way, in “Hateship” (Hateship) it is said that towns in Saskatchewan were not like in Eastern Canada with their beautiful Victorian mansions and old graveyards but “mostly pretty and rudimentary affairs” (5). In a similar way to the little places in Scotland and Ireland, Canadian small towns embrace farms which represent the ownership of the land, tranquillity, family, stability, and old money like the McQuaigs’ estate in “Post and Beam” (Hateship). Contrary to this, cities mean a mix of wealth, noise, violence, corruption, crowding, multicultural proximities, and the loss of old values. In “Trespasses” (Runaway) Toronto is defined as a “crappy town” where a young girl would not deserve to grow up (28). Ontario’s capital city has a shocking effect on Uncle Benny, one of the warmest characters of LGW. When he drives there to bring little Diana back to his small community in Western Ontario, he gets hopelessly lost on its streets. For him, the city landscape is a sinister wasteland full of fast cars and terrifying industrial buildings. Small towns symbolize beauty. Beauty and usefulness are synonymous concepts in the New World as far as they were in primitive farm communities in Britain where profits were extracted from the land and cattle. It does not matter how horrendous the Flats End looks like in LGW as Mr Jordan considers it most appropriate since it is useful for his fur business.

Most of the first settlers who built Ontario’s small towns came from Ireland and the rural Highlands of Scotland. The old Scottish values were the source of the new Canadian citizens’ virtues. Scots in Canada have been perfectly able to adapt their rural traditions to contemporary problems and have made the standards of such small towns like Windsor, London, Hamilton, Kitchener, Kingston or Cornwall become models for the rest of the country.1 This way, in “Hateship” (Hateship) it is said that towns in Saskatchewan were not like in Eastern Canada with their beautiful Victorian mansions and old graveyards but “mostly pretty and rudimentary affairs” (5). In a similar way to the little places in Scotland and Ireland, Canadian small towns embrace farms which represent the ownership of the land, tranquillity, family, stability, and old money like the McQuaigs’ estate in “Post and Beam” (Hateship). Contrary to this, cities mean a mix of wealth, noise, violence, corruption, crowding, multicultural proximities, and the loss of old values. In “Trespasses” (Runaway) Toronto is defined as a “crappy town” where a young girl would not deserve to grow up (28). Ontario’s capital city has a shocking effect on Uncle Benny, one of the warmest characters of LGW. When he drives there to bring little Diana back to his small community in Western Ontario, he gets hopelessly lost on its streets. For him, the city landscape is a sinister wasteland full of fast cars and terrifying industrial buildings. Small towns symbolize beauty. Beauty and usefulness are synonymous concepts in the New World as far as they were in primitive farm communities in Britain where profits were extracted from the land and cattle. It does not matter how horrendous the Flats End looks like in LGW as Mr Jordan considers it most appropriate since it is useful for his fur business.

Unfortunately, this idyllic microcosm is not perfect at all. As William New indicates, the portraits of Canadian towns “focus on hypocrisy as much as community” (157). From the point of view of a person lacking certain economic advantages and feeling like an outcast, Munro stresses duplicity as one of the most celebrated elements of these rural community values. One the one hand she lets us see the vision of those garden alternatives as prototypes of hope and possibility

Unfortunately, this idyllic microcosm is not perfect at all. As William New indicates, the portraits of Canadian towns “focus on hypocrisy as much as community” (157). From the point of view of a person lacking certain economic advantages and feeling like an outcast, Munro stresses duplicity as one of the most celebrated elements of these rural community values. One the one hand she lets us see the vision of those garden alternatives as prototypes of hope and possibility

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as opposed to big cities whose size and economic advantage seem to be the only working criteria of definition. On the other, we can perceive small town people’s falsity, gossiping and pretentiousness. In LGW Mrs Jordan would not talk to Mitch Plim’s wife because she had been a former prostitute. In the same novel Sandy Stevenson’s fat wife was considered almost an alien as she came “from down east, out of the country altogether” (9). In “Hateship” (Hateship) the owner of “Milady”, the clothes shop, cannot understand why people go to the city, drive hundred miles and tell themselves that that way they will get something better than she sells there (13).2 Munro’s attempts to establish a relation between rural Ontario and the great cities in the metropolis make the reader be more aware of the significance of this regional world. Small towns are the reminder of Britain in North America. Looking down from the bridge, Jubilee seems to Del a “pattern of streets named after battles and ladies and monarchs and pioneers” (LGW 248). By accentuating the role of those numerous and indistinguishable small towns or putting, as Walter Martin indicates, “rural Ontario on the map” (192), she wants to obliterate the fact that Canada can often be associated with provincialism and inferiority.3

as opposed to big cities whose size and economic advantage seem to be the only working criteria of definition. On the other, we can perceive small town people’s falsity, gossiping and pretentiousness. In LGW Mrs Jordan would not talk to Mitch Plim’s wife because she had been a former prostitute. In the same novel Sandy Stevenson’s fat wife was considered almost an alien as she came “from down east, out of the country altogether” (9). In “Hateship” (Hateship) the owner of “Milady”, the clothes shop, cannot understand why people go to the city, drive hundred miles and tell themselves that that way they will get something better than she sells there (13).2 Munro’s attempts to establish a relation between rural Ontario and the great cities in the metropolis make the reader be more aware of the significance of this regional world. Small towns are the reminder of Britain in North America. Looking down from the bridge, Jubilee seems to Del a “pattern of streets named after battles and ladies and monarchs and pioneers” (LGW 248). By accentuating the role of those numerous and indistinguishable small towns or putting, as Walter Martin indicates, “rural Ontario on the map” (192), she wants to obliterate the fact that Canada can often be associated with provincialism and inferiority.3

Ailsa Cox points out that Alice Munro “appears to be less conscious of a broader Canadian identity than pioneering inheritance” (6). In fact, Munro wrote to me in a letter: “I write about Scots and Irish Canadians because this is what I am, that is the small-town farm country I am part of ”.4 The people of Scottish-Irish stock are the most salient ethnic group in Canada and Ontario seems to operate as another region of Scotland for her. She even speaks about the time she spent in British Columbia as a kind of exile. Munro describes two Scotlands in Canada: the aristocratic and tragic country sketched as “all bloodshed, drowning, hacking off heads, agony of horses” (LGW 66), and the practical Calvinistic nation which venerates her neighbours’ and her own family’s capacity for improvement singling out the Scots as the inventers and promoters of the concept of Britishness forged in middleclass principles.5 Del’s ancestors in LGW come from Scottish-Irish stock and she documents the life of her hometown taking her British past as an unavoidable reference.6 The young girl is the inheritor of an ancient family tree and her uncle Craig is, according to Coral Ann Howells, “the custodian of tradition”, “the patriarchal figure” (39) who links the Canadian Jordans to the European ones as if the latter were supporting

Ailsa Cox points out that Alice Munro “appears to be less conscious of a broader Canadian identity than pioneering inheritance” (6). In fact, Munro wrote to me in a letter: “I write about Scots and Irish Canadians because this is what I am, that is the small-town farm country I am part of ”.4 The people of Scottish-Irish stock are the most salient ethnic group in Canada and Ontario seems to operate as another region of Scotland for her. She even speaks about the time she spent in British Columbia as a kind of exile. Munro describes two Scotlands in Canada: the aristocratic and tragic country sketched as “all bloodshed, drowning, hacking off heads, agony of horses” (LGW 66), and the practical Calvinistic nation which venerates her neighbours’ and her own family’s capacity for improvement singling out the Scots as the inventers and promoters of the concept of Britishness forged in middleclass principles.5 Del’s ancestors in LGW come from Scottish-Irish stock and she documents the life of her hometown taking her British past as an unavoidable reference.6 The young girl is the inheritor of an ancient family tree and her uncle Craig is, according to Coral Ann Howells, “the custodian of tradition”, “the patriarchal figure” (39) who links the Canadian Jordans to the European ones as if the latter were supporting

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

as opposed to big cities whose size and economic advantage seem to be the only working criteria of definition. On the other, we can perceive small town people’s falsity, gossiping and pretentiousness. In LGW Mrs Jordan would not talk to Mitch Plim’s wife because she had been a former prostitute. In the same novel Sandy Stevenson’s fat wife was considered almost an alien as she came “from down east, out of the country altogether” (9). In “Hateship” (Hateship) the owner of “Milady”, the clothes shop, cannot understand why people go to the city, drive hundred miles and tell themselves that that way they will get something better than she sells there (13).2 Munro’s attempts to establish a relation between rural Ontario and the great cities in the metropolis make the reader be more aware of the significance of this regional world. Small towns are the reminder of Britain in North America. Looking down from the bridge, Jubilee seems to Del a “pattern of streets named after battles and ladies and monarchs and pioneers” (LGW 248). By accentuating the role of those numerous and indistinguishable small towns or putting, as Walter Martin indicates, “rural Ontario on the map” (192), she wants to obliterate the fact that Canada can often be associated with provincialism and inferiority.3

as opposed to big cities whose size and economic advantage seem to be the only working criteria of definition. On the other, we can perceive small town people’s falsity, gossiping and pretentiousness. In LGW Mrs Jordan would not talk to Mitch Plim’s wife because she had been a former prostitute. In the same novel Sandy Stevenson’s fat wife was considered almost an alien as she came “from down east, out of the country altogether” (9). In “Hateship” (Hateship) the owner of “Milady”, the clothes shop, cannot understand why people go to the city, drive hundred miles and tell themselves that that way they will get something better than she sells there (13).2 Munro’s attempts to establish a relation between rural Ontario and the great cities in the metropolis make the reader be more aware of the significance of this regional world. Small towns are the reminder of Britain in North America. Looking down from the bridge, Jubilee seems to Del a “pattern of streets named after battles and ladies and monarchs and pioneers” (LGW 248). By accentuating the role of those numerous and indistinguishable small towns or putting, as Walter Martin indicates, “rural Ontario on the map” (192), she wants to obliterate the fact that Canada can often be associated with provincialism and inferiority.3

Ailsa Cox points out that Alice Munro “appears to be less conscious of a broader Canadian identity than pioneering inheritance” (6). In fact, Munro wrote to me in a letter: “I write about Scots and Irish Canadians because this is what I am, that is the small-town farm country I am part of ”.4 The people of Scottish-Irish stock are the most salient ethnic group in Canada and Ontario seems to operate as another region of Scotland for her. She even speaks about the time she spent in British Columbia as a kind of exile. Munro describes two Scotlands in Canada: the aristocratic and tragic country sketched as “all bloodshed, drowning, hacking off heads, agony of horses” (LGW 66), and the practical Calvinistic nation which venerates her neighbours’ and her own family’s capacity for improvement singling out the Scots as the inventers and promoters of the concept of Britishness forged in middleclass principles.5 Del’s ancestors in LGW come from Scottish-Irish stock and she documents the life of her hometown taking her British past as an unavoidable reference.6 The young girl is the inheritor of an ancient family tree and her uncle Craig is, according to Coral Ann Howells, “the custodian of tradition”, “the patriarchal figure” (39) who links the Canadian Jordans to the European ones as if the latter were supporting

Ailsa Cox points out that Alice Munro “appears to be less conscious of a broader Canadian identity than pioneering inheritance” (6). In fact, Munro wrote to me in a letter: “I write about Scots and Irish Canadians because this is what I am, that is the small-town farm country I am part of ”.4 The people of Scottish-Irish stock are the most salient ethnic group in Canada and Ontario seems to operate as another region of Scotland for her. She even speaks about the time she spent in British Columbia as a kind of exile. Munro describes two Scotlands in Canada: the aristocratic and tragic country sketched as “all bloodshed, drowning, hacking off heads, agony of horses” (LGW 66), and the practical Calvinistic nation which venerates her neighbours’ and her own family’s capacity for improvement singling out the Scots as the inventers and promoters of the concept of Britishness forged in middleclass principles.5 Del’s ancestors in LGW come from Scottish-Irish stock and she documents the life of her hometown taking her British past as an unavoidable reference.6 The young girl is the inheritor of an ancient family tree and her uncle Craig is, according to Coral Ann Howells, “the custodian of tradition”, “the patriarchal figure” (39) who links the Canadian Jordans to the European ones as if the latter were supporting

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

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Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

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them from the past. Munro’s motherland is protective, affectionate and even possesses healing powers: Lauren’s colds are significantly relieved when she drinks the hot toddies that her father prepares for her in “Trespasses” (Runaway). Undoubtedly, the Scottish-Irish Canadians have settled their majority status by means of strengthening a British identity which has not eliminated ancient loyalties such as their respect to a prestigious colonial heritage and the strong preservation of their intra-group relations and old world connections in order to mark their own boundaries and obtain benefits like promotion or upward social mobility—thanks to his Commonwealth links, Lewis, a New Zealander in “Comfort” (Hateship), finds a good job in a town by Lake Huron.

them from the past. Munro’s motherland is protective, affectionate and even possesses healing powers: Lauren’s colds are significantly relieved when she drinks the hot toddies that her father prepares for her in “Trespasses” (Runaway). Undoubtedly, the Scottish-Irish Canadians have settled their majority status by means of strengthening a British identity which has not eliminated ancient loyalties such as their respect to a prestigious colonial heritage and the strong preservation of their intra-group relations and old world connections in order to mark their own boundaries and obtain benefits like promotion or upward social mobility—thanks to his Commonwealth links, Lewis, a New Zealander in “Comfort” (Hateship), finds a good job in a town by Lake Huron.

Canada has fully participated in the creation of the British empire. Hundreds of British Canadians regard the imperial saga as part of their national heritage—at the beginning of the nineteenth century “the excitement of the New Imperialism was almost as intense in Toronto as it was in London” (Heble 393). Munro exhibits many of the Scottish Canadians who populate her works as loyal to the fundamental values of a British constitutional monarchy.7 In LGW Del remembers souvenirs such as a tiny Red Ensign or a Union Jack decorating plenty of houses in Jubilee or a photograph of King George and Queen Elizabeth pinned to the wall at the Public School when they visited Canada in 1939 (250). She is amazed by the picture of the royal couple and the two little princesses in their coronation finery that her uncle Jack kept at home (28) or the red-and-gold tin with the picture of Queen Alexandra that aunts Elspeth and Grace preserved (60). In “Family Furnishings” (Hateship) Alfrida also told stories about the royal family distinguishing “between the good ones like the king and queen and the beautiful Duchess of Kent and the dreadful ones like the Windsors and old King Eddy” (93).

Canada has fully participated in the creation of the British empire. Hundreds of British Canadians regard the imperial saga as part of their national heritage—at the beginning of the nineteenth century “the excitement of the New Imperialism was almost as intense in Toronto as it was in London” (Heble 393). Munro exhibits many of the Scottish Canadians who populate her works as loyal to the fundamental values of a British constitutional monarchy.7 In LGW Del remembers souvenirs such as a tiny Red Ensign or a Union Jack decorating plenty of houses in Jubilee or a photograph of King George and Queen Elizabeth pinned to the wall at the Public School when they visited Canada in 1939 (250). She is amazed by the picture of the royal couple and the two little princesses in their coronation finery that her uncle Jack kept at home (28) or the red-and-gold tin with the picture of Queen Alexandra that aunts Elspeth and Grace preserved (60). In “Family Furnishings” (Hateship) Alfrida also told stories about the royal family distinguishing “between the good ones like the king and queen and the beautiful Duchess of Kent and the dreadful ones like the Windsors and old King Eddy” (93).

In LGW Munro starts introducing the other minorities by mentioning an Austrian Del’s grandfather had hired to work as an employee who eventually became a victim of her aunts’ distrust (33). Years later, when Del grows older, she is surprised at the black hair of Italian girls she had seen in pictures (150). In Hateship and Runaway the writer shows sympathy and understanding for the situation of other ethnic minorities but her focus is nevertheless solidly fixed on the majority figures of the British Canadians. In Hateship the station agent

In LGW Munro starts introducing the other minorities by mentioning an Austrian Del’s grandfather had hired to work as an employee who eventually became a victim of her aunts’ distrust (33). Years later, when Del grows older, she is surprised at the black hair of Italian girls she had seen in pictures (150). In Hateship and Runaway the writer shows sympathy and understanding for the situation of other ethnic minorities but her focus is nevertheless solidly fixed on the majority figures of the British Canadians. In Hateship the station agent

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

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them from the past. Munro’s motherland is protective, affectionate and even possesses healing powers: Lauren’s colds are significantly relieved when she drinks the hot toddies that her father prepares for her in “Trespasses” (Runaway). Undoubtedly, the Scottish-Irish Canadians have settled their majority status by means of strengthening a British identity which has not eliminated ancient loyalties such as their respect to a prestigious colonial heritage and the strong preservation of their intra-group relations and old world connections in order to mark their own boundaries and obtain benefits like promotion or upward social mobility—thanks to his Commonwealth links, Lewis, a New Zealander in “Comfort” (Hateship), finds a good job in a town by Lake Huron.

them from the past. Munro’s motherland is protective, affectionate and even possesses healing powers: Lauren’s colds are significantly relieved when she drinks the hot toddies that her father prepares for her in “Trespasses” (Runaway). Undoubtedly, the Scottish-Irish Canadians have settled their majority status by means of strengthening a British identity which has not eliminated ancient loyalties such as their respect to a prestigious colonial heritage and the strong preservation of their intra-group relations and old world connections in order to mark their own boundaries and obtain benefits like promotion or upward social mobility—thanks to his Commonwealth links, Lewis, a New Zealander in “Comfort” (Hateship), finds a good job in a town by Lake Huron.

Canada has fully participated in the creation of the British empire. Hundreds of British Canadians regard the imperial saga as part of their national heritage—at the beginning of the nineteenth century “the excitement of the New Imperialism was almost as intense in Toronto as it was in London” (Heble 393). Munro exhibits many of the Scottish Canadians who populate her works as loyal to the fundamental values of a British constitutional monarchy.7 In LGW Del remembers souvenirs such as a tiny Red Ensign or a Union Jack decorating plenty of houses in Jubilee or a photograph of King George and Queen Elizabeth pinned to the wall at the Public School when they visited Canada in 1939 (250). She is amazed by the picture of the royal couple and the two little princesses in their coronation finery that her uncle Jack kept at home (28) or the red-and-gold tin with the picture of Queen Alexandra that aunts Elspeth and Grace preserved (60). In “Family Furnishings” (Hateship) Alfrida also told stories about the royal family distinguishing “between the good ones like the king and queen and the beautiful Duchess of Kent and the dreadful ones like the Windsors and old King Eddy” (93).

Canada has fully participated in the creation of the British empire. Hundreds of British Canadians regard the imperial saga as part of their national heritage—at the beginning of the nineteenth century “the excitement of the New Imperialism was almost as intense in Toronto as it was in London” (Heble 393). Munro exhibits many of the Scottish Canadians who populate her works as loyal to the fundamental values of a British constitutional monarchy.7 In LGW Del remembers souvenirs such as a tiny Red Ensign or a Union Jack decorating plenty of houses in Jubilee or a photograph of King George and Queen Elizabeth pinned to the wall at the Public School when they visited Canada in 1939 (250). She is amazed by the picture of the royal couple and the two little princesses in their coronation finery that her uncle Jack kept at home (28) or the red-and-gold tin with the picture of Queen Alexandra that aunts Elspeth and Grace preserved (60). In “Family Furnishings” (Hateship) Alfrida also told stories about the royal family distinguishing “between the good ones like the king and queen and the beautiful Duchess of Kent and the dreadful ones like the Windsors and old King Eddy” (93).

In LGW Munro starts introducing the other minorities by mentioning an Austrian Del’s grandfather had hired to work as an employee who eventually became a victim of her aunts’ distrust (33). Years later, when Del grows older, she is surprised at the black hair of Italian girls she had seen in pictures (150). In Hateship and Runaway the writer shows sympathy and understanding for the situation of other ethnic minorities but her focus is nevertheless solidly fixed on the majority figures of the British Canadians. In Hateship the station agent

In LGW Munro starts introducing the other minorities by mentioning an Austrian Del’s grandfather had hired to work as an employee who eventually became a victim of her aunts’ distrust (33). Years later, when Del grows older, she is surprised at the black hair of Italian girls she had seen in pictures (150). In Hateship and Runaway the writer shows sympathy and understanding for the situation of other ethnic minorities but her focus is nevertheless solidly fixed on the majority figures of the British Canadians. In Hateship the station agent

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spares a thought for all the Czechs, Hungarians and Ukranians living in Saskatchewan (“Hateship” 4); Sunny’s house in Toronto belongs to some people who came from Trinidad a dozen years before (“Nettles” 169); and Queenie danced with a Chinese boy named Andrew drinking the wine that the Greeks had made at a successful intercultural party (“Queenie” 258). As Munro observes in her letter “the racial mix has changed and is changing, making the cities –in particular– much more interesting”.8 This transformation is clearly expressed in Runaway. Robin, the protagonist of “Tricks”, mentions that her little town is now inhabited by people from India, Egypt, the Philippines and Korea and they are her new friends. Nevertheless, she laments that “the old patterns of life, the rules of earlier days, persist to some extent, but a lot of people go their own way without even knowing such things” (263). Some space is also reserved to other Orientals and Canadian aboriginal tribes in this collection. In “Comfort” the narrator is conscious of the fatalities of the newlyarrived Filipino nurses who are caught in the unfamiliar snow (131), in “Silence” the control of the northern parts of the country “is being gradually, cautiously, … , relinquished to the native people” (157).

spares a thought for all the Czechs, Hungarians and Ukranians living in Saskatchewan (“Hateship” 4); Sunny’s house in Toronto belongs to some people who came from Trinidad a dozen years before (“Nettles” 169); and Queenie danced with a Chinese boy named Andrew drinking the wine that the Greeks had made at a successful intercultural party (“Queenie” 258). As Munro observes in her letter “the racial mix has changed and is changing, making the cities –in particular– much more interesting”.8 This transformation is clearly expressed in Runaway. Robin, the protagonist of “Tricks”, mentions that her little town is now inhabited by people from India, Egypt, the Philippines and Korea and they are her new friends. Nevertheless, she laments that “the old patterns of life, the rules of earlier days, persist to some extent, but a lot of people go their own way without even knowing such things” (263). Some space is also reserved to other Orientals and Canadian aboriginal tribes in this collection. In “Comfort” the narrator is conscious of the fatalities of the newlyarrived Filipino nurses who are caught in the unfamiliar snow (131), in “Silence” the control of the northern parts of the country “is being gradually, cautiously, … , relinquished to the native people” (157).

In the 1960s there appeared many advent groups to defend the English language in Canada as the British-Canadians became more aware of themselves as “merely” another ethnic group. Munro uses the English language as a mark of social class. Del’s mother despised the people in the marginal Flats Road by means of “her noticeable use of good grammar” (LGW 8); the Greek landlady in “Queenie” (Hateship) may be quite rich since she owns the whole building of rented apartments but “she doesn’t speak hardly any English” (245), and Grace in “Passion” (Runaway) cannot hide the fact that she is poor because of her strong Ottawa Valley accent (164). Perhaps it is in Runaway where Munro insists on the importance of being British in Canada by elegantly ridiculing the other immigrants, even the other whites –so frequently assimilated to the British– because English is not their mother tongue: Ailo’s strong and insistent German, Dutch, or Scandinavian accent in “Chance” distinguishes her from the other people in the house (77); the Southern European maid’s ungrammaticalities in “Soon” face Julia’s university register (106), and the accents of the Dutch farmers who were patients in the hospital in “Tricks” are mocked by the cruel nurses (243). All this is in contrast

In the 1960s there appeared many advent groups to defend the English language in Canada as the British-Canadians became more aware of themselves as “merely” another ethnic group. Munro uses the English language as a mark of social class. Del’s mother despised the people in the marginal Flats Road by means of “her noticeable use of good grammar” (LGW 8); the Greek landlady in “Queenie” (Hateship) may be quite rich since she owns the whole building of rented apartments but “she doesn’t speak hardly any English” (245), and Grace in “Passion” (Runaway) cannot hide the fact that she is poor because of her strong Ottawa Valley accent (164). Perhaps it is in Runaway where Munro insists on the importance of being British in Canada by elegantly ridiculing the other immigrants, even the other whites –so frequently assimilated to the British– because English is not their mother tongue: Ailo’s strong and insistent German, Dutch, or Scandinavian accent in “Chance” distinguishes her from the other people in the house (77); the Southern European maid’s ungrammaticalities in “Soon” face Julia’s university register (106), and the accents of the Dutch farmers who were patients in the hospital in “Tricks” are mocked by the cruel nurses (243). All this is in contrast

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

spares a thought for all the Czechs, Hungarians and Ukranians living in Saskatchewan (“Hateship” 4); Sunny’s house in Toronto belongs to some people who came from Trinidad a dozen years before (“Nettles” 169); and Queenie danced with a Chinese boy named Andrew drinking the wine that the Greeks had made at a successful intercultural party (“Queenie” 258). As Munro observes in her letter “the racial mix has changed and is changing, making the cities –in particular– much more interesting”.8 This transformation is clearly expressed in Runaway. Robin, the protagonist of “Tricks”, mentions that her little town is now inhabited by people from India, Egypt, the Philippines and Korea and they are her new friends. Nevertheless, she laments that “the old patterns of life, the rules of earlier days, persist to some extent, but a lot of people go their own way without even knowing such things” (263). Some space is also reserved to other Orientals and Canadian aboriginal tribes in this collection. In “Comfort” the narrator is conscious of the fatalities of the newlyarrived Filipino nurses who are caught in the unfamiliar snow (131), in “Silence” the control of the northern parts of the country “is being gradually, cautiously, … , relinquished to the native people” (157).

spares a thought for all the Czechs, Hungarians and Ukranians living in Saskatchewan (“Hateship” 4); Sunny’s house in Toronto belongs to some people who came from Trinidad a dozen years before (“Nettles” 169); and Queenie danced with a Chinese boy named Andrew drinking the wine that the Greeks had made at a successful intercultural party (“Queenie” 258). As Munro observes in her letter “the racial mix has changed and is changing, making the cities –in particular– much more interesting”.8 This transformation is clearly expressed in Runaway. Robin, the protagonist of “Tricks”, mentions that her little town is now inhabited by people from India, Egypt, the Philippines and Korea and they are her new friends. Nevertheless, she laments that “the old patterns of life, the rules of earlier days, persist to some extent, but a lot of people go their own way without even knowing such things” (263). Some space is also reserved to other Orientals and Canadian aboriginal tribes in this collection. In “Comfort” the narrator is conscious of the fatalities of the newlyarrived Filipino nurses who are caught in the unfamiliar snow (131), in “Silence” the control of the northern parts of the country “is being gradually, cautiously, … , relinquished to the native people” (157).

In the 1960s there appeared many advent groups to defend the English language in Canada as the British-Canadians became more aware of themselves as “merely” another ethnic group. Munro uses the English language as a mark of social class. Del’s mother despised the people in the marginal Flats Road by means of “her noticeable use of good grammar” (LGW 8); the Greek landlady in “Queenie” (Hateship) may be quite rich since she owns the whole building of rented apartments but “she doesn’t speak hardly any English” (245), and Grace in “Passion” (Runaway) cannot hide the fact that she is poor because of her strong Ottawa Valley accent (164). Perhaps it is in Runaway where Munro insists on the importance of being British in Canada by elegantly ridiculing the other immigrants, even the other whites –so frequently assimilated to the British– because English is not their mother tongue: Ailo’s strong and insistent German, Dutch, or Scandinavian accent in “Chance” distinguishes her from the other people in the house (77); the Southern European maid’s ungrammaticalities in “Soon” face Julia’s university register (106), and the accents of the Dutch farmers who were patients in the hospital in “Tricks” are mocked by the cruel nurses (243). All this is in contrast

In the 1960s there appeared many advent groups to defend the English language in Canada as the British-Canadians became more aware of themselves as “merely” another ethnic group. Munro uses the English language as a mark of social class. Del’s mother despised the people in the marginal Flats Road by means of “her noticeable use of good grammar” (LGW 8); the Greek landlady in “Queenie” (Hateship) may be quite rich since she owns the whole building of rented apartments but “she doesn’t speak hardly any English” (245), and Grace in “Passion” (Runaway) cannot hide the fact that she is poor because of her strong Ottawa Valley accent (164). Perhaps it is in Runaway where Munro insists on the importance of being British in Canada by elegantly ridiculing the other immigrants, even the other whites –so frequently assimilated to the British– because English is not their mother tongue: Ailo’s strong and insistent German, Dutch, or Scandinavian accent in “Chance” distinguishes her from the other people in the house (77); the Southern European maid’s ungrammaticalities in “Soon” face Julia’s university register (106), and the accents of the Dutch farmers who were patients in the hospital in “Tricks” are mocked by the cruel nurses (243). All this is in contrast

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

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Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

55

to Mrs Travers’s proud work as a teacher of Business English at a secretarial school or the Oxford Dictionary that she was giving Mavis as if despising the American one they had been using to play word games in “Passion” (162, 171).

to Mrs Travers’s proud work as a teacher of Business English at a secretarial school or the Oxford Dictionary that she was giving Mavis as if despising the American one they had been using to play word games in “Passion” (162, 171).

A national literature is essential for the formation of national character. George Bowering points out that Canadian literature like Canadian history is largely Scottish (qtd. in Coleman 91). Canadians are certainly enriched by the masters of English prose and verse and they take joy in these magnificent possessions. According to JoAnne McCaig, “the literature produced in Canada links [Canadians] with [their] ancestors and with one another …” (38). Many English-speaking writers have marked Alice Munro in order to write her novels and short stories and some others have determined her characters. James Carscallen turns to James Joyce’s The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as a clear influence in LGW.9 Del Jordan is actually the feminine counterpart of Stephen Dedalus, both brilliant young children who are becoming glorious artists. Munro’s episodes are a type of Bildungsroman, charting a life chronologically. They describe a flux, and, like Thomas Hardy in Tess, show how a concentration of circumstances can determine a whole sequence of events. Two stories in Runaway illustrate this. In “Tricks” strange misunderstandings make Robin’s life change forever and in “Silence” Penelope becomes “a prosperous, practical matron” (156) living in the northern part of the country presumably as a reaction to a too liberal education from her mother.

A national literature is essential for the formation of national character. George Bowering points out that Canadian literature like Canadian history is largely Scottish (qtd. in Coleman 91). Canadians are certainly enriched by the masters of English prose and verse and they take joy in these magnificent possessions. According to JoAnne McCaig, “the literature produced in Canada links [Canadians] with [their] ancestors and with one another …” (38). Many English-speaking writers have marked Alice Munro in order to write her novels and short stories and some others have determined her characters. James Carscallen turns to James Joyce’s The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as a clear influence in LGW.9 Del Jordan is actually the feminine counterpart of Stephen Dedalus, both brilliant young children who are becoming glorious artists. Munro’s episodes are a type of Bildungsroman, charting a life chronologically. They describe a flux, and, like Thomas Hardy in Tess, show how a concentration of circumstances can determine a whole sequence of events. Two stories in Runaway illustrate this. In “Tricks” strange misunderstandings make Robin’s life change forever and in “Silence” Penelope becomes “a prosperous, practical matron” (156) living in the northern part of the country presumably as a reaction to a too liberal education from her mother.

The XIXth century English poets are also a source of inspiration for Munro. As Walter Martin indicates “she is concerned, as Keats was, with a life of sensations” (187). In LGW, the Wawanash River seems to be a symbol of life that moves between land and water, upper and lower worlds, which suggests that Munro had Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” in mind. Del’s mother –a book lover who earns her living selling encyclopaedias– signs her letters “Princess Ida”, a name borrowed from Tennyson’s heroine.

The XIXth century English poets are also a source of inspiration for Munro. As Walter Martin indicates “she is concerned, as Keats was, with a life of sensations” (187). In LGW, the Wawanash River seems to be a symbol of life that moves between land and water, upper and lower worlds, which suggests that Munro had Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” in mind. Del’s mother –a book lover who earns her living selling encyclopaedias– signs her letters “Princess Ida”, a name borrowed from Tennyson’s heroine.

Cox notices that “Along with many teenagers, Munro was obsessed by Wuthering Heights, [a] gothic text … suffused with Calvinist imagery” (3). For Del in LGW, Wuthering Heights is more than a passionate text to be read. It is the urn where to keep a most valuable

Cox notices that “Along with many teenagers, Munro was obsessed by Wuthering Heights, [a] gothic text … suffused with Calvinist imagery” (3). For Del in LGW, Wuthering Heights is more than a passionate text to be read. It is the urn where to keep a most valuable

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

55

55

to Mrs Travers’s proud work as a teacher of Business English at a secretarial school or the Oxford Dictionary that she was giving Mavis as if despising the American one they had been using to play word games in “Passion” (162, 171).

to Mrs Travers’s proud work as a teacher of Business English at a secretarial school or the Oxford Dictionary that she was giving Mavis as if despising the American one they had been using to play word games in “Passion” (162, 171).

A national literature is essential for the formation of national character. George Bowering points out that Canadian literature like Canadian history is largely Scottish (qtd. in Coleman 91). Canadians are certainly enriched by the masters of English prose and verse and they take joy in these magnificent possessions. According to JoAnne McCaig, “the literature produced in Canada links [Canadians] with [their] ancestors and with one another …” (38). Many English-speaking writers have marked Alice Munro in order to write her novels and short stories and some others have determined her characters. James Carscallen turns to James Joyce’s The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as a clear influence in LGW.9 Del Jordan is actually the feminine counterpart of Stephen Dedalus, both brilliant young children who are becoming glorious artists. Munro’s episodes are a type of Bildungsroman, charting a life chronologically. They describe a flux, and, like Thomas Hardy in Tess, show how a concentration of circumstances can determine a whole sequence of events. Two stories in Runaway illustrate this. In “Tricks” strange misunderstandings make Robin’s life change forever and in “Silence” Penelope becomes “a prosperous, practical matron” (156) living in the northern part of the country presumably as a reaction to a too liberal education from her mother.

A national literature is essential for the formation of national character. George Bowering points out that Canadian literature like Canadian history is largely Scottish (qtd. in Coleman 91). Canadians are certainly enriched by the masters of English prose and verse and they take joy in these magnificent possessions. According to JoAnne McCaig, “the literature produced in Canada links [Canadians] with [their] ancestors and with one another …” (38). Many English-speaking writers have marked Alice Munro in order to write her novels and short stories and some others have determined her characters. James Carscallen turns to James Joyce’s The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as a clear influence in LGW.9 Del Jordan is actually the feminine counterpart of Stephen Dedalus, both brilliant young children who are becoming glorious artists. Munro’s episodes are a type of Bildungsroman, charting a life chronologically. They describe a flux, and, like Thomas Hardy in Tess, show how a concentration of circumstances can determine a whole sequence of events. Two stories in Runaway illustrate this. In “Tricks” strange misunderstandings make Robin’s life change forever and in “Silence” Penelope becomes “a prosperous, practical matron” (156) living in the northern part of the country presumably as a reaction to a too liberal education from her mother.

The XIXth century English poets are also a source of inspiration for Munro. As Walter Martin indicates “she is concerned, as Keats was, with a life of sensations” (187). In LGW, the Wawanash River seems to be a symbol of life that moves between land and water, upper and lower worlds, which suggests that Munro had Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” in mind. Del’s mother –a book lover who earns her living selling encyclopaedias– signs her letters “Princess Ida”, a name borrowed from Tennyson’s heroine.

The XIXth century English poets are also a source of inspiration for Munro. As Walter Martin indicates “she is concerned, as Keats was, with a life of sensations” (187). In LGW, the Wawanash River seems to be a symbol of life that moves between land and water, upper and lower worlds, which suggests that Munro had Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” in mind. Del’s mother –a book lover who earns her living selling encyclopaedias– signs her letters “Princess Ida”, a name borrowed from Tennyson’s heroine.

Cox notices that “Along with many teenagers, Munro was obsessed by Wuthering Heights, [a] gothic text … suffused with Calvinist imagery” (3). For Del in LGW, Wuthering Heights is more than a passionate text to be read. It is the urn where to keep a most valuable

Cox notices that “Along with many teenagers, Munro was obsessed by Wuthering Heights, [a] gothic text … suffused with Calvinist imagery” (3). For Del in LGW, Wuthering Heights is more than a passionate text to be read. It is the urn where to keep a most valuable

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possession. Between its pages she folded “those few poems and bits of a novel” (LGW 62) that she had written. Charlotte Brontë is indeed a model for the young girl. It was better to be like the Romantic writer than “putting herself on the road to marriage” (LGW 191), she proclaimed after thinking about what a normal life could be. Reading The Life of Charlotte Brontë gave her a sense of relief after a horrible hangover and helped her imagine “a nineteenth-century sort of life, walks and studying, rectitude, courtesy, maidenhood, [and] peacefulness” (LGW 190). Other classics fill the bookcases of Alfrida’s family house in “Family Furnishings” (Hateship): The Mill on the Floss, The Call of the Wild, The Heart of Midlothian do not seem like things bought in a store but as “presences rooted in the ground” (101). The XIXth century also reigns in the pages of “Post and Beam” (Hateship), as Lionel thinks he is in a Dickens novel ( 190). It is in “Tricks” (Runaway) where the greatest writer of all appears. Young Robin takes the train to Stratford every summer to watch Shakespeare performances. Wearing beautiful dresses, she prefers going there than to the Royal Alex in Toronto when Broadway musicals are on tour. However, however, she should have learnt the lesson well from The Comedy of Errors and prepared herself to foretell the mix-ups and disasters that natural duplicity brought to her life.

possession. Between its pages she folded “those few poems and bits of a novel” (LGW 62) that she had written. Charlotte Brontë is indeed a model for the young girl. It was better to be like the Romantic writer than “putting herself on the road to marriage” (LGW 191), she proclaimed after thinking about what a normal life could be. Reading The Life of Charlotte Brontë gave her a sense of relief after a horrible hangover and helped her imagine “a nineteenth-century sort of life, walks and studying, rectitude, courtesy, maidenhood, [and] peacefulness” (LGW 190). Other classics fill the bookcases of Alfrida’s family house in “Family Furnishings” (Hateship): The Mill on the Floss, The Call of the Wild, The Heart of Midlothian do not seem like things bought in a store but as “presences rooted in the ground” (101). The XIXth century also reigns in the pages of “Post and Beam” (Hateship), as Lionel thinks he is in a Dickens novel ( 190). It is in “Tricks” (Runaway) where the greatest writer of all appears. Young Robin takes the train to Stratford every summer to watch Shakespeare performances. Wearing beautiful dresses, she prefers going there than to the Royal Alex in Toronto when Broadway musicals are on tour. However, however, she should have learnt the lesson well from The Comedy of Errors and prepared herself to foretell the mix-ups and disasters that natural duplicity brought to her life.

As a conclusion we can state that, although Munro dislikes the role of spokesperson of a national culture, her writings defend the fact that the colonial past is a form of cultural order that inevitably dominates Canada. In her body of work people of British stock keep giving importance to such things as family sagas or names; they are keen on the idea of the persistence of the empire; they feel comfortable with “an image of European dependability” (New 86) as if they were under the protection of their motherland. Hateship and Runaway relate small towns to big cities whose identities have been constructed by their values. New ethnic groups populate their pages but most of them have conformed to British Canadian manners and customs and partially deleted their culture and even their language. The small town characters of LGW are emancipated in Hateship and Runaway mainly because they have matured but they still use Britishness as a fortress and see their nation as an old European country on new soil. In LGW, Runaway and Hateship Munro clearly investigates the nature of her own British Canadian ethnicity. Her perspective on Canada is pluralistic,

As a conclusion we can state that, although Munro dislikes the role of spokesperson of a national culture, her writings defend the fact that the colonial past is a form of cultural order that inevitably dominates Canada. In her body of work people of British stock keep giving importance to such things as family sagas or names; they are keen on the idea of the persistence of the empire; they feel comfortable with “an image of European dependability” (New 86) as if they were under the protection of their motherland. Hateship and Runaway relate small towns to big cities whose identities have been constructed by their values. New ethnic groups populate their pages but most of them have conformed to British Canadian manners and customs and partially deleted their culture and even their language. The small town characters of LGW are emancipated in Hateship and Runaway mainly because they have matured but they still use Britishness as a fortress and see their nation as an old European country on new soil. In LGW, Runaway and Hateship Munro clearly investigates the nature of her own British Canadian ethnicity. Her perspective on Canada is pluralistic,

56

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

possession. Between its pages she folded “those few poems and bits of a novel” (LGW 62) that she had written. Charlotte Brontë is indeed a model for the young girl. It was better to be like the Romantic writer than “putting herself on the road to marriage” (LGW 191), she proclaimed after thinking about what a normal life could be. Reading The Life of Charlotte Brontë gave her a sense of relief after a horrible hangover and helped her imagine “a nineteenth-century sort of life, walks and studying, rectitude, courtesy, maidenhood, [and] peacefulness” (LGW 190). Other classics fill the bookcases of Alfrida’s family house in “Family Furnishings” (Hateship): The Mill on the Floss, The Call of the Wild, The Heart of Midlothian do not seem like things bought in a store but as “presences rooted in the ground” (101). The XIXth century also reigns in the pages of “Post and Beam” (Hateship), as Lionel thinks he is in a Dickens novel ( 190). It is in “Tricks” (Runaway) where the greatest writer of all appears. Young Robin takes the train to Stratford every summer to watch Shakespeare performances. Wearing beautiful dresses, she prefers going there than to the Royal Alex in Toronto when Broadway musicals are on tour. However, however, she should have learnt the lesson well from The Comedy of Errors and prepared herself to foretell the mix-ups and disasters that natural duplicity brought to her life.

possession. Between its pages she folded “those few poems and bits of a novel” (LGW 62) that she had written. Charlotte Brontë is indeed a model for the young girl. It was better to be like the Romantic writer than “putting herself on the road to marriage” (LGW 191), she proclaimed after thinking about what a normal life could be. Reading The Life of Charlotte Brontë gave her a sense of relief after a horrible hangover and helped her imagine “a nineteenth-century sort of life, walks and studying, rectitude, courtesy, maidenhood, [and] peacefulness” (LGW 190). Other classics fill the bookcases of Alfrida’s family house in “Family Furnishings” (Hateship): The Mill on the Floss, The Call of the Wild, The Heart of Midlothian do not seem like things bought in a store but as “presences rooted in the ground” (101). The XIXth century also reigns in the pages of “Post and Beam” (Hateship), as Lionel thinks he is in a Dickens novel ( 190). It is in “Tricks” (Runaway) where the greatest writer of all appears. Young Robin takes the train to Stratford every summer to watch Shakespeare performances. Wearing beautiful dresses, she prefers going there than to the Royal Alex in Toronto when Broadway musicals are on tour. However, however, she should have learnt the lesson well from The Comedy of Errors and prepared herself to foretell the mix-ups and disasters that natural duplicity brought to her life.

As a conclusion we can state that, although Munro dislikes the role of spokesperson of a national culture, her writings defend the fact that the colonial past is a form of cultural order that inevitably dominates Canada. In her body of work people of British stock keep giving importance to such things as family sagas or names; they are keen on the idea of the persistence of the empire; they feel comfortable with “an image of European dependability” (New 86) as if they were under the protection of their motherland. Hateship and Runaway relate small towns to big cities whose identities have been constructed by their values. New ethnic groups populate their pages but most of them have conformed to British Canadian manners and customs and partially deleted their culture and even their language. The small town characters of LGW are emancipated in Hateship and Runaway mainly because they have matured but they still use Britishness as a fortress and see their nation as an old European country on new soil. In LGW, Runaway and Hateship Munro clearly investigates the nature of her own British Canadian ethnicity. Her perspective on Canada is pluralistic,

As a conclusion we can state that, although Munro dislikes the role of spokesperson of a national culture, her writings defend the fact that the colonial past is a form of cultural order that inevitably dominates Canada. In her body of work people of British stock keep giving importance to such things as family sagas or names; they are keen on the idea of the persistence of the empire; they feel comfortable with “an image of European dependability” (New 86) as if they were under the protection of their motherland. Hateship and Runaway relate small towns to big cities whose identities have been constructed by their values. New ethnic groups populate their pages but most of them have conformed to British Canadian manners and customs and partially deleted their culture and even their language. The small town characters of LGW are emancipated in Hateship and Runaway mainly because they have matured but they still use Britishness as a fortress and see their nation as an old European country on new soil. In LGW, Runaway and Hateship Munro clearly investigates the nature of her own British Canadian ethnicity. Her perspective on Canada is pluralistic,

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

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Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

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but she knows that her point of view is a majority one in Canadian society. The final sentences of her kind letter to me are revealing, “If I were able to ‘feel’ my way into the life of somebody from Portugal – perhaps– or Jamaica or Croatia, now a Canadian, I’d love to do it. But it would not be as authentic as it should be”.10

but she knows that her point of view is a majority one in Canadian society. The final sentences of her kind letter to me are revealing, “If I were able to ‘feel’ my way into the life of somebody from Portugal – perhaps– or Jamaica or Croatia, now a Canadian, I’d love to do it. But it would not be as authentic as it should be”.10

NOTES:

NOTES:

1

Munro’s own father wanted to reconstruct a vanished way of life, down to the details of farming practices, social rituals and food and drink as if he were in Britain. 2 Munro herself also suffered from the consequences of this double dealing, as in 1976 LGW was removed from the grade 13 curriculum at Kenner High School because of its sexual context. 3 Like Jane Austen she invents the names of small communities and leaves the names of big cities untouched. As in Austen’s novels her imagined landscape of small towns, rivers, lakes and isolated farmsteads do not need to be named. They have become so familiar to her regular readers that they can feel southwestern Ontario at home. 4 Letter to the author. Sept 18th 2006. I visited Canada in summer 2005 and, among many other books, I bought Alice Munro’s Runaway. When I started writing this article, I decided to ask Munro herself about her feelings as a Scots-Canadian. Then I sent an envelope to the editorial place with two letters, one for them and another for Munro, begging them to send it to her home. Months later I surprisingly received a handwritten letter from Munro thanking me for my interest and answering all my questions. 5 The fictional towns which recur in LGW, Walley, Jubilee or Carstairs, are explored through strategies associated with the local and oral history as the histories of Scottish clans and families. 6 Scottish and Irish immigrants sometimes waved the term Britishness as opposed to Englishness, so they continued the same rivalry as in the metropolis. 7 At the beginning of the XXth century for the Canadians there was not much difference between a Canadian Briton and a British

1

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

Mª Teresa González Mínguez British Tradition and the Quest for Canadian Identity in Alice...

57

Munro’s own father wanted to reconstruct a vanished way of life, down to the details of farming practices, social rituals and food and drink as if he were in Britain. 2 Munro herself also suffered from the consequences of this double dealing, as in 1976 LGW was removed from the grade 13 curriculum at Kenner High School because of its sexual context. 3 Like Jane Austen she invents the names of small communities and leaves the names of big cities untouched. As in Austen’s novels her imagined landscape of small towns, rivers, lakes and isolated farmsteads do not need to be named. They have become so familiar to her regular readers that they can feel southwestern Ontario at home. 4 Letter to the author. Sept 18th 2006. I visited Canada in summer 2005 and, among many other books, I bought Alice Munro’s Runaway. When I started writing this article, I decided to ask Munro herself about her feelings as a Scots-Canadian. Then I sent an envelope to the editorial place with two letters, one for them and another for Munro, begging them to send it to her home. Months later I surprisingly received a handwritten letter from Munro thanking me for my interest and answering all my questions. 5 The fictional towns which recur in LGW, Walley, Jubilee or Carstairs, are explored through strategies associated with the local and oral history as the histories of Scottish clans and families. 6 Scottish and Irish immigrants sometimes waved the term Britishness as opposed to Englishness, so they continued the same rivalry as in the metropolis. 7 At the beginning of the XXth century for the Canadians there was not much difference between a Canadian Briton and a British

57

but she knows that her point of view is a majority one in Canadian society. The final sentences of her kind letter to me are revealing, “If I were able to ‘feel’ my way into the life of somebody from Portugal – perhaps– or Jamaica or Croatia, now a Canadian, I’d love to do it. But it would not be as authentic as it should be”.10

but she knows that her point of view is a majority one in Canadian society. The final sentences of her kind letter to me are revealing, “If I were able to ‘feel’ my way into the life of somebody from Portugal – perhaps– or Jamaica or Croatia, now a Canadian, I’d love to do it. But it would not be as authentic as it should be”.10

NOTES:

NOTES:

1

1

Munro’s own father wanted to reconstruct a vanished way of life, down to the details of farming practices, social rituals and food and drink as if he were in Britain. 2 Munro herself also suffered from the consequences of this double dealing, as in 1976 LGW was removed from the grade 13 curriculum at Kenner High School because of its sexual context. 3 Like Jane Austen she invents the names of small communities and leaves the names of big cities untouched. As in Austen’s novels her imagined landscape of small towns, rivers, lakes and isolated farmsteads do not need to be named. They have become so familiar to her regular readers that they can feel southwestern Ontario at home. 4 Letter to the author. Sept 18th 2006. I visited Canada in summer 2005 and, among many other books, I bought Alice Munro’s Runaway. When I started writing this article, I decided to ask Munro herself about her feelings as a Scots-Canadian. Then I sent an envelope to the editorial place with two letters, one for them and another for Munro, begging them to send it to her home. Months later I surprisingly received a handwritten letter from Munro thanking me for my interest and answering all my questions. 5 The fictional towns which recur in LGW, Walley, Jubilee or Carstairs, are explored through strategies associated with the local and oral history as the histories of Scottish clans and families. 6 Scottish and Irish immigrants sometimes waved the term Britishness as opposed to Englishness, so they continued the same rivalry as in the metropolis. 7 At the beginning of the XXth century for the Canadians there was not much difference between a Canadian Briton and a British

Munro’s own father wanted to reconstruct a vanished way of life, down to the details of farming practices, social rituals and food and drink as if he were in Britain. 2 Munro herself also suffered from the consequences of this double dealing, as in 1976 LGW was removed from the grade 13 curriculum at Kenner High School because of its sexual context. 3 Like Jane Austen she invents the names of small communities and leaves the names of big cities untouched. As in Austen’s novels her imagined landscape of small towns, rivers, lakes and isolated farmsteads do not need to be named. They have become so familiar to her regular readers that they can feel southwestern Ontario at home. 4 Letter to the author. Sept 18th 2006. I visited Canada in summer 2005 and, among many other books, I bought Alice Munro’s Runaway. When I started writing this article, I decided to ask Munro herself about her feelings as a Scots-Canadian. Then I sent an envelope to the editorial place with two letters, one for them and another for Munro, begging them to send it to her home. Months later I surprisingly received a handwritten letter from Munro thanking me for my interest and answering all my questions. 5 The fictional towns which recur in LGW, Walley, Jubilee or Carstairs, are explored through strategies associated with the local and oral history as the histories of Scottish clans and families. 6 Scottish and Irish immigrants sometimes waved the term Britishness as opposed to Englishness, so they continued the same rivalry as in the metropolis. 7 At the beginning of the XXth century for the Canadians there was not much difference between a Canadian Briton and a British

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Briton. Their accents were different but they usually honoured the same ideals. 8 Letter to the author. Sept 18th 2006. 9 English literature also had a sedative power in Del’s family: her own father read the same books over and over again and ironically said that H. G. Wells’s Outline of History and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe put himself to sleep. 10 Letter to the author 18 Sept 2006.

Briton. Their accents were different but they usually honoured the same ideals. 8 Letter to the author. Sept 18th 2006. 9 English literature also had a sedative power in Del’s family: her own father read the same books over and over again and ironically said that H. G. Wells’s Outline of History and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe put himself to sleep. 10 Letter to the author 18 Sept 2006.

WORKS CITED

WORKS CITED

Carscallen, James. 1993. The Other Country. Patterns in the Writing of Alice Munro. Oakville, Ontario: EGW Press. Coleman, Daniel. 2006. White Civility. The Literary Project of White Canada. Toronto: U of Toronto P. Cox, Ailsa. 2004. Alice Munro. Horndon, Tavistock: Northcote House Publishers. Gibert, Teresa. 2004. Literatura Canadiense en Lengua Inglesa. Madrid: UNED. Howells, Coral Ann. 1998. Alice Munro. Manchester: Manchester UP. Heble, Ajay et al. 1997. New Contexts of Canadian Criticism. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press. Marlyn, John. 1993. Under the Ribs of Death. Toronto: M&S. Martín, Walter. 1987. Alice Munro. Paradox and Parallel. Edmonton: the U of Alberta P. McCaig, JoAnne. 2002. Reading In. Alice Munro’s Archives. Toronto: Wilfried Laurier UP. Munro, Alice. 1971. Lives of Girls and Women. Hardmondsworth: Penguin. ___________. 2001. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. London: Chatto & Windhus. __________. 2006. Runaway. Toronto: M&S. New, William. 1997. Land Sliding: Imagining Space, Presence, and Power in Canadian Writing. Toronto: U of Toronto P. Woodsworth, James S. 1972. Strangers within Our Gates, or Coming Canadians. Toronto: U of Toronto P.

Carscallen, James. 1993. The Other Country. Patterns in the Writing of Alice Munro. Oakville, Ontario: EGW Press. Coleman, Daniel. 2006. White Civility. The Literary Project of White Canada. Toronto: U of Toronto P. Cox, Ailsa. 2004. Alice Munro. Horndon, Tavistock: Northcote House Publishers. Gibert, Teresa. 2004. Literatura Canadiense en Lengua Inglesa. Madrid: UNED. Howells, Coral Ann. 1998. Alice Munro. Manchester: Manchester UP. Heble, Ajay et al. 1997. New Contexts of Canadian Criticism. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press. Marlyn, John. 1993. Under the Ribs of Death. Toronto: M&S. Martín, Walter. 1987. Alice Munro. Paradox and Parallel. Edmonton: the U of Alberta P. McCaig, JoAnne. 2002. Reading In. Alice Munro’s Archives. Toronto: Wilfried Laurier UP. Munro, Alice. 1971. Lives of Girls and Women. Hardmondsworth: Penguin. ___________. 2001. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. London: Chatto & Windhus. __________. 2006. Runaway. Toronto: M&S. New, William. 1997. Land Sliding: Imagining Space, Presence, and Power in Canadian Writing. Toronto: U of Toronto P. Woodsworth, James S. 1972. Strangers within Our Gates, or Coming Canadians. Toronto: U of Toronto P.

58

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

Briton. Their accents were different but they usually honoured the same ideals. 8 Letter to the author. Sept 18th 2006. 9 English literature also had a sedative power in Del’s family: her own father read the same books over and over again and ironically said that H. G. Wells’s Outline of History and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe put himself to sleep. 10 Letter to the author 18 Sept 2006.

Briton. Their accents were different but they usually honoured the same ideals. 8 Letter to the author. Sept 18th 2006. 9 English literature also had a sedative power in Del’s family: her own father read the same books over and over again and ironically said that H. G. Wells’s Outline of History and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe put himself to sleep. 10 Letter to the author 18 Sept 2006.

WORKS CITED

WORKS CITED

Carscallen, James. 1993. The Other Country. Patterns in the Writing of Alice Munro. Oakville, Ontario: EGW Press. Coleman, Daniel. 2006. White Civility. The Literary Project of White Canada. Toronto: U of Toronto P. Cox, Ailsa. 2004. Alice Munro. Horndon, Tavistock: Northcote House Publishers. Gibert, Teresa. 2004. Literatura Canadiense en Lengua Inglesa. Madrid: UNED. Howells, Coral Ann. 1998. Alice Munro. Manchester: Manchester UP. Heble, Ajay et al. 1997. New Contexts of Canadian Criticism. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press. Marlyn, John. 1993. Under the Ribs of Death. Toronto: M&S. Martín, Walter. 1987. Alice Munro. Paradox and Parallel. Edmonton: the U of Alberta P. McCaig, JoAnne. 2002. Reading In. Alice Munro’s Archives. Toronto: Wilfried Laurier UP. Munro, Alice. 1971. Lives of Girls and Women. Hardmondsworth: Penguin. ___________. 2001. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. London: Chatto & Windhus. __________. 2006. Runaway. Toronto: M&S. New, William. 1997. Land Sliding: Imagining Space, Presence, and Power in Canadian Writing. Toronto: U of Toronto P. Woodsworth, James S. 1972. Strangers within Our Gates, or Coming Canadians. Toronto: U of Toronto P.

Carscallen, James. 1993. The Other Country. Patterns in the Writing of Alice Munro. Oakville, Ontario: EGW Press. Coleman, Daniel. 2006. White Civility. The Literary Project of White Canada. Toronto: U of Toronto P. Cox, Ailsa. 2004. Alice Munro. Horndon, Tavistock: Northcote House Publishers. Gibert, Teresa. 2004. Literatura Canadiense en Lengua Inglesa. Madrid: UNED. Howells, Coral Ann. 1998. Alice Munro. Manchester: Manchester UP. Heble, Ajay et al. 1997. New Contexts of Canadian Criticism. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press. Marlyn, John. 1993. Under the Ribs of Death. Toronto: M&S. Martín, Walter. 1987. Alice Munro. Paradox and Parallel. Edmonton: the U of Alberta P. McCaig, JoAnne. 2002. Reading In. Alice Munro’s Archives. Toronto: Wilfried Laurier UP. Munro, Alice. 1971. Lives of Girls and Women. Hardmondsworth: Penguin. ___________. 2001. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. London: Chatto & Windhus. __________. 2006. Runaway. Toronto: M&S. New, William. 1997. Land Sliding: Imagining Space, Presence, and Power in Canadian Writing. Toronto: U of Toronto P. Woodsworth, James S. 1972. Strangers within Our Gates, or Coming Canadians. Toronto: U of Toronto P.

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

59

LA SUBVERSIÓN DEL GÉNERO POLICÍACO EN THE ENIGMA DE JOHN FOWLES* Luisa Mª González Rodríguez Universidad de Salamanca luisagr@usal.es

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

59

LA SUBVERSIÓN DEL GÉNERO POLICÍACO EN THE ENIGMA DE JOHN FOWLES* Luisa Mª González Rodríguez Universidad de Salamanca luisagr@usal.es

This paper focuses on how Fowles’s “The Enigma” subverts the conventions of the classical detective genre to foreground the world as a strange and mysterious place, thereby destroying the closure and positivism inherent in the genre parodied. In this story detective fiction is evoked intertextually in order to undermine the reader’s expectations by questioning the notion of objective reality and the detective’s function in a postmodern context. “The Enigma” is analyzed from a metafictional perspective since the narrative games Fowles creates between surrogates of writers and readers try to undermine the detective’s search for answers by reflecting on the boundaries between reality and fiction and on the nature of storytelling.

This paper focuses on how Fowles’s “The Enigma” subverts the conventions of the classical detective genre to foreground the world as a strange and mysterious place, thereby destroying the closure and positivism inherent in the genre parodied. In this story detective fiction is evoked intertextually in order to undermine the reader’s expectations by questioning the notion of objective reality and the detective’s function in a postmodern context. “The Enigma” is analyzed from a metafictional perspective since the narrative games Fowles creates between surrogates of writers and readers try to undermine the detective’s search for answers by reflecting on the boundaries between reality and fiction and on the nature of storytelling.

Key words: detective genre, metafiction, intertextuality, mise en abyme, postmodernism, anti-detective fiction

Key words: detective genre, metafiction, intertextuality, mise en abyme, postmodernism, anti-detective fiction

El objetivo de este trabajo es analizar el modo en que Fowles manipula las convenciones del género policíaco en su relato titulado “The Enigma” con la finalidad de presentar una realidad extraña y misteriosa. En este relato se evoca un género que responde a la necesidad de certidumbre del lector para burlarse de las expectativas generadas y cuestionar nuestra noción de objetividad y la función del detective en la época postmoderna. “The Enigma” se analiza desde una perspectiva metaficcional ya que los juegos narrativos que Fowles plantea entre autores y lectores ficticios se proponen desviar el interés del detective por encontrar respuestas y centrarse en la distinción entre ficción y realidad y en el acto de la lectura como

El objetivo de este trabajo es analizar el modo en que Fowles manipula las convenciones del género policíaco en su relato titulado “The Enigma” con la finalidad de presentar una realidad extraña y misteriosa. En este relato se evoca un género que responde a la necesidad de certidumbre del lector para burlarse de las expectativas generadas y cuestionar nuestra noción de objetividad y la función del detective en la época postmoderna. “The Enigma” se analiza desde una perspectiva metaficcional ya que los juegos narrativos que Fowles plantea entre autores y lectores ficticios se proponen desviar el interés del detective por encontrar respuestas y centrarse en la distinción entre ficción y realidad y en el acto de la lectura como

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

Este artículo ha contado con la financiación de un proyecto de investigación de la Junta de Castilla y León Ref. SA 082A07.

Este artículo ha contado con la financiación de un proyecto de investigación de la Junta de Castilla y León Ref. SA 082A07.

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

59

LA SUBVERSIÓN DEL GÉNERO POLICÍACO EN THE ENIGMA DE JOHN FOWLES* Luisa Mª González Rodríguez Universidad de Salamanca luisagr@usal.es

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

59

LA SUBVERSIÓN DEL GÉNERO POLICÍACO EN THE ENIGMA DE JOHN FOWLES* Luisa Mª González Rodríguez Universidad de Salamanca luisagr@usal.es

This paper focuses on how Fowles’s “The Enigma” subverts the conventions of the classical detective genre to foreground the world as a strange and mysterious place, thereby destroying the closure and positivism inherent in the genre parodied. In this story detective fiction is evoked intertextually in order to undermine the reader’s expectations by questioning the notion of objective reality and the detective’s function in a postmodern context. “The Enigma” is analyzed from a metafictional perspective since the narrative games Fowles creates between surrogates of writers and readers try to undermine the detective’s search for answers by reflecting on the boundaries between reality and fiction and on the nature of storytelling.

This paper focuses on how Fowles’s “The Enigma” subverts the conventions of the classical detective genre to foreground the world as a strange and mysterious place, thereby destroying the closure and positivism inherent in the genre parodied. In this story detective fiction is evoked intertextually in order to undermine the reader’s expectations by questioning the notion of objective reality and the detective’s function in a postmodern context. “The Enigma” is analyzed from a metafictional perspective since the narrative games Fowles creates between surrogates of writers and readers try to undermine the detective’s search for answers by reflecting on the boundaries between reality and fiction and on the nature of storytelling.

Key words: detective genre, metafiction, intertextuality, mise en abyme, postmodernism, anti-detective fiction

Key words: detective genre, metafiction, intertextuality, mise en abyme, postmodernism, anti-detective fiction

El objetivo de este trabajo es analizar el modo en que Fowles manipula las convenciones del género policíaco en su relato titulado “The Enigma” con la finalidad de presentar una realidad extraña y misteriosa. En este relato se evoca un género que responde a la necesidad de certidumbre del lector para burlarse de las expectativas generadas y cuestionar nuestra noción de objetividad y la función del detective en la época postmoderna. “The Enigma” se analiza desde una perspectiva metaficcional ya que los juegos narrativos que Fowles plantea entre autores y lectores ficticios se proponen desviar el interés del detective por encontrar respuestas y centrarse en la distinción entre ficción y realidad y en el acto de la lectura como

El objetivo de este trabajo es analizar el modo en que Fowles manipula las convenciones del género policíaco en su relato titulado “The Enigma” con la finalidad de presentar una realidad extraña y misteriosa. En este relato se evoca un género que responde a la necesidad de certidumbre del lector para burlarse de las expectativas generadas y cuestionar nuestra noción de objetividad y la función del detective en la época postmoderna. “The Enigma” se analiza desde una perspectiva metaficcional ya que los juegos narrativos que Fowles plantea entre autores y lectores ficticios se proponen desviar el interés del detective por encontrar respuestas y centrarse en la distinción entre ficción y realidad y en el acto de la lectura como

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

Este artículo ha contado con la financiación de un proyecto de investigación de la Junta de Castilla y León Ref. SA 082A07.

Este artículo ha contado con la financiación de un proyecto de investigación de la Junta de Castilla y León Ref. SA 082A07.

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

reflexión sobre las condiciones en que se genera e interpreta el significado.

reflexión sobre las condiciones en que se genera e interpreta el significado.

Palabras clave: género policíaco, metaficción, intertextualidad, mise en abyme, postmodernismo, ficción antipolicíaca

Palabras clave: género policíaco, metaficción, intertextualidad, mise en abyme, postmodernismo, ficción antipolicíaca

El postmodernismo, al preocuparse por explorar las formas de representación de la realidad y su problemática, se interesa inevitablemente por el género policíaco, cuyo énfasis sobre la explicación lógica del universo de ficción manifiesta una concepción positivista y racionalista de la realidad. Este género, heredero del romance o del género caballeresco medieval en cuanto a la existencia de un héroe que emprende una aventura solitaria para restaurar el orden social (Frye 1976: 138), se ajusta a unas convenciones muy estrictas dentro de una estructura lineal y teleológica. La ficción policíaca representa la certeza reconfortante de que el detective finalmente solucionará el misterio basándose en deducciones lógicas. Para los escritores postmodernos, la representación del universo de ficción como una estructura coherente con un final cerrado parece responder al deseo de superar la ansiedad que produce una realidad caótica e inaprensible. Además, el postmodernismo considera que este género, que refleja los valores sociales y los miedos de su tiempo, es claramente ideológico en su defensa de las ideas positivistas que defienden un universo perfectamente estructurado donde impere el orden y la razón. En palabras de Swope, “the detective novel solves not only the ‘affront to reason’ that emerges within its pages but also functions as a site of ideological containment, reinscribing the positivistic notion that the world, and the self, is known and knowable” (1998: 207). De ahí que, debido a su mensaje claramente conservador, este género se preste a ser evocado intertextualmente con intenciones paródicas. Se revisan así las convenciones del género negándose a solucionar los misterios que plantea y proponiendo una ficción en la que puedan interaccionar dialógicamente diferentes verdades y diferentes representaciones de la realidad. Esta revisión de las convenciones del género policíaco ha dado lugar a un tipo de ficción de inspiración borgiana, la ficción metafísica o anti-policíaca, que, burlándose de las convenciones que imita, abandona la investigación

El postmodernismo, al preocuparse por explorar las formas de representación de la realidad y su problemática, se interesa inevitablemente por el género policíaco, cuyo énfasis sobre la explicación lógica del universo de ficción manifiesta una concepción positivista y racionalista de la realidad. Este género, heredero del romance o del género caballeresco medieval en cuanto a la existencia de un héroe que emprende una aventura solitaria para restaurar el orden social (Frye 1976: 138), se ajusta a unas convenciones muy estrictas dentro de una estructura lineal y teleológica. La ficción policíaca representa la certeza reconfortante de que el detective finalmente solucionará el misterio basándose en deducciones lógicas. Para los escritores postmodernos, la representación del universo de ficción como una estructura coherente con un final cerrado parece responder al deseo de superar la ansiedad que produce una realidad caótica e inaprensible. Además, el postmodernismo considera que este género, que refleja los valores sociales y los miedos de su tiempo, es claramente ideológico en su defensa de las ideas positivistas que defienden un universo perfectamente estructurado donde impere el orden y la razón. En palabras de Swope, “the detective novel solves not only the ‘affront to reason’ that emerges within its pages but also functions as a site of ideological containment, reinscribing the positivistic notion that the world, and the self, is known and knowable” (1998: 207). De ahí que, debido a su mensaje claramente conservador, este género se preste a ser evocado intertextualmente con intenciones paródicas. Se revisan así las convenciones del género negándose a solucionar los misterios que plantea y proponiendo una ficción en la que puedan interaccionar dialógicamente diferentes verdades y diferentes representaciones de la realidad. Esta revisión de las convenciones del género policíaco ha dado lugar a un tipo de ficción de inspiración borgiana, la ficción metafísica o anti-policíaca, que, burlándose de las convenciones que imita, abandona la investigación

60

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

reflexión sobre las condiciones en que se genera e interpreta el significado.

reflexión sobre las condiciones en que se genera e interpreta el significado.

Palabras clave: género policíaco, metaficción, intertextualidad, mise en abyme, postmodernismo, ficción antipolicíaca

Palabras clave: género policíaco, metaficción, intertextualidad, mise en abyme, postmodernismo, ficción antipolicíaca

El postmodernismo, al preocuparse por explorar las formas de representación de la realidad y su problemática, se interesa inevitablemente por el género policíaco, cuyo énfasis sobre la explicación lógica del universo de ficción manifiesta una concepción positivista y racionalista de la realidad. Este género, heredero del romance o del género caballeresco medieval en cuanto a la existencia de un héroe que emprende una aventura solitaria para restaurar el orden social (Frye 1976: 138), se ajusta a unas convenciones muy estrictas dentro de una estructura lineal y teleológica. La ficción policíaca representa la certeza reconfortante de que el detective finalmente solucionará el misterio basándose en deducciones lógicas. Para los escritores postmodernos, la representación del universo de ficción como una estructura coherente con un final cerrado parece responder al deseo de superar la ansiedad que produce una realidad caótica e inaprensible. Además, el postmodernismo considera que este género, que refleja los valores sociales y los miedos de su tiempo, es claramente ideológico en su defensa de las ideas positivistas que defienden un universo perfectamente estructurado donde impere el orden y la razón. En palabras de Swope, “the detective novel solves not only the ‘affront to reason’ that emerges within its pages but also functions as a site of ideological containment, reinscribing the positivistic notion that the world, and the self, is known and knowable” (1998: 207). De ahí que, debido a su mensaje claramente conservador, este género se preste a ser evocado intertextualmente con intenciones paródicas. Se revisan así las convenciones del género negándose a solucionar los misterios que plantea y proponiendo una ficción en la que puedan interaccionar dialógicamente diferentes verdades y diferentes representaciones de la realidad. Esta revisión de las convenciones del género policíaco ha dado lugar a un tipo de ficción de inspiración borgiana, la ficción metafísica o anti-policíaca, que, burlándose de las convenciones que imita, abandona la investigación

El postmodernismo, al preocuparse por explorar las formas de representación de la realidad y su problemática, se interesa inevitablemente por el género policíaco, cuyo énfasis sobre la explicación lógica del universo de ficción manifiesta una concepción positivista y racionalista de la realidad. Este género, heredero del romance o del género caballeresco medieval en cuanto a la existencia de un héroe que emprende una aventura solitaria para restaurar el orden social (Frye 1976: 138), se ajusta a unas convenciones muy estrictas dentro de una estructura lineal y teleológica. La ficción policíaca representa la certeza reconfortante de que el detective finalmente solucionará el misterio basándose en deducciones lógicas. Para los escritores postmodernos, la representación del universo de ficción como una estructura coherente con un final cerrado parece responder al deseo de superar la ansiedad que produce una realidad caótica e inaprensible. Además, el postmodernismo considera que este género, que refleja los valores sociales y los miedos de su tiempo, es claramente ideológico en su defensa de las ideas positivistas que defienden un universo perfectamente estructurado donde impere el orden y la razón. En palabras de Swope, “the detective novel solves not only the ‘affront to reason’ that emerges within its pages but also functions as a site of ideological containment, reinscribing the positivistic notion that the world, and the self, is known and knowable” (1998: 207). De ahí que, debido a su mensaje claramente conservador, este género se preste a ser evocado intertextualmente con intenciones paródicas. Se revisan así las convenciones del género negándose a solucionar los misterios que plantea y proponiendo una ficción en la que puedan interaccionar dialógicamente diferentes verdades y diferentes representaciones de la realidad. Esta revisión de las convenciones del género policíaco ha dado lugar a un tipo de ficción de inspiración borgiana, la ficción metafísica o anti-policíaca, que, burlándose de las convenciones que imita, abandona la investigación

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

61

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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justo cuando se está a punto de descubrir el misterio. Es una ficción que parte de la base de que en el universo postmoderno las pistas no apuntan a ninguna certeza ya que la ficción se concibe como puro juego deconstructivo y paranoico cuya función es evocar la ansiedad y la incertidumbre del hombre postmoderno. No es de extrañar que este nuevo género se proponga cuestionar las convenciones tradicionales del mismo y poner en tela de juicio la tradición humanista que parece necesitar expresamente

justo cuando se está a punto de descubrir el misterio. Es una ficción que parte de la base de que en el universo postmoderno las pistas no apuntan a ninguna certeza ya que la ficción se concibe como puro juego deconstructivo y paranoico cuya función es evocar la ansiedad y la incertidumbre del hombre postmoderno. No es de extrañar que este nuevo género se proponga cuestionar las convenciones tradicionales del mismo y poner en tela de juicio la tradición humanista que parece necesitar expresamente

the kind of social and political organization that finds its fulfillment in the imposed certainties of the well-made world of the totalitarian state, where investigation or inquisition in behalf of the achievement of a total, that is, pre-ordained or teleologically determined structure –a ‘final solution’– is the defining activity. It is, therefore, no accident that the paradigmatic archetype of the postmodern literary imagination is the anti-detective story (and its antipsychoanalytical analogue), the formal purpose of which is to evoke the impulse to ‘detect’ and/or to psychoanalyze in order to violently frustrate it by refusing to solve the crime (or find the cause of neurosis) (Spanos, 1972: 154).

the kind of social and political organization that finds its fulfillment in the imposed certainties of the well-made world of the totalitarian state, where investigation or inquisition in behalf of the achievement of a total, that is, pre-ordained or teleologically determined structure –a ‘final solution’– is the defining activity. It is, therefore, no accident that the paradigmatic archetype of the postmodern literary imagination is the anti-detective story (and its antipsychoanalytical analogue), the formal purpose of which is to evoke the impulse to ‘detect’ and/or to psychoanalyze in order to violently frustrate it by refusing to solve the crime (or find the cause of neurosis) (Spanos, 1972: 154).

Fowles, en consonancia con las teorías postmodernas, pretende invertir las implicaciones filosóficas del género policíaco con el fin de subrayar la imposibilidad de alcanzar verdades absolutas. Su ficción se estructura en torno a signos que parecen sugerir que la organización de la realidad responde a códigos ocultos para, posteriormente, indicarnos que esas pistas no conducen a nada. En otras palabras, “there is no discoverable reality beyond the precarious structures which man creates to interpret life” (Holmes, 1985: 349). En “The Enigma”, relato incluido en The Ebony Tower que narra la historia de un parlamentario que desaparece sin dejar rastro, Fowles utiliza las convenciones del género policíaco tradicional con una clara intención subversiva. Aunque este relato empieza citando estadísticas de personas desaparecidas y utilizando el tono impersonal y metódico propio del género, enseguida resulta evidente que las convenciones se evocan intertextualmente para subvertirlas poco a poco. En realidad,

Fowles, en consonancia con las teorías postmodernas, pretende invertir las implicaciones filosóficas del género policíaco con el fin de subrayar la imposibilidad de alcanzar verdades absolutas. Su ficción se estructura en torno a signos que parecen sugerir que la organización de la realidad responde a códigos ocultos para, posteriormente, indicarnos que esas pistas no conducen a nada. En otras palabras, “there is no discoverable reality beyond the precarious structures which man creates to interpret life” (Holmes, 1985: 349). En “The Enigma”, relato incluido en The Ebony Tower que narra la historia de un parlamentario que desaparece sin dejar rastro, Fowles utiliza las convenciones del género policíaco tradicional con una clara intención subversiva. Aunque este relato empieza citando estadísticas de personas desaparecidas y utilizando el tono impersonal y metódico propio del género, enseguida resulta evidente que las convenciones se evocan intertextualmente para subvertirlas poco a poco. En realidad,

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

61

61

justo cuando se está a punto de descubrir el misterio. Es una ficción que parte de la base de que en el universo postmoderno las pistas no apuntan a ninguna certeza ya que la ficción se concibe como puro juego deconstructivo y paranoico cuya función es evocar la ansiedad y la incertidumbre del hombre postmoderno. No es de extrañar que este nuevo género se proponga cuestionar las convenciones tradicionales del mismo y poner en tela de juicio la tradición humanista que parece necesitar expresamente

justo cuando se está a punto de descubrir el misterio. Es una ficción que parte de la base de que en el universo postmoderno las pistas no apuntan a ninguna certeza ya que la ficción se concibe como puro juego deconstructivo y paranoico cuya función es evocar la ansiedad y la incertidumbre del hombre postmoderno. No es de extrañar que este nuevo género se proponga cuestionar las convenciones tradicionales del mismo y poner en tela de juicio la tradición humanista que parece necesitar expresamente

the kind of social and political organization that finds its fulfillment in the imposed certainties of the well-made world of the totalitarian state, where investigation or inquisition in behalf of the achievement of a total, that is, pre-ordained or teleologically determined structure –a ‘final solution’– is the defining activity. It is, therefore, no accident that the paradigmatic archetype of the postmodern literary imagination is the anti-detective story (and its antipsychoanalytical analogue), the formal purpose of which is to evoke the impulse to ‘detect’ and/or to psychoanalyze in order to violently frustrate it by refusing to solve the crime (or find the cause of neurosis) (Spanos, 1972: 154).

the kind of social and political organization that finds its fulfillment in the imposed certainties of the well-made world of the totalitarian state, where investigation or inquisition in behalf of the achievement of a total, that is, pre-ordained or teleologically determined structure –a ‘final solution’– is the defining activity. It is, therefore, no accident that the paradigmatic archetype of the postmodern literary imagination is the anti-detective story (and its antipsychoanalytical analogue), the formal purpose of which is to evoke the impulse to ‘detect’ and/or to psychoanalyze in order to violently frustrate it by refusing to solve the crime (or find the cause of neurosis) (Spanos, 1972: 154).

Fowles, en consonancia con las teorías postmodernas, pretende invertir las implicaciones filosóficas del género policíaco con el fin de subrayar la imposibilidad de alcanzar verdades absolutas. Su ficción se estructura en torno a signos que parecen sugerir que la organización de la realidad responde a códigos ocultos para, posteriormente, indicarnos que esas pistas no conducen a nada. En otras palabras, “there is no discoverable reality beyond the precarious structures which man creates to interpret life” (Holmes, 1985: 349). En “The Enigma”, relato incluido en The Ebony Tower que narra la historia de un parlamentario que desaparece sin dejar rastro, Fowles utiliza las convenciones del género policíaco tradicional con una clara intención subversiva. Aunque este relato empieza citando estadísticas de personas desaparecidas y utilizando el tono impersonal y metódico propio del género, enseguida resulta evidente que las convenciones se evocan intertextualmente para subvertirlas poco a poco. En realidad,

Fowles, en consonancia con las teorías postmodernas, pretende invertir las implicaciones filosóficas del género policíaco con el fin de subrayar la imposibilidad de alcanzar verdades absolutas. Su ficción se estructura en torno a signos que parecen sugerir que la organización de la realidad responde a códigos ocultos para, posteriormente, indicarnos que esas pistas no conducen a nada. En otras palabras, “there is no discoverable reality beyond the precarious structures which man creates to interpret life” (Holmes, 1985: 349). En “The Enigma”, relato incluido en The Ebony Tower que narra la historia de un parlamentario que desaparece sin dejar rastro, Fowles utiliza las convenciones del género policíaco tradicional con una clara intención subversiva. Aunque este relato empieza citando estadísticas de personas desaparecidas y utilizando el tono impersonal y metódico propio del género, enseguida resulta evidente que las convenciones se evocan intertextualmente para subvertirlas poco a poco. En realidad,

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progresivamente el relato se convierte en la antítesis del género que evoca ya que la preocupación por la búsqueda de respuestas se ve contrarrestada por la obsesión postmoderna de negar la existencia de una verdad absoluta. Parece que “The Enigma” descentra y deconstruye las viejas reglas del género policíaco tradicional para preservar el misterio de la narrativa. Fowles manipula intertextualmente el género policíaco “not only to ring some fresh changes on a limited and cliché-ridden form, but also to make some striking variations on his own informing themes and methods of narrative presentation” (McSweeney, 1980/1: 316). Se podría afirmar que el principal interés de Fowles al desfiar nuestras expectativas sobre el género es proponer nuevos modelos de realidad y nuevas formas de percibirla.

progresivamente el relato se convierte en la antítesis del género que evoca ya que la preocupación por la búsqueda de respuestas se ve contrarrestada por la obsesión postmoderna de negar la existencia de una verdad absoluta. Parece que “The Enigma” descentra y deconstruye las viejas reglas del género policíaco tradicional para preservar el misterio de la narrativa. Fowles manipula intertextualmente el género policíaco “not only to ring some fresh changes on a limited and cliché-ridden form, but also to make some striking variations on his own informing themes and methods of narrative presentation” (McSweeney, 1980/1: 316). Se podría afirmar que el principal interés de Fowles al desfiar nuestras expectativas sobre el género es proponer nuevos modelos de realidad y nuevas formas de percibirla.

En “The Enigma” el lector espera que la gente que conoció a Fielding aporte alguna pista para esclarecer el caso. Las expectativas que genera la evocación intertextual del género policíaco inducen al lector a pensar que las informaciones que se dan sobre los hechos permitirán establecer una lógica en los acontecimientos y que se resolverá el misterio mediante la concatenación de causas y efectos. Sin embargo, poco a poco todo se complica y el análisis de las pistas no nos lleva a ninguna conclusión lógica. El lector verá truncadas sus expectativas pues, a pesar de que todas las personas que conocían a Fielding son interrogadas y de que se barajan todas las hipótesis posibles, se nos plantea la imposibilidad de reconstruir lo que verdaderamente pasó. Se cuestiona así la objetividad y la posibilidad de acceder al conocimiento del pasado.

En “The Enigma” el lector espera que la gente que conoció a Fielding aporte alguna pista para esclarecer el caso. Las expectativas que genera la evocación intertextual del género policíaco inducen al lector a pensar que las informaciones que se dan sobre los hechos permitirán establecer una lógica en los acontecimientos y que se resolverá el misterio mediante la concatenación de causas y efectos. Sin embargo, poco a poco todo se complica y el análisis de las pistas no nos lleva a ninguna conclusión lógica. El lector verá truncadas sus expectativas pues, a pesar de que todas las personas que conocían a Fielding son interrogadas y de que se barajan todas las hipótesis posibles, se nos plantea la imposibilidad de reconstruir lo que verdaderamente pasó. Se cuestiona así la objetividad y la posibilidad de acceder al conocimiento del pasado.

Los personajes que desaparecen es un tema recurrente en la ficción de Fowles. Alrededor de estas desapariciones, construye un halo de misterio que envuelve a los personajes frustrando todo deseo del lector de acceder a su verdadera identidad y motivación. Estas misteriosas desapariciones favorecen la proliferación de textos que, al construirse sobre entidades inexistentes, subrayan la ausencia de referentes estables. Se podría afirmar que “the dematerialization of the character takes place by infinitization, by deconstructing the real being” (Carpi, 2002: 99). En este relato la desaparición de Fielding da lugar a hipótesis que crean textos que re-crean al personaje una y otra vez prolongando su existencia hasta el infinito. Fielding, al entrar en la

Los personajes que desaparecen es un tema recurrente en la ficción de Fowles. Alrededor de estas desapariciones, construye un halo de misterio que envuelve a los personajes frustrando todo deseo del lector de acceder a su verdadera identidad y motivación. Estas misteriosas desapariciones favorecen la proliferación de textos que, al construirse sobre entidades inexistentes, subrayan la ausencia de referentes estables. Se podría afirmar que “the dematerialization of the character takes place by infinitization, by deconstructing the real being” (Carpi, 2002: 99). En este relato la desaparición de Fielding da lugar a hipótesis que crean textos que re-crean al personaje una y otra vez prolongando su existencia hasta el infinito. Fielding, al entrar en la

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progresivamente el relato se convierte en la antítesis del género que evoca ya que la preocupación por la búsqueda de respuestas se ve contrarrestada por la obsesión postmoderna de negar la existencia de una verdad absoluta. Parece que “The Enigma” descentra y deconstruye las viejas reglas del género policíaco tradicional para preservar el misterio de la narrativa. Fowles manipula intertextualmente el género policíaco “not only to ring some fresh changes on a limited and cliché-ridden form, but also to make some striking variations on his own informing themes and methods of narrative presentation” (McSweeney, 1980/1: 316). Se podría afirmar que el principal interés de Fowles al desfiar nuestras expectativas sobre el género es proponer nuevos modelos de realidad y nuevas formas de percibirla.

progresivamente el relato se convierte en la antítesis del género que evoca ya que la preocupación por la búsqueda de respuestas se ve contrarrestada por la obsesión postmoderna de negar la existencia de una verdad absoluta. Parece que “The Enigma” descentra y deconstruye las viejas reglas del género policíaco tradicional para preservar el misterio de la narrativa. Fowles manipula intertextualmente el género policíaco “not only to ring some fresh changes on a limited and cliché-ridden form, but also to make some striking variations on his own informing themes and methods of narrative presentation” (McSweeney, 1980/1: 316). Se podría afirmar que el principal interés de Fowles al desfiar nuestras expectativas sobre el género es proponer nuevos modelos de realidad y nuevas formas de percibirla.

En “The Enigma” el lector espera que la gente que conoció a Fielding aporte alguna pista para esclarecer el caso. Las expectativas que genera la evocación intertextual del género policíaco inducen al lector a pensar que las informaciones que se dan sobre los hechos permitirán establecer una lógica en los acontecimientos y que se resolverá el misterio mediante la concatenación de causas y efectos. Sin embargo, poco a poco todo se complica y el análisis de las pistas no nos lleva a ninguna conclusión lógica. El lector verá truncadas sus expectativas pues, a pesar de que todas las personas que conocían a Fielding son interrogadas y de que se barajan todas las hipótesis posibles, se nos plantea la imposibilidad de reconstruir lo que verdaderamente pasó. Se cuestiona así la objetividad y la posibilidad de acceder al conocimiento del pasado.

En “The Enigma” el lector espera que la gente que conoció a Fielding aporte alguna pista para esclarecer el caso. Las expectativas que genera la evocación intertextual del género policíaco inducen al lector a pensar que las informaciones que se dan sobre los hechos permitirán establecer una lógica en los acontecimientos y que se resolverá el misterio mediante la concatenación de causas y efectos. Sin embargo, poco a poco todo se complica y el análisis de las pistas no nos lleva a ninguna conclusión lógica. El lector verá truncadas sus expectativas pues, a pesar de que todas las personas que conocían a Fielding son interrogadas y de que se barajan todas las hipótesis posibles, se nos plantea la imposibilidad de reconstruir lo que verdaderamente pasó. Se cuestiona así la objetividad y la posibilidad de acceder al conocimiento del pasado.

Los personajes que desaparecen es un tema recurrente en la ficción de Fowles. Alrededor de estas desapariciones, construye un halo de misterio que envuelve a los personajes frustrando todo deseo del lector de acceder a su verdadera identidad y motivación. Estas misteriosas desapariciones favorecen la proliferación de textos que, al construirse sobre entidades inexistentes, subrayan la ausencia de referentes estables. Se podría afirmar que “the dematerialization of the character takes place by infinitization, by deconstructing the real being” (Carpi, 2002: 99). En este relato la desaparición de Fielding da lugar a hipótesis que crean textos que re-crean al personaje una y otra vez prolongando su existencia hasta el infinito. Fielding, al entrar en la

Los personajes que desaparecen es un tema recurrente en la ficción de Fowles. Alrededor de estas desapariciones, construye un halo de misterio que envuelve a los personajes frustrando todo deseo del lector de acceder a su verdadera identidad y motivación. Estas misteriosas desapariciones favorecen la proliferación de textos que, al construirse sobre entidades inexistentes, subrayan la ausencia de referentes estables. Se podría afirmar que “the dematerialization of the character takes place by infinitization, by deconstructing the real being” (Carpi, 2002: 99). En este relato la desaparición de Fielding da lugar a hipótesis que crean textos que re-crean al personaje una y otra vez prolongando su existencia hasta el infinito. Fielding, al entrar en la

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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biblioteca, parece haber traspasado la barrera ontológica y haberse situado en un espacio extradiegético, es decir, se ha salido de la narrativa. Como afirma Richard Swope, “the postmodern missing person, or metaphysical Wakefield, must confront the possibility of never returning, of having no home to return to, or even of not knowing which self is to return” (1998: 211). En un principio, esto produce en el lector un sentimiento de desesperación ante la imposibilidad de aprehender la identidad de un personaje que se ha diluido en el espacio virtual del texto. Sin embargo, progresivamente, el lector comienza a entender que esta virtualidad desafía el concepto de objetividad y libera su existencia y su esencia de manera infinita. El lector debe colaborar con el autor y reinventar a los personajes a su manera, ya que éstos carecen de una identidad estable. Reduce, así, a los personajes a ser meras imágenes producto de su imaginación que surgen de la nada y vuelven a su punto de partida.

biblioteca, parece haber traspasado la barrera ontológica y haberse situado en un espacio extradiegético, es decir, se ha salido de la narrativa. Como afirma Richard Swope, “the postmodern missing person, or metaphysical Wakefield, must confront the possibility of never returning, of having no home to return to, or even of not knowing which self is to return” (1998: 211). En un principio, esto produce en el lector un sentimiento de desesperación ante la imposibilidad de aprehender la identidad de un personaje que se ha diluido en el espacio virtual del texto. Sin embargo, progresivamente, el lector comienza a entender que esta virtualidad desafía el concepto de objetividad y libera su existencia y su esencia de manera infinita. El lector debe colaborar con el autor y reinventar a los personajes a su manera, ya que éstos carecen de una identidad estable. Reduce, así, a los personajes a ser meras imágenes producto de su imaginación que surgen de la nada y vuelven a su punto de partida.

La desaparición de Fielding genera múltiples narrativas que se insertan en la trama principal. De esta forma se aplaza la solución del misterio mediante variaciones textuales que, a modo de duplicación caleidoscópica, nos sugieren que la realidad no es tan simple e inequívoca como el relato policíaco tradicional podía hacernos creer. El lector ve frustrados sus deseos de resolver el misterio ante la proliferación de senderos laberínticos que postergan continuamente las conclusiones definitivas. A diferencia del género parodiado, que se caracteriza por una progresión lineal de los acontecimientos y por una estructura cerrada, este relato metafísico o anti-policíaco se caracteriza por la ruptura de la linealidad de la narrativa y por la ausencia de un centro y de un final en su estructura. El lector se ve obligado a volver repetidamente sobre los hechos como si fuera imposible salir del laberinto textual simplificando los significados que la narrativa origina. Ante la imposibilidad de decantarse por ninguna de las hipótesis, el lector se ve obligado a aceptar el misterio insondable de la realidad. Al negarnos una explicación probable de la desaparición, cualquier hipótesis parece igualmente probable, “instead of one all-inclusive story, the plot provides the means for the construction of various competing, conflicting and incomplete fabulas” (Brax 2003: 259). Parece imposible encontrar significados estables porque no podemos saber lo que realmente pasó al protagonista. Quizás esto sea un misterio, incluso, para el propio autor. “The Enigma” se deconstruye

La desaparición de Fielding genera múltiples narrativas que se insertan en la trama principal. De esta forma se aplaza la solución del misterio mediante variaciones textuales que, a modo de duplicación caleidoscópica, nos sugieren que la realidad no es tan simple e inequívoca como el relato policíaco tradicional podía hacernos creer. El lector ve frustrados sus deseos de resolver el misterio ante la proliferación de senderos laberínticos que postergan continuamente las conclusiones definitivas. A diferencia del género parodiado, que se caracteriza por una progresión lineal de los acontecimientos y por una estructura cerrada, este relato metafísico o anti-policíaco se caracteriza por la ruptura de la linealidad de la narrativa y por la ausencia de un centro y de un final en su estructura. El lector se ve obligado a volver repetidamente sobre los hechos como si fuera imposible salir del laberinto textual simplificando los significados que la narrativa origina. Ante la imposibilidad de decantarse por ninguna de las hipótesis, el lector se ve obligado a aceptar el misterio insondable de la realidad. Al negarnos una explicación probable de la desaparición, cualquier hipótesis parece igualmente probable, “instead of one all-inclusive story, the plot provides the means for the construction of various competing, conflicting and incomplete fabulas” (Brax 2003: 259). Parece imposible encontrar significados estables porque no podemos saber lo que realmente pasó al protagonista. Quizás esto sea un misterio, incluso, para el propio autor. “The Enigma” se deconstruye

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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biblioteca, parece haber traspasado la barrera ontológica y haberse situado en un espacio extradiegético, es decir, se ha salido de la narrativa. Como afirma Richard Swope, “the postmodern missing person, or metaphysical Wakefield, must confront the possibility of never returning, of having no home to return to, or even of not knowing which self is to return” (1998: 211). En un principio, esto produce en el lector un sentimiento de desesperación ante la imposibilidad de aprehender la identidad de un personaje que se ha diluido en el espacio virtual del texto. Sin embargo, progresivamente, el lector comienza a entender que esta virtualidad desafía el concepto de objetividad y libera su existencia y su esencia de manera infinita. El lector debe colaborar con el autor y reinventar a los personajes a su manera, ya que éstos carecen de una identidad estable. Reduce, así, a los personajes a ser meras imágenes producto de su imaginación que surgen de la nada y vuelven a su punto de partida.

biblioteca, parece haber traspasado la barrera ontológica y haberse situado en un espacio extradiegético, es decir, se ha salido de la narrativa. Como afirma Richard Swope, “the postmodern missing person, or metaphysical Wakefield, must confront the possibility of never returning, of having no home to return to, or even of not knowing which self is to return” (1998: 211). En un principio, esto produce en el lector un sentimiento de desesperación ante la imposibilidad de aprehender la identidad de un personaje que se ha diluido en el espacio virtual del texto. Sin embargo, progresivamente, el lector comienza a entender que esta virtualidad desafía el concepto de objetividad y libera su existencia y su esencia de manera infinita. El lector debe colaborar con el autor y reinventar a los personajes a su manera, ya que éstos carecen de una identidad estable. Reduce, así, a los personajes a ser meras imágenes producto de su imaginación que surgen de la nada y vuelven a su punto de partida.

La desaparición de Fielding genera múltiples narrativas que se insertan en la trama principal. De esta forma se aplaza la solución del misterio mediante variaciones textuales que, a modo de duplicación caleidoscópica, nos sugieren que la realidad no es tan simple e inequívoca como el relato policíaco tradicional podía hacernos creer. El lector ve frustrados sus deseos de resolver el misterio ante la proliferación de senderos laberínticos que postergan continuamente las conclusiones definitivas. A diferencia del género parodiado, que se caracteriza por una progresión lineal de los acontecimientos y por una estructura cerrada, este relato metafísico o anti-policíaco se caracteriza por la ruptura de la linealidad de la narrativa y por la ausencia de un centro y de un final en su estructura. El lector se ve obligado a volver repetidamente sobre los hechos como si fuera imposible salir del laberinto textual simplificando los significados que la narrativa origina. Ante la imposibilidad de decantarse por ninguna de las hipótesis, el lector se ve obligado a aceptar el misterio insondable de la realidad. Al negarnos una explicación probable de la desaparición, cualquier hipótesis parece igualmente probable, “instead of one all-inclusive story, the plot provides the means for the construction of various competing, conflicting and incomplete fabulas” (Brax 2003: 259). Parece imposible encontrar significados estables porque no podemos saber lo que realmente pasó al protagonista. Quizás esto sea un misterio, incluso, para el propio autor. “The Enigma” se deconstruye

La desaparición de Fielding genera múltiples narrativas que se insertan en la trama principal. De esta forma se aplaza la solución del misterio mediante variaciones textuales que, a modo de duplicación caleidoscópica, nos sugieren que la realidad no es tan simple e inequívoca como el relato policíaco tradicional podía hacernos creer. El lector ve frustrados sus deseos de resolver el misterio ante la proliferación de senderos laberínticos que postergan continuamente las conclusiones definitivas. A diferencia del género parodiado, que se caracteriza por una progresión lineal de los acontecimientos y por una estructura cerrada, este relato metafísico o anti-policíaco se caracteriza por la ruptura de la linealidad de la narrativa y por la ausencia de un centro y de un final en su estructura. El lector se ve obligado a volver repetidamente sobre los hechos como si fuera imposible salir del laberinto textual simplificando los significados que la narrativa origina. Ante la imposibilidad de decantarse por ninguna de las hipótesis, el lector se ve obligado a aceptar el misterio insondable de la realidad. Al negarnos una explicación probable de la desaparición, cualquier hipótesis parece igualmente probable, “instead of one all-inclusive story, the plot provides the means for the construction of various competing, conflicting and incomplete fabulas” (Brax 2003: 259). Parece imposible encontrar significados estables porque no podemos saber lo que realmente pasó al protagonista. Quizás esto sea un misterio, incluso, para el propio autor. “The Enigma” se deconstruye

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a sí mismo planteando hipótesis que no sólo sirven de punto de partida para las diferentes interpretaciones, sino que recrean hipótesis que revelan los mecanismos de su propia construcción. Las diferentes ficciones generadas por la desaparición del personaje nos obligan a redefinir constantemente los conceptos y estructuras que usamos para interpretar la realidad. Como afirma Daniela Carpi, “contained inside the labyrinth –or shall we say within the unwinding text?– is thwarted reason, a challenge to the interpreter, the monster/unredeemed irrationality (the Minotaur) in flight from the interpretative effort” (2002: 106). El autor parece indicar al lector que ambos están juntos en la misma aventura, atrapados en el texto infinito, buscando soluciones a un misterio que se niega a ser clausurado.

a sí mismo planteando hipótesis que no sólo sirven de punto de partida para las diferentes interpretaciones, sino que recrean hipótesis que revelan los mecanismos de su propia construcción. Las diferentes ficciones generadas por la desaparición del personaje nos obligan a redefinir constantemente los conceptos y estructuras que usamos para interpretar la realidad. Como afirma Daniela Carpi, “contained inside the labyrinth –or shall we say within the unwinding text?– is thwarted reason, a challenge to the interpreter, the monster/unredeemed irrationality (the Minotaur) in flight from the interpretative effort” (2002: 106). El autor parece indicar al lector que ambos están juntos en la misma aventura, atrapados en el texto infinito, buscando soluciones a un misterio que se niega a ser clausurado.

Por otra parte, en la narración se desestabiliza la estructura epistemológica propia del género policíaco vaciando de contenido el tema del descubrimiento del misterio de la desaparición de Fielding. La estructura se va transformando a medida que adquiere un lugar central la preocupación postmoderna por la existencia, como demuestran las palabras de Isobel, la antigua novia del hijo de Fielding:

Por otra parte, en la narración se desestabiliza la estructura epistemológica propia del género policíaco vaciando de contenido el tema del descubrimiento del misterio de la desaparición de Fielding. La estructura se va transformando a medida que adquiere un lugar central la preocupación postmoderna por la existencia, como demuestran las palabras de Isobel, la antigua novia del hijo de Fielding:

Nothing is real. All is fiction … Let’s pretend everything to do with the Fieldings, even you and me sitting here now, is in a novel. A detective story. Yes? Somewhere there’s someone writing us, we’re not real. He or she decides who we are, what we do, all about us (221).

Nothing is real. All is fiction … Let’s pretend everything to do with the Fieldings, even you and me sitting here now, is in a novel. A detective story. Yes? Somewhere there’s someone writing us, we’re not real. He or she decides who we are, what we do, all about us (221).

En este sentido, la desaparición del protagonista del relato, que nos recuerda a la historia de “Wakefield” de Hawthorne en cuanto que ambos protagonistas se ausentan de las historias que narran sus vidas, parece desviar la atención del lector de la problemática epistemológica propia del género tradicional hacia una problemática ontológica típicamente postmoderna. En opinión de Isobel, la historia de Fielding no representa la historia de la desaparición de una persona real sino la historia de un texto en el que el protagonista desaparece desafiando a la autoridad del autor. Ella parece estar convencida de esto y así se lo hace saber al sargento Jennings: “I think the writer would have to face up to that. His main character has walked out on him. So all he’s left with is the character’s determination to have it that way. High and dry.

En este sentido, la desaparición del protagonista del relato, que nos recuerda a la historia de “Wakefield” de Hawthorne en cuanto que ambos protagonistas se ausentan de las historias que narran sus vidas, parece desviar la atención del lector de la problemática epistemológica propia del género tradicional hacia una problemática ontológica típicamente postmoderna. En opinión de Isobel, la historia de Fielding no representa la historia de la desaparición de una persona real sino la historia de un texto en el que el protagonista desaparece desafiando a la autoridad del autor. Ella parece estar convencida de esto y así se lo hace saber al sargento Jennings: “I think the writer would have to face up to that. His main character has walked out on him. So all he’s left with is the character’s determination to have it that way. High and dry.

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

a sí mismo planteando hipótesis que no sólo sirven de punto de partida para las diferentes interpretaciones, sino que recrean hipótesis que revelan los mecanismos de su propia construcción. Las diferentes ficciones generadas por la desaparición del personaje nos obligan a redefinir constantemente los conceptos y estructuras que usamos para interpretar la realidad. Como afirma Daniela Carpi, “contained inside the labyrinth –or shall we say within the unwinding text?– is thwarted reason, a challenge to the interpreter, the monster/unredeemed irrationality (the Minotaur) in flight from the interpretative effort” (2002: 106). El autor parece indicar al lector que ambos están juntos en la misma aventura, atrapados en el texto infinito, buscando soluciones a un misterio que se niega a ser clausurado.

a sí mismo planteando hipótesis que no sólo sirven de punto de partida para las diferentes interpretaciones, sino que recrean hipótesis que revelan los mecanismos de su propia construcción. Las diferentes ficciones generadas por la desaparición del personaje nos obligan a redefinir constantemente los conceptos y estructuras que usamos para interpretar la realidad. Como afirma Daniela Carpi, “contained inside the labyrinth –or shall we say within the unwinding text?– is thwarted reason, a challenge to the interpreter, the monster/unredeemed irrationality (the Minotaur) in flight from the interpretative effort” (2002: 106). El autor parece indicar al lector que ambos están juntos en la misma aventura, atrapados en el texto infinito, buscando soluciones a un misterio que se niega a ser clausurado.

Por otra parte, en la narración se desestabiliza la estructura epistemológica propia del género policíaco vaciando de contenido el tema del descubrimiento del misterio de la desaparición de Fielding. La estructura se va transformando a medida que adquiere un lugar central la preocupación postmoderna por la existencia, como demuestran las palabras de Isobel, la antigua novia del hijo de Fielding:

Por otra parte, en la narración se desestabiliza la estructura epistemológica propia del género policíaco vaciando de contenido el tema del descubrimiento del misterio de la desaparición de Fielding. La estructura se va transformando a medida que adquiere un lugar central la preocupación postmoderna por la existencia, como demuestran las palabras de Isobel, la antigua novia del hijo de Fielding:

Nothing is real. All is fiction … Let’s pretend everything to do with the Fieldings, even you and me sitting here now, is in a novel. A detective story. Yes? Somewhere there’s someone writing us, we’re not real. He or she decides who we are, what we do, all about us (221).

Nothing is real. All is fiction … Let’s pretend everything to do with the Fieldings, even you and me sitting here now, is in a novel. A detective story. Yes? Somewhere there’s someone writing us, we’re not real. He or she decides who we are, what we do, all about us (221).

En este sentido, la desaparición del protagonista del relato, que nos recuerda a la historia de “Wakefield” de Hawthorne en cuanto que ambos protagonistas se ausentan de las historias que narran sus vidas, parece desviar la atención del lector de la problemática epistemológica propia del género tradicional hacia una problemática ontológica típicamente postmoderna. En opinión de Isobel, la historia de Fielding no representa la historia de la desaparición de una persona real sino la historia de un texto en el que el protagonista desaparece desafiando a la autoridad del autor. Ella parece estar convencida de esto y así se lo hace saber al sargento Jennings: “I think the writer would have to face up to that. His main character has walked out on him. So all he’s left with is the character’s determination to have it that way. High and dry.

En este sentido, la desaparición del protagonista del relato, que nos recuerda a la historia de “Wakefield” de Hawthorne en cuanto que ambos protagonistas se ausentan de las historias que narran sus vidas, parece desviar la atención del lector de la problemática epistemológica propia del género tradicional hacia una problemática ontológica típicamente postmoderna. En opinión de Isobel, la historia de Fielding no representa la historia de la desaparición de una persona real sino la historia de un texto en el que el protagonista desaparece desafiando a la autoridad del autor. Ella parece estar convencida de esto y así se lo hace saber al sargento Jennings: “I think the writer would have to face up to that. His main character has walked out on him. So all he’s left with is the character’s determination to have it that way. High and dry.

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

Without a decent ending” (223). Wakefield, el cual

65

Fielding sigue el modelo de

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

Without a decent ending” (223). Wakefield, el cual

65

Fielding sigue el modelo de

established precedence for evoking the epistemological –how am I to know my place in the world?– and for adding the ontological questions now central to postmodernism: What is the nature of this world? And what is the nature of my place, or lack of place in this world? (Swope, 1998: 209).

established precedence for evoking the epistemological –how am I to know my place in the world?– and for adding the ontological questions now central to postmodernism: What is the nature of this world? And what is the nature of my place, or lack of place in this world? (Swope, 1998: 209).

La realidad cotidiana de la desaparición parece carecer de interés frente a los problemas de referencialidad y verosimilitud que se nos plantean. De esta forma, “The Enigma” se nos presenta como un texto metaficcional que reflexiona sobre su propia condición de texto y de ficción. Las palabras de Isobel son un guiño al lector que deja entrever la manipulación del autor que juega con las convenciones del género policíaco para finalmente centrar la atención sobre la ontología del texto desvelando su artificialidad.

La realidad cotidiana de la desaparición parece carecer de interés frente a los problemas de referencialidad y verosimilitud que se nos plantean. De esta forma, “The Enigma” se nos presenta como un texto metaficcional que reflexiona sobre su propia condición de texto y de ficción. Las palabras de Isobel son un guiño al lector que deja entrever la manipulación del autor que juega con las convenciones del género policíaco para finalmente centrar la atención sobre la ontología del texto desvelando su artificialidad.

Isobel complica el problema ontológico que presenta la novela apuntando a la ficcionalidad no sólo de la versión que va a dar sobre la desaparición de Fielding, “I do have a private theory. About what happened. It’s very wild ... Very literary” (219), sino también de la novela de la que ella forma parte como personaje. Isobel confunde los niveles ontológicos de la novela al inscribir su ficción sobre Fielding dentro de otra ficción donde ella comparte el mismo nivel ontológico, y la misma irrealidad, que Fielding y al presentar las reflexiones de los protagonistas sobre su carácter de meras ficiones escritas por un autor. De esta forma, planteando la irrealidad de los personajes del género policíaco, se insta al lector a dudar de la capacidad referencial del género que más que imitar la realidad se imita a sí mismo. En esta misma línea, Isobel intenta envolver al lector en sus elucubraciones sobre la referencialidad y la posibilidad de representar la realidad. Su respuesta ante la queja de Jennings de que las novelas policíacas no representan la realidad confronta de nuevo al lector con la problemática ontológica y referencial planteando que si la ficción no se imita a sí misma quizás representara mejor la realidad, o quizás no: “then if our story disobeys the unreal literary rules, that might mean it’s actually truer to life?” (223). Así, Isobel se encarga de transmitir al

Isobel complica el problema ontológico que presenta la novela apuntando a la ficcionalidad no sólo de la versión que va a dar sobre la desaparición de Fielding, “I do have a private theory. About what happened. It’s very wild ... Very literary” (219), sino también de la novela de la que ella forma parte como personaje. Isobel confunde los niveles ontológicos de la novela al inscribir su ficción sobre Fielding dentro de otra ficción donde ella comparte el mismo nivel ontológico, y la misma irrealidad, que Fielding y al presentar las reflexiones de los protagonistas sobre su carácter de meras ficiones escritas por un autor. De esta forma, planteando la irrealidad de los personajes del género policíaco, se insta al lector a dudar de la capacidad referencial del género que más que imitar la realidad se imita a sí mismo. En esta misma línea, Isobel intenta envolver al lector en sus elucubraciones sobre la referencialidad y la posibilidad de representar la realidad. Su respuesta ante la queja de Jennings de que las novelas policíacas no representan la realidad confronta de nuevo al lector con la problemática ontológica y referencial planteando que si la ficción no se imita a sí misma quizás representara mejor la realidad, o quizás no: “then if our story disobeys the unreal literary rules, that might mean it’s actually truer to life?” (223). Así, Isobel se encarga de transmitir al

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

Without a decent ending” (223). Wakefield, el cual

65

Fielding sigue el modelo de

Without a decent ending” (223). Wakefield, el cual

65

Fielding sigue el modelo de

established precedence for evoking the epistemological –how am I to know my place in the world?– and for adding the ontological questions now central to postmodernism: What is the nature of this world? And what is the nature of my place, or lack of place in this world? (Swope, 1998: 209).

established precedence for evoking the epistemological –how am I to know my place in the world?– and for adding the ontological questions now central to postmodernism: What is the nature of this world? And what is the nature of my place, or lack of place in this world? (Swope, 1998: 209).

La realidad cotidiana de la desaparición parece carecer de interés frente a los problemas de referencialidad y verosimilitud que se nos plantean. De esta forma, “The Enigma” se nos presenta como un texto metaficcional que reflexiona sobre su propia condición de texto y de ficción. Las palabras de Isobel son un guiño al lector que deja entrever la manipulación del autor que juega con las convenciones del género policíaco para finalmente centrar la atención sobre la ontología del texto desvelando su artificialidad.

La realidad cotidiana de la desaparición parece carecer de interés frente a los problemas de referencialidad y verosimilitud que se nos plantean. De esta forma, “The Enigma” se nos presenta como un texto metaficcional que reflexiona sobre su propia condición de texto y de ficción. Las palabras de Isobel son un guiño al lector que deja entrever la manipulación del autor que juega con las convenciones del género policíaco para finalmente centrar la atención sobre la ontología del texto desvelando su artificialidad.

Isobel complica el problema ontológico que presenta la novela apuntando a la ficcionalidad no sólo de la versión que va a dar sobre la desaparición de Fielding, “I do have a private theory. About what happened. It’s very wild ... Very literary” (219), sino también de la novela de la que ella forma parte como personaje. Isobel confunde los niveles ontológicos de la novela al inscribir su ficción sobre Fielding dentro de otra ficción donde ella comparte el mismo nivel ontológico, y la misma irrealidad, que Fielding y al presentar las reflexiones de los protagonistas sobre su carácter de meras ficiones escritas por un autor. De esta forma, planteando la irrealidad de los personajes del género policíaco, se insta al lector a dudar de la capacidad referencial del género que más que imitar la realidad se imita a sí mismo. En esta misma línea, Isobel intenta envolver al lector en sus elucubraciones sobre la referencialidad y la posibilidad de representar la realidad. Su respuesta ante la queja de Jennings de que las novelas policíacas no representan la realidad confronta de nuevo al lector con la problemática ontológica y referencial planteando que si la ficción no se imita a sí misma quizás representara mejor la realidad, o quizás no: “then if our story disobeys the unreal literary rules, that might mean it’s actually truer to life?” (223). Así, Isobel se encarga de transmitir al

Isobel complica el problema ontológico que presenta la novela apuntando a la ficcionalidad no sólo de la versión que va a dar sobre la desaparición de Fielding, “I do have a private theory. About what happened. It’s very wild ... Very literary” (219), sino también de la novela de la que ella forma parte como personaje. Isobel confunde los niveles ontológicos de la novela al inscribir su ficción sobre Fielding dentro de otra ficción donde ella comparte el mismo nivel ontológico, y la misma irrealidad, que Fielding y al presentar las reflexiones de los protagonistas sobre su carácter de meras ficiones escritas por un autor. De esta forma, planteando la irrealidad de los personajes del género policíaco, se insta al lector a dudar de la capacidad referencial del género que más que imitar la realidad se imita a sí mismo. En esta misma línea, Isobel intenta envolver al lector en sus elucubraciones sobre la referencialidad y la posibilidad de representar la realidad. Su respuesta ante la queja de Jennings de que las novelas policíacas no representan la realidad confronta de nuevo al lector con la problemática ontológica y referencial planteando que si la ficción no se imita a sí misma quizás representara mejor la realidad, o quizás no: “then if our story disobeys the unreal literary rules, that might mean it’s actually truer to life?” (223). Así, Isobel se encarga de transmitir al

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

lector la paradoja del escritor postmoderno que utiliza las convenciones genéricas cuestionando la posibilidad de que esas estructuras se conviertan en verdadero referente de la realidad y de la existencia.

lector la paradoja del escritor postmoderno que utiliza las convenciones genéricas cuestionando la posibilidad de que esas estructuras se conviertan en verdadero referente de la realidad y de la existencia.

“The Enigma” también se burla de la estructura de la novela policíaca aludiendo a los giros inesperados en la trama a los que se recurre para conseguir una explicación racional al misterio que se plantea. Por ello, la desaparición de Fielding no ofrece un final lógico, ni siquiera ofrece un final, como sería esperable en una novela policíaca. Isobel se queja burlonamente de que el protagonista desaparezca dejando la historia “without a decent ending” (223). La ausencia de un final coherente manifiesta su concepción de la realidad como caótica e inaprensible. El no saber todas las repuestas se convierte en este relato en parte de la condición postmoderna centrada en el misterio de la existencia. Esta ausencia de respuestas manifiesta una tendencia al desorden y a la irracionalidad. Además, esta futura novelista se burla de la necesidad del lector de saber cómo termina una historia y de que toda historia tenga una solución o un desenlace final: “when you couldn’t work out a logical end from the human premises, you dragged in something external. You had the villain struck down by lightning. A chimney pot fell on his head. You know?” (221). Su empeño por finalizar la historia, en la que ella sólo es una ficción, deja al descubierto las estructuras que utilizamos para construir la realidad reduciendo al absurdo el principio de verosimilitud. Sugiere a Jennings que Fielding podría haberse ahogado él mismo en el lago y, a la manera de Agatha Christie, expone detalladamente su versión de cómo se pudieron desarrollar los acontecimientos. Las ideas extravagantes y rebuscadas que propone imitan claramente las convenciones del género tradicional advirtiéndonos de su artificialidad. Además, las elucubraciones de Isobel posponen indefinidamente la conclusión y la solución del misterio impidiendo al lector alcanzar el conocimiento anhelado de forma que, utilizando la terminología barthesiana, podríamos definir el texto como dilatorio y plural.

“The Enigma” también se burla de la estructura de la novela policíaca aludiendo a los giros inesperados en la trama a los que se recurre para conseguir una explicación racional al misterio que se plantea. Por ello, la desaparición de Fielding no ofrece un final lógico, ni siquiera ofrece un final, como sería esperable en una novela policíaca. Isobel se queja burlonamente de que el protagonista desaparezca dejando la historia “without a decent ending” (223). La ausencia de un final coherente manifiesta su concepción de la realidad como caótica e inaprensible. El no saber todas las repuestas se convierte en este relato en parte de la condición postmoderna centrada en el misterio de la existencia. Esta ausencia de respuestas manifiesta una tendencia al desorden y a la irracionalidad. Además, esta futura novelista se burla de la necesidad del lector de saber cómo termina una historia y de que toda historia tenga una solución o un desenlace final: “when you couldn’t work out a logical end from the human premises, you dragged in something external. You had the villain struck down by lightning. A chimney pot fell on his head. You know?” (221). Su empeño por finalizar la historia, en la que ella sólo es una ficción, deja al descubierto las estructuras que utilizamos para construir la realidad reduciendo al absurdo el principio de verosimilitud. Sugiere a Jennings que Fielding podría haberse ahogado él mismo en el lago y, a la manera de Agatha Christie, expone detalladamente su versión de cómo se pudieron desarrollar los acontecimientos. Las ideas extravagantes y rebuscadas que propone imitan claramente las convenciones del género tradicional advirtiéndonos de su artificialidad. Además, las elucubraciones de Isobel posponen indefinidamente la conclusión y la solución del misterio impidiendo al lector alcanzar el conocimiento anhelado de forma que, utilizando la terminología barthesiana, podríamos definir el texto como dilatorio y plural.

La conclusión que nos ofrece nuestra protagonista sobre el posible suicidio de Fielding no convence al lector porque, al reconocer su carácter artificial, transmite un mensaje desestabilizador haciendo al lector dudar de las certezas a que el género lo tenía acostumbrado. Fowles parece pensar que es más auténtico reflejar la incertidumbre a

La conclusión que nos ofrece nuestra protagonista sobre el posible suicidio de Fielding no convence al lector porque, al reconocer su carácter artificial, transmite un mensaje desestabilizador haciendo al lector dudar de las certezas a que el género lo tenía acostumbrado. Fowles parece pensar que es más auténtico reflejar la incertidumbre a

66

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

lector la paradoja del escritor postmoderno que utiliza las convenciones genéricas cuestionando la posibilidad de que esas estructuras se conviertan en verdadero referente de la realidad y de la existencia.

lector la paradoja del escritor postmoderno que utiliza las convenciones genéricas cuestionando la posibilidad de que esas estructuras se conviertan en verdadero referente de la realidad y de la existencia.

“The Enigma” también se burla de la estructura de la novela policíaca aludiendo a los giros inesperados en la trama a los que se recurre para conseguir una explicación racional al misterio que se plantea. Por ello, la desaparición de Fielding no ofrece un final lógico, ni siquiera ofrece un final, como sería esperable en una novela policíaca. Isobel se queja burlonamente de que el protagonista desaparezca dejando la historia “without a decent ending” (223). La ausencia de un final coherente manifiesta su concepción de la realidad como caótica e inaprensible. El no saber todas las repuestas se convierte en este relato en parte de la condición postmoderna centrada en el misterio de la existencia. Esta ausencia de respuestas manifiesta una tendencia al desorden y a la irracionalidad. Además, esta futura novelista se burla de la necesidad del lector de saber cómo termina una historia y de que toda historia tenga una solución o un desenlace final: “when you couldn’t work out a logical end from the human premises, you dragged in something external. You had the villain struck down by lightning. A chimney pot fell on his head. You know?” (221). Su empeño por finalizar la historia, en la que ella sólo es una ficción, deja al descubierto las estructuras que utilizamos para construir la realidad reduciendo al absurdo el principio de verosimilitud. Sugiere a Jennings que Fielding podría haberse ahogado él mismo en el lago y, a la manera de Agatha Christie, expone detalladamente su versión de cómo se pudieron desarrollar los acontecimientos. Las ideas extravagantes y rebuscadas que propone imitan claramente las convenciones del género tradicional advirtiéndonos de su artificialidad. Además, las elucubraciones de Isobel posponen indefinidamente la conclusión y la solución del misterio impidiendo al lector alcanzar el conocimiento anhelado de forma que, utilizando la terminología barthesiana, podríamos definir el texto como dilatorio y plural.

“The Enigma” también se burla de la estructura de la novela policíaca aludiendo a los giros inesperados en la trama a los que se recurre para conseguir una explicación racional al misterio que se plantea. Por ello, la desaparición de Fielding no ofrece un final lógico, ni siquiera ofrece un final, como sería esperable en una novela policíaca. Isobel se queja burlonamente de que el protagonista desaparezca dejando la historia “without a decent ending” (223). La ausencia de un final coherente manifiesta su concepción de la realidad como caótica e inaprensible. El no saber todas las repuestas se convierte en este relato en parte de la condición postmoderna centrada en el misterio de la existencia. Esta ausencia de respuestas manifiesta una tendencia al desorden y a la irracionalidad. Además, esta futura novelista se burla de la necesidad del lector de saber cómo termina una historia y de que toda historia tenga una solución o un desenlace final: “when you couldn’t work out a logical end from the human premises, you dragged in something external. You had the villain struck down by lightning. A chimney pot fell on his head. You know?” (221). Su empeño por finalizar la historia, en la que ella sólo es una ficción, deja al descubierto las estructuras que utilizamos para construir la realidad reduciendo al absurdo el principio de verosimilitud. Sugiere a Jennings que Fielding podría haberse ahogado él mismo en el lago y, a la manera de Agatha Christie, expone detalladamente su versión de cómo se pudieron desarrollar los acontecimientos. Las ideas extravagantes y rebuscadas que propone imitan claramente las convenciones del género tradicional advirtiéndonos de su artificialidad. Además, las elucubraciones de Isobel posponen indefinidamente la conclusión y la solución del misterio impidiendo al lector alcanzar el conocimiento anhelado de forma que, utilizando la terminología barthesiana, podríamos definir el texto como dilatorio y plural.

La conclusión que nos ofrece nuestra protagonista sobre el posible suicidio de Fielding no convence al lector porque, al reconocer su carácter artificial, transmite un mensaje desestabilizador haciendo al lector dudar de las certezas a que el género lo tenía acostumbrado. Fowles parece pensar que es más auténtico reflejar la incertidumbre a

La conclusión que nos ofrece nuestra protagonista sobre el posible suicidio de Fielding no convence al lector porque, al reconocer su carácter artificial, transmite un mensaje desestabilizador haciendo al lector dudar de las certezas a que el género lo tenía acostumbrado. Fowles parece pensar que es más auténtico reflejar la incertidumbre a

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

67

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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que está abocado el hombre moderno por lo que plantea interrogantes sin dar soluciones. Se propone, al igual que los artistas postmodernos, expulsar al lector del Edén de las ficciones perfectamente estructuradas para exponerlo a la incertidumbre existencial que le rodea. Esto supone una modificación de los postulados básicos del género policíaco cuya inversión ha dado lugar a un nuevo género, la ficción metafísica o anti-policíaca, que se adapta a la perfección a los postulados postmodernos. En palabras de Holquist,

que está abocado el hombre moderno por lo que plantea interrogantes sin dar soluciones. Se propone, al igual que los artistas postmodernos, expulsar al lector del Edén de las ficciones perfectamente estructuradas para exponerlo a la incertidumbre existencial que le rodea. Esto supone una modificación de los postulados básicos del género policíaco cuya inversión ha dado lugar a un nuevo género, la ficción metafísica o anti-policíaca, que se adapta a la perfección a los postulados postmodernos. En palabras de Holquist,

the metaphysical detective story does not have the narcotizing effect of its progenitor; instead of familiarity, it gives strangeness, a strangeness which more often than not is the result of jumbling the well known patterns of classical detective stories. Instead of reassuring, they disturb. They are not an escape, but an attack (Holquist, 1971: 155).

the metaphysical detective story does not have the narcotizing effect of its progenitor; instead of familiarity, it gives strangeness, a strangeness which more often than not is the result of jumbling the well known patterns of classical detective stories. Instead of reassuring, they disturb. They are not an escape, but an attack (Holquist, 1971: 155).

Por otra parte, “The Enigma” a lo largo de la novela va desplazando progresivamente hacia los márgenes el interés por resolver el misterio, de manera que tanto el personaje como el enigma que plantea su desaparición se convierten en secundarios o marginales. El personaje de Fielding deja de tener interés para el lector que pasa a centrarse en la historia de amor que parece haber surgido entre Isobel y Jennings. Fowles subvierte los clichés de la novela policíaca, encarnados en la mentalidad racionalista de Jennings, mediante la celebración del poder de la imaginación y de la intuición de la protagonista femenina consiguiendo así borrar las huellas del género evocado architextualmente. Además, somete al género aludido a una manipulación paródica confrontándonos con un detective que deja de interesarse por los principios racionalistas propios del papel que representa para interesarse por el mundo creativo e imaginativo de Isobel. El interés del lector por la estructura policíaca va perdiendo peso para centrarse en la existencia y en los misterios que la rodean porque, como reconoce el narrador del relato, “the tender pragmatisms of flesh have poetries no enigma, human or divine, can diminish or demean –indeed, it can only cause them, and then walk out” (231). De esta forma, el lector percibe que “The Enigma” se superpone a modo de palimsesto sobre la estructura de la ficción policíaca de manera que “it is a new text, a new kind of plot, written over the face of the old

Por otra parte, “The Enigma” a lo largo de la novela va desplazando progresivamente hacia los márgenes el interés por resolver el misterio, de manera que tanto el personaje como el enigma que plantea su desaparición se convierten en secundarios o marginales. El personaje de Fielding deja de tener interés para el lector que pasa a centrarse en la historia de amor que parece haber surgido entre Isobel y Jennings. Fowles subvierte los clichés de la novela policíaca, encarnados en la mentalidad racionalista de Jennings, mediante la celebración del poder de la imaginación y de la intuición de la protagonista femenina consiguiendo así borrar las huellas del género evocado architextualmente. Además, somete al género aludido a una manipulación paródica confrontándonos con un detective que deja de interesarse por los principios racionalistas propios del papel que representa para interesarse por el mundo creativo e imaginativo de Isobel. El interés del lector por la estructura policíaca va perdiendo peso para centrarse en la existencia y en los misterios que la rodean porque, como reconoce el narrador del relato, “the tender pragmatisms of flesh have poetries no enigma, human or divine, can diminish or demean –indeed, it can only cause them, and then walk out” (231). De esta forma, el lector percibe que “The Enigma” se superpone a modo de palimsesto sobre la estructura de la ficción policíaca de manera que “it is a new text, a new kind of plot, written over the face of the old

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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que está abocado el hombre moderno por lo que plantea interrogantes sin dar soluciones. Se propone, al igual que los artistas postmodernos, expulsar al lector del Edén de las ficciones perfectamente estructuradas para exponerlo a la incertidumbre existencial que le rodea. Esto supone una modificación de los postulados básicos del género policíaco cuya inversión ha dado lugar a un nuevo género, la ficción metafísica o anti-policíaca, que se adapta a la perfección a los postulados postmodernos. En palabras de Holquist,

que está abocado el hombre moderno por lo que plantea interrogantes sin dar soluciones. Se propone, al igual que los artistas postmodernos, expulsar al lector del Edén de las ficciones perfectamente estructuradas para exponerlo a la incertidumbre existencial que le rodea. Esto supone una modificación de los postulados básicos del género policíaco cuya inversión ha dado lugar a un nuevo género, la ficción metafísica o anti-policíaca, que se adapta a la perfección a los postulados postmodernos. En palabras de Holquist,

the metaphysical detective story does not have the narcotizing effect of its progenitor; instead of familiarity, it gives strangeness, a strangeness which more often than not is the result of jumbling the well known patterns of classical detective stories. Instead of reassuring, they disturb. They are not an escape, but an attack (Holquist, 1971: 155).

the metaphysical detective story does not have the narcotizing effect of its progenitor; instead of familiarity, it gives strangeness, a strangeness which more often than not is the result of jumbling the well known patterns of classical detective stories. Instead of reassuring, they disturb. They are not an escape, but an attack (Holquist, 1971: 155).

Por otra parte, “The Enigma” a lo largo de la novela va desplazando progresivamente hacia los márgenes el interés por resolver el misterio, de manera que tanto el personaje como el enigma que plantea su desaparición se convierten en secundarios o marginales. El personaje de Fielding deja de tener interés para el lector que pasa a centrarse en la historia de amor que parece haber surgido entre Isobel y Jennings. Fowles subvierte los clichés de la novela policíaca, encarnados en la mentalidad racionalista de Jennings, mediante la celebración del poder de la imaginación y de la intuición de la protagonista femenina consiguiendo así borrar las huellas del género evocado architextualmente. Además, somete al género aludido a una manipulación paródica confrontándonos con un detective que deja de interesarse por los principios racionalistas propios del papel que representa para interesarse por el mundo creativo e imaginativo de Isobel. El interés del lector por la estructura policíaca va perdiendo peso para centrarse en la existencia y en los misterios que la rodean porque, como reconoce el narrador del relato, “the tender pragmatisms of flesh have poetries no enigma, human or divine, can diminish or demean –indeed, it can only cause them, and then walk out” (231). De esta forma, el lector percibe que “The Enigma” se superpone a modo de palimsesto sobre la estructura de la ficción policíaca de manera que “it is a new text, a new kind of plot, written over the face of the old

Por otra parte, “The Enigma” a lo largo de la novela va desplazando progresivamente hacia los márgenes el interés por resolver el misterio, de manera que tanto el personaje como el enigma que plantea su desaparición se convierten en secundarios o marginales. El personaje de Fielding deja de tener interés para el lector que pasa a centrarse en la historia de amor que parece haber surgido entre Isobel y Jennings. Fowles subvierte los clichés de la novela policíaca, encarnados en la mentalidad racionalista de Jennings, mediante la celebración del poder de la imaginación y de la intuición de la protagonista femenina consiguiendo así borrar las huellas del género evocado architextualmente. Además, somete al género aludido a una manipulación paródica confrontándonos con un detective que deja de interesarse por los principios racionalistas propios del papel que representa para interesarse por el mundo creativo e imaginativo de Isobel. El interés del lector por la estructura policíaca va perdiendo peso para centrarse en la existencia y en los misterios que la rodean porque, como reconoce el narrador del relato, “the tender pragmatisms of flesh have poetries no enigma, human or divine, can diminish or demean –indeed, it can only cause them, and then walk out” (231). De esta forma, el lector percibe que “The Enigma” se superpone a modo de palimsesto sobre la estructura de la ficción policíaca de manera que “it is a new text, a new kind of plot, written over the face of the old

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detective story, whose traditional elements still are legible underneath the new message” (Holquist, 1971: 153).

detective story, whose traditional elements still are legible underneath the new message” (Holquist, 1971: 153).

Además, este texto camaleónico va desviando el interés del género policíaco por descubrir la verdad y construyendo un relato metaficcional donde se reflexiona sobre el proceso de creación e interpretación del texto. Así, Isobel se convierte en la autora postmoderna que descubre el carácter mediatizado de todo texto. Consciente de que toda ficción está condenada a convertirse en una mise en abyme, la protagonista crea micro-historias que, además de subrayar el carácter circular e infinito de toda narrativa, amenazan con desestabilizar el universo ontológico de la trama principal. Isobel se convierte en la narradora de la historia en la que, después de asumir su papel de autora y otorgar a Jennings la función de lector, ella misma se convierte en personaje:

Además, este texto camaleónico va desviando el interés del género policíaco por descubrir la verdad y construyendo un relato metaficcional donde se reflexiona sobre el proceso de creación e interpretación del texto. Así, Isobel se convierte en la autora postmoderna que descubre el carácter mediatizado de todo texto. Consciente de que toda ficción está condenada a convertirse en una mise en abyme, la protagonista crea micro-historias que, además de subrayar el carácter circular e infinito de toda narrativa, amenazan con desestabilizar el universo ontológico de la trama principal. Isobel se convierte en la narradora de la historia en la que, después de asumir su papel de autora y otorgar a Jennings la función de lector, ella misma se convierte en personaje:

The real girl placed with her plastic tea spoon, looked up at him unsmiling now; trying him out “… and being the kind of person she is, once she’d decided it was the right thing to do, nothing, not even rather dishy young policemen who buy her cups of tea, would ever get the facts out of her.” (222).

The real girl placed with her plastic tea spoon, looked up at him unsmiling now; trying him out “… and being the kind of person she is, once she’d decided it was the right thing to do, nothing, not even rather dishy young policemen who buy her cups of tea, would ever get the facts out of her.” (222).

Las comillas dobles sirven para recordar al lector los marcos que lo distancian de la narrativa principal, es decir, que estamos en un nivel hipodiegético respecto al primer nivel narrativo. Isobel se atreve, incluso, a resaltar el carácter ficticio de ese universo que ella misma ha creado: “Let’s pretend everything to do with the Fieldings, even you and me sitting here now, is in a novel. A detective story” (221). Estas palabras son claramente subversivas en cuanto a que destruyen toda intención mimética del género policíaco tradicional. La ficción postmoderna se vuelve auto-reflexiva al plantear al lector problemas ontológicos que centran su atención sobre la literatura como artificio, como construcción de mundos.

Las comillas dobles sirven para recordar al lector los marcos que lo distancian de la narrativa principal, es decir, que estamos en un nivel hipodiegético respecto al primer nivel narrativo. Isobel se atreve, incluso, a resaltar el carácter ficticio de ese universo que ella misma ha creado: “Let’s pretend everything to do with the Fieldings, even you and me sitting here now, is in a novel. A detective story” (221). Estas palabras son claramente subversivas en cuanto a que destruyen toda intención mimética del género policíaco tradicional. La ficción postmoderna se vuelve auto-reflexiva al plantear al lector problemas ontológicos que centran su atención sobre la literatura como artificio, como construcción de mundos.

La nueva narradora, en su primera creación hipotética, plantea que el personaje desaparecido se encontró con ella en la biblioteca del British Museum y que ella lo ayudó a esconderse durante unos días: “The writer could have made them meet. He’d have to make it a kind

La nueva narradora, en su primera creación hipotética, plantea que el personaje desaparecido se encontró con ella en la biblioteca del British Museum y que ella lo ayudó a esconderse durante unos días: “The writer could have made them meet. He’d have to make it a kind

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detective story, whose traditional elements still are legible underneath the new message” (Holquist, 1971: 153).

detective story, whose traditional elements still are legible underneath the new message” (Holquist, 1971: 153).

Además, este texto camaleónico va desviando el interés del género policíaco por descubrir la verdad y construyendo un relato metaficcional donde se reflexiona sobre el proceso de creación e interpretación del texto. Así, Isobel se convierte en la autora postmoderna que descubre el carácter mediatizado de todo texto. Consciente de que toda ficción está condenada a convertirse en una mise en abyme, la protagonista crea micro-historias que, además de subrayar el carácter circular e infinito de toda narrativa, amenazan con desestabilizar el universo ontológico de la trama principal. Isobel se convierte en la narradora de la historia en la que, después de asumir su papel de autora y otorgar a Jennings la función de lector, ella misma se convierte en personaje:

Además, este texto camaleónico va desviando el interés del género policíaco por descubrir la verdad y construyendo un relato metaficcional donde se reflexiona sobre el proceso de creación e interpretación del texto. Así, Isobel se convierte en la autora postmoderna que descubre el carácter mediatizado de todo texto. Consciente de que toda ficción está condenada a convertirse en una mise en abyme, la protagonista crea micro-historias que, además de subrayar el carácter circular e infinito de toda narrativa, amenazan con desestabilizar el universo ontológico de la trama principal. Isobel se convierte en la narradora de la historia en la que, después de asumir su papel de autora y otorgar a Jennings la función de lector, ella misma se convierte en personaje:

The real girl placed with her plastic tea spoon, looked up at him unsmiling now; trying him out “… and being the kind of person she is, once she’d decided it was the right thing to do, nothing, not even rather dishy young policemen who buy her cups of tea, would ever get the facts out of her.” (222).

The real girl placed with her plastic tea spoon, looked up at him unsmiling now; trying him out “… and being the kind of person she is, once she’d decided it was the right thing to do, nothing, not even rather dishy young policemen who buy her cups of tea, would ever get the facts out of her.” (222).

Las comillas dobles sirven para recordar al lector los marcos que lo distancian de la narrativa principal, es decir, que estamos en un nivel hipodiegético respecto al primer nivel narrativo. Isobel se atreve, incluso, a resaltar el carácter ficticio de ese universo que ella misma ha creado: “Let’s pretend everything to do with the Fieldings, even you and me sitting here now, is in a novel. A detective story” (221). Estas palabras son claramente subversivas en cuanto a que destruyen toda intención mimética del género policíaco tradicional. La ficción postmoderna se vuelve auto-reflexiva al plantear al lector problemas ontológicos que centran su atención sobre la literatura como artificio, como construcción de mundos.

Las comillas dobles sirven para recordar al lector los marcos que lo distancian de la narrativa principal, es decir, que estamos en un nivel hipodiegético respecto al primer nivel narrativo. Isobel se atreve, incluso, a resaltar el carácter ficticio de ese universo que ella misma ha creado: “Let’s pretend everything to do with the Fieldings, even you and me sitting here now, is in a novel. A detective story” (221). Estas palabras son claramente subversivas en cuanto a que destruyen toda intención mimética del género policíaco tradicional. La ficción postmoderna se vuelve auto-reflexiva al plantear al lector problemas ontológicos que centran su atención sobre la literatura como artificio, como construcción de mundos.

La nueva narradora, en su primera creación hipotética, plantea que el personaje desaparecido se encontró con ella en la biblioteca del British Museum y que ella lo ayudó a esconderse durante unos días: “The writer could have made them meet. He’d have to make it a kind

La nueva narradora, en su primera creación hipotética, plantea que el personaje desaparecido se encontró con ella en la biblioteca del British Museum y que ella lo ayudó a esconderse durante unos días: “The writer could have made them meet. He’d have to make it a kind

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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of spur-of-the-moment thing. Obviously it could have been better planned, if the missing man had had it in his mind for some time …” (222). Esta primera hipótesis sugiere muy sutilmente una interpretación metaficcional ya que insinúa que, puesto que el personaje desaparecido es una ficción, se esconde en la biblioteca, es decir, desaparece entre otros textos de ficción. El detective Jennings no parece entender la ironía y, por ello, se burla de su hipótesis por considerarla poco imaginativa. “So our writer would have to tear this ending up?” (223), pregunta Isobel no sin cierta malicia. Por ese motivo, se atreve a ser más explícita y propone abiertamente una interpretación metaficcional del relato: “I think the writer would have to face up to that. His main character has walked out on him. So all he’s left with is the character’s determination to have it that way. High and dry. Without a decent ending” (223). Este final es enormemente subversivo puesto que no va a ser aceptado fácilmente por lectores como el detective Jennings que necesitan certezas y que exigen que la ficción se adapte a las normas establecidas. La ausencia de un final se ajusta a la idea postmoderna defendida por Isobel: “The one thing people never forget is the unsolved. Nothing lasts like a mystery” (226), pero no parece interesar al tipo de lector representado por Jennings en la ficción. De ahí que el detective proponga su propia teoría, la teoría del suicidio que parece más plausible. De nuevo, el interés de la historia parece centrarse en los sistemas que rigen nuestra percepción más que en la narrativa misma. El lector es consciente de las diferencias de percepción entre ambos personajes: “the sergeant felt the abyss between them; people who live by ideas, people who have to live by facts” (224).

of spur-of-the-moment thing. Obviously it could have been better planned, if the missing man had had it in his mind for some time …” (222). Esta primera hipótesis sugiere muy sutilmente una interpretación metaficcional ya que insinúa que, puesto que el personaje desaparecido es una ficción, se esconde en la biblioteca, es decir, desaparece entre otros textos de ficción. El detective Jennings no parece entender la ironía y, por ello, se burla de su hipótesis por considerarla poco imaginativa. “So our writer would have to tear this ending up?” (223), pregunta Isobel no sin cierta malicia. Por ese motivo, se atreve a ser más explícita y propone abiertamente una interpretación metaficcional del relato: “I think the writer would have to face up to that. His main character has walked out on him. So all he’s left with is the character’s determination to have it that way. High and dry. Without a decent ending” (223). Este final es enormemente subversivo puesto que no va a ser aceptado fácilmente por lectores como el detective Jennings que necesitan certezas y que exigen que la ficción se adapte a las normas establecidas. La ausencia de un final se ajusta a la idea postmoderna defendida por Isobel: “The one thing people never forget is the unsolved. Nothing lasts like a mystery” (226), pero no parece interesar al tipo de lector representado por Jennings en la ficción. De ahí que el detective proponga su propia teoría, la teoría del suicidio que parece más plausible. De nuevo, el interés de la historia parece centrarse en los sistemas que rigen nuestra percepción más que en la narrativa misma. El lector es consciente de las diferencias de percepción entre ambos personajes: “the sergeant felt the abyss between them; people who live by ideas, people who have to live by facts” (224).

A raíz de estas palabras el lector reflexiona de forma consciente sobre su propia actitud interpretativa, motivado por su identificación en la ficción con el comportamiento del detective Jennings. En consonancia con su actitud racionalista, el detective sigue defendiendo la tesis del suicidio, aunque considera que necesita pruebas consistentes para probar su hipótesis. De ahí que Isobel, en su función de narradora postmoderna, decida seguirle el juego y proporcionarle datos precisos, aunque ficticios, sobre cómo, cuándo y dónde pudo haber sucedido. La escritora se burla abiertamente de su deseo de certezas y de su actitud racionalista. Es evidente, pues, que este juego burlón, que refleja la interacción del escritor y el lector a través de sus

A raíz de estas palabras el lector reflexiona de forma consciente sobre su propia actitud interpretativa, motivado por su identificación en la ficción con el comportamiento del detective Jennings. En consonancia con su actitud racionalista, el detective sigue defendiendo la tesis del suicidio, aunque considera que necesita pruebas consistentes para probar su hipótesis. De ahí que Isobel, en su función de narradora postmoderna, decida seguirle el juego y proporcionarle datos precisos, aunque ficticios, sobre cómo, cuándo y dónde pudo haber sucedido. La escritora se burla abiertamente de su deseo de certezas y de su actitud racionalista. Es evidente, pues, que este juego burlón, que refleja la interacción del escritor y el lector a través de sus

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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of spur-of-the-moment thing. Obviously it could have been better planned, if the missing man had had it in his mind for some time …” (222). Esta primera hipótesis sugiere muy sutilmente una interpretación metaficcional ya que insinúa que, puesto que el personaje desaparecido es una ficción, se esconde en la biblioteca, es decir, desaparece entre otros textos de ficción. El detective Jennings no parece entender la ironía y, por ello, se burla de su hipótesis por considerarla poco imaginativa. “So our writer would have to tear this ending up?” (223), pregunta Isobel no sin cierta malicia. Por ese motivo, se atreve a ser más explícita y propone abiertamente una interpretación metaficcional del relato: “I think the writer would have to face up to that. His main character has walked out on him. So all he’s left with is the character’s determination to have it that way. High and dry. Without a decent ending” (223). Este final es enormemente subversivo puesto que no va a ser aceptado fácilmente por lectores como el detective Jennings que necesitan certezas y que exigen que la ficción se adapte a las normas establecidas. La ausencia de un final se ajusta a la idea postmoderna defendida por Isobel: “The one thing people never forget is the unsolved. Nothing lasts like a mystery” (226), pero no parece interesar al tipo de lector representado por Jennings en la ficción. De ahí que el detective proponga su propia teoría, la teoría del suicidio que parece más plausible. De nuevo, el interés de la historia parece centrarse en los sistemas que rigen nuestra percepción más que en la narrativa misma. El lector es consciente de las diferencias de percepción entre ambos personajes: “the sergeant felt the abyss between them; people who live by ideas, people who have to live by facts” (224).

of spur-of-the-moment thing. Obviously it could have been better planned, if the missing man had had it in his mind for some time …” (222). Esta primera hipótesis sugiere muy sutilmente una interpretación metaficcional ya que insinúa que, puesto que el personaje desaparecido es una ficción, se esconde en la biblioteca, es decir, desaparece entre otros textos de ficción. El detective Jennings no parece entender la ironía y, por ello, se burla de su hipótesis por considerarla poco imaginativa. “So our writer would have to tear this ending up?” (223), pregunta Isobel no sin cierta malicia. Por ese motivo, se atreve a ser más explícita y propone abiertamente una interpretación metaficcional del relato: “I think the writer would have to face up to that. His main character has walked out on him. So all he’s left with is the character’s determination to have it that way. High and dry. Without a decent ending” (223). Este final es enormemente subversivo puesto que no va a ser aceptado fácilmente por lectores como el detective Jennings que necesitan certezas y que exigen que la ficción se adapte a las normas establecidas. La ausencia de un final se ajusta a la idea postmoderna defendida por Isobel: “The one thing people never forget is the unsolved. Nothing lasts like a mystery” (226), pero no parece interesar al tipo de lector representado por Jennings en la ficción. De ahí que el detective proponga su propia teoría, la teoría del suicidio que parece más plausible. De nuevo, el interés de la historia parece centrarse en los sistemas que rigen nuestra percepción más que en la narrativa misma. El lector es consciente de las diferencias de percepción entre ambos personajes: “the sergeant felt the abyss between them; people who live by ideas, people who have to live by facts” (224).

A raíz de estas palabras el lector reflexiona de forma consciente sobre su propia actitud interpretativa, motivado por su identificación en la ficción con el comportamiento del detective Jennings. En consonancia con su actitud racionalista, el detective sigue defendiendo la tesis del suicidio, aunque considera que necesita pruebas consistentes para probar su hipótesis. De ahí que Isobel, en su función de narradora postmoderna, decida seguirle el juego y proporcionarle datos precisos, aunque ficticios, sobre cómo, cuándo y dónde pudo haber sucedido. La escritora se burla abiertamente de su deseo de certezas y de su actitud racionalista. Es evidente, pues, que este juego burlón, que refleja la interacción del escritor y el lector a través de sus

A raíz de estas palabras el lector reflexiona de forma consciente sobre su propia actitud interpretativa, motivado por su identificación en la ficción con el comportamiento del detective Jennings. En consonancia con su actitud racionalista, el detective sigue defendiendo la tesis del suicidio, aunque considera que necesita pruebas consistentes para probar su hipótesis. De ahí que Isobel, en su función de narradora postmoderna, decida seguirle el juego y proporcionarle datos precisos, aunque ficticios, sobre cómo, cuándo y dónde pudo haber sucedido. La escritora se burla abiertamente de su deseo de certezas y de su actitud racionalista. Es evidente, pues, que este juego burlón, que refleja la interacción del escritor y el lector a través de sus

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sustitutos en la ficción, tiene la clara intención de enseñar al lector a tolerar otras formas de interpretación. Y es precisamente esa intención lo que lleva a Isobel a negarle el final que el detective espera. Jennings sabe que ella es la última persona que vio al desaparecido Fielding y espera que sea la clave en la solución del misterio. Este es el motivo por el que el detective insiste en que Isobel responda a su pregunta sobre si realmente se encontró con Fielding en la sala de lectura del British Museum; “Just tying the ends”(228), se justifica. Frente al deseo de certezas de Jennings encontramos la firme resistencia de Isobel quien, decidida a modificar su actitud hacia la lectura y hacia la vida, contesta: “And if I don’t answer?” (228). Se podría entender que la escritora se propone enseñar al detective, y al lector, a hacer una lectura metaficcional, es decir, a tolerar el misterio y la incertidumbre. Su empresa no está exenta de dificultad ya que el detective sigue empecinado en que la historia se ajuste a las reglas convencionales y le proporcione un final esclarecedor: “I don’t think that writer of yours would allow that” (228). Sin embargo, es en esta pugna entre el autor y el lector ficticios donde el lector empieza a ser consciente de la intención “didáctica” del autor real sobre él. Nuevamente, nos sentimos identificados con nuestro sustituto en la ficción cuando, consciente del juego del autor, afirma:

sustitutos en la ficción, tiene la clara intención de enseñar al lector a tolerar otras formas de interpretación. Y es precisamente esa intención lo que lleva a Isobel a negarle el final que el detective espera. Jennings sabe que ella es la última persona que vio al desaparecido Fielding y espera que sea la clave en la solución del misterio. Este es el motivo por el que el detective insiste en que Isobel responda a su pregunta sobre si realmente se encontró con Fielding en la sala de lectura del British Museum; “Just tying the ends”(228), se justifica. Frente al deseo de certezas de Jennings encontramos la firme resistencia de Isobel quien, decidida a modificar su actitud hacia la lectura y hacia la vida, contesta: “And if I don’t answer?” (228). Se podría entender que la escritora se propone enseñar al detective, y al lector, a hacer una lectura metaficcional, es decir, a tolerar el misterio y la incertidumbre. Su empresa no está exenta de dificultad ya que el detective sigue empecinado en que la historia se ajuste a las reglas convencionales y le proporcione un final esclarecedor: “I don’t think that writer of yours would allow that” (228). Sin embargo, es en esta pugna entre el autor y el lector ficticios donde el lector empieza a ser consciente de la intención “didáctica” del autor real sobre él. Nuevamente, nos sentimos identificados con nuestro sustituto en la ficción cuando, consciente del juego del autor, afirma:

It was bantering, yet he knew he was being put to the test; that this was precisely what was to be learned. And in some strange way the case had died during the last half an hour; it was not so much that he accepted her theory, but that like everyone else, though for a different reason, he now saw it didn’t really matter. The act was done; taking it to bits, discovering how it had been done in detail, was not the point (229).

It was bantering, yet he knew he was being put to the test; that this was precisely what was to be learned. And in some strange way the case had died during the last half an hour; it was not so much that he accepted her theory, but that like everyone else, though for a different reason, he now saw it didn’t really matter. The act was done; taking it to bits, discovering how it had been done in detail, was not the point (229).

Parece que las intenciones didácticas de Isobel, también las de Fowles, han empezado a dar sus frutos puesto que Jennings, ante el ataque directo de Isobel al concepto de realidad convencional, aprende a intuir la existencia de otras “realidades”. Resulta obvio ahora que la continua frustración de las expectativas del lector y los continuos obstáculos que interrumpen el proceso de lectura se proponen, en última instancia, evitar la concepción teleológica y racional de la narrativa. Pero, también, la invitación de Isobel a interpretar la historia

Parece que las intenciones didácticas de Isobel, también las de Fowles, han empezado a dar sus frutos puesto que Jennings, ante el ataque directo de Isobel al concepto de realidad convencional, aprende a intuir la existencia de otras “realidades”. Resulta obvio ahora que la continua frustración de las expectativas del lector y los continuos obstáculos que interrumpen el proceso de lectura se proponen, en última instancia, evitar la concepción teleológica y racional de la narrativa. Pero, también, la invitación de Isobel a interpretar la historia

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

sustitutos en la ficción, tiene la clara intención de enseñar al lector a tolerar otras formas de interpretación. Y es precisamente esa intención lo que lleva a Isobel a negarle el final que el detective espera. Jennings sabe que ella es la última persona que vio al desaparecido Fielding y espera que sea la clave en la solución del misterio. Este es el motivo por el que el detective insiste en que Isobel responda a su pregunta sobre si realmente se encontró con Fielding en la sala de lectura del British Museum; “Just tying the ends”(228), se justifica. Frente al deseo de certezas de Jennings encontramos la firme resistencia de Isobel quien, decidida a modificar su actitud hacia la lectura y hacia la vida, contesta: “And if I don’t answer?” (228). Se podría entender que la escritora se propone enseñar al detective, y al lector, a hacer una lectura metaficcional, es decir, a tolerar el misterio y la incertidumbre. Su empresa no está exenta de dificultad ya que el detective sigue empecinado en que la historia se ajuste a las reglas convencionales y le proporcione un final esclarecedor: “I don’t think that writer of yours would allow that” (228). Sin embargo, es en esta pugna entre el autor y el lector ficticios donde el lector empieza a ser consciente de la intención “didáctica” del autor real sobre él. Nuevamente, nos sentimos identificados con nuestro sustituto en la ficción cuando, consciente del juego del autor, afirma:

sustitutos en la ficción, tiene la clara intención de enseñar al lector a tolerar otras formas de interpretación. Y es precisamente esa intención lo que lleva a Isobel a negarle el final que el detective espera. Jennings sabe que ella es la última persona que vio al desaparecido Fielding y espera que sea la clave en la solución del misterio. Este es el motivo por el que el detective insiste en que Isobel responda a su pregunta sobre si realmente se encontró con Fielding en la sala de lectura del British Museum; “Just tying the ends”(228), se justifica. Frente al deseo de certezas de Jennings encontramos la firme resistencia de Isobel quien, decidida a modificar su actitud hacia la lectura y hacia la vida, contesta: “And if I don’t answer?” (228). Se podría entender que la escritora se propone enseñar al detective, y al lector, a hacer una lectura metaficcional, es decir, a tolerar el misterio y la incertidumbre. Su empresa no está exenta de dificultad ya que el detective sigue empecinado en que la historia se ajuste a las reglas convencionales y le proporcione un final esclarecedor: “I don’t think that writer of yours would allow that” (228). Sin embargo, es en esta pugna entre el autor y el lector ficticios donde el lector empieza a ser consciente de la intención “didáctica” del autor real sobre él. Nuevamente, nos sentimos identificados con nuestro sustituto en la ficción cuando, consciente del juego del autor, afirma:

It was bantering, yet he knew he was being put to the test; that this was precisely what was to be learned. And in some strange way the case had died during the last half an hour; it was not so much that he accepted her theory, but that like everyone else, though for a different reason, he now saw it didn’t really matter. The act was done; taking it to bits, discovering how it had been done in detail, was not the point (229).

It was bantering, yet he knew he was being put to the test; that this was precisely what was to be learned. And in some strange way the case had died during the last half an hour; it was not so much that he accepted her theory, but that like everyone else, though for a different reason, he now saw it didn’t really matter. The act was done; taking it to bits, discovering how it had been done in detail, was not the point (229).

Parece que las intenciones didácticas de Isobel, también las de Fowles, han empezado a dar sus frutos puesto que Jennings, ante el ataque directo de Isobel al concepto de realidad convencional, aprende a intuir la existencia de otras “realidades”. Resulta obvio ahora que la continua frustración de las expectativas del lector y los continuos obstáculos que interrumpen el proceso de lectura se proponen, en última instancia, evitar la concepción teleológica y racional de la narrativa. Pero, también, la invitación de Isobel a interpretar la historia

Parece que las intenciones didácticas de Isobel, también las de Fowles, han empezado a dar sus frutos puesto que Jennings, ante el ataque directo de Isobel al concepto de realidad convencional, aprende a intuir la existencia de otras “realidades”. Resulta obvio ahora que la continua frustración de las expectativas del lector y los continuos obstáculos que interrumpen el proceso de lectura se proponen, en última instancia, evitar la concepción teleológica y racional de la narrativa. Pero, también, la invitación de Isobel a interpretar la historia

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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en clave metaficcional no sólo supone un cambio radical en nuestra concepción de la realidad y de la ficción, sino que nos hace, además, darnos cuenta de la importancia del lector en el proceso creativo. Así, se podría decir, utilizando las palabras de Linda Hutcheon, que “as the novelist actualizes the world of his imagination through words, so the reader –from those same words– manufactures in reverse a literary universe that is as much his creation as the novelist’s” (1980: 27). La negativa de Isobel, y de Fowles, a proporcionar al lector un final “aceptable” alcanza, así, una dimensión más profunda en cuanto a que invita al lector a tolerar la incertidumbre otorgándole plena libertad para crear sus propias ficciones, sus propias formas de ordenar y entender la realidad. En otras palabras, se sugiere al lector que las hipótesis que crea en su imaginación quizás resulten tan reales como el universo extra-textual.

en clave metaficcional no sólo supone un cambio radical en nuestra concepción de la realidad y de la ficción, sino que nos hace, además, darnos cuenta de la importancia del lector en el proceso creativo. Así, se podría decir, utilizando las palabras de Linda Hutcheon, que “as the novelist actualizes the world of his imagination through words, so the reader –from those same words– manufactures in reverse a literary universe that is as much his creation as the novelist’s” (1980: 27). La negativa de Isobel, y de Fowles, a proporcionar al lector un final “aceptable” alcanza, así, una dimensión más profunda en cuanto a que invita al lector a tolerar la incertidumbre otorgándole plena libertad para crear sus propias ficciones, sus propias formas de ordenar y entender la realidad. En otras palabras, se sugiere al lector que las hipótesis que crea en su imaginación quizás resulten tan reales como el universo extra-textual.

“The Enigma” despliega una serie de preguntas, hipótesis imperfectas y soluciones imposibles. Las explicaciones de Isobel se guían más por la imaginación que por la lógica. Finalmente, este relato confronta al lector con la ignorancia y el misterio ya que, al mismo tiempo que lo invita a formular hipótesis, no le ofrece verdades irrefutables que le permitan comprobar la validez de las mismas. “The Enigma” parece un intento fallido de recomponer las piezas del puzzle de la realidad objetiva y de completar el proceso deductivo de la novela policíaca tradicional. En este sentido se ajusta a la perfección a la descripción que del género policíaco metafísico hacen Merivale y McSweeney:

“The Enigma” despliega una serie de preguntas, hipótesis imperfectas y soluciones imposibles. Las explicaciones de Isobel se guían más por la imaginación que por la lógica. Finalmente, este relato confronta al lector con la ignorancia y el misterio ya que, al mismo tiempo que lo invita a formular hipótesis, no le ofrece verdades irrefutables que le permitan comprobar la validez de las mismas. “The Enigma” parece un intento fallido de recomponer las piezas del puzzle de la realidad objetiva y de completar el proceso deductivo de la novela policíaca tradicional. En este sentido se ajusta a la perfección a la descripción que del género policíaco metafísico hacen Merivale y McSweeney:

A metaphysical detective story is a text that parodies or subverts traditional detective-story conventions –such as narrative closure and the detective’s role as surrogate reader– with the intention, or at least the effect, of asking questions about mysteries of being and knowing which transcend the mere machinations of the mystery plot. Metaphysical detective stories often emphasize this transcendence, moreover, by becoming self-reflexive (that is, by representing allegorically the text’s own process of composition) (1999: 2).

A metaphysical detective story is a text that parodies or subverts traditional detective-story conventions –such as narrative closure and the detective’s role as surrogate reader– with the intention, or at least the effect, of asking questions about mysteries of being and knowing which transcend the mere machinations of the mystery plot. Metaphysical detective stories often emphasize this transcendence, moreover, by becoming self-reflexive (that is, by representing allegorically the text’s own process of composition) (1999: 2).

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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en clave metaficcional no sólo supone un cambio radical en nuestra concepción de la realidad y de la ficción, sino que nos hace, además, darnos cuenta de la importancia del lector en el proceso creativo. Así, se podría decir, utilizando las palabras de Linda Hutcheon, que “as the novelist actualizes the world of his imagination through words, so the reader –from those same words– manufactures in reverse a literary universe that is as much his creation as the novelist’s” (1980: 27). La negativa de Isobel, y de Fowles, a proporcionar al lector un final “aceptable” alcanza, así, una dimensión más profunda en cuanto a que invita al lector a tolerar la incertidumbre otorgándole plena libertad para crear sus propias ficciones, sus propias formas de ordenar y entender la realidad. En otras palabras, se sugiere al lector que las hipótesis que crea en su imaginación quizás resulten tan reales como el universo extra-textual.

en clave metaficcional no sólo supone un cambio radical en nuestra concepción de la realidad y de la ficción, sino que nos hace, además, darnos cuenta de la importancia del lector en el proceso creativo. Así, se podría decir, utilizando las palabras de Linda Hutcheon, que “as the novelist actualizes the world of his imagination through words, so the reader –from those same words– manufactures in reverse a literary universe that is as much his creation as the novelist’s” (1980: 27). La negativa de Isobel, y de Fowles, a proporcionar al lector un final “aceptable” alcanza, así, una dimensión más profunda en cuanto a que invita al lector a tolerar la incertidumbre otorgándole plena libertad para crear sus propias ficciones, sus propias formas de ordenar y entender la realidad. En otras palabras, se sugiere al lector que las hipótesis que crea en su imaginación quizás resulten tan reales como el universo extra-textual.

“The Enigma” despliega una serie de preguntas, hipótesis imperfectas y soluciones imposibles. Las explicaciones de Isobel se guían más por la imaginación que por la lógica. Finalmente, este relato confronta al lector con la ignorancia y el misterio ya que, al mismo tiempo que lo invita a formular hipótesis, no le ofrece verdades irrefutables que le permitan comprobar la validez de las mismas. “The Enigma” parece un intento fallido de recomponer las piezas del puzzle de la realidad objetiva y de completar el proceso deductivo de la novela policíaca tradicional. En este sentido se ajusta a la perfección a la descripción que del género policíaco metafísico hacen Merivale y McSweeney:

“The Enigma” despliega una serie de preguntas, hipótesis imperfectas y soluciones imposibles. Las explicaciones de Isobel se guían más por la imaginación que por la lógica. Finalmente, este relato confronta al lector con la ignorancia y el misterio ya que, al mismo tiempo que lo invita a formular hipótesis, no le ofrece verdades irrefutables que le permitan comprobar la validez de las mismas. “The Enigma” parece un intento fallido de recomponer las piezas del puzzle de la realidad objetiva y de completar el proceso deductivo de la novela policíaca tradicional. En este sentido se ajusta a la perfección a la descripción que del género policíaco metafísico hacen Merivale y McSweeney:

A metaphysical detective story is a text that parodies or subverts traditional detective-story conventions –such as narrative closure and the detective’s role as surrogate reader– with the intention, or at least the effect, of asking questions about mysteries of being and knowing which transcend the mere machinations of the mystery plot. Metaphysical detective stories often emphasize this transcendence, moreover, by becoming self-reflexive (that is, by representing allegorically the text’s own process of composition) (1999: 2).

A metaphysical detective story is a text that parodies or subverts traditional detective-story conventions –such as narrative closure and the detective’s role as surrogate reader– with the intention, or at least the effect, of asking questions about mysteries of being and knowing which transcend the mere machinations of the mystery plot. Metaphysical detective stories often emphasize this transcendence, moreover, by becoming self-reflexive (that is, by representing allegorically the text’s own process of composition) (1999: 2).

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Las diferentes formas subjetivas de estructurar la realidad contribuyen a crear una tensión que intensifica la ambigüedad del universo ficticio. El lector que emprende la lectura con la esperanza de tener acceso a un universo coherente verá, por tanto, frustradas sus expectativas ante el despliegue de estrategias metaficcionales que convierten la construcción del universo de ficción en una empresa extremadamente problemática. Los diferentes micro-relatos que se insertan en la narrativa principal contradicen nuestras expectativas sobre el texto como espacio estático y, debido a que éste despliega todo su potencial y mutabilidad, consigue modificar nuestra percepción del mismo. En otras palabras, esta bifurcación de posibilidades invita a la repetida re-construcción del texto, que se transforma ante cada nueva alternativa, de forma que el acto de escritura y el de la interpretación se funden progresivamente hasta hacerse inseparables. Al final del relato, unas ficciones se acumulan sobre otras negando cualquier significado o solución al misterio. Isobel es la autora de un texto sous rature, de una escritura que se borra continuamente pero que no nos deja olvidar su significado. Se podría afirmar que

Las diferentes formas subjetivas de estructurar la realidad contribuyen a crear una tensión que intensifica la ambigüedad del universo ficticio. El lector que emprende la lectura con la esperanza de tener acceso a un universo coherente verá, por tanto, frustradas sus expectativas ante el despliegue de estrategias metaficcionales que convierten la construcción del universo de ficción en una empresa extremadamente problemática. Los diferentes micro-relatos que se insertan en la narrativa principal contradicen nuestras expectativas sobre el texto como espacio estático y, debido a que éste despliega todo su potencial y mutabilidad, consigue modificar nuestra percepción del mismo. En otras palabras, esta bifurcación de posibilidades invita a la repetida re-construcción del texto, que se transforma ante cada nueva alternativa, de forma que el acto de escritura y el de la interpretación se funden progresivamente hasta hacerse inseparables. Al final del relato, unas ficciones se acumulan sobre otras negando cualquier significado o solución al misterio. Isobel es la autora de un texto sous rature, de una escritura que se borra continuamente pero que no nos deja olvidar su significado. Se podría afirmar que

in the metafictional category the anti-detective novel becomes mainly ‘assassination’ of texts and ‘hideand-seek’ between the writer and reader. The detective game is rarefied and intellectualized to such an extent that it becomes the sophisticated ritualization of the timeless game between writer and reader present in any good novel (Tani 1984: 146-147).

in the metafictional category the anti-detective novel becomes mainly ‘assassination’ of texts and ‘hideand-seek’ between the writer and reader. The detective game is rarefied and intellectualized to such an extent that it becomes the sophisticated ritualization of the timeless game between writer and reader present in any good novel (Tani 1984: 146-147).

“The Enigma” se plantea como juego que se propone deconstruir el texto mediante la proliferación de hipótesis que nos indican que este no es el texto definitivo que represente la realidad, sino sólo un texto sobre otro anterior. El autor se niega a ofrecer una narrativa coherente que explique la desaparición de Fielding y, al hacerlo, insiste en el efecto liberador derivado de la ambigüedad deliberada. Es un texto paranoico debido a su indeterminación y a los marcos de referencia tan contradictorios que presenta. En definitiva, la dialéctica entre auto-destrucción y auto-invención consigue involucrar al lector en un proceso interminable que no admite síntesis pues ninguna interpretación se presenta como definitiva. Pues parece evidente que “Fowles sets up the mystery not to allow us to choose our

“The Enigma” se plantea como juego que se propone deconstruir el texto mediante la proliferación de hipótesis que nos indican que este no es el texto definitivo que represente la realidad, sino sólo un texto sobre otro anterior. El autor se niega a ofrecer una narrativa coherente que explique la desaparición de Fielding y, al hacerlo, insiste en el efecto liberador derivado de la ambigüedad deliberada. Es un texto paranoico debido a su indeterminación y a los marcos de referencia tan contradictorios que presenta. En definitiva, la dialéctica entre auto-destrucción y auto-invención consigue involucrar al lector en un proceso interminable que no admite síntesis pues ninguna interpretación se presenta como definitiva. Pues parece evidente que “Fowles sets up the mystery not to allow us to choose our

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

Las diferentes formas subjetivas de estructurar la realidad contribuyen a crear una tensión que intensifica la ambigüedad del universo ficticio. El lector que emprende la lectura con la esperanza de tener acceso a un universo coherente verá, por tanto, frustradas sus expectativas ante el despliegue de estrategias metaficcionales que convierten la construcción del universo de ficción en una empresa extremadamente problemática. Los diferentes micro-relatos que se insertan en la narrativa principal contradicen nuestras expectativas sobre el texto como espacio estático y, debido a que éste despliega todo su potencial y mutabilidad, consigue modificar nuestra percepción del mismo. En otras palabras, esta bifurcación de posibilidades invita a la repetida re-construcción del texto, que se transforma ante cada nueva alternativa, de forma que el acto de escritura y el de la interpretación se funden progresivamente hasta hacerse inseparables. Al final del relato, unas ficciones se acumulan sobre otras negando cualquier significado o solución al misterio. Isobel es la autora de un texto sous rature, de una escritura que se borra continuamente pero que no nos deja olvidar su significado. Se podría afirmar que

Las diferentes formas subjetivas de estructurar la realidad contribuyen a crear una tensión que intensifica la ambigüedad del universo ficticio. El lector que emprende la lectura con la esperanza de tener acceso a un universo coherente verá, por tanto, frustradas sus expectativas ante el despliegue de estrategias metaficcionales que convierten la construcción del universo de ficción en una empresa extremadamente problemática. Los diferentes micro-relatos que se insertan en la narrativa principal contradicen nuestras expectativas sobre el texto como espacio estático y, debido a que éste despliega todo su potencial y mutabilidad, consigue modificar nuestra percepción del mismo. En otras palabras, esta bifurcación de posibilidades invita a la repetida re-construcción del texto, que se transforma ante cada nueva alternativa, de forma que el acto de escritura y el de la interpretación se funden progresivamente hasta hacerse inseparables. Al final del relato, unas ficciones se acumulan sobre otras negando cualquier significado o solución al misterio. Isobel es la autora de un texto sous rature, de una escritura que se borra continuamente pero que no nos deja olvidar su significado. Se podría afirmar que

in the metafictional category the anti-detective novel becomes mainly ‘assassination’ of texts and ‘hideand-seek’ between the writer and reader. The detective game is rarefied and intellectualized to such an extent that it becomes the sophisticated ritualization of the timeless game between writer and reader present in any good novel (Tani 1984: 146-147).

in the metafictional category the anti-detective novel becomes mainly ‘assassination’ of texts and ‘hideand-seek’ between the writer and reader. The detective game is rarefied and intellectualized to such an extent that it becomes the sophisticated ritualization of the timeless game between writer and reader present in any good novel (Tani 1984: 146-147).

“The Enigma” se plantea como juego que se propone deconstruir el texto mediante la proliferación de hipótesis que nos indican que este no es el texto definitivo que represente la realidad, sino sólo un texto sobre otro anterior. El autor se niega a ofrecer una narrativa coherente que explique la desaparición de Fielding y, al hacerlo, insiste en el efecto liberador derivado de la ambigüedad deliberada. Es un texto paranoico debido a su indeterminación y a los marcos de referencia tan contradictorios que presenta. En definitiva, la dialéctica entre auto-destrucción y auto-invención consigue involucrar al lector en un proceso interminable que no admite síntesis pues ninguna interpretación se presenta como definitiva. Pues parece evidente que “Fowles sets up the mystery not to allow us to choose our

“The Enigma” se plantea como juego que se propone deconstruir el texto mediante la proliferación de hipótesis que nos indican que este no es el texto definitivo que represente la realidad, sino sólo un texto sobre otro anterior. El autor se niega a ofrecer una narrativa coherente que explique la desaparición de Fielding y, al hacerlo, insiste en el efecto liberador derivado de la ambigüedad deliberada. Es un texto paranoico debido a su indeterminación y a los marcos de referencia tan contradictorios que presenta. En definitiva, la dialéctica entre auto-destrucción y auto-invención consigue involucrar al lector en un proceso interminable que no admite síntesis pues ninguna interpretación se presenta como definitiva. Pues parece evidente que “Fowles sets up the mystery not to allow us to choose our

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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own solution, but to question the motives and values supporting that very drive for closure” (Roessner 2000: 308).

own solution, but to question the motives and values supporting that very drive for closure” (Roessner 2000: 308).

Fowles en este relato apuesta por desdibujar las fronteras entre géneros y deformarlos de forma que apenas resulten reconocibles por el lector. Se nos anima a interpretar el texto según las expectativas del género policíaco para posteriormente destruir las convenciones evocadas burlándose de nuestro deseo de univocidad. La subversión de las estructuras propias del relato policíaco sirve para jugar con las expectativas que trae consigo el lector convirtiendo el acto de la lectura en una reflexión sobre las condiciones en que se genera e interpreta el significado. Pero, además, la architextualidad obliga al lector a concentrarse en el género que resulta desplazado y modificado por la obra que tenemos delante. De esta forma, este relato metafísico desplaza a su antecesor, superponiéndose a modo de palimsesto, con la finalidad de celebrar la ruptura de los límites que separan los géneros. Esto supone el reconocimiento de que los géneros no son estructuras incuestionables ni inamovibles ya que todas las convenciones parecen susceptibles a la ironía y a la deconstrucción de forma que se de paso a nuevas convenciones que permitan regenerar las formas literarias.

Fowles en este relato apuesta por desdibujar las fronteras entre géneros y deformarlos de forma que apenas resulten reconocibles por el lector. Se nos anima a interpretar el texto según las expectativas del género policíaco para posteriormente destruir las convenciones evocadas burlándose de nuestro deseo de univocidad. La subversión de las estructuras propias del relato policíaco sirve para jugar con las expectativas que trae consigo el lector convirtiendo el acto de la lectura en una reflexión sobre las condiciones en que se genera e interpreta el significado. Pero, además, la architextualidad obliga al lector a concentrarse en el género que resulta desplazado y modificado por la obra que tenemos delante. De esta forma, este relato metafísico desplaza a su antecesor, superponiéndose a modo de palimsesto, con la finalidad de celebrar la ruptura de los límites que separan los géneros. Esto supone el reconocimiento de que los géneros no son estructuras incuestionables ni inamovibles ya que todas las convenciones parecen susceptibles a la ironía y a la deconstrucción de forma que se de paso a nuevas convenciones que permitan regenerar las formas literarias.

Fowles propone nuevas estructuras narrativas que, aunque se nutren de estructuras conocidas, permitan superar la necesidad de orientación que tiene el lector y reflejar la complejidad y ambigüedad de la realidad. Esto supone un desafío a la estabilidad de significados que propugnaba el realismo. Si la estructura o el género literario en el pasado parecía facilitar la interpretación de las obras, el postmodernismo va a jugar con esas certezas borrando los límites que separan los géneros. De hecho, se podría afirmar que

Fowles propone nuevas estructuras narrativas que, aunque se nutren de estructuras conocidas, permitan superar la necesidad de orientación que tiene el lector y reflejar la complejidad y ambigüedad de la realidad. Esto supone un desafío a la estabilidad de significados que propugnaba el realismo. Si la estructura o el género literario en el pasado parecía facilitar la interpretación de las obras, el postmodernismo va a jugar con esas certezas borrando los límites que separan los géneros. De hecho, se podría afirmar que

postmodernism not only radicalizes forms, but also satirizes them, exposing their incapacities to connect with reality and the possibilities for distortion which result. In one way … this can be seen as evasive, a negation of art’s potential to confront the challenges of life and history. In another way, however, it can be seen as responsibly encouraging the readers to challenge for themselves cultural codes and established patterns of thought (Smyth, 1991: 25).

postmodernism not only radicalizes forms, but also satirizes them, exposing their incapacities to connect with reality and the possibilities for distortion which result. In one way … this can be seen as evasive, a negation of art’s potential to confront the challenges of life and history. In another way, however, it can be seen as responsibly encouraging the readers to challenge for themselves cultural codes and established patterns of thought (Smyth, 1991: 25).

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Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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own solution, but to question the motives and values supporting that very drive for closure” (Roessner 2000: 308).

own solution, but to question the motives and values supporting that very drive for closure” (Roessner 2000: 308).

Fowles en este relato apuesta por desdibujar las fronteras entre géneros y deformarlos de forma que apenas resulten reconocibles por el lector. Se nos anima a interpretar el texto según las expectativas del género policíaco para posteriormente destruir las convenciones evocadas burlándose de nuestro deseo de univocidad. La subversión de las estructuras propias del relato policíaco sirve para jugar con las expectativas que trae consigo el lector convirtiendo el acto de la lectura en una reflexión sobre las condiciones en que se genera e interpreta el significado. Pero, además, la architextualidad obliga al lector a concentrarse en el género que resulta desplazado y modificado por la obra que tenemos delante. De esta forma, este relato metafísico desplaza a su antecesor, superponiéndose a modo de palimsesto, con la finalidad de celebrar la ruptura de los límites que separan los géneros. Esto supone el reconocimiento de que los géneros no son estructuras incuestionables ni inamovibles ya que todas las convenciones parecen susceptibles a la ironía y a la deconstrucción de forma que se de paso a nuevas convenciones que permitan regenerar las formas literarias.

Fowles en este relato apuesta por desdibujar las fronteras entre géneros y deformarlos de forma que apenas resulten reconocibles por el lector. Se nos anima a interpretar el texto según las expectativas del género policíaco para posteriormente destruir las convenciones evocadas burlándose de nuestro deseo de univocidad. La subversión de las estructuras propias del relato policíaco sirve para jugar con las expectativas que trae consigo el lector convirtiendo el acto de la lectura en una reflexión sobre las condiciones en que se genera e interpreta el significado. Pero, además, la architextualidad obliga al lector a concentrarse en el género que resulta desplazado y modificado por la obra que tenemos delante. De esta forma, este relato metafísico desplaza a su antecesor, superponiéndose a modo de palimsesto, con la finalidad de celebrar la ruptura de los límites que separan los géneros. Esto supone el reconocimiento de que los géneros no son estructuras incuestionables ni inamovibles ya que todas las convenciones parecen susceptibles a la ironía y a la deconstrucción de forma que se de paso a nuevas convenciones que permitan regenerar las formas literarias.

Fowles propone nuevas estructuras narrativas que, aunque se nutren de estructuras conocidas, permitan superar la necesidad de orientación que tiene el lector y reflejar la complejidad y ambigüedad de la realidad. Esto supone un desafío a la estabilidad de significados que propugnaba el realismo. Si la estructura o el género literario en el pasado parecía facilitar la interpretación de las obras, el postmodernismo va a jugar con esas certezas borrando los límites que separan los géneros. De hecho, se podría afirmar que

Fowles propone nuevas estructuras narrativas que, aunque se nutren de estructuras conocidas, permitan superar la necesidad de orientación que tiene el lector y reflejar la complejidad y ambigüedad de la realidad. Esto supone un desafío a la estabilidad de significados que propugnaba el realismo. Si la estructura o el género literario en el pasado parecía facilitar la interpretación de las obras, el postmodernismo va a jugar con esas certezas borrando los límites que separan los géneros. De hecho, se podría afirmar que

postmodernism not only radicalizes forms, but also satirizes them, exposing their incapacities to connect with reality and the possibilities for distortion which result. In one way … this can be seen as evasive, a negation of art’s potential to confront the challenges of life and history. In another way, however, it can be seen as responsibly encouraging the readers to challenge for themselves cultural codes and established patterns of thought (Smyth, 1991: 25).

postmodernism not only radicalizes forms, but also satirizes them, exposing their incapacities to connect with reality and the possibilities for distortion which result. In one way … this can be seen as evasive, a negation of art’s potential to confront the challenges of life and history. In another way, however, it can be seen as responsibly encouraging the readers to challenge for themselves cultural codes and established patterns of thought (Smyth, 1991: 25).

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Estas narrativas postmodernas incomodan e inquietan al lector al hacerlo desconfiar de las convenciones y creencias procedentes de su repertorio literario. Son narrativas que, reflexionando sobre la artificialidad de las estructuras aparentemente inamovibles, no ofrecen soluciones sino que más bien plantean interrogantes al lector. En definitiva, son obras socialmente comprometidas pues, mediante la auto-reflexión sobre la codificación de los significados, exploran los condicionamientos que las formas imponen sobre nuestra visión de la realidad con la intención de liberar al lector de la autoridad de la tradición. Como consecuencia, se desafía el concepto que el lector tiene de la interpretación y se le insta a dejarse de interesar por el significado de un texto literario para centrar su atención sobre cómo está construido dicho texto. De esta forma, la revisión de las estructuras permite concebir los textos como productos abiertos e inacabados que pueden estar sujetos a continua revisión al igual que los códigos culturales que pretenden transmitir.

Estas narrativas postmodernas incomodan e inquietan al lector al hacerlo desconfiar de las convenciones y creencias procedentes de su repertorio literario. Son narrativas que, reflexionando sobre la artificialidad de las estructuras aparentemente inamovibles, no ofrecen soluciones sino que más bien plantean interrogantes al lector. En definitiva, son obras socialmente comprometidas pues, mediante la auto-reflexión sobre la codificación de los significados, exploran los condicionamientos que las formas imponen sobre nuestra visión de la realidad con la intención de liberar al lector de la autoridad de la tradición. Como consecuencia, se desafía el concepto que el lector tiene de la interpretación y se le insta a dejarse de interesar por el significado de un texto literario para centrar su atención sobre cómo está construido dicho texto. De esta forma, la revisión de las estructuras permite concebir los textos como productos abiertos e inacabados que pueden estar sujetos a continua revisión al igual que los códigos culturales que pretenden transmitir.

OBRAS CITADAS

OBRAS CITADAS

Brax, K. 2003. The Poetics of Mystery. Genre, Representation and Narrative Ethics in John Fowles’s Historical Fiction. Helsinki: Helsinky University Printing House. Carpi, D. 2002. “Hypertext and Mystery: A Re-reading of John Fowles’ ‘The Enigma’, Mantissa and A Maggot”. Anglistik. 13, 1: 93-106 Fowles, J. 1975. The Ebony Tower. New York: Signet. Frye, N. 1976. The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Holmes, F. M. 1985. “Fictional Self-Consciousness in John Fowles’s ‘The Ebony Tower’”. ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature. 16, 3: 21 Holquist, M. 1971. “Whodunit and Other Questions: Metaphysical Detective Stories in Post-War Fiction”. New Literary History. 3, 1: 135-156 Hutcheon, L. 1980. Narcissistic Narrative: The Metafictional Paradox. London: Routledge. McSweeney, K. 1980-81. “John Fowles’s Variations in The Ebony Tower”. Journal of Modern Literature. 8, 2: 303-324

Brax, K. 2003. The Poetics of Mystery. Genre, Representation and Narrative Ethics in John Fowles’s Historical Fiction. Helsinki: Helsinky University Printing House. Carpi, D. 2002. “Hypertext and Mystery: A Re-reading of John Fowles’ ‘The Enigma’, Mantissa and A Maggot”. Anglistik. 13, 1: 93-106 Fowles, J. 1975. The Ebony Tower. New York: Signet. Frye, N. 1976. The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Holmes, F. M. 1985. “Fictional Self-Consciousness in John Fowles’s ‘The Ebony Tower’”. ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature. 16, 3: 21 Holquist, M. 1971. “Whodunit and Other Questions: Metaphysical Detective Stories in Post-War Fiction”. New Literary History. 3, 1: 135-156 Hutcheon, L. 1980. Narcissistic Narrative: The Metafictional Paradox. London: Routledge. McSweeney, K. 1980-81. “John Fowles’s Variations in The Ebony Tower”. Journal of Modern Literature. 8, 2: 303-324

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

Estas narrativas postmodernas incomodan e inquietan al lector al hacerlo desconfiar de las convenciones y creencias procedentes de su repertorio literario. Son narrativas que, reflexionando sobre la artificialidad de las estructuras aparentemente inamovibles, no ofrecen soluciones sino que más bien plantean interrogantes al lector. En definitiva, son obras socialmente comprometidas pues, mediante la auto-reflexión sobre la codificación de los significados, exploran los condicionamientos que las formas imponen sobre nuestra visión de la realidad con la intención de liberar al lector de la autoridad de la tradición. Como consecuencia, se desafía el concepto que el lector tiene de la interpretación y se le insta a dejarse de interesar por el significado de un texto literario para centrar su atención sobre cómo está construido dicho texto. De esta forma, la revisión de las estructuras permite concebir los textos como productos abiertos e inacabados que pueden estar sujetos a continua revisión al igual que los códigos culturales que pretenden transmitir.

Estas narrativas postmodernas incomodan e inquietan al lector al hacerlo desconfiar de las convenciones y creencias procedentes de su repertorio literario. Son narrativas que, reflexionando sobre la artificialidad de las estructuras aparentemente inamovibles, no ofrecen soluciones sino que más bien plantean interrogantes al lector. En definitiva, son obras socialmente comprometidas pues, mediante la auto-reflexión sobre la codificación de los significados, exploran los condicionamientos que las formas imponen sobre nuestra visión de la realidad con la intención de liberar al lector de la autoridad de la tradición. Como consecuencia, se desafía el concepto que el lector tiene de la interpretación y se le insta a dejarse de interesar por el significado de un texto literario para centrar su atención sobre cómo está construido dicho texto. De esta forma, la revisión de las estructuras permite concebir los textos como productos abiertos e inacabados que pueden estar sujetos a continua revisión al igual que los códigos culturales que pretenden transmitir.

OBRAS CITADAS

OBRAS CITADAS

Brax, K. 2003. The Poetics of Mystery. Genre, Representation and Narrative Ethics in John Fowles’s Historical Fiction. Helsinki: Helsinky University Printing House. Carpi, D. 2002. “Hypertext and Mystery: A Re-reading of John Fowles’ ‘The Enigma’, Mantissa and A Maggot”. Anglistik. 13, 1: 93-106 Fowles, J. 1975. The Ebony Tower. New York: Signet. Frye, N. 1976. The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Holmes, F. M. 1985. “Fictional Self-Consciousness in John Fowles’s ‘The Ebony Tower’”. ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature. 16, 3: 21 Holquist, M. 1971. “Whodunit and Other Questions: Metaphysical Detective Stories in Post-War Fiction”. New Literary History. 3, 1: 135-156 Hutcheon, L. 1980. Narcissistic Narrative: The Metafictional Paradox. London: Routledge. McSweeney, K. 1980-81. “John Fowles’s Variations in The Ebony Tower”. Journal of Modern Literature. 8, 2: 303-324

Brax, K. 2003. The Poetics of Mystery. Genre, Representation and Narrative Ethics in John Fowles’s Historical Fiction. Helsinki: Helsinky University Printing House. Carpi, D. 2002. “Hypertext and Mystery: A Re-reading of John Fowles’ ‘The Enigma’, Mantissa and A Maggot”. Anglistik. 13, 1: 93-106 Fowles, J. 1975. The Ebony Tower. New York: Signet. Frye, N. 1976. The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Holmes, F. M. 1985. “Fictional Self-Consciousness in John Fowles’s ‘The Ebony Tower’”. ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature. 16, 3: 21 Holquist, M. 1971. “Whodunit and Other Questions: Metaphysical Detective Stories in Post-War Fiction”. New Literary History. 3, 1: 135-156 Hutcheon, L. 1980. Narcissistic Narrative: The Metafictional Paradox. London: Routledge. McSweeney, K. 1980-81. “John Fowles’s Variations in The Ebony Tower”. Journal of Modern Literature. 8, 2: 303-324

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

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Merivale, P. y S. E. Sweeney. 1999. “The Game’s Afoot: On the Trail of the Metaphysical Detective Story” en P. Merivale y S. Sweeney, eds. The Metaphysical Detective Story from Poe to Postmodernism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press Roessner, J. 2000. “Unsolved Mysteries: Agents of Historical Change in John Fowles’s A Maggot”. Papers on Language & Literature: a Quarterly Journal for Scholars and Critics of Language and Literature. 36, 3: 302-23 Smyth, E. J. 1991. Postmodernism and Contemporary Fiction. London: Batsford. Spanos, W. V. 1972. “The Detective and The Boundary: Some Notes on the Postmodern Literary Imagination”. Boundary.2 1, 1: 147-168 Swope, R. 1998. “Approaching the Threshold(s) in Postmodern Detective Fiction: Hawthorne’s “Wakefield” and other Missing Persons”. Studies in Contemporary Fiction. 39, 3: 207-227 Tani, Stefano. 1984. The Doomed Detective. The Contribution of the Detective Novel to Postmodern American and Italian Fiction. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Merivale, P. y S. E. Sweeney. 1999. “The Game’s Afoot: On the Trail of the Metaphysical Detective Story” en P. Merivale y S. Sweeney, eds. The Metaphysical Detective Story from Poe to Postmodernism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press Roessner, J. 2000. “Unsolved Mysteries: Agents of Historical Change in John Fowles’s A Maggot”. Papers on Language & Literature: a Quarterly Journal for Scholars and Critics of Language and Literature. 36, 3: 302-23 Smyth, E. J. 1991. Postmodernism and Contemporary Fiction. London: Batsford. Spanos, W. V. 1972. “The Detective and The Boundary: Some Notes on the Postmodern Literary Imagination”. Boundary.2 1, 1: 147-168 Swope, R. 1998. “Approaching the Threshold(s) in Postmodern Detective Fiction: Hawthorne’s “Wakefield” and other Missing Persons”. Studies in Contemporary Fiction. 39, 3: 207-227 Tani, Stefano. 1984. The Doomed Detective. The Contribution of the Detective Novel to Postmodern American and Italian Fiction. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

Luisa Mª González Rodríguez La subversión del género policíaco en The Enigma de John Fowles

75

Merivale, P. y S. E. Sweeney. 1999. “The Game’s Afoot: On the Trail of the Metaphysical Detective Story” en P. Merivale y S. Sweeney, eds. The Metaphysical Detective Story from Poe to Postmodernism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press Roessner, J. 2000. “Unsolved Mysteries: Agents of Historical Change in John Fowles’s A Maggot”. Papers on Language & Literature: a Quarterly Journal for Scholars and Critics of Language and Literature. 36, 3: 302-23 Smyth, E. J. 1991. Postmodernism and Contemporary Fiction. London: Batsford. Spanos, W. V. 1972. “The Detective and The Boundary: Some Notes on the Postmodern Literary Imagination”. Boundary.2 1, 1: 147-168 Swope, R. 1998. “Approaching the Threshold(s) in Postmodern Detective Fiction: Hawthorne’s “Wakefield” and other Missing Persons”. Studies in Contemporary Fiction. 39, 3: 207-227 Tani, Stefano. 1984. The Doomed Detective. The Contribution of the Detective Novel to Postmodern American and Italian Fiction. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

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Merivale, P. y S. E. Sweeney. 1999. “The Game’s Afoot: On the Trail of the Metaphysical Detective Story” en P. Merivale y S. Sweeney, eds. The Metaphysical Detective Story from Poe to Postmodernism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press Roessner, J. 2000. “Unsolved Mysteries: Agents of Historical Change in John Fowles’s A Maggot”. Papers on Language & Literature: a Quarterly Journal for Scholars and Critics of Language and Literature. 36, 3: 302-23 Smyth, E. J. 1991. Postmodernism and Contemporary Fiction. London: Batsford. Spanos, W. V. 1972. “The Detective and The Boundary: Some Notes on the Postmodern Literary Imagination”. Boundary.2 1, 1: 147-168 Swope, R. 1998. “Approaching the Threshold(s) in Postmodern Detective Fiction: Hawthorne’s “Wakefield” and other Missing Persons”. Studies in Contemporary Fiction. 39, 3: 207-227 Tani, Stefano. 1984. The Doomed Detective. The Contribution of the Detective Novel to Postmodern American and Italian Fiction. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

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TRISTRAM’S IDENTITY REVISITED * Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Universidad de Granada sumille@correo.ugr.es

Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Tristram’s Identity Revisited

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TRISTRAM’S IDENTITY REVISITED * Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Universidad de Granada sumille@correo.ugr.es

It was a commissary sent to me from the post office, with a rescript in his hand for the payment of some six livres odd sous. Upon what account? Said I. – ‘Tis upon the part of the king, replied the commissary, heaving up both his shoulders-My good friend, quoth I, -as sure as I am I – and you are you-And who are you? Said he. – Don’t puzzle me, said I.

It was a commissary sent to me from the post office, with a rescript in his hand for the payment of some six livres odd sous. Upon what account? Said I. – ‘Tis upon the part of the king, replied the commissary, heaving up both his shoulders-My good friend, quoth I, -as sure as I am I – and you are you-And who are you? Said he. – Don’t puzzle me, said I.

(Sterne 2003: 473)

(Sterne 2003: 473)

This article briefly connects the postulates of four authors from very different backgrounds with the manner in which the issue of personal identity is dealt with in Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. The chosen thinkers are John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, and Jean Baudrillard. Locke’s ideas on language, knowledge, and personal identity will be contrasted with those of Sterne. Then, the article will discuss Hume’s theories on associationism and his conviction that the notion of the “I” is a mere illusion created by human memory. As to Lacan and Baudrillard, the former’s theory of “the mirror stage”, and the concepts of simulation and hyperreality put forward by the latter will be compared with the ideas underlying Tristram Shandy. In this manner, by the end of the article I will have elaborated a gradient in which Locke is very distant from Sterne’s world view and Baudrillard occupies the closest position, while both Hume and Lacan can be placed in the middle of that gradient.

This article briefly connects the postulates of four authors from very different backgrounds with the manner in which the issue of personal identity is dealt with in Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. The chosen thinkers are John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, and Jean Baudrillard. Locke’s ideas on language, knowledge, and personal identity will be contrasted with those of Sterne. Then, the article will discuss Hume’s theories on associationism and his conviction that the notion of the “I” is a mere illusion created by human memory. As to Lacan and Baudrillard, the former’s theory of “the mirror stage”, and the concepts of simulation and hyperreality put forward by the latter will be compared with the ideas underlying Tristram Shandy. In this manner, by the end of the article I will have elaborated a gradient in which Locke is very distant from Sterne’s world view and Baudrillard occupies the closest position, while both Hume and Lacan can be placed in the middle of that gradient.

Key words: Tristram Shandy, Sterne, Locke, Hume, Lacan, Baudrillard, personal identity.

Key words: Tristram Shandy, Sterne, Locke, Hume, Lacan, Baudrillard, personal identity.

Este artículo compara las teorías de John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, y Jean Baudrillard con la

Este artículo compara las teorías de John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, y Jean Baudrillard con la

* Fecha de recepción: marzo 2007

Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Tristram’s Identity Revisited

77

* Fecha de recepción: marzo 2007

Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Tristram’s Identity Revisited

77

TRISTRAM’S IDENTITY REVISITED * Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Universidad de Granada sumille@correo.ugr.es

TRISTRAM’S IDENTITY REVISITED * Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Universidad de Granada sumille@correo.ugr.es It was a commissary sent to me from the post office, with a rescript in his hand for the payment of some six livres odd sous. Upon what account? Said I. – ‘Tis upon the part of the king, replied the commissary, heaving up both his shoulders-My good friend, quoth I, -as sure as I am I – and you are you-And who are you? Said he. – Don’t puzzle me, said I.

It was a commissary sent to me from the post office, with a rescript in his hand for the payment of some six livres odd sous. Upon what account? Said I. – ‘Tis upon the part of the king, replied the commissary, heaving up both his shoulders-My good friend, quoth I, -as sure as I am I – and you are you-And who are you? Said he. – Don’t puzzle me, said I.

(Sterne 2003: 473)

(Sterne 2003: 473)

This article briefly connects the postulates of four authors from very different backgrounds with the manner in which the issue of personal identity is dealt with in Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. The chosen thinkers are John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, and Jean Baudrillard. Locke’s ideas on language, knowledge, and personal identity will be contrasted with those of Sterne. Then, the article will discuss Hume’s theories on associationism and his conviction that the notion of the “I” is a mere illusion created by human memory. As to Lacan and Baudrillard, the former’s theory of “the mirror stage”, and the concepts of simulation and hyperreality put forward by the latter will be compared with the ideas underlying Tristram Shandy. In this manner, by the end of the article I will have elaborated a gradient in which Locke is very distant from Sterne’s world view and Baudrillard occupies the closest position, while both Hume and Lacan can be placed in the middle of that gradient.

This article briefly connects the postulates of four authors from very different backgrounds with the manner in which the issue of personal identity is dealt with in Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. The chosen thinkers are John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, and Jean Baudrillard. Locke’s ideas on language, knowledge, and personal identity will be contrasted with those of Sterne. Then, the article will discuss Hume’s theories on associationism and his conviction that the notion of the “I” is a mere illusion created by human memory. As to Lacan and Baudrillard, the former’s theory of “the mirror stage”, and the concepts of simulation and hyperreality put forward by the latter will be compared with the ideas underlying Tristram Shandy. In this manner, by the end of the article I will have elaborated a gradient in which Locke is very distant from Sterne’s world view and Baudrillard occupies the closest position, while both Hume and Lacan can be placed in the middle of that gradient.

Key words: Tristram Shandy, Sterne, Locke, Hume, Lacan, Baudrillard, personal identity.

Key words: Tristram Shandy, Sterne, Locke, Hume, Lacan, Baudrillard, personal identity.

Este artículo compara las teorías de John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, y Jean Baudrillard con la

Este artículo compara las teorías de John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, y Jean Baudrillard con la

* Fecha de recepción: marzo 2007

* Fecha de recepción: marzo 2007

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manera en que Sterne trata el tema de la identidad personal en Tristram Shandy. En el mismo se tienen en cuenta las reflexiones de Locke acerca del lenguaje, el conocimiento, y la identidad personal; las teorías de Hume sobre la asociación de ideas y la noción del “yo” como ilusión producida por la memoria; la teoría del estadio del espejo desarrollada por Lacan, y las nociones de simulación e hiperrealidad formuladas por Baudrillard. Las conclusiones de este breve estudio comparativo permiten la elaboración de una escala en la que, con respecto a la visión del mundo de Sterne, Locke ocupa el extremo más distante, Baudrillard el más próximo, y Hume y Lacan una posición intermedia entre los otros dos autores.

manera en que Sterne trata el tema de la identidad personal en Tristram Shandy. En el mismo se tienen en cuenta las reflexiones de Locke acerca del lenguaje, el conocimiento, y la identidad personal; las teorías de Hume sobre la asociación de ideas y la noción del “yo” como ilusión producida por la memoria; la teoría del estadio del espejo desarrollada por Lacan, y las nociones de simulación e hiperrealidad formuladas por Baudrillard. Las conclusiones de este breve estudio comparativo permiten la elaboración de una escala en la que, con respecto a la visión del mundo de Sterne, Locke ocupa el extremo más distante, Baudrillard el más próximo, y Hume y Lacan una posición intermedia entre los otros dos autores.

Palabras clave: Tristram Shandy, Sterne, Locke, Hume, Lacan, Baudrillard, identidad personal.

Palabras clave: Tristram Shandy, Sterne, Locke, Hume, Lacan, Baudrillard, identidad personal.

Along with the issues of language, knowledge, or the use of metafiction, the problematic point of personal identity occupies a central position within Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Indeed, Sterne’s novel is conceived as the unfinished autobiography of the character of Tristram Shandy, who, despite his promise of giving an exact account of his life, ends up writing about episodes from the lives of his father and his uncle Toby. By the end of the book, however, it seems as if the main reason why Tristram attempted to write his autobiography were, precisely, a personal need for self-knowledge; and the analysis of his father’s and uncle’s lives and opinions, the only means to achieve his purpose. In any case, the means Tristram uses to puzzle out the riddle of his own personal identity have been a great source of debate and comparison with various philosophical postulates.

Along with the issues of language, knowledge, or the use of metafiction, the problematic point of personal identity occupies a central position within Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Indeed, Sterne’s novel is conceived as the unfinished autobiography of the character of Tristram Shandy, who, despite his promise of giving an exact account of his life, ends up writing about episodes from the lives of his father and his uncle Toby. By the end of the book, however, it seems as if the main reason why Tristram attempted to write his autobiography were, precisely, a personal need for self-knowledge; and the analysis of his father’s and uncle’s lives and opinions, the only means to achieve his purpose. In any case, the means Tristram uses to puzzle out the riddle of his own personal identity have been a great source of debate and comparison with various philosophical postulates.

In this article, I am going to connect the theses of four different thinkers, with the manner in which Sterne deals with the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy. Thus, I will discuss the postulates defended by John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, and Jean Baudrillard in this respect. There are several reasons for my selection

In this article, I am going to connect the theses of four different thinkers, with the manner in which Sterne deals with the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy. Thus, I will discuss the postulates defended by John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, and Jean Baudrillard in this respect. There are several reasons for my selection

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manera en que Sterne trata el tema de la identidad personal en Tristram Shandy. En el mismo se tienen en cuenta las reflexiones de Locke acerca del lenguaje, el conocimiento, y la identidad personal; las teorías de Hume sobre la asociación de ideas y la noción del “yo” como ilusión producida por la memoria; la teoría del estadio del espejo desarrollada por Lacan, y las nociones de simulación e hiperrealidad formuladas por Baudrillard. Las conclusiones de este breve estudio comparativo permiten la elaboración de una escala en la que, con respecto a la visión del mundo de Sterne, Locke ocupa el extremo más distante, Baudrillard el más próximo, y Hume y Lacan una posición intermedia entre los otros dos autores.

manera en que Sterne trata el tema de la identidad personal en Tristram Shandy. En el mismo se tienen en cuenta las reflexiones de Locke acerca del lenguaje, el conocimiento, y la identidad personal; las teorías de Hume sobre la asociación de ideas y la noción del “yo” como ilusión producida por la memoria; la teoría del estadio del espejo desarrollada por Lacan, y las nociones de simulación e hiperrealidad formuladas por Baudrillard. Las conclusiones de este breve estudio comparativo permiten la elaboración de una escala en la que, con respecto a la visión del mundo de Sterne, Locke ocupa el extremo más distante, Baudrillard el más próximo, y Hume y Lacan una posición intermedia entre los otros dos autores.

Palabras clave: Tristram Shandy, Sterne, Locke, Hume, Lacan, Baudrillard, identidad personal.

Palabras clave: Tristram Shandy, Sterne, Locke, Hume, Lacan, Baudrillard, identidad personal.

Along with the issues of language, knowledge, or the use of metafiction, the problematic point of personal identity occupies a central position within Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Indeed, Sterne’s novel is conceived as the unfinished autobiography of the character of Tristram Shandy, who, despite his promise of giving an exact account of his life, ends up writing about episodes from the lives of his father and his uncle Toby. By the end of the book, however, it seems as if the main reason why Tristram attempted to write his autobiography were, precisely, a personal need for self-knowledge; and the analysis of his father’s and uncle’s lives and opinions, the only means to achieve his purpose. In any case, the means Tristram uses to puzzle out the riddle of his own personal identity have been a great source of debate and comparison with various philosophical postulates.

Along with the issues of language, knowledge, or the use of metafiction, the problematic point of personal identity occupies a central position within Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Indeed, Sterne’s novel is conceived as the unfinished autobiography of the character of Tristram Shandy, who, despite his promise of giving an exact account of his life, ends up writing about episodes from the lives of his father and his uncle Toby. By the end of the book, however, it seems as if the main reason why Tristram attempted to write his autobiography were, precisely, a personal need for self-knowledge; and the analysis of his father’s and uncle’s lives and opinions, the only means to achieve his purpose. In any case, the means Tristram uses to puzzle out the riddle of his own personal identity have been a great source of debate and comparison with various philosophical postulates.

In this article, I am going to connect the theses of four different thinkers, with the manner in which Sterne deals with the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy. Thus, I will discuss the postulates defended by John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, and Jean Baudrillard in this respect. There are several reasons for my selection

In this article, I am going to connect the theses of four different thinkers, with the manner in which Sterne deals with the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy. Thus, I will discuss the postulates defended by John Locke, David Hume, Jacques Lacan, and Jean Baudrillard in this respect. There are several reasons for my selection

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of these four authors. First, both Locke and Hume are essential in any writing that aims to deal with this issue. They are two of the greatest exponents of British empiricism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the connections between their theories and Tristram Shandy are so strong that they are impossible to obviate. Hence, in this article, I will start by presenting the different views Sterne and Locke had upon the subjects of language, knowledge, and personal identity. Regarding Hume’s position, I will comment on the main points of his empiricist system, and then, I will demonstrate how Tristram Shandy appears to be closer to his argument that personal identity is merely an illusion produced by the different impressions stored by our memory.

of these four authors. First, both Locke and Hume are essential in any writing that aims to deal with this issue. They are two of the greatest exponents of British empiricism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the connections between their theories and Tristram Shandy are so strong that they are impossible to obviate. Hence, in this article, I will start by presenting the different views Sterne and Locke had upon the subjects of language, knowledge, and personal identity. Regarding Hume’s position, I will comment on the main points of his empiricist system, and then, I will demonstrate how Tristram Shandy appears to be closer to his argument that personal identity is merely an illusion produced by the different impressions stored by our memory.

Since this paper also intends to consider the matter of personal identity in Sterne’s masterpiece from a new angle, it also includes some of the most distinctive ideas of two controversial authors who stand out within two influential currents of thought of the twentieth century: Jaques Lacan and Jean Baudrillard, who respectively belong to the backgrounds of psychoanalysis and postmodernism. I will fundamentally centre my attention on the notion of “the mirror stage” developed by the former, along with the notions of simulation and hyperreality put forward by the latter. Indeed, my main motivation for including them in this analysis is that this article intends to go beyond both the traditional framework provided by British empiricism, and the typical postmodernist or psychoanalytical approaches that have been so recently in vogue in literary criticism.

Since this paper also intends to consider the matter of personal identity in Sterne’s masterpiece from a new angle, it also includes some of the most distinctive ideas of two controversial authors who stand out within two influential currents of thought of the twentieth century: Jaques Lacan and Jean Baudrillard, who respectively belong to the backgrounds of psychoanalysis and postmodernism. I will fundamentally centre my attention on the notion of “the mirror stage” developed by the former, along with the notions of simulation and hyperreality put forward by the latter. Indeed, my main motivation for including them in this analysis is that this article intends to go beyond both the traditional framework provided by British empiricism, and the typical postmodernist or psychoanalytical approaches that have been so recently in vogue in literary criticism.

I will carry out in this article a brief survey of the chief theories of these four thinkers, highlighting the points they share with Laurence Sterne, and those in which they disagree. Hence, by the end of my essay I will have proved which of these four authors are closer to Sterne’s ideas on personal identity when writing Tristram Shandy, and which are further away from them.

I will carry out in this article a brief survey of the chief theories of these four thinkers, highlighting the points they share with Laurence Sterne, and those in which they disagree. Hence, by the end of my essay I will have proved which of these four authors are closer to Sterne’s ideas on personal identity when writing Tristram Shandy, and which are further away from them.

1. JOHN LOCKE AND TRISTRAM’S TAUTOLOGICAL QUEST FOR IDENTITY

1. JOHN LOCKE AND TRISTRAM’S TAUTOLOGICAL QUEST FOR IDENTITY

Locke’s influence on Tristram Shandy goes beyond the explicit reference to his name or his writings, for it pervades a considerable part

Locke’s influence on Tristram Shandy goes beyond the explicit reference to his name or his writings, for it pervades a considerable part

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of these four authors. First, both Locke and Hume are essential in any writing that aims to deal with this issue. They are two of the greatest exponents of British empiricism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the connections between their theories and Tristram Shandy are so strong that they are impossible to obviate. Hence, in this article, I will start by presenting the different views Sterne and Locke had upon the subjects of language, knowledge, and personal identity. Regarding Hume’s position, I will comment on the main points of his empiricist system, and then, I will demonstrate how Tristram Shandy appears to be closer to his argument that personal identity is merely an illusion produced by the different impressions stored by our memory.

of these four authors. First, both Locke and Hume are essential in any writing that aims to deal with this issue. They are two of the greatest exponents of British empiricism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the connections between their theories and Tristram Shandy are so strong that they are impossible to obviate. Hence, in this article, I will start by presenting the different views Sterne and Locke had upon the subjects of language, knowledge, and personal identity. Regarding Hume’s position, I will comment on the main points of his empiricist system, and then, I will demonstrate how Tristram Shandy appears to be closer to his argument that personal identity is merely an illusion produced by the different impressions stored by our memory.

Since this paper also intends to consider the matter of personal identity in Sterne’s masterpiece from a new angle, it also includes some of the most distinctive ideas of two controversial authors who stand out within two influential currents of thought of the twentieth century: Jaques Lacan and Jean Baudrillard, who respectively belong to the backgrounds of psychoanalysis and postmodernism. I will fundamentally centre my attention on the notion of “the mirror stage” developed by the former, along with the notions of simulation and hyperreality put forward by the latter. Indeed, my main motivation for including them in this analysis is that this article intends to go beyond both the traditional framework provided by British empiricism, and the typical postmodernist or psychoanalytical approaches that have been so recently in vogue in literary criticism.

Since this paper also intends to consider the matter of personal identity in Sterne’s masterpiece from a new angle, it also includes some of the most distinctive ideas of two controversial authors who stand out within two influential currents of thought of the twentieth century: Jaques Lacan and Jean Baudrillard, who respectively belong to the backgrounds of psychoanalysis and postmodernism. I will fundamentally centre my attention on the notion of “the mirror stage” developed by the former, along with the notions of simulation and hyperreality put forward by the latter. Indeed, my main motivation for including them in this analysis is that this article intends to go beyond both the traditional framework provided by British empiricism, and the typical postmodernist or psychoanalytical approaches that have been so recently in vogue in literary criticism.

I will carry out in this article a brief survey of the chief theories of these four thinkers, highlighting the points they share with Laurence Sterne, and those in which they disagree. Hence, by the end of my essay I will have proved which of these four authors are closer to Sterne’s ideas on personal identity when writing Tristram Shandy, and which are further away from them.

I will carry out in this article a brief survey of the chief theories of these four thinkers, highlighting the points they share with Laurence Sterne, and those in which they disagree. Hence, by the end of my essay I will have proved which of these four authors are closer to Sterne’s ideas on personal identity when writing Tristram Shandy, and which are further away from them.

1. JOHN LOCKE AND TRISTRAM’S TAUTOLOGICAL QUEST FOR IDENTITY

1. JOHN LOCKE AND TRISTRAM’S TAUTOLOGICAL QUEST FOR IDENTITY

Locke’s influence on Tristram Shandy goes beyond the explicit reference to his name or his writings, for it pervades a considerable part

Locke’s influence on Tristram Shandy goes beyond the explicit reference to his name or his writings, for it pervades a considerable part

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of the novel. Indeed, Sterne borrowed numerous ideas and longer passages from Locke which he afterwards modified to achieve comic or satiric effects, and so, to criticise and to parody the philosopher’s thesis (Day 1984: 75-83; Moglen 2001: 87-108). Their opinions about language are their main point of disagreement, and the source of the majority of their other discrepancies. On the one hand, Locke stressed the importance of clarity, and the absence of ambiguity and obscurity, to avoid equivocations and achieve transparent communication. In fact, Locke’s insight into human understanding depended on a strictly denotative use of language, in which each word stands for a distinct idea:

of the novel. Indeed, Sterne borrowed numerous ideas and longer passages from Locke which he afterwards modified to achieve comic or satiric effects, and so, to criticise and to parody the philosopher’s thesis (Day 1984: 75-83; Moglen 2001: 87-108). Their opinions about language are their main point of disagreement, and the source of the majority of their other discrepancies. On the one hand, Locke stressed the importance of clarity, and the absence of ambiguity and obscurity, to avoid equivocations and achieve transparent communication. In fact, Locke’s insight into human understanding depended on a strictly denotative use of language, in which each word stands for a distinct idea:

[...] We shall better come to find the right use of words, the natural advantages and defects of language, and the remedies that ought to be used to avoid the inconveniencies of obscurity or uncertainty in the signification of words; without which it is impossible to discourse with any clearness or order concerning knowledge: which being conversant about propositions, and these most commonly universal ones, has greater connection with words than perhaps is suspected. (Locke 1997: 363)

[...] We shall better come to find the right use of words, the natural advantages and defects of language, and the remedies that ought to be used to avoid the inconveniencies of obscurity or uncertainty in the signification of words; without which it is impossible to discourse with any clearness or order concerning knowledge: which being conversant about propositions, and these most commonly universal ones, has greater connection with words than perhaps is suspected. (Locke 1997: 363)

On the other hand, however, we find the style used in Tristram Shandy, in which the comic and bawdy images at the heart of the book’s humour are the consequence of a distinctive obscurity and ambiguity in the use of words. Hence, even though both Locke and Sterne agreed that language is the fundamental means we have of achieving knowledge, their different views respecting this issue determine and explain the ways in which they explored human understanding. Thus, while Locke relied on a strictly denotative use of language, Sterne explored the human mind through the way in which it associates ideas, which requires accepting the role of ambiguity and confusion. This is why Sterne stressed the importance of subjectivity in the perception of the world, and why he believed that our knowledge of it could only be fragmentary. Consequently, for Sterne, language is far from being an ideal and objective tool of communication, for it is as faulty, fragmentary and subjective as the knowledge we transmit when using it.

On the other hand, however, we find the style used in Tristram Shandy, in which the comic and bawdy images at the heart of the book’s humour are the consequence of a distinctive obscurity and ambiguity in the use of words. Hence, even though both Locke and Sterne agreed that language is the fundamental means we have of achieving knowledge, their different views respecting this issue determine and explain the ways in which they explored human understanding. Thus, while Locke relied on a strictly denotative use of language, Sterne explored the human mind through the way in which it associates ideas, which requires accepting the role of ambiguity and confusion. This is why Sterne stressed the importance of subjectivity in the perception of the world, and why he believed that our knowledge of it could only be fragmentary. Consequently, for Sterne, language is far from being an ideal and objective tool of communication, for it is as faulty, fragmentary and subjective as the knowledge we transmit when using it.

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of the novel. Indeed, Sterne borrowed numerous ideas and longer passages from Locke which he afterwards modified to achieve comic or satiric effects, and so, to criticise and to parody the philosopher’s thesis (Day 1984: 75-83; Moglen 2001: 87-108). Their opinions about language are their main point of disagreement, and the source of the majority of their other discrepancies. On the one hand, Locke stressed the importance of clarity, and the absence of ambiguity and obscurity, to avoid equivocations and achieve transparent communication. In fact, Locke’s insight into human understanding depended on a strictly denotative use of language, in which each word stands for a distinct idea:

of the novel. Indeed, Sterne borrowed numerous ideas and longer passages from Locke which he afterwards modified to achieve comic or satiric effects, and so, to criticise and to parody the philosopher’s thesis (Day 1984: 75-83; Moglen 2001: 87-108). Their opinions about language are their main point of disagreement, and the source of the majority of their other discrepancies. On the one hand, Locke stressed the importance of clarity, and the absence of ambiguity and obscurity, to avoid equivocations and achieve transparent communication. In fact, Locke’s insight into human understanding depended on a strictly denotative use of language, in which each word stands for a distinct idea:

[...] We shall better come to find the right use of words, the natural advantages and defects of language, and the remedies that ought to be used to avoid the inconveniencies of obscurity or uncertainty in the signification of words; without which it is impossible to discourse with any clearness or order concerning knowledge: which being conversant about propositions, and these most commonly universal ones, has greater connection with words than perhaps is suspected. (Locke 1997: 363)

[...] We shall better come to find the right use of words, the natural advantages and defects of language, and the remedies that ought to be used to avoid the inconveniencies of obscurity or uncertainty in the signification of words; without which it is impossible to discourse with any clearness or order concerning knowledge: which being conversant about propositions, and these most commonly universal ones, has greater connection with words than perhaps is suspected. (Locke 1997: 363)

On the other hand, however, we find the style used in Tristram Shandy, in which the comic and bawdy images at the heart of the book’s humour are the consequence of a distinctive obscurity and ambiguity in the use of words. Hence, even though both Locke and Sterne agreed that language is the fundamental means we have of achieving knowledge, their different views respecting this issue determine and explain the ways in which they explored human understanding. Thus, while Locke relied on a strictly denotative use of language, Sterne explored the human mind through the way in which it associates ideas, which requires accepting the role of ambiguity and confusion. This is why Sterne stressed the importance of subjectivity in the perception of the world, and why he believed that our knowledge of it could only be fragmentary. Consequently, for Sterne, language is far from being an ideal and objective tool of communication, for it is as faulty, fragmentary and subjective as the knowledge we transmit when using it.

On the other hand, however, we find the style used in Tristram Shandy, in which the comic and bawdy images at the heart of the book’s humour are the consequence of a distinctive obscurity and ambiguity in the use of words. Hence, even though both Locke and Sterne agreed that language is the fundamental means we have of achieving knowledge, their different views respecting this issue determine and explain the ways in which they explored human understanding. Thus, while Locke relied on a strictly denotative use of language, Sterne explored the human mind through the way in which it associates ideas, which requires accepting the role of ambiguity and confusion. This is why Sterne stressed the importance of subjectivity in the perception of the world, and why he believed that our knowledge of it could only be fragmentary. Consequently, for Sterne, language is far from being an ideal and objective tool of communication, for it is as faulty, fragmentary and subjective as the knowledge we transmit when using it.

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Indeed, language becomes in Tristram Shandy an obstacle on the way to knowledge (for it leads to equivocations and misunderstandings), but also the means to achieve it. Moreover, words and reality are so inseparably intertwined in Tristram Shandy, that words become reality itself. An example of this may be found in Walter’s obsession with finding an appropriate name for his son, since he thinks that “good or bad names...irresistibly impress’d upon our characters and conduct” an indelible influence all throughout one’s life (Sterne 2003: 47). Extending what is asserted in relation to Christian names to words in general, it seems as if, rather than words adjusting themselves to the task of representing reality, it were just the other way round. Truth and reality are determined by words: If words change, reality changes. Locke’s position contrasts with this theory, for he does not put the stress on words but on what we perceive from the outside world. According to Locke, when we are born our mind is a tabula rasa on which nothing is written. We start filling our minds with contents only when we get impressions from the external world through our senses. Thus, reality is ultimately responsible for writing on the blank page of our minds, and, in this way, for determining our character.

Indeed, language becomes in Tristram Shandy an obstacle on the way to knowledge (for it leads to equivocations and misunderstandings), but also the means to achieve it. Moreover, words and reality are so inseparably intertwined in Tristram Shandy, that words become reality itself. An example of this may be found in Walter’s obsession with finding an appropriate name for his son, since he thinks that “good or bad names...irresistibly impress’d upon our characters and conduct” an indelible influence all throughout one’s life (Sterne 2003: 47). Extending what is asserted in relation to Christian names to words in general, it seems as if, rather than words adjusting themselves to the task of representing reality, it were just the other way round. Truth and reality are determined by words: If words change, reality changes. Locke’s position contrasts with this theory, for he does not put the stress on words but on what we perceive from the outside world. According to Locke, when we are born our mind is a tabula rasa on which nothing is written. We start filling our minds with contents only when we get impressions from the external world through our senses. Thus, reality is ultimately responsible for writing on the blank page of our minds, and, in this way, for determining our character.

Both Sterne and Locke’s views on language and knowledge condition their respective theories on the issue of personal identity. Consequently, since they have not agreed in any of the two previous points, it is impossible for them to do so in this other one. But this did not discourage Sterne from using Locke’s thought as a quarry for his novel; far from it, according to some critics, “Tristram’s account represents Sterne’s comic exemplification of Locke’s views of identity” (Simpson 1984: 143). So, in order to continue exploring the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy, we should start by considering Locke’s position. In Locke’s own words:

Both Sterne and Locke’s views on language and knowledge condition their respective theories on the issue of personal identity. Consequently, since they have not agreed in any of the two previous points, it is impossible for them to do so in this other one. But this did not discourage Sterne from using Locke’s thought as a quarry for his novel; far from it, according to some critics, “Tristram’s account represents Sterne’s comic exemplification of Locke’s views of identity” (Simpson 1984: 143). So, in order to continue exploring the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy, we should start by considering Locke’s position. In Locke’s own words:

For since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and it is that that makes everyone to be what he calls ‘self ’, and thereby distinguishes himself from all other thinking things; in this alone consists personal identity, i.e. the sameness of a rational being; and as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that

For since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and it is that that makes everyone to be what he calls ‘self ’, and thereby distinguishes himself from all other thinking things; in this alone consists personal identity, i.e. the sameness of a rational being; and as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that

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Indeed, language becomes in Tristram Shandy an obstacle on the way to knowledge (for it leads to equivocations and misunderstandings), but also the means to achieve it. Moreover, words and reality are so inseparably intertwined in Tristram Shandy, that words become reality itself. An example of this may be found in Walter’s obsession with finding an appropriate name for his son, since he thinks that “good or bad names...irresistibly impress’d upon our characters and conduct” an indelible influence all throughout one’s life (Sterne 2003: 47). Extending what is asserted in relation to Christian names to words in general, it seems as if, rather than words adjusting themselves to the task of representing reality, it were just the other way round. Truth and reality are determined by words: If words change, reality changes. Locke’s position contrasts with this theory, for he does not put the stress on words but on what we perceive from the outside world. According to Locke, when we are born our mind is a tabula rasa on which nothing is written. We start filling our minds with contents only when we get impressions from the external world through our senses. Thus, reality is ultimately responsible for writing on the blank page of our minds, and, in this way, for determining our character.

Indeed, language becomes in Tristram Shandy an obstacle on the way to knowledge (for it leads to equivocations and misunderstandings), but also the means to achieve it. Moreover, words and reality are so inseparably intertwined in Tristram Shandy, that words become reality itself. An example of this may be found in Walter’s obsession with finding an appropriate name for his son, since he thinks that “good or bad names...irresistibly impress’d upon our characters and conduct” an indelible influence all throughout one’s life (Sterne 2003: 47). Extending what is asserted in relation to Christian names to words in general, it seems as if, rather than words adjusting themselves to the task of representing reality, it were just the other way round. Truth and reality are determined by words: If words change, reality changes. Locke’s position contrasts with this theory, for he does not put the stress on words but on what we perceive from the outside world. According to Locke, when we are born our mind is a tabula rasa on which nothing is written. We start filling our minds with contents only when we get impressions from the external world through our senses. Thus, reality is ultimately responsible for writing on the blank page of our minds, and, in this way, for determining our character.

Both Sterne and Locke’s views on language and knowledge condition their respective theories on the issue of personal identity. Consequently, since they have not agreed in any of the two previous points, it is impossible for them to do so in this other one. But this did not discourage Sterne from using Locke’s thought as a quarry for his novel; far from it, according to some critics, “Tristram’s account represents Sterne’s comic exemplification of Locke’s views of identity” (Simpson 1984: 143). So, in order to continue exploring the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy, we should start by considering Locke’s position. In Locke’s own words:

Both Sterne and Locke’s views on language and knowledge condition their respective theories on the issue of personal identity. Consequently, since they have not agreed in any of the two previous points, it is impossible for them to do so in this other one. But this did not discourage Sterne from using Locke’s thought as a quarry for his novel; far from it, according to some critics, “Tristram’s account represents Sterne’s comic exemplification of Locke’s views of identity” (Simpson 1984: 143). So, in order to continue exploring the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy, we should start by considering Locke’s position. In Locke’s own words:

For since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and it is that that makes everyone to be what he calls ‘self ’, and thereby distinguishes himself from all other thinking things; in this alone consists personal identity, i.e. the sameness of a rational being; and as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that

For since consciousness always accompanies thinking, and it is that that makes everyone to be what he calls ‘self ’, and thereby distinguishes himself from all other thinking things; in this alone consists personal identity, i.e. the sameness of a rational being; and as far as this consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that

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person; it is the same self now it was then; and it is by the same self with this present one that now reflects on it, that that action was done. (Locke 1997: 302)

person; it is the same self now it was then; and it is by the same self with this present one that now reflects on it, that that action was done. (Locke 1997: 302)

From Locke’s viewpoint, being the same person consists in being conscious of being the same person. The interesting thing about this statement is that it is tautological, in the same way Tristram’s quest for his identity is bound to be tautological. As has been said, Tristram writes his “autobiography” in order to discover who he is. Hence, language becomes the only way he has of discovering his identity, which lies nowhere but in the words themselves: the words he uses to try to find his identity are the proof of its existence. As a consequence, Tristram is trapped in a vicious circle: his quest for identity is based on the use of language, which brings his self to light, which, again, is made of nothing but language. This is the reason why some critics have stated, for instance, that “there is for Sterne no reality outside language”, or that “Sterne rejects the possibility that definitions can be anything but tautological” (Moglen 2001: 98-99). So, rather than language being the mirror of reality, it becomes reality itself.

From Locke’s viewpoint, being the same person consists in being conscious of being the same person. The interesting thing about this statement is that it is tautological, in the same way Tristram’s quest for his identity is bound to be tautological. As has been said, Tristram writes his “autobiography” in order to discover who he is. Hence, language becomes the only way he has of discovering his identity, which lies nowhere but in the words themselves: the words he uses to try to find his identity are the proof of its existence. As a consequence, Tristram is trapped in a vicious circle: his quest for identity is based on the use of language, which brings his self to light, which, again, is made of nothing but language. This is the reason why some critics have stated, for instance, that “there is for Sterne no reality outside language”, or that “Sterne rejects the possibility that definitions can be anything but tautological” (Moglen 2001: 98-99). So, rather than language being the mirror of reality, it becomes reality itself.

It is also interesting to remark the importance of Tristram’s speaking about his father and uncle in relation with the discovery of his own identity. Indeed, while the title of the novel promises an autobiographical work, in Tristram Shandy we do not really read about Tristram’s life (although his opinions are always present), but about episodes from the lives of his father and uncle. If we translate this to the problematic of personal identity, what we get is that Tristram is unable to describe his own life and opinions unattached from his father’s and uncle’s. This does not mean that we do not get any knowledge of Tristram’s life and opinions in his book; that would be admitting that by the end of it we know nothing about Tristram (which is not true), and it would imply Tristram’s being an objective narrator (if a such thing can exist). Indeed, Tristram does not report in a clinical way the situations in which his family is placed or the thoughts they have, for he “pollutes” the narration with his own subjectivity. The truth is that Tristram explores his own identity by exploring those of his father and uncle.

It is also interesting to remark the importance of Tristram’s speaking about his father and uncle in relation with the discovery of his own identity. Indeed, while the title of the novel promises an autobiographical work, in Tristram Shandy we do not really read about Tristram’s life (although his opinions are always present), but about episodes from the lives of his father and uncle. If we translate this to the problematic of personal identity, what we get is that Tristram is unable to describe his own life and opinions unattached from his father’s and uncle’s. This does not mean that we do not get any knowledge of Tristram’s life and opinions in his book; that would be admitting that by the end of it we know nothing about Tristram (which is not true), and it would imply Tristram’s being an objective narrator (if a such thing can exist). Indeed, Tristram does not report in a clinical way the situations in which his family is placed or the thoughts they have, for he “pollutes” the narration with his own subjectivity. The truth is that Tristram explores his own identity by exploring those of his father and uncle.

The exploration of his family background becomes, thus, the

The exploration of his family background becomes, thus, the

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person; it is the same self now it was then; and it is by the same self with this present one that now reflects on it, that that action was done. (Locke 1997: 302)

person; it is the same self now it was then; and it is by the same self with this present one that now reflects on it, that that action was done. (Locke 1997: 302)

From Locke’s viewpoint, being the same person consists in being conscious of being the same person. The interesting thing about this statement is that it is tautological, in the same way Tristram’s quest for his identity is bound to be tautological. As has been said, Tristram writes his “autobiography” in order to discover who he is. Hence, language becomes the only way he has of discovering his identity, which lies nowhere but in the words themselves: the words he uses to try to find his identity are the proof of its existence. As a consequence, Tristram is trapped in a vicious circle: his quest for identity is based on the use of language, which brings his self to light, which, again, is made of nothing but language. This is the reason why some critics have stated, for instance, that “there is for Sterne no reality outside language”, or that “Sterne rejects the possibility that definitions can be anything but tautological” (Moglen 2001: 98-99). So, rather than language being the mirror of reality, it becomes reality itself.

From Locke’s viewpoint, being the same person consists in being conscious of being the same person. The interesting thing about this statement is that it is tautological, in the same way Tristram’s quest for his identity is bound to be tautological. As has been said, Tristram writes his “autobiography” in order to discover who he is. Hence, language becomes the only way he has of discovering his identity, which lies nowhere but in the words themselves: the words he uses to try to find his identity are the proof of its existence. As a consequence, Tristram is trapped in a vicious circle: his quest for identity is based on the use of language, which brings his self to light, which, again, is made of nothing but language. This is the reason why some critics have stated, for instance, that “there is for Sterne no reality outside language”, or that “Sterne rejects the possibility that definitions can be anything but tautological” (Moglen 2001: 98-99). So, rather than language being the mirror of reality, it becomes reality itself.

It is also interesting to remark the importance of Tristram’s speaking about his father and uncle in relation with the discovery of his own identity. Indeed, while the title of the novel promises an autobiographical work, in Tristram Shandy we do not really read about Tristram’s life (although his opinions are always present), but about episodes from the lives of his father and uncle. If we translate this to the problematic of personal identity, what we get is that Tristram is unable to describe his own life and opinions unattached from his father’s and uncle’s. This does not mean that we do not get any knowledge of Tristram’s life and opinions in his book; that would be admitting that by the end of it we know nothing about Tristram (which is not true), and it would imply Tristram’s being an objective narrator (if a such thing can exist). Indeed, Tristram does not report in a clinical way the situations in which his family is placed or the thoughts they have, for he “pollutes” the narration with his own subjectivity. The truth is that Tristram explores his own identity by exploring those of his father and uncle.

It is also interesting to remark the importance of Tristram’s speaking about his father and uncle in relation with the discovery of his own identity. Indeed, while the title of the novel promises an autobiographical work, in Tristram Shandy we do not really read about Tristram’s life (although his opinions are always present), but about episodes from the lives of his father and uncle. If we translate this to the problematic of personal identity, what we get is that Tristram is unable to describe his own life and opinions unattached from his father’s and uncle’s. This does not mean that we do not get any knowledge of Tristram’s life and opinions in his book; that would be admitting that by the end of it we know nothing about Tristram (which is not true), and it would imply Tristram’s being an objective narrator (if a such thing can exist). Indeed, Tristram does not report in a clinical way the situations in which his family is placed or the thoughts they have, for he “pollutes” the narration with his own subjectivity. The truth is that Tristram explores his own identity by exploring those of his father and uncle.

The exploration of his family background becomes, thus, the

The exploration of his family background becomes, thus, the

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starting point for Tristram to discover more about himself. It is no wonder then that this fundamental premise is clearly stated in the opening sentence of Tristram Shandy: “I wish either my father or my mother,... had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider’d how much depended upon what they were then doing;– that not only the production of a rational Being was concern’d in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind”. Moreover, further on in his reflection, Tristram ends up concluding “that nine parts in ten of a man’s sense or his nonsense, his success and miscarriages in this world depend upon their motions and activity, and the different tracks and trains you put them into” (Sterne 2003: 5). Bearing this statement in mind, it is then coherent that the greatest part of the book is devoted to describing in detail the characters of his closer relatives, the crucial moment of his conception and birth, the choice of his name and his christening, and his early childhood, for the sum of all those elements makes up ninety per cent of Tristram’s actual personal identity.

starting point for Tristram to discover more about himself. It is no wonder then that this fundamental premise is clearly stated in the opening sentence of Tristram Shandy: “I wish either my father or my mother,... had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider’d how much depended upon what they were then doing;– that not only the production of a rational Being was concern’d in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind”. Moreover, further on in his reflection, Tristram ends up concluding “that nine parts in ten of a man’s sense or his nonsense, his success and miscarriages in this world depend upon their motions and activity, and the different tracks and trains you put them into” (Sterne 2003: 5). Bearing this statement in mind, it is then coherent that the greatest part of the book is devoted to describing in detail the characters of his closer relatives, the crucial moment of his conception and birth, the choice of his name and his christening, and his early childhood, for the sum of all those elements makes up ninety per cent of Tristram’s actual personal identity.

Locke’s position respecting that same issue can be summarized in the following sentence: “Because I am conscious of myself I may distinguish myself from other thinking beings and have a concept of myself ” (Priest 1990: 87). Locke thus locates the starting point of identity in oneself: in order to have a consciousness of myself I must distinguish myself from the others. The “I” comes before “the others”. However, what Sterne is saying in Tristram Shandy is that we have a consciousness of ourselves precisely because we have a consciousness of the existence of the others; that the process of discovering the others is parallel to discovering oneself. Thus, the “I” does not appear to myself before the “others”, but at the same time the “others” appear to myself. It seems that we are learning about Tristram not only at the same time we are learning about his uncle or his father, but that Tristram is learning about himself. In this respect, it is possible to say that the views on personal identity presented in Tristram Shandy do not agree with those put forward by Locke. Even though Sterne ridicules and moves away from the kind of empiricism Locke defends, it seems, on the other hand, that he is closer in various points to Hume’s position on this subject.

Locke’s position respecting that same issue can be summarized in the following sentence: “Because I am conscious of myself I may distinguish myself from other thinking beings and have a concept of myself ” (Priest 1990: 87). Locke thus locates the starting point of identity in oneself: in order to have a consciousness of myself I must distinguish myself from the others. The “I” comes before “the others”. However, what Sterne is saying in Tristram Shandy is that we have a consciousness of ourselves precisely because we have a consciousness of the existence of the others; that the process of discovering the others is parallel to discovering oneself. Thus, the “I” does not appear to myself before the “others”, but at the same time the “others” appear to myself. It seems that we are learning about Tristram not only at the same time we are learning about his uncle or his father, but that Tristram is learning about himself. In this respect, it is possible to say that the views on personal identity presented in Tristram Shandy do not agree with those put forward by Locke. Even though Sterne ridicules and moves away from the kind of empiricism Locke defends, it seems, on the other hand, that he is closer in various points to Hume’s position on this subject.

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Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Tristram’s Identity Revisited

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starting point for Tristram to discover more about himself. It is no wonder then that this fundamental premise is clearly stated in the opening sentence of Tristram Shandy: “I wish either my father or my mother,... had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider’d how much depended upon what they were then doing;– that not only the production of a rational Being was concern’d in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind”. Moreover, further on in his reflection, Tristram ends up concluding “that nine parts in ten of a man’s sense or his nonsense, his success and miscarriages in this world depend upon their motions and activity, and the different tracks and trains you put them into” (Sterne 2003: 5). Bearing this statement in mind, it is then coherent that the greatest part of the book is devoted to describing in detail the characters of his closer relatives, the crucial moment of his conception and birth, the choice of his name and his christening, and his early childhood, for the sum of all those elements makes up ninety per cent of Tristram’s actual personal identity.

starting point for Tristram to discover more about himself. It is no wonder then that this fundamental premise is clearly stated in the opening sentence of Tristram Shandy: “I wish either my father or my mother,... had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider’d how much depended upon what they were then doing;– that not only the production of a rational Being was concern’d in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind”. Moreover, further on in his reflection, Tristram ends up concluding “that nine parts in ten of a man’s sense or his nonsense, his success and miscarriages in this world depend upon their motions and activity, and the different tracks and trains you put them into” (Sterne 2003: 5). Bearing this statement in mind, it is then coherent that the greatest part of the book is devoted to describing in detail the characters of his closer relatives, the crucial moment of his conception and birth, the choice of his name and his christening, and his early childhood, for the sum of all those elements makes up ninety per cent of Tristram’s actual personal identity.

Locke’s position respecting that same issue can be summarized in the following sentence: “Because I am conscious of myself I may distinguish myself from other thinking beings and have a concept of myself ” (Priest 1990: 87). Locke thus locates the starting point of identity in oneself: in order to have a consciousness of myself I must distinguish myself from the others. The “I” comes before “the others”. However, what Sterne is saying in Tristram Shandy is that we have a consciousness of ourselves precisely because we have a consciousness of the existence of the others; that the process of discovering the others is parallel to discovering oneself. Thus, the “I” does not appear to myself before the “others”, but at the same time the “others” appear to myself. It seems that we are learning about Tristram not only at the same time we are learning about his uncle or his father, but that Tristram is learning about himself. In this respect, it is possible to say that the views on personal identity presented in Tristram Shandy do not agree with those put forward by Locke. Even though Sterne ridicules and moves away from the kind of empiricism Locke defends, it seems, on the other hand, that he is closer in various points to Hume’s position on this subject.

Locke’s position respecting that same issue can be summarized in the following sentence: “Because I am conscious of myself I may distinguish myself from other thinking beings and have a concept of myself ” (Priest 1990: 87). Locke thus locates the starting point of identity in oneself: in order to have a consciousness of myself I must distinguish myself from the others. The “I” comes before “the others”. However, what Sterne is saying in Tristram Shandy is that we have a consciousness of ourselves precisely because we have a consciousness of the existence of the others; that the process of discovering the others is parallel to discovering oneself. Thus, the “I” does not appear to myself before the “others”, but at the same time the “others” appear to myself. It seems that we are learning about Tristram not only at the same time we are learning about his uncle or his father, but that Tristram is learning about himself. In this respect, it is possible to say that the views on personal identity presented in Tristram Shandy do not agree with those put forward by Locke. Even though Sterne ridicules and moves away from the kind of empiricism Locke defends, it seems, on the other hand, that he is closer in various points to Hume’s position on this subject.

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2. DAVID HUME AND THE ILLUSION OF THE IDENTITY OF THE “I”

2. DAVID HUME AND THE ILLUSION OF THE IDENTITY OF THE “I”

The ontology developed by Hume only admitted one kind of entity: the perceptions, which are divided into impressions and ideas. Impressions are the irreducible perceptions, and they are the sensations, the passions, and the emotions. They are the intense perceptions we have when we see or listen, or when we feel pain or pleasure. Ideas are, however, the faded images of sensations in our minds: thoughts or memories which are merely copies of previous impressions. Thus, an impression must always constitute the foundation of an idea. When an idea is not based on an impression, then, according to Hume, it is a false one.

The ontology developed by Hume only admitted one kind of entity: the perceptions, which are divided into impressions and ideas. Impressions are the irreducible perceptions, and they are the sensations, the passions, and the emotions. They are the intense perceptions we have when we see or listen, or when we feel pain or pleasure. Ideas are, however, the faded images of sensations in our minds: thoughts or memories which are merely copies of previous impressions. Thus, an impression must always constitute the foundation of an idea. When an idea is not based on an impression, then, according to Hume, it is a false one.

Hume also denies the ontological value of the principle of causality. This principle states that two events connected to each other through a cause-effect relationship are related to each other in a necessary way. But, according to Hume, we only have an impression of the phenomenon that is the cause, of the one which is the effect, and of the relationship of spatial-temporal closeness that exists between both. For example, when we see a billiard ball hitting another one, what we really see is the movement of one of them followed by the movement of the other. What we do not see is that the first one causes the second to move. So, when certain phenomena always happen just after another, we tend associate both (Belaval 1976: 262). Consequently, we end up by acquiring a habit and always expect to witness how certain events take place after a specific phenomenon occurs. In this way, the unique basis for the validity of the knowledge we obtain from the principle of causality is that of habit and custom.

Hume also denies the ontological value of the principle of causality. This principle states that two events connected to each other through a cause-effect relationship are related to each other in a necessary way. But, according to Hume, we only have an impression of the phenomenon that is the cause, of the one which is the effect, and of the relationship of spatial-temporal closeness that exists between both. For example, when we see a billiard ball hitting another one, what we really see is the movement of one of them followed by the movement of the other. What we do not see is that the first one causes the second to move. So, when certain phenomena always happen just after another, we tend associate both (Belaval 1976: 262). Consequently, we end up by acquiring a habit and always expect to witness how certain events take place after a specific phenomenon occurs. In this way, the unique basis for the validity of the knowledge we obtain from the principle of causality is that of habit and custom.

In Hume’s opinion, we should exclusively use the principle of causality to connect impressions with other impressions. It is not legitimate to use it to talk about predictions about the future, nor can we part from something of which we have an impression to get to something of which we lack one. And this is precisely so because Hume does not accept as true any idea which does not derive from an impression. Consequently, we cannot demonstrate, for instance, that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, that someone who is alive is bound to die, or that the water we have just put in a saucepan will boil at a

In Hume’s opinion, we should exclusively use the principle of causality to connect impressions with other impressions. It is not legitimate to use it to talk about predictions about the future, nor can we part from something of which we have an impression to get to something of which we lack one. And this is precisely so because Hume does not accept as true any idea which does not derive from an impression. Consequently, we cannot demonstrate, for instance, that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, that someone who is alive is bound to die, or that the water we have just put in a saucepan will boil at a

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

2. DAVID HUME AND THE ILLUSION OF THE IDENTITY OF THE “I”

2. DAVID HUME AND THE ILLUSION OF THE IDENTITY OF THE “I”

The ontology developed by Hume only admitted one kind of entity: the perceptions, which are divided into impressions and ideas. Impressions are the irreducible perceptions, and they are the sensations, the passions, and the emotions. They are the intense perceptions we have when we see or listen, or when we feel pain or pleasure. Ideas are, however, the faded images of sensations in our minds: thoughts or memories which are merely copies of previous impressions. Thus, an impression must always constitute the foundation of an idea. When an idea is not based on an impression, then, according to Hume, it is a false one.

The ontology developed by Hume only admitted one kind of entity: the perceptions, which are divided into impressions and ideas. Impressions are the irreducible perceptions, and they are the sensations, the passions, and the emotions. They are the intense perceptions we have when we see or listen, or when we feel pain or pleasure. Ideas are, however, the faded images of sensations in our minds: thoughts or memories which are merely copies of previous impressions. Thus, an impression must always constitute the foundation of an idea. When an idea is not based on an impression, then, according to Hume, it is a false one.

Hume also denies the ontological value of the principle of causality. This principle states that two events connected to each other through a cause-effect relationship are related to each other in a necessary way. But, according to Hume, we only have an impression of the phenomenon that is the cause, of the one which is the effect, and of the relationship of spatial-temporal closeness that exists between both. For example, when we see a billiard ball hitting another one, what we really see is the movement of one of them followed by the movement of the other. What we do not see is that the first one causes the second to move. So, when certain phenomena always happen just after another, we tend associate both (Belaval 1976: 262). Consequently, we end up by acquiring a habit and always expect to witness how certain events take place after a specific phenomenon occurs. In this way, the unique basis for the validity of the knowledge we obtain from the principle of causality is that of habit and custom.

Hume also denies the ontological value of the principle of causality. This principle states that two events connected to each other through a cause-effect relationship are related to each other in a necessary way. But, according to Hume, we only have an impression of the phenomenon that is the cause, of the one which is the effect, and of the relationship of spatial-temporal closeness that exists between both. For example, when we see a billiard ball hitting another one, what we really see is the movement of one of them followed by the movement of the other. What we do not see is that the first one causes the second to move. So, when certain phenomena always happen just after another, we tend associate both (Belaval 1976: 262). Consequently, we end up by acquiring a habit and always expect to witness how certain events take place after a specific phenomenon occurs. In this way, the unique basis for the validity of the knowledge we obtain from the principle of causality is that of habit and custom.

In Hume’s opinion, we should exclusively use the principle of causality to connect impressions with other impressions. It is not legitimate to use it to talk about predictions about the future, nor can we part from something of which we have an impression to get to something of which we lack one. And this is precisely so because Hume does not accept as true any idea which does not derive from an impression. Consequently, we cannot demonstrate, for instance, that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, that someone who is alive is bound to die, or that the water we have just put in a saucepan will boil at a

In Hume’s opinion, we should exclusively use the principle of causality to connect impressions with other impressions. It is not legitimate to use it to talk about predictions about the future, nor can we part from something of which we have an impression to get to something of which we lack one. And this is precisely so because Hume does not accept as true any idea which does not derive from an impression. Consequently, we cannot demonstrate, for instance, that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, that someone who is alive is bound to die, or that the water we have just put in a saucepan will boil at a

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hundred degrees centigrade. And we cannot demonstrate this because we cannot start from something of which we have an impression (that, for instance, in all previous cases, water has always boiled at a hundred degrees centigrade) to get to an statement which is not based on any impression (that the water I have in this saucepan will boil when it reaches that temperature). Thus, the knowledge we can get from the acceptance of the principle of causality has only got a probabilistic value, never reaching the level of absolute certainty. For that reason, Hume criticizes all metaphysics based on that principle, attacking, among other points, the idea of the “I”.

hundred degrees centigrade. And we cannot demonstrate this because we cannot start from something of which we have an impression (that, for instance, in all previous cases, water has always boiled at a hundred degrees centigrade) to get to an statement which is not based on any impression (that the water I have in this saucepan will boil when it reaches that temperature). Thus, the knowledge we can get from the acceptance of the principle of causality has only got a probabilistic value, never reaching the level of absolute certainty. For that reason, Hume criticizes all metaphysics based on that principle, attacking, among other points, the idea of the “I”.

Hume also asks himself whether there is any impression which provides a basis to the identity of the “I”. After looking for an impression which stays in our minds permanently, and being unable to find any, Hume finally concludes that humans are merely a collection of variable impressions. Thus, in Hume’s view, the basis of our own consciousness is memory, which is in charge of collecting the succession of those different impressions that constitute our lives. So, in a way, it can be said that the notion of personal identity is just an illusion produced by our memory, since humans are simply the result of the sum of endless and changing impressions:

Hume also asks himself whether there is any impression which provides a basis to the identity of the “I”. After looking for an impression which stays in our minds permanently, and being unable to find any, Hume finally concludes that humans are merely a collection of variable impressions. Thus, in Hume’s view, the basis of our own consciousness is memory, which is in charge of collecting the succession of those different impressions that constitute our lives. So, in a way, it can be said that the notion of personal identity is just an illusion produced by our memory, since humans are simply the result of the sum of endless and changing impressions:

Identity depends on the relations of ideas; and these relations produce identity, by means of that easy transition they occasion. But as the relations, and the easiness of the transition may diminish by insensible degrees, we have no just standard by which we can decide any dispute concerning the time when they acquire or lose a title to the name of identity. (Hume 2000: 171)

Identity depends on the relations of ideas; and these relations produce identity, by means of that easy transition they occasion. But as the relations, and the easiness of the transition may diminish by insensible degrees, we have no just standard by which we can decide any dispute concerning the time when they acquire or lose a title to the name of identity. (Hume 2000: 171)

In fact, one of the main difficulties Tristram has to confront when writing the story is to control the wanderings of his mind and the spontaneous and various associations it establishes. There are innumerable examples in the text where Tristram abruptly interrupts what he was saying to explore an idea that has just come to his mind:

In fact, one of the main difficulties Tristram has to confront when writing the story is to control the wanderings of his mind and the spontaneous and various associations it establishes. There are innumerable examples in the text where Tristram abruptly interrupts what he was saying to explore an idea that has just come to his mind:

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Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Tristram’s Identity Revisited

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hundred degrees centigrade. And we cannot demonstrate this because we cannot start from something of which we have an impression (that, for instance, in all previous cases, water has always boiled at a hundred degrees centigrade) to get to an statement which is not based on any impression (that the water I have in this saucepan will boil when it reaches that temperature). Thus, the knowledge we can get from the acceptance of the principle of causality has only got a probabilistic value, never reaching the level of absolute certainty. For that reason, Hume criticizes all metaphysics based on that principle, attacking, among other points, the idea of the “I”.

hundred degrees centigrade. And we cannot demonstrate this because we cannot start from something of which we have an impression (that, for instance, in all previous cases, water has always boiled at a hundred degrees centigrade) to get to an statement which is not based on any impression (that the water I have in this saucepan will boil when it reaches that temperature). Thus, the knowledge we can get from the acceptance of the principle of causality has only got a probabilistic value, never reaching the level of absolute certainty. For that reason, Hume criticizes all metaphysics based on that principle, attacking, among other points, the idea of the “I”.

Hume also asks himself whether there is any impression which provides a basis to the identity of the “I”. After looking for an impression which stays in our minds permanently, and being unable to find any, Hume finally concludes that humans are merely a collection of variable impressions. Thus, in Hume’s view, the basis of our own consciousness is memory, which is in charge of collecting the succession of those different impressions that constitute our lives. So, in a way, it can be said that the notion of personal identity is just an illusion produced by our memory, since humans are simply the result of the sum of endless and changing impressions:

Hume also asks himself whether there is any impression which provides a basis to the identity of the “I”. After looking for an impression which stays in our minds permanently, and being unable to find any, Hume finally concludes that humans are merely a collection of variable impressions. Thus, in Hume’s view, the basis of our own consciousness is memory, which is in charge of collecting the succession of those different impressions that constitute our lives. So, in a way, it can be said that the notion of personal identity is just an illusion produced by our memory, since humans are simply the result of the sum of endless and changing impressions:

Identity depends on the relations of ideas; and these relations produce identity, by means of that easy transition they occasion. But as the relations, and the easiness of the transition may diminish by insensible degrees, we have no just standard by which we can decide any dispute concerning the time when they acquire or lose a title to the name of identity. (Hume 2000: 171)

Identity depends on the relations of ideas; and these relations produce identity, by means of that easy transition they occasion. But as the relations, and the easiness of the transition may diminish by insensible degrees, we have no just standard by which we can decide any dispute concerning the time when they acquire or lose a title to the name of identity. (Hume 2000: 171)

In fact, one of the main difficulties Tristram has to confront when writing the story is to control the wanderings of his mind and the spontaneous and various associations it establishes. There are innumerable examples in the text where Tristram abruptly interrupts what he was saying to explore an idea that has just come to his mind:

In fact, one of the main difficulties Tristram has to confront when writing the story is to control the wanderings of his mind and the spontaneous and various associations it establishes. There are innumerable examples in the text where Tristram abruptly interrupts what he was saying to explore an idea that has just come to his mind:

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-What can they be doing, brother? Quoth my father, - we can scarce hear ourselves talk. I think, replied my uncle Toby, taking his pipe from his mouth, and striking the head of it two or three times upon the nail of his left thumb, as he began his sentence, - I think, says he: - But to enter rightly into my uncle Toby’s sentiments upon this matter, you must be made to enter first a little into his character, the outlines of which I shall just give you, and then the dialogue between him and my father will go on as well again. (Sterne 2003: 56)

-What can they be doing, brother? Quoth my father, - we can scarce hear ourselves talk. I think, replied my uncle Toby, taking his pipe from his mouth, and striking the head of it two or three times upon the nail of his left thumb, as he began his sentence, - I think, says he: - But to enter rightly into my uncle Toby’s sentiments upon this matter, you must be made to enter first a little into his character, the outlines of which I shall just give you, and then the dialogue between him and my father will go on as well again. (Sterne 2003: 56)

As Tristram promises, he continues with this conversation after informing us about the main psychological features of his uncle Toby, although this does not happen until Chapter VI of Volume II.

As Tristram promises, he continues with this conversation after informing us about the main psychological features of his uncle Toby, although this does not happen until Chapter VI of Volume II.

Tristram does not fight off all the associations of ideas that his mind establishes as he goes along with his narration. He does not dismiss them precisely because it seems that, instead of having an strict outline for his book in his mind, Tristram is creating the storyline as he writes. As a consequence, those associations of ideas are not an obstacle to its continuation. Passages from the novel such as the following give evidence to this argument:

Tristram does not fight off all the associations of ideas that his mind establishes as he goes along with his narration. He does not dismiss them precisely because it seems that, instead of having an strict outline for his book in his mind, Tristram is creating the storyline as he writes. As a consequence, those associations of ideas are not an obstacle to its continuation. Passages from the novel such as the following give evidence to this argument:

These unforeseen stoppages, which I own I had no conception of when I first set out;---but which, I am convinced now, will rather increase than diminish as I advance,---have struck out a hint which I am resolved to follow;---and that is,---not to be in a hurry;---but to go on leisurely, writing and publishing two volumes of my life every year;---which, if I am suffered to go on quietly, and can make a tolerable bargain with my bookseller, I shall continue to do as long as I live. (Sterne 2003: 35)

These unforeseen stoppages, which I own I had no conception of when I first set out;---but which, I am convinced now, will rather increase than diminish as I advance,---have struck out a hint which I am resolved to follow;---and that is,---not to be in a hurry;---but to go on leisurely, writing and publishing two volumes of my life every year;---which, if I am suffered to go on quietly, and can make a tolerable bargain with my bookseller, I shall continue to do as long as I live. (Sterne 2003: 35)

Indeed, those associations of ideas and free wanderings of the mind are one of the most significant structural devices in the book, for they give the reader the key for Tristram Shandy’s identity. We can even state that, precisely because Tristram’s main aim when writing is to discover more about himself, he does not elude these associations,

Indeed, those associations of ideas and free wanderings of the mind are one of the most significant structural devices in the book, for they give the reader the key for Tristram Shandy’s identity. We can even state that, precisely because Tristram’s main aim when writing is to discover more about himself, he does not elude these associations,

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-What can they be doing, brother? Quoth my father, - we can scarce hear ourselves talk. I think, replied my uncle Toby, taking his pipe from his mouth, and striking the head of it two or three times upon the nail of his left thumb, as he began his sentence, - I think, says he: - But to enter rightly into my uncle Toby’s sentiments upon this matter, you must be made to enter first a little into his character, the outlines of which I shall just give you, and then the dialogue between him and my father will go on as well again. (Sterne 2003: 56)

-What can they be doing, brother? Quoth my father, - we can scarce hear ourselves talk. I think, replied my uncle Toby, taking his pipe from his mouth, and striking the head of it two or three times upon the nail of his left thumb, as he began his sentence, - I think, says he: - But to enter rightly into my uncle Toby’s sentiments upon this matter, you must be made to enter first a little into his character, the outlines of which I shall just give you, and then the dialogue between him and my father will go on as well again. (Sterne 2003: 56)

As Tristram promises, he continues with this conversation after informing us about the main psychological features of his uncle Toby, although this does not happen until Chapter VI of Volume II.

As Tristram promises, he continues with this conversation after informing us about the main psychological features of his uncle Toby, although this does not happen until Chapter VI of Volume II.

Tristram does not fight off all the associations of ideas that his mind establishes as he goes along with his narration. He does not dismiss them precisely because it seems that, instead of having an strict outline for his book in his mind, Tristram is creating the storyline as he writes. As a consequence, those associations of ideas are not an obstacle to its continuation. Passages from the novel such as the following give evidence to this argument:

Tristram does not fight off all the associations of ideas that his mind establishes as he goes along with his narration. He does not dismiss them precisely because it seems that, instead of having an strict outline for his book in his mind, Tristram is creating the storyline as he writes. As a consequence, those associations of ideas are not an obstacle to its continuation. Passages from the novel such as the following give evidence to this argument:

These unforeseen stoppages, which I own I had no conception of when I first set out;---but which, I am convinced now, will rather increase than diminish as I advance,---have struck out a hint which I am resolved to follow;---and that is,---not to be in a hurry;---but to go on leisurely, writing and publishing two volumes of my life every year;---which, if I am suffered to go on quietly, and can make a tolerable bargain with my bookseller, I shall continue to do as long as I live. (Sterne 2003: 35)

These unforeseen stoppages, which I own I had no conception of when I first set out;---but which, I am convinced now, will rather increase than diminish as I advance,---have struck out a hint which I am resolved to follow;---and that is,---not to be in a hurry;---but to go on leisurely, writing and publishing two volumes of my life every year;---which, if I am suffered to go on quietly, and can make a tolerable bargain with my bookseller, I shall continue to do as long as I live. (Sterne 2003: 35)

Indeed, those associations of ideas and free wanderings of the mind are one of the most significant structural devices in the book, for they give the reader the key for Tristram Shandy’s identity. We can even state that, precisely because Tristram’s main aim when writing is to discover more about himself, he does not elude these associations,

Indeed, those associations of ideas and free wanderings of the mind are one of the most significant structural devices in the book, for they give the reader the key for Tristram Shandy’s identity. We can even state that, precisely because Tristram’s main aim when writing is to discover more about himself, he does not elude these associations,

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but explores them. Moreover, thanks to the use Sterne makes of associationism, readers feel they know how Tristram’s mind works: the way it establishes connections between different ideas, or fights off them in order to organize and present them in a coherent way. Indeed, it seems that readers are following at the same time both the events of the narration, and the wanderings of Tristram’s mind.

but explores them. Moreover, thanks to the use Sterne makes of associationism, readers feel they know how Tristram’s mind works: the way it establishes connections between different ideas, or fights off them in order to organize and present them in a coherent way. Indeed, it seems that readers are following at the same time both the events of the narration, and the wanderings of Tristram’s mind.

The stress Sterne placed on associationism takes him closer to Hume’s analysis of human consciousness. Hume believed that the human mind is constantly receiving impressions which it associates following the principles of cause and effect, contiguity in time or place, and resemblance (the same principles Sterne uses for organizing Tristram’s narration), but that there is not a single unalterable feature in our minds which can resist the passage of time (Ayer 1952: 306307). So, adding to all this the fact that our mental contents are the pillars upon which we create the notion of identity, then it seems there is no reason why a person could claim to be now the same person he was a couple of years, or even hours ago. The notion of personal identity is merely an illusion created by human memory. Consequently, Tristram’s consciousness of himself is nothing more than a collection of variable and endless impressions tied up by his memory. His quest for self-knowledge is doomed to failure, since it is as if he were trying to chase and gather a set of impressions under the illusory unity that the pronoun “I” is able to offer.

The stress Sterne placed on associationism takes him closer to Hume’s analysis of human consciousness. Hume believed that the human mind is constantly receiving impressions which it associates following the principles of cause and effect, contiguity in time or place, and resemblance (the same principles Sterne uses for organizing Tristram’s narration), but that there is not a single unalterable feature in our minds which can resist the passage of time (Ayer 1952: 306307). So, adding to all this the fact that our mental contents are the pillars upon which we create the notion of identity, then it seems there is no reason why a person could claim to be now the same person he was a couple of years, or even hours ago. The notion of personal identity is merely an illusion created by human memory. Consequently, Tristram’s consciousness of himself is nothing more than a collection of variable and endless impressions tied up by his memory. His quest for self-knowledge is doomed to failure, since it is as if he were trying to chase and gather a set of impressions under the illusory unity that the pronoun “I” is able to offer.

Locke and Hume’s insights into memory seem inescapable when discussing a narrative like Tristram Shandy, whose major founding principle is the linguistic articulation of the memory of past perceptions. But despite its central place in their philosophy, Locke and Hume approach memory from slightly different perspectives. Locke certainly admits that human consciousness and the ability to remember past events and thoughts constitute the pillars of self-consciousness. Moreover, he believes personal identity is based on an individual’s selfrecognition in spite of temporal and spatial changes. And, of course, this essential premise is the natural consequence of man’s faculty of remembering past perceptions. Unlike Hume, however, Locke does not stigmatise memory as a self-deceiving ability of the human mind. He conceives of it, instead, as an innate faculty which goes hand in hand with his rationality and his awareness of his own existence.

Locke and Hume’s insights into memory seem inescapable when discussing a narrative like Tristram Shandy, whose major founding principle is the linguistic articulation of the memory of past perceptions. But despite its central place in their philosophy, Locke and Hume approach memory from slightly different perspectives. Locke certainly admits that human consciousness and the ability to remember past events and thoughts constitute the pillars of self-consciousness. Moreover, he believes personal identity is based on an individual’s selfrecognition in spite of temporal and spatial changes. And, of course, this essential premise is the natural consequence of man’s faculty of remembering past perceptions. Unlike Hume, however, Locke does not stigmatise memory as a self-deceiving ability of the human mind. He conceives of it, instead, as an innate faculty which goes hand in hand with his rationality and his awareness of his own existence.

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but explores them. Moreover, thanks to the use Sterne makes of associationism, readers feel they know how Tristram’s mind works: the way it establishes connections between different ideas, or fights off them in order to organize and present them in a coherent way. Indeed, it seems that readers are following at the same time both the events of the narration, and the wanderings of Tristram’s mind.

but explores them. Moreover, thanks to the use Sterne makes of associationism, readers feel they know how Tristram’s mind works: the way it establishes connections between different ideas, or fights off them in order to organize and present them in a coherent way. Indeed, it seems that readers are following at the same time both the events of the narration, and the wanderings of Tristram’s mind.

The stress Sterne placed on associationism takes him closer to Hume’s analysis of human consciousness. Hume believed that the human mind is constantly receiving impressions which it associates following the principles of cause and effect, contiguity in time or place, and resemblance (the same principles Sterne uses for organizing Tristram’s narration), but that there is not a single unalterable feature in our minds which can resist the passage of time (Ayer 1952: 306307). So, adding to all this the fact that our mental contents are the pillars upon which we create the notion of identity, then it seems there is no reason why a person could claim to be now the same person he was a couple of years, or even hours ago. The notion of personal identity is merely an illusion created by human memory. Consequently, Tristram’s consciousness of himself is nothing more than a collection of variable and endless impressions tied up by his memory. His quest for self-knowledge is doomed to failure, since it is as if he were trying to chase and gather a set of impressions under the illusory unity that the pronoun “I” is able to offer.

The stress Sterne placed on associationism takes him closer to Hume’s analysis of human consciousness. Hume believed that the human mind is constantly receiving impressions which it associates following the principles of cause and effect, contiguity in time or place, and resemblance (the same principles Sterne uses for organizing Tristram’s narration), but that there is not a single unalterable feature in our minds which can resist the passage of time (Ayer 1952: 306307). So, adding to all this the fact that our mental contents are the pillars upon which we create the notion of identity, then it seems there is no reason why a person could claim to be now the same person he was a couple of years, or even hours ago. The notion of personal identity is merely an illusion created by human memory. Consequently, Tristram’s consciousness of himself is nothing more than a collection of variable and endless impressions tied up by his memory. His quest for self-knowledge is doomed to failure, since it is as if he were trying to chase and gather a set of impressions under the illusory unity that the pronoun “I” is able to offer.

Locke and Hume’s insights into memory seem inescapable when discussing a narrative like Tristram Shandy, whose major founding principle is the linguistic articulation of the memory of past perceptions. But despite its central place in their philosophy, Locke and Hume approach memory from slightly different perspectives. Locke certainly admits that human consciousness and the ability to remember past events and thoughts constitute the pillars of self-consciousness. Moreover, he believes personal identity is based on an individual’s selfrecognition in spite of temporal and spatial changes. And, of course, this essential premise is the natural consequence of man’s faculty of remembering past perceptions. Unlike Hume, however, Locke does not stigmatise memory as a self-deceiving ability of the human mind. He conceives of it, instead, as an innate faculty which goes hand in hand with his rationality and his awareness of his own existence.

Locke and Hume’s insights into memory seem inescapable when discussing a narrative like Tristram Shandy, whose major founding principle is the linguistic articulation of the memory of past perceptions. But despite its central place in their philosophy, Locke and Hume approach memory from slightly different perspectives. Locke certainly admits that human consciousness and the ability to remember past events and thoughts constitute the pillars of self-consciousness. Moreover, he believes personal identity is based on an individual’s selfrecognition in spite of temporal and spatial changes. And, of course, this essential premise is the natural consequence of man’s faculty of remembering past perceptions. Unlike Hume, however, Locke does not stigmatise memory as a self-deceiving ability of the human mind. He conceives of it, instead, as an innate faculty which goes hand in hand with his rationality and his awareness of his own existence.

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3. JACQUES LACAN AND THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL TEXT AS A MIRROR

3. JACQUES LACAN AND THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL TEXT AS A MIRROR

Leaving behind Locke and Hume’s postulates, I am now going to move in time two centuries forward: from Britain to France, from empiricism to Lacanian psychoanalysis. Lacan, who qualified his work as a genuine “return to Freud”, drew on many different sources to elaborate his theories. He was interested in the work of Levi-Strauss, Barthes, and Saussure, and in fields such as those of mathematics, philosophy, and linguistics. Indeed, the great appeal that structuralism had on him enabled Jacques Derrida to affirm that he had adopted a structuralist approach to the psychoanalytical practice. The significant influence of linguistics was also responsible for his key theory that the unconscious is structured like a language, and played a prominent role in the division of the psychic structure into the three elements of the Real, the Imaginary, and the Symbolic. Another central notion developed by Jacques Lacan was the so-called “Mirror Stage”, which he presented for the first time in 1936, at the Congress of the International Psychoanalytical Association in Marienbad. I would like to explore this idea and compare it with the views on personal identity as they appear in Tristram Shandy.

Leaving behind Locke and Hume’s postulates, I am now going to move in time two centuries forward: from Britain to France, from empiricism to Lacanian psychoanalysis. Lacan, who qualified his work as a genuine “return to Freud”, drew on many different sources to elaborate his theories. He was interested in the work of Levi-Strauss, Barthes, and Saussure, and in fields such as those of mathematics, philosophy, and linguistics. Indeed, the great appeal that structuralism had on him enabled Jacques Derrida to affirm that he had adopted a structuralist approach to the psychoanalytical practice. The significant influence of linguistics was also responsible for his key theory that the unconscious is structured like a language, and played a prominent role in the division of the psychic structure into the three elements of the Real, the Imaginary, and the Symbolic. Another central notion developed by Jacques Lacan was the so-called “Mirror Stage”, which he presented for the first time in 1936, at the Congress of the International Psychoanalytical Association in Marienbad. I would like to explore this idea and compare it with the views on personal identity as they appear in Tristram Shandy.

The mirror stage is a fundamental moment of maturation in the psychological development of the child which takes place between the sixth and the eighteenth month of life. It consists in the encounter of a child, who is not very proficient in controlling his physical movements, with his image. In other words, it is the identification of the infant with the image he sees in the mirror, even though he does not yet possess a sense of unity at the motive and neurological levels. As a consequence of this encounter, the child senses there is a kind of unity in his own body, which until then seemed to be fragmented, and many times, uncontrollable. It is as if the infant compensated in the field of the imaginary representation for the delay in his physical development. With regards to the formation of the individual during the mirror stage Lacan stated the following:

The mirror stage is a fundamental moment of maturation in the psychological development of the child which takes place between the sixth and the eighteenth month of life. It consists in the encounter of a child, who is not very proficient in controlling his physical movements, with his image. In other words, it is the identification of the infant with the image he sees in the mirror, even though he does not yet possess a sense of unity at the motive and neurological levels. As a consequence of this encounter, the child senses there is a kind of unity in his own body, which until then seemed to be fragmented, and many times, uncontrollable. It is as if the infant compensated in the field of the imaginary representation for the delay in his physical development. With regards to the formation of the individual during the mirror stage Lacan stated the following:

[…] the mirror stage is a drama whose internal pressure pushes precipitously from insufficiency to anticipation –and, for the subject caught up in the lure

[…] the mirror stage is a drama whose internal pressure pushes precipitously from insufficiency to anticipation –and, for the subject caught up in the lure

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3. JACQUES LACAN AND THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL TEXT AS A MIRROR

3. JACQUES LACAN AND THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL TEXT AS A MIRROR

Leaving behind Locke and Hume’s postulates, I am now going to move in time two centuries forward: from Britain to France, from empiricism to Lacanian psychoanalysis. Lacan, who qualified his work as a genuine “return to Freud”, drew on many different sources to elaborate his theories. He was interested in the work of Levi-Strauss, Barthes, and Saussure, and in fields such as those of mathematics, philosophy, and linguistics. Indeed, the great appeal that structuralism had on him enabled Jacques Derrida to affirm that he had adopted a structuralist approach to the psychoanalytical practice. The significant influence of linguistics was also responsible for his key theory that the unconscious is structured like a language, and played a prominent role in the division of the psychic structure into the three elements of the Real, the Imaginary, and the Symbolic. Another central notion developed by Jacques Lacan was the so-called “Mirror Stage”, which he presented for the first time in 1936, at the Congress of the International Psychoanalytical Association in Marienbad. I would like to explore this idea and compare it with the views on personal identity as they appear in Tristram Shandy.

Leaving behind Locke and Hume’s postulates, I am now going to move in time two centuries forward: from Britain to France, from empiricism to Lacanian psychoanalysis. Lacan, who qualified his work as a genuine “return to Freud”, drew on many different sources to elaborate his theories. He was interested in the work of Levi-Strauss, Barthes, and Saussure, and in fields such as those of mathematics, philosophy, and linguistics. Indeed, the great appeal that structuralism had on him enabled Jacques Derrida to affirm that he had adopted a structuralist approach to the psychoanalytical practice. The significant influence of linguistics was also responsible for his key theory that the unconscious is structured like a language, and played a prominent role in the division of the psychic structure into the three elements of the Real, the Imaginary, and the Symbolic. Another central notion developed by Jacques Lacan was the so-called “Mirror Stage”, which he presented for the first time in 1936, at the Congress of the International Psychoanalytical Association in Marienbad. I would like to explore this idea and compare it with the views on personal identity as they appear in Tristram Shandy.

The mirror stage is a fundamental moment of maturation in the psychological development of the child which takes place between the sixth and the eighteenth month of life. It consists in the encounter of a child, who is not very proficient in controlling his physical movements, with his image. In other words, it is the identification of the infant with the image he sees in the mirror, even though he does not yet possess a sense of unity at the motive and neurological levels. As a consequence of this encounter, the child senses there is a kind of unity in his own body, which until then seemed to be fragmented, and many times, uncontrollable. It is as if the infant compensated in the field of the imaginary representation for the delay in his physical development. With regards to the formation of the individual during the mirror stage Lacan stated the following:

The mirror stage is a fundamental moment of maturation in the psychological development of the child which takes place between the sixth and the eighteenth month of life. It consists in the encounter of a child, who is not very proficient in controlling his physical movements, with his image. In other words, it is the identification of the infant with the image he sees in the mirror, even though he does not yet possess a sense of unity at the motive and neurological levels. As a consequence of this encounter, the child senses there is a kind of unity in his own body, which until then seemed to be fragmented, and many times, uncontrollable. It is as if the infant compensated in the field of the imaginary representation for the delay in his physical development. With regards to the formation of the individual during the mirror stage Lacan stated the following:

[…] the mirror stage is a drama whose internal pressure pushes precipitously from insufficiency to anticipation –and, for the subject caught up in the lure

[…] the mirror stage is a drama whose internal pressure pushes precipitously from insufficiency to anticipation –and, for the subject caught up in the lure

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of spatial identification, turns out fantasies that proceed from a fragmented image of the body to what I will call an “orthopaedic” form of its totality. (Lacan 2002: 6)

of spatial identification, turns out fantasies that proceed from a fragmented image of the body to what I will call an “orthopaedic” form of its totality. (Lacan 2002: 6)

Moreover, the mirror stage acquires a fundamental role within the process of establishing “a relationship between an organism and its reality” (Lacan 2002: 6). In other words, the process of identification that occurs during the mirror stage is the first step towards the creation of Lacan’s version of the Freudian ego (i.e., the subject as we typically conceive it). However, due to his inability to master the language, and to identify himself with the Other, the infant in Lacan’s example cannot be thought of being a proper subject yet.

Moreover, the mirror stage acquires a fundamental role within the process of establishing “a relationship between an organism and its reality” (Lacan 2002: 6). In other words, the process of identification that occurs during the mirror stage is the first step towards the creation of Lacan’s version of the Freudian ego (i.e., the subject as we typically conceive it). However, due to his inability to master the language, and to identify himself with the Other, the infant in Lacan’s example cannot be thought of being a proper subject yet.

In contrast with the infant in the mirror stage from Lacan’s example, we find Tristram Shandy, whom we suppose to be completely in control of his body, more than used to seeing himself in a mirror and recognizing his image on it, and fully aware of the existence of the Other: it has already been said that one of the techniques he uses to explore his identity is that of considering those of his father and uncle. But, above all, the main difference between Lacan’s speechless child and the garrulous Tristram is the use of language: Tristram is, thus, a fully formed subject from a Lacanian point of view.

In contrast with the infant in the mirror stage from Lacan’s example, we find Tristram Shandy, whom we suppose to be completely in control of his body, more than used to seeing himself in a mirror and recognizing his image on it, and fully aware of the existence of the Other: it has already been said that one of the techniques he uses to explore his identity is that of considering those of his father and uncle. But, above all, the main difference between Lacan’s speechless child and the garrulous Tristram is the use of language: Tristram is, thus, a fully formed subject from a Lacanian point of view.

We might then expand the Lacanian notion of the mirror stage into a new theory which we might call the “textual mirror phase” theory. This theory amounts to a sort of second phase of the mirror stage, this time in adulthood, which affects fully formed and linguistically articulate subjects like Tristram Shandy. As has already been said, Tristram decides to write his “autobiography” in order to find out who he is, and so, language becomes his main tool for achieving this purpose. We may then conclude that Tristram creates through language a textual mirror in which to see his identity. Thus, the mirror which he has created for this specific purpose, the tools he uses to build it, and the image he sees on it, are completely made of words. In this manner, we go back to the vicious circle we already mentioned when dealing with the connections between Tristram Shandy and Locke. Tristram sees the image he has of himself in his written “autobiography”, recognizes himself in it, and identifies himself with the characters he has created of himself, his father, and

We might then expand the Lacanian notion of the mirror stage into a new theory which we might call the “textual mirror phase” theory. This theory amounts to a sort of second phase of the mirror stage, this time in adulthood, which affects fully formed and linguistically articulate subjects like Tristram Shandy. As has already been said, Tristram decides to write his “autobiography” in order to find out who he is, and so, language becomes his main tool for achieving this purpose. We may then conclude that Tristram creates through language a textual mirror in which to see his identity. Thus, the mirror which he has created for this specific purpose, the tools he uses to build it, and the image he sees on it, are completely made of words. In this manner, we go back to the vicious circle we already mentioned when dealing with the connections between Tristram Shandy and Locke. Tristram sees the image he has of himself in his written “autobiography”, recognizes himself in it, and identifies himself with the characters he has created of himself, his father, and

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of spatial identification, turns out fantasies that proceed from a fragmented image of the body to what I will call an “orthopaedic” form of its totality. (Lacan 2002: 6)

of spatial identification, turns out fantasies that proceed from a fragmented image of the body to what I will call an “orthopaedic” form of its totality. (Lacan 2002: 6)

Moreover, the mirror stage acquires a fundamental role within the process of establishing “a relationship between an organism and its reality” (Lacan 2002: 6). In other words, the process of identification that occurs during the mirror stage is the first step towards the creation of Lacan’s version of the Freudian ego (i.e., the subject as we typically conceive it). However, due to his inability to master the language, and to identify himself with the Other, the infant in Lacan’s example cannot be thought of being a proper subject yet.

Moreover, the mirror stage acquires a fundamental role within the process of establishing “a relationship between an organism and its reality” (Lacan 2002: 6). In other words, the process of identification that occurs during the mirror stage is the first step towards the creation of Lacan’s version of the Freudian ego (i.e., the subject as we typically conceive it). However, due to his inability to master the language, and to identify himself with the Other, the infant in Lacan’s example cannot be thought of being a proper subject yet.

In contrast with the infant in the mirror stage from Lacan’s example, we find Tristram Shandy, whom we suppose to be completely in control of his body, more than used to seeing himself in a mirror and recognizing his image on it, and fully aware of the existence of the Other: it has already been said that one of the techniques he uses to explore his identity is that of considering those of his father and uncle. But, above all, the main difference between Lacan’s speechless child and the garrulous Tristram is the use of language: Tristram is, thus, a fully formed subject from a Lacanian point of view.

In contrast with the infant in the mirror stage from Lacan’s example, we find Tristram Shandy, whom we suppose to be completely in control of his body, more than used to seeing himself in a mirror and recognizing his image on it, and fully aware of the existence of the Other: it has already been said that one of the techniques he uses to explore his identity is that of considering those of his father and uncle. But, above all, the main difference between Lacan’s speechless child and the garrulous Tristram is the use of language: Tristram is, thus, a fully formed subject from a Lacanian point of view.

We might then expand the Lacanian notion of the mirror stage into a new theory which we might call the “textual mirror phase” theory. This theory amounts to a sort of second phase of the mirror stage, this time in adulthood, which affects fully formed and linguistically articulate subjects like Tristram Shandy. As has already been said, Tristram decides to write his “autobiography” in order to find out who he is, and so, language becomes his main tool for achieving this purpose. We may then conclude that Tristram creates through language a textual mirror in which to see his identity. Thus, the mirror which he has created for this specific purpose, the tools he uses to build it, and the image he sees on it, are completely made of words. In this manner, we go back to the vicious circle we already mentioned when dealing with the connections between Tristram Shandy and Locke. Tristram sees the image he has of himself in his written “autobiography”, recognizes himself in it, and identifies himself with the characters he has created of himself, his father, and

We might then expand the Lacanian notion of the mirror stage into a new theory which we might call the “textual mirror phase” theory. This theory amounts to a sort of second phase of the mirror stage, this time in adulthood, which affects fully formed and linguistically articulate subjects like Tristram Shandy. As has already been said, Tristram decides to write his “autobiography” in order to find out who he is, and so, language becomes his main tool for achieving this purpose. We may then conclude that Tristram creates through language a textual mirror in which to see his identity. Thus, the mirror which he has created for this specific purpose, the tools he uses to build it, and the image he sees on it, are completely made of words. In this manner, we go back to the vicious circle we already mentioned when dealing with the connections between Tristram Shandy and Locke. Tristram sees the image he has of himself in his written “autobiography”, recognizes himself in it, and identifies himself with the characters he has created of himself, his father, and

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uncle. But even though everything seems to make sense now, it is necessary to go further and ask ourselves the key question that still remains to be posed: Why does Tristram choose to create his textual mirror to know more about his identity?

uncle. But even though everything seems to make sense now, it is necessary to go further and ask ourselves the key question that still remains to be posed: Why does Tristram choose to create his textual mirror to know more about his identity?

One possible answer is that even though Tristram has a sense of physical unity, he lacks one at a psychological level. In other words, that he feels he is simply, as Hume had stated, a collection of endless and ever-growing impressions; merely a mind continually assaulted by the innumerable associations of ideas which flood his narrative. In this situation, both memory and the process of writing one’s autobiography would have a similar function: grouping fragmented impressions and associations of ideas under the illusory notion of personal identity. In other words, the attempt of writing one’s life is similar to making a puzzle: one collects a number of fragmented pieces, and then orders them in a specific manner to give them some cohesion and meaning. It is in a way a self-deceiving technique that artificially shapes into a text something which is, by nature, shapeless and disjointed.

One possible answer is that even though Tristram has a sense of physical unity, he lacks one at a psychological level. In other words, that he feels he is simply, as Hume had stated, a collection of endless and ever-growing impressions; merely a mind continually assaulted by the innumerable associations of ideas which flood his narrative. In this situation, both memory and the process of writing one’s autobiography would have a similar function: grouping fragmented impressions and associations of ideas under the illusory notion of personal identity. In other words, the attempt of writing one’s life is similar to making a puzzle: one collects a number of fragmented pieces, and then orders them in a specific manner to give them some cohesion and meaning. It is in a way a self-deceiving technique that artificially shapes into a text something which is, by nature, shapeless and disjointed.

Nonetheless, it is also worthwhile to point out the deceitful nature of the “textual mirror”, since it is very easy to fall into its trap. In this respect, there is again a parallelism with the child’s mirror stage. It is not unusual to see how an adult says “Yes, that is you” to the surprised infant who starts to identify the primitive notion he may have of himself with the one the mirror reflects. But, of course, the image projected by the glass is not the child, only an image of him. Hence, the image in the mirror is not comparable with the infant himself. Likewise, it would be deceitful to believe that Tristram’s autobiography (i.e., a self-made textual mirror that reflects an image of Tristram created by himself) can show Tristram’s true self, when it actually offers nothing more than a mere image. Thus, the conclusions of the Lacanian perspective on this matter seem to agree with Hume’s, since according to the theories of these two authors Tristram’s attempts to explore his personal identity are doomed to failure. Nevertheless, a slight difference between them must also be pointed out. On the one hand, Hume would qualify as vain all sorts of attempts to defend the thesis of the unity of the “I”, describing them as mere illusions, or self-deceiving techniques to convince oneself of the pipe dream of one’s psychological unity. On the other hand, however,

Nonetheless, it is also worthwhile to point out the deceitful nature of the “textual mirror”, since it is very easy to fall into its trap. In this respect, there is again a parallelism with the child’s mirror stage. It is not unusual to see how an adult says “Yes, that is you” to the surprised infant who starts to identify the primitive notion he may have of himself with the one the mirror reflects. But, of course, the image projected by the glass is not the child, only an image of him. Hence, the image in the mirror is not comparable with the infant himself. Likewise, it would be deceitful to believe that Tristram’s autobiography (i.e., a self-made textual mirror that reflects an image of Tristram created by himself) can show Tristram’s true self, when it actually offers nothing more than a mere image. Thus, the conclusions of the Lacanian perspective on this matter seem to agree with Hume’s, since according to the theories of these two authors Tristram’s attempts to explore his personal identity are doomed to failure. Nevertheless, a slight difference between them must also be pointed out. On the one hand, Hume would qualify as vain all sorts of attempts to defend the thesis of the unity of the “I”, describing them as mere illusions, or self-deceiving techniques to convince oneself of the pipe dream of one’s psychological unity. On the other hand, however,

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uncle. But even though everything seems to make sense now, it is necessary to go further and ask ourselves the key question that still remains to be posed: Why does Tristram choose to create his textual mirror to know more about his identity?

uncle. But even though everything seems to make sense now, it is necessary to go further and ask ourselves the key question that still remains to be posed: Why does Tristram choose to create his textual mirror to know more about his identity?

One possible answer is that even though Tristram has a sense of physical unity, he lacks one at a psychological level. In other words, that he feels he is simply, as Hume had stated, a collection of endless and ever-growing impressions; merely a mind continually assaulted by the innumerable associations of ideas which flood his narrative. In this situation, both memory and the process of writing one’s autobiography would have a similar function: grouping fragmented impressions and associations of ideas under the illusory notion of personal identity. In other words, the attempt of writing one’s life is similar to making a puzzle: one collects a number of fragmented pieces, and then orders them in a specific manner to give them some cohesion and meaning. It is in a way a self-deceiving technique that artificially shapes into a text something which is, by nature, shapeless and disjointed.

One possible answer is that even though Tristram has a sense of physical unity, he lacks one at a psychological level. In other words, that he feels he is simply, as Hume had stated, a collection of endless and ever-growing impressions; merely a mind continually assaulted by the innumerable associations of ideas which flood his narrative. In this situation, both memory and the process of writing one’s autobiography would have a similar function: grouping fragmented impressions and associations of ideas under the illusory notion of personal identity. In other words, the attempt of writing one’s life is similar to making a puzzle: one collects a number of fragmented pieces, and then orders them in a specific manner to give them some cohesion and meaning. It is in a way a self-deceiving technique that artificially shapes into a text something which is, by nature, shapeless and disjointed.

Nonetheless, it is also worthwhile to point out the deceitful nature of the “textual mirror”, since it is very easy to fall into its trap. In this respect, there is again a parallelism with the child’s mirror stage. It is not unusual to see how an adult says “Yes, that is you” to the surprised infant who starts to identify the primitive notion he may have of himself with the one the mirror reflects. But, of course, the image projected by the glass is not the child, only an image of him. Hence, the image in the mirror is not comparable with the infant himself. Likewise, it would be deceitful to believe that Tristram’s autobiography (i.e., a self-made textual mirror that reflects an image of Tristram created by himself) can show Tristram’s true self, when it actually offers nothing more than a mere image. Thus, the conclusions of the Lacanian perspective on this matter seem to agree with Hume’s, since according to the theories of these two authors Tristram’s attempts to explore his personal identity are doomed to failure. Nevertheless, a slight difference between them must also be pointed out. On the one hand, Hume would qualify as vain all sorts of attempts to defend the thesis of the unity of the “I”, describing them as mere illusions, or self-deceiving techniques to convince oneself of the pipe dream of one’s psychological unity. On the other hand, however,

Nonetheless, it is also worthwhile to point out the deceitful nature of the “textual mirror”, since it is very easy to fall into its trap. In this respect, there is again a parallelism with the child’s mirror stage. It is not unusual to see how an adult says “Yes, that is you” to the surprised infant who starts to identify the primitive notion he may have of himself with the one the mirror reflects. But, of course, the image projected by the glass is not the child, only an image of him. Hence, the image in the mirror is not comparable with the infant himself. Likewise, it would be deceitful to believe that Tristram’s autobiography (i.e., a self-made textual mirror that reflects an image of Tristram created by himself) can show Tristram’s true self, when it actually offers nothing more than a mere image. Thus, the conclusions of the Lacanian perspective on this matter seem to agree with Hume’s, since according to the theories of these two authors Tristram’s attempts to explore his personal identity are doomed to failure. Nevertheless, a slight difference between them must also be pointed out. On the one hand, Hume would qualify as vain all sorts of attempts to defend the thesis of the unity of the “I”, describing them as mere illusions, or self-deceiving techniques to convince oneself of the pipe dream of one’s psychological unity. On the other hand, however,

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Lacanian thought would simply disagree with the specific means Tristram uses to know more about himself, for they imply putting Tristram’s true self on a par with the textual image his autobiography reflects of the former.

Lacanian thought would simply disagree with the specific means Tristram uses to know more about himself, for they imply putting Tristram’s true self on a par with the textual image his autobiography reflects of the former.

Indeed, the theories of the three authors we have seen up to this point disagree (or even disapprove) in one way or another with the manner in which Tristram decides to explore his personal identity. In contrast with them, we are now going to deal with the thoughts of Jean Baudrillard, father of the theory of hyperreality, who far from disregarding Tristram’s approach to the issue of personal identity, seems to applaud and celebrate it.

Indeed, the theories of the three authors we have seen up to this point disagree (or even disapprove) in one way or another with the manner in which Tristram decides to explore his personal identity. In contrast with them, we are now going to deal with the thoughts of Jean Baudrillard, father of the theory of hyperreality, who far from disregarding Tristram’s approach to the issue of personal identity, seems to applaud and celebrate it.

4. JEAN BAUDRILLARD: SIMULACRA AND THE THEORY OF HYPERREALITY

4. JEAN BAUDRILLARD: SIMULACRA AND THE THEORY OF HYPERREALITY

Even though the first volumes of Sterne’s Tristram Shandy were published more than two hundred years ago, it presents many devices which are also extensively used by postmodernist writers. Sterne has in common with postmodernist fiction the use of parody and sceptical irony, the techniques of metafiction and self-reflexiveness, together with a taste for eclecticism, redundancy, discontinuity, multiplicity, and intertextuality. Like Sterne, Postmodernist writers also prefer a discourse in which they can play with different points of view, rather than foster a monologic one in which just a single voice is in control throughout the whole work. Among their other common concerns are the problematic representation of the world and the self, their belief in the fragmented nature of our perceptions and knowledge, the limitations and imperfections of language, or the complexity of the issues of time, memory, and history, which in their view are inseparable from individual subjectivity. Indeed, the treatment of the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy has not gone unnoticed by contemporary critics such as Herbert Klein, who states that Tristram can “be thought to be a precursor of postmodern identity, which is also characterized by ‘difference’ and does not exist on its own, but only in contradistinction to other identities within a web of relationships” (Klein 1996: 129).

Even though the first volumes of Sterne’s Tristram Shandy were published more than two hundred years ago, it presents many devices which are also extensively used by postmodernist writers. Sterne has in common with postmodernist fiction the use of parody and sceptical irony, the techniques of metafiction and self-reflexiveness, together with a taste for eclecticism, redundancy, discontinuity, multiplicity, and intertextuality. Like Sterne, Postmodernist writers also prefer a discourse in which they can play with different points of view, rather than foster a monologic one in which just a single voice is in control throughout the whole work. Among their other common concerns are the problematic representation of the world and the self, their belief in the fragmented nature of our perceptions and knowledge, the limitations and imperfections of language, or the complexity of the issues of time, memory, and history, which in their view are inseparable from individual subjectivity. Indeed, the treatment of the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy has not gone unnoticed by contemporary critics such as Herbert Klein, who states that Tristram can “be thought to be a precursor of postmodern identity, which is also characterized by ‘difference’ and does not exist on its own, but only in contradistinction to other identities within a web of relationships” (Klein 1996: 129).

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Lacanian thought would simply disagree with the specific means Tristram uses to know more about himself, for they imply putting Tristram’s true self on a par with the textual image his autobiography reflects of the former.

Lacanian thought would simply disagree with the specific means Tristram uses to know more about himself, for they imply putting Tristram’s true self on a par with the textual image his autobiography reflects of the former.

Indeed, the theories of the three authors we have seen up to this point disagree (or even disapprove) in one way or another with the manner in which Tristram decides to explore his personal identity. In contrast with them, we are now going to deal with the thoughts of Jean Baudrillard, father of the theory of hyperreality, who far from disregarding Tristram’s approach to the issue of personal identity, seems to applaud and celebrate it.

Indeed, the theories of the three authors we have seen up to this point disagree (or even disapprove) in one way or another with the manner in which Tristram decides to explore his personal identity. In contrast with them, we are now going to deal with the thoughts of Jean Baudrillard, father of the theory of hyperreality, who far from disregarding Tristram’s approach to the issue of personal identity, seems to applaud and celebrate it.

4. JEAN BAUDRILLARD: SIMULACRA AND THE THEORY OF HYPERREALITY

4. JEAN BAUDRILLARD: SIMULACRA AND THE THEORY OF HYPERREALITY

Even though the first volumes of Sterne’s Tristram Shandy were published more than two hundred years ago, it presents many devices which are also extensively used by postmodernist writers. Sterne has in common with postmodernist fiction the use of parody and sceptical irony, the techniques of metafiction and self-reflexiveness, together with a taste for eclecticism, redundancy, discontinuity, multiplicity, and intertextuality. Like Sterne, Postmodernist writers also prefer a discourse in which they can play with different points of view, rather than foster a monologic one in which just a single voice is in control throughout the whole work. Among their other common concerns are the problematic representation of the world and the self, their belief in the fragmented nature of our perceptions and knowledge, the limitations and imperfections of language, or the complexity of the issues of time, memory, and history, which in their view are inseparable from individual subjectivity. Indeed, the treatment of the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy has not gone unnoticed by contemporary critics such as Herbert Klein, who states that Tristram can “be thought to be a precursor of postmodern identity, which is also characterized by ‘difference’ and does not exist on its own, but only in contradistinction to other identities within a web of relationships” (Klein 1996: 129).

Even though the first volumes of Sterne’s Tristram Shandy were published more than two hundred years ago, it presents many devices which are also extensively used by postmodernist writers. Sterne has in common with postmodernist fiction the use of parody and sceptical irony, the techniques of metafiction and self-reflexiveness, together with a taste for eclecticism, redundancy, discontinuity, multiplicity, and intertextuality. Like Sterne, Postmodernist writers also prefer a discourse in which they can play with different points of view, rather than foster a monologic one in which just a single voice is in control throughout the whole work. Among their other common concerns are the problematic representation of the world and the self, their belief in the fragmented nature of our perceptions and knowledge, the limitations and imperfections of language, or the complexity of the issues of time, memory, and history, which in their view are inseparable from individual subjectivity. Indeed, the treatment of the issue of personal identity in Tristram Shandy has not gone unnoticed by contemporary critics such as Herbert Klein, who states that Tristram can “be thought to be a precursor of postmodern identity, which is also characterized by ‘difference’ and does not exist on its own, but only in contradistinction to other identities within a web of relationships” (Klein 1996: 129).

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When dealing with the movement of postmodernism it is, in a way, inevitable to make reference to the theories developed by the French critic Jean Baudrillard, whose analyses of the postmodern era have prompted conflicting responses. While many consider him the “high priest” of the “religion of postmodernism” (Woods 1999: 25), others believe that he “increasingly turns away from common sense and skepticism”, and have accused him of exhibiting “all the worst traits of poststructuralism” (Bertens 1995: 144). In any case, all this variety of opinions ultimately shows the importance of his theories, whose repercussions can be found in fields such as those of film studies and literary criticism.

When dealing with the movement of postmodernism it is, in a way, inevitable to make reference to the theories developed by the French critic Jean Baudrillard, whose analyses of the postmodern era have prompted conflicting responses. While many consider him the “high priest” of the “religion of postmodernism” (Woods 1999: 25), others believe that he “increasingly turns away from common sense and skepticism”, and have accused him of exhibiting “all the worst traits of poststructuralism” (Bertens 1995: 144). In any case, all this variety of opinions ultimately shows the importance of his theories, whose repercussions can be found in fields such as those of film studies and literary criticism.

According to Baudrillard, we nowadays live in “the third order of simulation”, which means that “simulation is the dominant scheme of the present phase of history” (Baudrillard 1988: 135). The essence of this historical period can be found in the new cybernetic technology, the current mass production, the hyper-conformism of the masses, and a fundamental presence of the media in every aspect of ordinary life. In economic terms, Baudrillard believes capitalism is no longer a mode of production, but a mode of political control and domination. Moreover, he asserts that consumption and production have collapsed into each other (Baudrillard 1988: 98-118), and that society is ultimately controlled by the code, so whatever we do is, in a way, preprogrammed by the system. It is also under these circumstances that the notion of what traditionally has been called “real” begins not to make sense, for the constant reduplication of “the real” makes the boundaries that separate reality from unreality fade. In the same way, it is impossible to establish any differences between what is considered to be “true”, and “false”, or between the notions of “original” and “copy”. Indeed, from this perspective, as Baudrillard himself points out:

According to Baudrillard, we nowadays live in “the third order of simulation”, which means that “simulation is the dominant scheme of the present phase of history” (Baudrillard 1988: 135). The essence of this historical period can be found in the new cybernetic technology, the current mass production, the hyper-conformism of the masses, and a fundamental presence of the media in every aspect of ordinary life. In economic terms, Baudrillard believes capitalism is no longer a mode of production, but a mode of political control and domination. Moreover, he asserts that consumption and production have collapsed into each other (Baudrillard 1988: 98-118), and that society is ultimately controlled by the code, so whatever we do is, in a way, preprogrammed by the system. It is also under these circumstances that the notion of what traditionally has been called “real” begins not to make sense, for the constant reduplication of “the real” makes the boundaries that separate reality from unreality fade. In the same way, it is impossible to establish any differences between what is considered to be “true”, and “false”, or between the notions of “original” and “copy”. Indeed, from this perspective, as Baudrillard himself points out:

The era of simulation is thus everywhere initiated by the interchangeability of previously contradictory or dialectically opposed terms. Everywhere the same ‘genesis of simulacra’: the interchangeability of the beautiful and the ugly in fashion; of the right and the left in politics; of the true and the false in every media message; of the useful and the useless at the level of

The era of simulation is thus everywhere initiated by the interchangeability of previously contradictory or dialectically opposed terms. Everywhere the same ‘genesis of simulacra’: the interchangeability of the beautiful and the ugly in fashion; of the right and the left in politics; of the true and the false in every media message; of the useful and the useless at the level of

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When dealing with the movement of postmodernism it is, in a way, inevitable to make reference to the theories developed by the French critic Jean Baudrillard, whose analyses of the postmodern era have prompted conflicting responses. While many consider him the “high priest” of the “religion of postmodernism” (Woods 1999: 25), others believe that he “increasingly turns away from common sense and skepticism”, and have accused him of exhibiting “all the worst traits of poststructuralism” (Bertens 1995: 144). In any case, all this variety of opinions ultimately shows the importance of his theories, whose repercussions can be found in fields such as those of film studies and literary criticism.

When dealing with the movement of postmodernism it is, in a way, inevitable to make reference to the theories developed by the French critic Jean Baudrillard, whose analyses of the postmodern era have prompted conflicting responses. While many consider him the “high priest” of the “religion of postmodernism” (Woods 1999: 25), others believe that he “increasingly turns away from common sense and skepticism”, and have accused him of exhibiting “all the worst traits of poststructuralism” (Bertens 1995: 144). In any case, all this variety of opinions ultimately shows the importance of his theories, whose repercussions can be found in fields such as those of film studies and literary criticism.

According to Baudrillard, we nowadays live in “the third order of simulation”, which means that “simulation is the dominant scheme of the present phase of history” (Baudrillard 1988: 135). The essence of this historical period can be found in the new cybernetic technology, the current mass production, the hyper-conformism of the masses, and a fundamental presence of the media in every aspect of ordinary life. In economic terms, Baudrillard believes capitalism is no longer a mode of production, but a mode of political control and domination. Moreover, he asserts that consumption and production have collapsed into each other (Baudrillard 1988: 98-118), and that society is ultimately controlled by the code, so whatever we do is, in a way, preprogrammed by the system. It is also under these circumstances that the notion of what traditionally has been called “real” begins not to make sense, for the constant reduplication of “the real” makes the boundaries that separate reality from unreality fade. In the same way, it is impossible to establish any differences between what is considered to be “true”, and “false”, or between the notions of “original” and “copy”. Indeed, from this perspective, as Baudrillard himself points out:

According to Baudrillard, we nowadays live in “the third order of simulation”, which means that “simulation is the dominant scheme of the present phase of history” (Baudrillard 1988: 135). The essence of this historical period can be found in the new cybernetic technology, the current mass production, the hyper-conformism of the masses, and a fundamental presence of the media in every aspect of ordinary life. In economic terms, Baudrillard believes capitalism is no longer a mode of production, but a mode of political control and domination. Moreover, he asserts that consumption and production have collapsed into each other (Baudrillard 1988: 98-118), and that society is ultimately controlled by the code, so whatever we do is, in a way, preprogrammed by the system. It is also under these circumstances that the notion of what traditionally has been called “real” begins not to make sense, for the constant reduplication of “the real” makes the boundaries that separate reality from unreality fade. In the same way, it is impossible to establish any differences between what is considered to be “true”, and “false”, or between the notions of “original” and “copy”. Indeed, from this perspective, as Baudrillard himself points out:

The era of simulation is thus everywhere initiated by the interchangeability of previously contradictory or dialectically opposed terms. Everywhere the same ‘genesis of simulacra’: the interchangeability of the beautiful and the ugly in fashion; of the right and the left in politics; of the true and the false in every media message; of the useful and the useless at the level of

The era of simulation is thus everywhere initiated by the interchangeability of previously contradictory or dialectically opposed terms. Everywhere the same ‘genesis of simulacra’: the interchangeability of the beautiful and the ugly in fashion; of the right and the left in politics; of the true and the false in every media message; of the useful and the useless at the level of

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objects; and of nature and culture at every level of meaning. (Baudrillard 1988: 128)

objects; and of nature and culture at every level of meaning. (Baudrillard 1988: 128)

Hence, since “the age of simulation thus begins with a liquidation of all referentials” (Baudrillard 1988: 172), the term “reality” has become an empty word. The concept of “hyperreality” appears to be more appropriate instead, for it conveys the idea of “the state where distinctions between objects and their representations are dissolved and one is left with only simulacra” (Woods 1999: 27). In order to illustrate this point, Baudrillard offers the example of Disneyland, which he says is not within the limits of the “imaginary” or “unreal”: it is simply “presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation” (Baudrillard 1988: 172).

Hence, since “the age of simulation thus begins with a liquidation of all referentials” (Baudrillard 1988: 172), the term “reality” has become an empty word. The concept of “hyperreality” appears to be more appropriate instead, for it conveys the idea of “the state where distinctions between objects and their representations are dissolved and one is left with only simulacra” (Woods 1999: 27). In order to illustrate this point, Baudrillard offers the example of Disneyland, which he says is not within the limits of the “imaginary” or “unreal”: it is simply “presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation” (Baudrillard 1988: 172).

Curiously enough, even though Tristram Shandy is not a narrative produced in this Baudrillardian era of simulation, it approaches the issue of personal identity as if it were. At first sight, it apparently seems possible to discern in the novel four different Tristrams: the man who lives his life, (who can be considered a sort of ghost, a presence that emanates by default from the text); the writer of his autobiography; the character within the novel that acts as its narrator; and the protagonist of his own autobiography, a character of a work of non-fiction. One may think it is legitimate to wonder which of these four is the “real” Tristram. From the viewpoint of the implications of the Lacanian “mirror phase”, it would be a fallacy to believe the authentic Tristram is a character of the narrative, for the latter is simply an image that the real Tristram projects when writing his autobiography. So, in the same way as the infant is not comparable with his image in the mirror, the true Tristram is alien to the image that he projects on his own textual mirror. Nevertheless, this position becomes untenable under the premises established by Baudrillard.

Curiously enough, even though Tristram Shandy is not a narrative produced in this Baudrillardian era of simulation, it approaches the issue of personal identity as if it were. At first sight, it apparently seems possible to discern in the novel four different Tristrams: the man who lives his life, (who can be considered a sort of ghost, a presence that emanates by default from the text); the writer of his autobiography; the character within the novel that acts as its narrator; and the protagonist of his own autobiography, a character of a work of non-fiction. One may think it is legitimate to wonder which of these four is the “real” Tristram. From the viewpoint of the implications of the Lacanian “mirror phase”, it would be a fallacy to believe the authentic Tristram is a character of the narrative, for the latter is simply an image that the real Tristram projects when writing his autobiography. So, in the same way as the infant is not comparable with his image in the mirror, the true Tristram is alien to the image that he projects on his own textual mirror. Nevertheless, this position becomes untenable under the premises established by Baudrillard.

When Baudrillard assumes there is no possible distinction between what was traditionally thought to be “real” and “imaginary”, or between “authentic” and “illusory”, he is stating that eventually everything is comparable. Consequently, the four Tristrams above

When Baudrillard assumes there is no possible distinction between what was traditionally thought to be “real” and “imaginary”, or between “authentic” and “illusory”, he is stating that eventually everything is comparable. Consequently, the four Tristrams above

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objects; and of nature and culture at every level of meaning. (Baudrillard 1988: 128)

objects; and of nature and culture at every level of meaning. (Baudrillard 1988: 128)

Hence, since “the age of simulation thus begins with a liquidation of all referentials” (Baudrillard 1988: 172), the term “reality” has become an empty word. The concept of “hyperreality” appears to be more appropriate instead, for it conveys the idea of “the state where distinctions between objects and their representations are dissolved and one is left with only simulacra” (Woods 1999: 27). In order to illustrate this point, Baudrillard offers the example of Disneyland, which he says is not within the limits of the “imaginary” or “unreal”: it is simply “presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation” (Baudrillard 1988: 172).

Hence, since “the age of simulation thus begins with a liquidation of all referentials” (Baudrillard 1988: 172), the term “reality” has become an empty word. The concept of “hyperreality” appears to be more appropriate instead, for it conveys the idea of “the state where distinctions between objects and their representations are dissolved and one is left with only simulacra” (Woods 1999: 27). In order to illustrate this point, Baudrillard offers the example of Disneyland, which he says is not within the limits of the “imaginary” or “unreal”: it is simply “presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation” (Baudrillard 1988: 172).

Curiously enough, even though Tristram Shandy is not a narrative produced in this Baudrillardian era of simulation, it approaches the issue of personal identity as if it were. At first sight, it apparently seems possible to discern in the novel four different Tristrams: the man who lives his life, (who can be considered a sort of ghost, a presence that emanates by default from the text); the writer of his autobiography; the character within the novel that acts as its narrator; and the protagonist of his own autobiography, a character of a work of non-fiction. One may think it is legitimate to wonder which of these four is the “real” Tristram. From the viewpoint of the implications of the Lacanian “mirror phase”, it would be a fallacy to believe the authentic Tristram is a character of the narrative, for the latter is simply an image that the real Tristram projects when writing his autobiography. So, in the same way as the infant is not comparable with his image in the mirror, the true Tristram is alien to the image that he projects on his own textual mirror. Nevertheless, this position becomes untenable under the premises established by Baudrillard.

Curiously enough, even though Tristram Shandy is not a narrative produced in this Baudrillardian era of simulation, it approaches the issue of personal identity as if it were. At first sight, it apparently seems possible to discern in the novel four different Tristrams: the man who lives his life, (who can be considered a sort of ghost, a presence that emanates by default from the text); the writer of his autobiography; the character within the novel that acts as its narrator; and the protagonist of his own autobiography, a character of a work of non-fiction. One may think it is legitimate to wonder which of these four is the “real” Tristram. From the viewpoint of the implications of the Lacanian “mirror phase”, it would be a fallacy to believe the authentic Tristram is a character of the narrative, for the latter is simply an image that the real Tristram projects when writing his autobiography. So, in the same way as the infant is not comparable with his image in the mirror, the true Tristram is alien to the image that he projects on his own textual mirror. Nevertheless, this position becomes untenable under the premises established by Baudrillard.

When Baudrillard assumes there is no possible distinction between what was traditionally thought to be “real” and “imaginary”, or between “authentic” and “illusory”, he is stating that eventually everything is comparable. Consequently, the four Tristrams above

When Baudrillard assumes there is no possible distinction between what was traditionally thought to be “real” and “imaginary”, or between “authentic” and “illusory”, he is stating that eventually everything is comparable. Consequently, the four Tristrams above

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mentioned are just one single Tristram, and none of them is subordinated to the other. Hence, it is impossible to speak about a true and a false Tristram, or about an original Tristram and a reflection of him. Nor is it viable to say that a certain one precedes the rest, for all of them are placed at the same level and are part of the same motion. In other words, Tristram Shandy is not placed in a world of antitheses and oppositions, but within the sphere of the hyperreal, in which it is possible for him to have all those different faces simultaneously and without running into contradiction. In fact, Tristram can be only understood as the total sum of all of them. Once again, the circularity that characterizes Baudrillard’s postulates goes hand in hand with the circularity of the tautological nature of Tristram’s quest for identity: his autobiography, which is made up of words, becomes both his only means for exploring his identity, and, at the same time, the proof of its existence. The tautological nature of language in Tristram Shandy is the definitive proof of the existence of his hyperreal universe.

mentioned are just one single Tristram, and none of them is subordinated to the other. Hence, it is impossible to speak about a true and a false Tristram, or about an original Tristram and a reflection of him. Nor is it viable to say that a certain one precedes the rest, for all of them are placed at the same level and are part of the same motion. In other words, Tristram Shandy is not placed in a world of antitheses and oppositions, but within the sphere of the hyperreal, in which it is possible for him to have all those different faces simultaneously and without running into contradiction. In fact, Tristram can be only understood as the total sum of all of them. Once again, the circularity that characterizes Baudrillard’s postulates goes hand in hand with the circularity of the tautological nature of Tristram’s quest for identity: his autobiography, which is made up of words, becomes both his only means for exploring his identity, and, at the same time, the proof of its existence. The tautological nature of language in Tristram Shandy is the definitive proof of the existence of his hyperreal universe.

5. TO CONCLUDE…

5. TO CONCLUDE…

Were we to draw a gradient, on the extreme located further away from the principles around which personal identity revolves in Tristram Shandy, we would find John Locke’s arguments. The source of the great differences between their postulates can be traced back to their views on language and knowledge. On the one hand, Locke believed it was possible to achieve an objective knowledge of human understanding provided that language were used in an strictly denotative way to avoid misunderstandings and confusion. This kind of statement presupposes that it is possible both for human knowledge and language to be objective, and so, independent from the individual’s subjectivity. Sterne, however, had a radically different view on this issue: neither language nor human knowledge are ever going to be complete, objective, or aseptic, for they are inevitably dependent on the subject that is perceiving reality or transmitting a message. In other words, language is equally fragmentary, faulty, and subjective in the information we transmit through it. Consequently, the selfknowledge Tristram is able to acquire through writing his autobiography is a fragmentary one as well. Moreover, it is also

Were we to draw a gradient, on the extreme located further away from the principles around which personal identity revolves in Tristram Shandy, we would find John Locke’s arguments. The source of the great differences between their postulates can be traced back to their views on language and knowledge. On the one hand, Locke believed it was possible to achieve an objective knowledge of human understanding provided that language were used in an strictly denotative way to avoid misunderstandings and confusion. This kind of statement presupposes that it is possible both for human knowledge and language to be objective, and so, independent from the individual’s subjectivity. Sterne, however, had a radically different view on this issue: neither language nor human knowledge are ever going to be complete, objective, or aseptic, for they are inevitably dependent on the subject that is perceiving reality or transmitting a message. In other words, language is equally fragmentary, faulty, and subjective in the information we transmit through it. Consequently, the selfknowledge Tristram is able to acquire through writing his autobiography is a fragmentary one as well. Moreover, it is also

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mentioned are just one single Tristram, and none of them is subordinated to the other. Hence, it is impossible to speak about a true and a false Tristram, or about an original Tristram and a reflection of him. Nor is it viable to say that a certain one precedes the rest, for all of them are placed at the same level and are part of the same motion. In other words, Tristram Shandy is not placed in a world of antitheses and oppositions, but within the sphere of the hyperreal, in which it is possible for him to have all those different faces simultaneously and without running into contradiction. In fact, Tristram can be only understood as the total sum of all of them. Once again, the circularity that characterizes Baudrillard’s postulates goes hand in hand with the circularity of the tautological nature of Tristram’s quest for identity: his autobiography, which is made up of words, becomes both his only means for exploring his identity, and, at the same time, the proof of its existence. The tautological nature of language in Tristram Shandy is the definitive proof of the existence of his hyperreal universe.

mentioned are just one single Tristram, and none of them is subordinated to the other. Hence, it is impossible to speak about a true and a false Tristram, or about an original Tristram and a reflection of him. Nor is it viable to say that a certain one precedes the rest, for all of them are placed at the same level and are part of the same motion. In other words, Tristram Shandy is not placed in a world of antitheses and oppositions, but within the sphere of the hyperreal, in which it is possible for him to have all those different faces simultaneously and without running into contradiction. In fact, Tristram can be only understood as the total sum of all of them. Once again, the circularity that characterizes Baudrillard’s postulates goes hand in hand with the circularity of the tautological nature of Tristram’s quest for identity: his autobiography, which is made up of words, becomes both his only means for exploring his identity, and, at the same time, the proof of its existence. The tautological nature of language in Tristram Shandy is the definitive proof of the existence of his hyperreal universe.

5. TO CONCLUDE…

5. TO CONCLUDE…

Were we to draw a gradient, on the extreme located further away from the principles around which personal identity revolves in Tristram Shandy, we would find John Locke’s arguments. The source of the great differences between their postulates can be traced back to their views on language and knowledge. On the one hand, Locke believed it was possible to achieve an objective knowledge of human understanding provided that language were used in an strictly denotative way to avoid misunderstandings and confusion. This kind of statement presupposes that it is possible both for human knowledge and language to be objective, and so, independent from the individual’s subjectivity. Sterne, however, had a radically different view on this issue: neither language nor human knowledge are ever going to be complete, objective, or aseptic, for they are inevitably dependent on the subject that is perceiving reality or transmitting a message. In other words, language is equally fragmentary, faulty, and subjective in the information we transmit through it. Consequently, the selfknowledge Tristram is able to acquire through writing his autobiography is a fragmentary one as well. Moreover, it is also

Were we to draw a gradient, on the extreme located further away from the principles around which personal identity revolves in Tristram Shandy, we would find John Locke’s arguments. The source of the great differences between their postulates can be traced back to their views on language and knowledge. On the one hand, Locke believed it was possible to achieve an objective knowledge of human understanding provided that language were used in an strictly denotative way to avoid misunderstandings and confusion. This kind of statement presupposes that it is possible both for human knowledge and language to be objective, and so, independent from the individual’s subjectivity. Sterne, however, had a radically different view on this issue: neither language nor human knowledge are ever going to be complete, objective, or aseptic, for they are inevitably dependent on the subject that is perceiving reality or transmitting a message. In other words, language is equally fragmentary, faulty, and subjective in the information we transmit through it. Consequently, the selfknowledge Tristram is able to acquire through writing his autobiography is a fragmentary one as well. Moreover, it is also

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tautological, for language becomes both the means he has for discovering his identity, and the final evidence of its existence.

tautological, for language becomes both the means he has for discovering his identity, and the final evidence of its existence.

Under these conditions, it seems as if Sterne found in the analysis of the subjective association of ideas the best means to explore the fragmented human mind. In this respect, it is possible to say that he moves closer to David Hume’s perspective. Moreover, it can even be thought that as a consequence of the great stress Sterne gives to Tristram’s association of ideas, the latter seems to be, as Hume would be eager to confirm, a mere collection of endless and variable impressions which are only given a certain unity by Tristram’s memory. Two different arguments can be offered to support the latter thesis. First, there is the fact that those associations of ideas are precisely the major structural device in the book. Hence, it does make sense to think that this is consistent if we assume that is the only possible way for someone to write his autobiography. In the second place, this view is also consistent with the circular and tautological nature of Tristram’s quest: if Tristram’s consciousness is nothing but a group of impressions tied together by his memory, then, the task of exploring his identity is an example of how these impressions reflect on themselves.

Under these conditions, it seems as if Sterne found in the analysis of the subjective association of ideas the best means to explore the fragmented human mind. In this respect, it is possible to say that he moves closer to David Hume’s perspective. Moreover, it can even be thought that as a consequence of the great stress Sterne gives to Tristram’s association of ideas, the latter seems to be, as Hume would be eager to confirm, a mere collection of endless and variable impressions which are only given a certain unity by Tristram’s memory. Two different arguments can be offered to support the latter thesis. First, there is the fact that those associations of ideas are precisely the major structural device in the book. Hence, it does make sense to think that this is consistent if we assume that is the only possible way for someone to write his autobiography. In the second place, this view is also consistent with the circular and tautological nature of Tristram’s quest: if Tristram’s consciousness is nothing but a group of impressions tied together by his memory, then, the task of exploring his identity is an example of how these impressions reflect on themselves.

As to the theories put forward by Lacan, it is worthwhile to mention the importance that both the psychoanalyst and Sterne gave to the presence of the external element of the “Other” in the process of the formation of the self. Tristram is Tristram precisely because he sees similarities and differences with other people that surround him (mainly with his father and uncle). Thus, the process of knowing more about himself inevitably includes investigating the figures that have had a greater impact in the formation of his personality.

As to the theories put forward by Lacan, it is worthwhile to mention the importance that both the psychoanalyst and Sterne gave to the presence of the external element of the “Other” in the process of the formation of the self. Tristram is Tristram precisely because he sees similarities and differences with other people that surround him (mainly with his father and uncle). Thus, the process of knowing more about himself inevitably includes investigating the figures that have had a greater impact in the formation of his personality.

In addition to this, the tautological nature of Tristram’s search for identity should be reconsidered from the Lacanian viewpoint. My thesis of the “textual mirror phase”, based on Lacan’s concept of the “mirror stage”, dealt precisely with the fact that Tristram used language as his main tool to build a textual mirror on which to see himself. Thus, both the mirror itself, and the image projected on it were also made up of words. The “textual mirror” theory implies, like Lacan’s episode of the child in front of the mirror, that even though there can be an identification with the image on the mirror, the image

In addition to this, the tautological nature of Tristram’s search for identity should be reconsidered from the Lacanian viewpoint. My thesis of the “textual mirror phase”, based on Lacan’s concept of the “mirror stage”, dealt precisely with the fact that Tristram used language as his main tool to build a textual mirror on which to see himself. Thus, both the mirror itself, and the image projected on it were also made up of words. The “textual mirror” theory implies, like Lacan’s episode of the child in front of the mirror, that even though there can be an identification with the image on the mirror, the image

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tautological, for language becomes both the means he has for discovering his identity, and the final evidence of its existence.

tautological, for language becomes both the means he has for discovering his identity, and the final evidence of its existence.

Under these conditions, it seems as if Sterne found in the analysis of the subjective association of ideas the best means to explore the fragmented human mind. In this respect, it is possible to say that he moves closer to David Hume’s perspective. Moreover, it can even be thought that as a consequence of the great stress Sterne gives to Tristram’s association of ideas, the latter seems to be, as Hume would be eager to confirm, a mere collection of endless and variable impressions which are only given a certain unity by Tristram’s memory. Two different arguments can be offered to support the latter thesis. First, there is the fact that those associations of ideas are precisely the major structural device in the book. Hence, it does make sense to think that this is consistent if we assume that is the only possible way for someone to write his autobiography. In the second place, this view is also consistent with the circular and tautological nature of Tristram’s quest: if Tristram’s consciousness is nothing but a group of impressions tied together by his memory, then, the task of exploring his identity is an example of how these impressions reflect on themselves.

Under these conditions, it seems as if Sterne found in the analysis of the subjective association of ideas the best means to explore the fragmented human mind. In this respect, it is possible to say that he moves closer to David Hume’s perspective. Moreover, it can even be thought that as a consequence of the great stress Sterne gives to Tristram’s association of ideas, the latter seems to be, as Hume would be eager to confirm, a mere collection of endless and variable impressions which are only given a certain unity by Tristram’s memory. Two different arguments can be offered to support the latter thesis. First, there is the fact that those associations of ideas are precisely the major structural device in the book. Hence, it does make sense to think that this is consistent if we assume that is the only possible way for someone to write his autobiography. In the second place, this view is also consistent with the circular and tautological nature of Tristram’s quest: if Tristram’s consciousness is nothing but a group of impressions tied together by his memory, then, the task of exploring his identity is an example of how these impressions reflect on themselves.

As to the theories put forward by Lacan, it is worthwhile to mention the importance that both the psychoanalyst and Sterne gave to the presence of the external element of the “Other” in the process of the formation of the self. Tristram is Tristram precisely because he sees similarities and differences with other people that surround him (mainly with his father and uncle). Thus, the process of knowing more about himself inevitably includes investigating the figures that have had a greater impact in the formation of his personality.

As to the theories put forward by Lacan, it is worthwhile to mention the importance that both the psychoanalyst and Sterne gave to the presence of the external element of the “Other” in the process of the formation of the self. Tristram is Tristram precisely because he sees similarities and differences with other people that surround him (mainly with his father and uncle). Thus, the process of knowing more about himself inevitably includes investigating the figures that have had a greater impact in the formation of his personality.

In addition to this, the tautological nature of Tristram’s search for identity should be reconsidered from the Lacanian viewpoint. My thesis of the “textual mirror phase”, based on Lacan’s concept of the “mirror stage”, dealt precisely with the fact that Tristram used language as his main tool to build a textual mirror on which to see himself. Thus, both the mirror itself, and the image projected on it were also made up of words. The “textual mirror” theory implies, like Lacan’s episode of the child in front of the mirror, that even though there can be an identification with the image on the mirror, the image

In addition to this, the tautological nature of Tristram’s search for identity should be reconsidered from the Lacanian viewpoint. My thesis of the “textual mirror phase”, based on Lacan’s concept of the “mirror stage”, dealt precisely with the fact that Tristram used language as his main tool to build a textual mirror on which to see himself. Thus, both the mirror itself, and the image projected on it were also made up of words. The “textual mirror” theory implies, like Lacan’s episode of the child in front of the mirror, that even though there can be an identification with the image on the mirror, the image

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is always other than the original. Consequently the assumption that arguably underlies Tristram Shandy is that, like the language used to create that mirror and the information one can get out of the analysis of the reflection, the original object which is being reflected is as fragmentary, disjointed, and uneven as the copy the mirror reflects. Moreover, if we agree that tautology pervades everything in Tristram Shandy, and that it seems it is unfeasible to go outside language, I wonder whether it is even possible to make that distinction between “original” and “copy”, or between “real” and “imaginary”. With this consideration we have already entered the Baudrillardian territory of simulacra and hyperreality.

is always other than the original. Consequently the assumption that arguably underlies Tristram Shandy is that, like the language used to create that mirror and the information one can get out of the analysis of the reflection, the original object which is being reflected is as fragmentary, disjointed, and uneven as the copy the mirror reflects. Moreover, if we agree that tautology pervades everything in Tristram Shandy, and that it seems it is unfeasible to go outside language, I wonder whether it is even possible to make that distinction between “original” and “copy”, or between “real” and “imaginary”. With this consideration we have already entered the Baudrillardian territory of simulacra and hyperreality.

Indeed, apart from sharing a belief in the fragmented nature of language and knowledge, Tristram Shandy shares with postmodernist works a hyperreal universe in which the boundaries between contradictions and dichotomies have been effaced. Sterne presents Tristram Shandy not as a cohesive and solid character, but as a figure who has so many different faces and facets, that he has to make an effort to group them and convince himself of his unity. However, none of these facets (or their linguistic representations in Tristram’s autobiography) can be said to be false, imaginary, or a mere copy of some “original” but unknown “real” ones that only the “real” Tristram possesses. Tristram is by definition a hyperreal character whose different selves are placed on the same level, constituting part of the same motion. None of them are “true” or “false”, but they are simply part of the machinery of Tristram’s fragmented and hyperreal personal identity. One of the facts that support the theory of Tristram’s hyperreal world is precisely the tautological nature of the language in the narrative. The tautology that underlies Tristram Shandy makes it also impossible to go out of language, to find a “real” world outside it, or even to distinguish an “external” and “authentic” Tristram, from the ones linguistically constructed in the novel. The circular movement which pervades Sterne’s masterpiece is what Baudrillard described when he developed his theory of hyperreality.

Indeed, apart from sharing a belief in the fragmented nature of language and knowledge, Tristram Shandy shares with postmodernist works a hyperreal universe in which the boundaries between contradictions and dichotomies have been effaced. Sterne presents Tristram Shandy not as a cohesive and solid character, but as a figure who has so many different faces and facets, that he has to make an effort to group them and convince himself of his unity. However, none of these facets (or their linguistic representations in Tristram’s autobiography) can be said to be false, imaginary, or a mere copy of some “original” but unknown “real” ones that only the “real” Tristram possesses. Tristram is by definition a hyperreal character whose different selves are placed on the same level, constituting part of the same motion. None of them are “true” or “false”, but they are simply part of the machinery of Tristram’s fragmented and hyperreal personal identity. One of the facts that support the theory of Tristram’s hyperreal world is precisely the tautological nature of the language in the narrative. The tautology that underlies Tristram Shandy makes it also impossible to go out of language, to find a “real” world outside it, or even to distinguish an “external” and “authentic” Tristram, from the ones linguistically constructed in the novel. The circular movement which pervades Sterne’s masterpiece is what Baudrillard described when he developed his theory of hyperreality.

By way of conclusion, it can be said that from the four authors with which I have dealt, Locke constitutes the one who is more distant from Sterne’s world view, not only regarding his considerations on language or knowledge, but also on those that have to do with the

By way of conclusion, it can be said that from the four authors with which I have dealt, Locke constitutes the one who is more distant from Sterne’s world view, not only regarding his considerations on language or knowledge, but also on those that have to do with the

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is always other than the original. Consequently the assumption that arguably underlies Tristram Shandy is that, like the language used to create that mirror and the information one can get out of the analysis of the reflection, the original object which is being reflected is as fragmentary, disjointed, and uneven as the copy the mirror reflects. Moreover, if we agree that tautology pervades everything in Tristram Shandy, and that it seems it is unfeasible to go outside language, I wonder whether it is even possible to make that distinction between “original” and “copy”, or between “real” and “imaginary”. With this consideration we have already entered the Baudrillardian territory of simulacra and hyperreality.

is always other than the original. Consequently the assumption that arguably underlies Tristram Shandy is that, like the language used to create that mirror and the information one can get out of the analysis of the reflection, the original object which is being reflected is as fragmentary, disjointed, and uneven as the copy the mirror reflects. Moreover, if we agree that tautology pervades everything in Tristram Shandy, and that it seems it is unfeasible to go outside language, I wonder whether it is even possible to make that distinction between “original” and “copy”, or between “real” and “imaginary”. With this consideration we have already entered the Baudrillardian territory of simulacra and hyperreality.

Indeed, apart from sharing a belief in the fragmented nature of language and knowledge, Tristram Shandy shares with postmodernist works a hyperreal universe in which the boundaries between contradictions and dichotomies have been effaced. Sterne presents Tristram Shandy not as a cohesive and solid character, but as a figure who has so many different faces and facets, that he has to make an effort to group them and convince himself of his unity. However, none of these facets (or their linguistic representations in Tristram’s autobiography) can be said to be false, imaginary, or a mere copy of some “original” but unknown “real” ones that only the “real” Tristram possesses. Tristram is by definition a hyperreal character whose different selves are placed on the same level, constituting part of the same motion. None of them are “true” or “false”, but they are simply part of the machinery of Tristram’s fragmented and hyperreal personal identity. One of the facts that support the theory of Tristram’s hyperreal world is precisely the tautological nature of the language in the narrative. The tautology that underlies Tristram Shandy makes it also impossible to go out of language, to find a “real” world outside it, or even to distinguish an “external” and “authentic” Tristram, from the ones linguistically constructed in the novel. The circular movement which pervades Sterne’s masterpiece is what Baudrillard described when he developed his theory of hyperreality.

Indeed, apart from sharing a belief in the fragmented nature of language and knowledge, Tristram Shandy shares with postmodernist works a hyperreal universe in which the boundaries between contradictions and dichotomies have been effaced. Sterne presents Tristram Shandy not as a cohesive and solid character, but as a figure who has so many different faces and facets, that he has to make an effort to group them and convince himself of his unity. However, none of these facets (or their linguistic representations in Tristram’s autobiography) can be said to be false, imaginary, or a mere copy of some “original” but unknown “real” ones that only the “real” Tristram possesses. Tristram is by definition a hyperreal character whose different selves are placed on the same level, constituting part of the same motion. None of them are “true” or “false”, but they are simply part of the machinery of Tristram’s fragmented and hyperreal personal identity. One of the facts that support the theory of Tristram’s hyperreal world is precisely the tautological nature of the language in the narrative. The tautology that underlies Tristram Shandy makes it also impossible to go out of language, to find a “real” world outside it, or even to distinguish an “external” and “authentic” Tristram, from the ones linguistically constructed in the novel. The circular movement which pervades Sterne’s masterpiece is what Baudrillard described when he developed his theory of hyperreality.

By way of conclusion, it can be said that from the four authors with which I have dealt, Locke constitutes the one who is more distant from Sterne’s world view, not only regarding his considerations on language or knowledge, but also on those that have to do with the

By way of conclusion, it can be said that from the four authors with which I have dealt, Locke constitutes the one who is more distant from Sterne’s world view, not only regarding his considerations on language or knowledge, but also on those that have to do with the

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issue of personal identity. In the other extreme of the gradient, however, it is possible to locate Baudrillard’s notions of simulacra and hyperreality (even though they are the most recent ones), for they actually agree with the way in which Tristram attempts to discover more about his fragmented and hyperreal self. Hence, the closest author in time is the one that, from an ideological point of view, is more distant, and vice versa. In the middle of the gradient, half way between Locke’s and Baudrillard’s position, we would find David Hume and Jacques Lacan. Both of them seem to agree with Tristram in some points and disagree with him in others. In this manner, Hume’s theories on associationism draw him closer to Tristram Shandy, for the narrative seems to be structured according to the free associations Tristram’s mind establishes as he writes. On the other hand, however, Hume’s extreme empiricist postulates in general, and the consideration of the notion of the “I” as a mere illusion created by our memory in particular, cause a rift between his postulates and the ones that underlie the novel. As has been said, along with Hume, Lacan would be placed in the middle of that imaginary gradient as well. On the one hand, his theory of the importance of the external “Other” is in harmony with Tristram’s exploration of his father and uncle’s characters in order to know more about his. Nonetheless, from a Lacanian point of view, Tristram’s attempt to learn more about his true self by means of analysing the picture of himself shaped in his autobiography is actually a mere fallacy: the Tristram we discover in the novel is just an image, a reflection of the real Tristram Shandy, but not Tristram himself.

issue of personal identity. In the other extreme of the gradient, however, it is possible to locate Baudrillard’s notions of simulacra and hyperreality (even though they are the most recent ones), for they actually agree with the way in which Tristram attempts to discover more about his fragmented and hyperreal self. Hence, the closest author in time is the one that, from an ideological point of view, is more distant, and vice versa. In the middle of the gradient, half way between Locke’s and Baudrillard’s position, we would find David Hume and Jacques Lacan. Both of them seem to agree with Tristram in some points and disagree with him in others. In this manner, Hume’s theories on associationism draw him closer to Tristram Shandy, for the narrative seems to be structured according to the free associations Tristram’s mind establishes as he writes. On the other hand, however, Hume’s extreme empiricist postulates in general, and the consideration of the notion of the “I” as a mere illusion created by our memory in particular, cause a rift between his postulates and the ones that underlie the novel. As has been said, along with Hume, Lacan would be placed in the middle of that imaginary gradient as well. On the one hand, his theory of the importance of the external “Other” is in harmony with Tristram’s exploration of his father and uncle’s characters in order to know more about his. Nonetheless, from a Lacanian point of view, Tristram’s attempt to learn more about his true self by means of analysing the picture of himself shaped in his autobiography is actually a mere fallacy: the Tristram we discover in the novel is just an image, a reflection of the real Tristram Shandy, but not Tristram himself.

Indeed, Tristram Shandy has been traditionally approached from the perspective of British empiricism, and more recently, from postmodernist and psychoanalytical points of view. In this respect, the main aim of this paper has been to point out in a brief and general manner that a contrastive analysis of these four readings of Sterne’s novel might point the way towards more detailed research and a better understanding of what Sterne was doing.

Indeed, Tristram Shandy has been traditionally approached from the perspective of British empiricism, and more recently, from postmodernist and psychoanalytical points of view. In this respect, the main aim of this paper has been to point out in a brief and general manner that a contrastive analysis of these four readings of Sterne’s novel might point the way towards more detailed research and a better understanding of what Sterne was doing.

Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Tristram’s Identity Revisited

Rocío Gutiérrez Sumillera Tristram’s Identity Revisited

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issue of personal identity. In the other extreme of the gradient, however, it is possible to locate Baudrillard’s notions of simulacra and hyperreality (even though they are the most recent ones), for they actually agree with the way in which Tristram attempts to discover more about his fragmented and hyperreal self. Hence, the closest author in time is the one that, from an ideological point of view, is more distant, and vice versa. In the middle of the gradient, half way between Locke’s and Baudrillard’s position, we would find David Hume and Jacques Lacan. Both of them seem to agree with Tristram in some points and disagree with him in others. In this manner, Hume’s theories on associationism draw him closer to Tristram Shandy, for the narrative seems to be structured according to the free associations Tristram’s mind establishes as he writes. On the other hand, however, Hume’s extreme empiricist postulates in general, and the consideration of the notion of the “I” as a mere illusion created by our memory in particular, cause a rift between his postulates and the ones that underlie the novel. As has been said, along with Hume, Lacan would be placed in the middle of that imaginary gradient as well. On the one hand, his theory of the importance of the external “Other” is in harmony with Tristram’s exploration of his father and uncle’s characters in order to know more about his. Nonetheless, from a Lacanian point of view, Tristram’s attempt to learn more about his true self by means of analysing the picture of himself shaped in his autobiography is actually a mere fallacy: the Tristram we discover in the novel is just an image, a reflection of the real Tristram Shandy, but not Tristram himself.

issue of personal identity. In the other extreme of the gradient, however, it is possible to locate Baudrillard’s notions of simulacra and hyperreality (even though they are the most recent ones), for they actually agree with the way in which Tristram attempts to discover more about his fragmented and hyperreal self. Hence, the closest author in time is the one that, from an ideological point of view, is more distant, and vice versa. In the middle of the gradient, half way between Locke’s and Baudrillard’s position, we would find David Hume and Jacques Lacan. Both of them seem to agree with Tristram in some points and disagree with him in others. In this manner, Hume’s theories on associationism draw him closer to Tristram Shandy, for the narrative seems to be structured according to the free associations Tristram’s mind establishes as he writes. On the other hand, however, Hume’s extreme empiricist postulates in general, and the consideration of the notion of the “I” as a mere illusion created by our memory in particular, cause a rift between his postulates and the ones that underlie the novel. As has been said, along with Hume, Lacan would be placed in the middle of that imaginary gradient as well. On the one hand, his theory of the importance of the external “Other” is in harmony with Tristram’s exploration of his father and uncle’s characters in order to know more about his. Nonetheless, from a Lacanian point of view, Tristram’s attempt to learn more about his true self by means of analysing the picture of himself shaped in his autobiography is actually a mere fallacy: the Tristram we discover in the novel is just an image, a reflection of the real Tristram Shandy, but not Tristram himself.

Indeed, Tristram Shandy has been traditionally approached from the perspective of British empiricism, and more recently, from postmodernist and psychoanalytical points of view. In this respect, the main aim of this paper has been to point out in a brief and general manner that a contrastive analysis of these four readings of Sterne’s novel might point the way towards more detailed research and a better understanding of what Sterne was doing.

Indeed, Tristram Shandy has been traditionally approached from the perspective of British empiricism, and more recently, from postmodernist and psychoanalytical points of view. In this respect, the main aim of this paper has been to point out in a brief and general manner that a contrastive analysis of these four readings of Sterne’s novel might point the way towards more detailed research and a better understanding of what Sterne was doing.

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OBRAS CITADAS

OBRAS CITADAS

Ayer, A. J. & Winch, Raymond. 1952. British Empirical Philosophers: Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, and J. S. Mill. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “Simulacra and Simulations.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 166-184. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “Symbolic Exchange and Death.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 119-148. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “The Mirror of Production.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 98-118. Belaval, Yvon. 1976. Racionalismo, Empirismo, Ilustración. Vol. 6 of Historia de la Filosofía Siglo Veintiuno. Ed. Siglo XXI de España. Bertens, Johannes Willem. 1995. The Idea of the Postmodern: a History. London: Routledge. Day, W. G. 1984. “Tristram Shandy: Locke May Not Be the Key.” Laurence Sterne: Riddles and Mysteries. Ed. Valerie Grosvenor Myer. London: Vision Press. 75-83. Hume, David. 2000. A Treatise of Human Nature. Eds. David Fate Norton & Mary J. Norton. Oxford: Oxford UP. Klein, Herbert. 1996. “Identity Reclaimed: The Art of Being Tristram.” Laurence Sterne in Modernism and Postmodernism. Eds. David Pierce & Peter de Voogd. Amsterdam: Rodopi. 123-132. Lacan, Jacques. 2002. “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function, as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience.” Ecrits: a Selection. New York; London: WW Norton & Co. 3-9. Locke, John. 1997. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Ed. Roger Woolhous. London: Penguin. Moglen, Helene. 2001. Trauma of Gender: A Feminist Theory of the English Novel. Ed. Ewing. USA: California UP. Priest, Stephen. 1990. The British Empiricists: Hobbes to Ayer. London: Penguin. Simpson, K. G. 1984. “At this Moment in Space: Time, Space and Values in Tristram Shandy.” Laurence Sterne: Riddles and Mysteries. Ed. Valerie Grosvenor Myer. London: Vision Press. 142-158. Sterne, Laurence. 2003. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Eds. Melvyn New & Joan New. Penguin Classics. Woods, Tim. 1999. Beginning Postmodernism. Manchester: Manchester UP.

Ayer, A. J. & Winch, Raymond. 1952. British Empirical Philosophers: Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, and J. S. Mill. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “Simulacra and Simulations.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 166-184. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “Symbolic Exchange and Death.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 119-148. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “The Mirror of Production.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 98-118. Belaval, Yvon. 1976. Racionalismo, Empirismo, Ilustración. Vol. 6 of Historia de la Filosofía Siglo Veintiuno. Ed. Siglo XXI de España. Bertens, Johannes Willem. 1995. The Idea of the Postmodern: a History. London: Routledge. Day, W. G. 1984. “Tristram Shandy: Locke May Not Be the Key.” Laurence Sterne: Riddles and Mysteries. Ed. Valerie Grosvenor Myer. London: Vision Press. 75-83. Hume, David. 2000. A Treatise of Human Nature. Eds. David Fate Norton & Mary J. Norton. Oxford: Oxford UP. Klein, Herbert. 1996. “Identity Reclaimed: The Art of Being Tristram.” Laurence Sterne in Modernism and Postmodernism. Eds. David Pierce & Peter de Voogd. Amsterdam: Rodopi. 123-132. Lacan, Jacques. 2002. “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function, as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience.” Ecrits: a Selection. New York; London: WW Norton & Co. 3-9. Locke, John. 1997. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Ed. Roger Woolhous. London: Penguin. Moglen, Helene. 2001. Trauma of Gender: A Feminist Theory of the English Novel. Ed. Ewing. USA: California UP. Priest, Stephen. 1990. The British Empiricists: Hobbes to Ayer. London: Penguin. Simpson, K. G. 1984. “At this Moment in Space: Time, Space and Values in Tristram Shandy.” Laurence Sterne: Riddles and Mysteries. Ed. Valerie Grosvenor Myer. London: Vision Press. 142-158. Sterne, Laurence. 2003. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Eds. Melvyn New & Joan New. Penguin Classics. Woods, Tim. 1999. Beginning Postmodernism. Manchester: Manchester UP.

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

OBRAS CITADAS

OBRAS CITADAS

Ayer, A. J. & Winch, Raymond. 1952. British Empirical Philosophers: Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, and J. S. Mill. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “Simulacra and Simulations.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 166-184. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “Symbolic Exchange and Death.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 119-148. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “The Mirror of Production.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 98-118. Belaval, Yvon. 1976. Racionalismo, Empirismo, Ilustración. Vol. 6 of Historia de la Filosofía Siglo Veintiuno. Ed. Siglo XXI de España. Bertens, Johannes Willem. 1995. The Idea of the Postmodern: a History. London: Routledge. Day, W. G. 1984. “Tristram Shandy: Locke May Not Be the Key.” Laurence Sterne: Riddles and Mysteries. Ed. Valerie Grosvenor Myer. London: Vision Press. 75-83. Hume, David. 2000. A Treatise of Human Nature. Eds. David Fate Norton & Mary J. Norton. Oxford: Oxford UP. Klein, Herbert. 1996. “Identity Reclaimed: The Art of Being Tristram.” Laurence Sterne in Modernism and Postmodernism. Eds. David Pierce & Peter de Voogd. Amsterdam: Rodopi. 123-132. Lacan, Jacques. 2002. “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function, as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience.” Ecrits: a Selection. New York; London: WW Norton & Co. 3-9. Locke, John. 1997. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Ed. Roger Woolhous. London: Penguin. Moglen, Helene. 2001. Trauma of Gender: A Feminist Theory of the English Novel. Ed. Ewing. USA: California UP. Priest, Stephen. 1990. The British Empiricists: Hobbes to Ayer. London: Penguin. Simpson, K. G. 1984. “At this Moment in Space: Time, Space and Values in Tristram Shandy.” Laurence Sterne: Riddles and Mysteries. Ed. Valerie Grosvenor Myer. London: Vision Press. 142-158. Sterne, Laurence. 2003. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Eds. Melvyn New & Joan New. Penguin Classics. Woods, Tim. 1999. Beginning Postmodernism. Manchester: Manchester UP.

Ayer, A. J. & Winch, Raymond. 1952. British Empirical Philosophers: Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, and J. S. Mill. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “Simulacra and Simulations.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 166-184. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “Symbolic Exchange and Death.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 119-148. Baudrillard, Jean. 1988. “The Mirror of Production.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Cambridge: Polity. 98-118. Belaval, Yvon. 1976. Racionalismo, Empirismo, Ilustración. Vol. 6 of Historia de la Filosofía Siglo Veintiuno. Ed. Siglo XXI de España. Bertens, Johannes Willem. 1995. The Idea of the Postmodern: a History. London: Routledge. Day, W. G. 1984. “Tristram Shandy: Locke May Not Be the Key.” Laurence Sterne: Riddles and Mysteries. Ed. Valerie Grosvenor Myer. London: Vision Press. 75-83. Hume, David. 2000. A Treatise of Human Nature. Eds. David Fate Norton & Mary J. Norton. Oxford: Oxford UP. Klein, Herbert. 1996. “Identity Reclaimed: The Art of Being Tristram.” Laurence Sterne in Modernism and Postmodernism. Eds. David Pierce & Peter de Voogd. Amsterdam: Rodopi. 123-132. Lacan, Jacques. 2002. “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function, as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience.” Ecrits: a Selection. New York; London: WW Norton & Co. 3-9. Locke, John. 1997. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Ed. Roger Woolhous. London: Penguin. Moglen, Helene. 2001. Trauma of Gender: A Feminist Theory of the English Novel. Ed. Ewing. USA: California UP. Priest, Stephen. 1990. The British Empiricists: Hobbes to Ayer. London: Penguin. Simpson, K. G. 1984. “At this Moment in Space: Time, Space and Values in Tristram Shandy.” Laurence Sterne: Riddles and Mysteries. Ed. Valerie Grosvenor Myer. London: Vision Press. 142-158. Sterne, Laurence. 2003. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Eds. Melvyn New & Joan New. Penguin Classics. Woods, Tim. 1999. Beginning Postmodernism. Manchester: Manchester UP.

Rosa Muñoz Luna The Bell Jar: Towards a Fading in Mind and Color

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THE BELL JAR: TOWARDS A FADING IN MIND AND COLOR* Rosa Muñoz Luna Universidad de Málaga rosamluna@hotmail.com

Rosa Muñoz Luna The Bell Jar: Towards a Fading in Mind and Color

THE BELL JAR: TOWARDS A FADING IN MIND AND COLOR* Rosa Muñoz Luna Universidad de Málaga rosamluna@hotmail.com

“To Ruth Stoner, who taught me literature in full color”

“To Ruth Stoner, who taught me literature in full color”

The aim of this paper is to show, by means of colors, a gradual evolution in the protagonists mental illness in Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar. The novel also portrays Plath’s personal vision of the world when she was already suffering a strong depression and it offers her authentic familiarity with the radical medical treatments she underwent. Strong colors first, and then soft and neutral ones in the second half of the novel paint a crucial period in a teenager’s life, full of first experiences in sex and gender discrimination.

The aim of this paper is to show, by means of colors, a gradual evolution in the protagonists mental illness in Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar. The novel also portrays Plath’s personal vision of the world when she was already suffering a strong depression and it offers her authentic familiarity with the radical medical treatments she underwent. Strong colors first, and then soft and neutral ones in the second half of the novel paint a crucial period in a teenager’s life, full of first experiences in sex and gender discrimination.

Key words: color, symbolism, mind, psychiatry, electrotherapy, gender

Key words: color, symbolism, mind, psychiatry, electrotherapy, gender

El propósito de este artículo es mostrar, a través de los colores, la evolución que tiene lugar en la enfermedad mental de la protagonista de la novela de Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar. La novela presenta la visión que tenía Plath del mundo cuando ya había empezado a sufrir una fuerte depresión, y ofrece una auténtica familiaridad con los tratamientos médicos tan radicales a los que estaba sometida. Colores fuertes al principio, y después tonos más suaves y neutros en la segunda mitad de la obra, dan color a un período crucial en la vida de una adolescente, lleno de primeras experiencias sexuales y de discriminación de género.

El propósito de este artículo es mostrar, a través de los colores, la evolución que tiene lugar en la enfermedad mental de la protagonista de la novela de Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar. La novela presenta la visión que tenía Plath del mundo cuando ya había empezado a sufrir una fuerte depresión, y ofrece una auténtica familiaridad con los tratamientos médicos tan radicales a los que estaba sometida. Colores fuertes al principio, y después tonos más suaves y neutros en la segunda mitad de la obra, dan color a un período crucial en la vida de una adolescente, lleno de primeras experiencias sexuales y de discriminación de género.

Palabras Clave: Color, simbolismo, mente, psiquiatría, electroterapia, género

Palabras Clave: Color, simbolismo, mente, psiquiatría, electroterapia, género

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

Rosa Muñoz Luna The Bell Jar: Towards a Fading in Mind and Color

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THE BELL JAR: TOWARDS A FADING IN MIND AND COLOR* Rosa Muñoz Luna Universidad de Málaga rosamluna@hotmail.com

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

Rosa Muñoz Luna The Bell Jar: Towards a Fading in Mind and Color

99

THE BELL JAR: TOWARDS A FADING IN MIND AND COLOR* Rosa Muñoz Luna Universidad de Málaga rosamluna@hotmail.com

“To Ruth Stoner, who taught me literature in full color”

“To Ruth Stoner, who taught me literature in full color”

The aim of this paper is to show, by means of colors, a gradual evolution in the protagonists mental illness in Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar. The novel also portrays Plath’s personal vision of the world when she was already suffering a strong depression and it offers her authentic familiarity with the radical medical treatments she underwent. Strong colors first, and then soft and neutral ones in the second half of the novel paint a crucial period in a teenager’s life, full of first experiences in sex and gender discrimination.

The aim of this paper is to show, by means of colors, a gradual evolution in the protagonists mental illness in Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar. The novel also portrays Plath’s personal vision of the world when she was already suffering a strong depression and it offers her authentic familiarity with the radical medical treatments she underwent. Strong colors first, and then soft and neutral ones in the second half of the novel paint a crucial period in a teenager’s life, full of first experiences in sex and gender discrimination.

Key words: color, symbolism, mind, psychiatry, electrotherapy, gender

Key words: color, symbolism, mind, psychiatry, electrotherapy, gender

El propósito de este artículo es mostrar, a través de los colores, la evolución que tiene lugar en la enfermedad mental de la protagonista de la novela de Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar. La novela presenta la visión que tenía Plath del mundo cuando ya había empezado a sufrir una fuerte depresión, y ofrece una auténtica familiaridad con los tratamientos médicos tan radicales a los que estaba sometida. Colores fuertes al principio, y después tonos más suaves y neutros en la segunda mitad de la obra, dan color a un período crucial en la vida de una adolescente, lleno de primeras experiencias sexuales y de discriminación de género.

El propósito de este artículo es mostrar, a través de los colores, la evolución que tiene lugar en la enfermedad mental de la protagonista de la novela de Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar. La novela presenta la visión que tenía Plath del mundo cuando ya había empezado a sufrir una fuerte depresión, y ofrece una auténtica familiaridad con los tratamientos médicos tan radicales a los que estaba sometida. Colores fuertes al principio, y después tonos más suaves y neutros en la segunda mitad de la obra, dan color a un período crucial en la vida de una adolescente, lleno de primeras experiencias sexuales y de discriminación de género.

Palabras Clave: Color, simbolismo, mente, psiquiatría, electroterapia, género

Palabras Clave: Color, simbolismo, mente, psiquiatría, electroterapia, género

* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

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* Fecha de recepción: abril 2007

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Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a story about breakdowns and suicide attempts in which the use of colors, together with other strategies, gives unity and consistency to the process of depression that the protagonist, Esther Greenwood, undergoes. As Susan Bassnett describes it, it is “a novel about a woman who learns how to live with herself and how to come to terms with the world” (1987: 122). The main character describes her surroundings, her world, through firsthand experiences and an accurate depiction of the colors she perceives. Every new experience constitutes so strong a challenge for her that the climax is reached when it is no longer real experiences that give meaning to colors, but rather the opposite: her feelings are veiled by the most neutral colors. Colors as symbols are both Esther’s and Plath’s means of communication with their surrounding world at those moments when language fails to do so. I will attempt to explain these roles and their grading throughout the novel by means of the tradition of color in literature, the effect of psychiatric treatments and the interpretation of Plath’s writings by feminist theories. The Bell Jar is commonly held to be an instance of feminine and feminist practice in the twentieth century because it is a novel about, as Bassnett has effectively expressed it, “the loss of beauty, about the corrupting influence of life in modern cities, … about loneliness and sex-role conflicts” (1987: 37), and –as I will show later on— there is evidence in both the content and form of the novel that maintains the woman as the protagonist in all these fields: the story is about a woman and it is told from her point of view.

Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a story about breakdowns and suicide attempts in which the use of colors, together with other strategies, gives unity and consistency to the process of depression that the protagonist, Esther Greenwood, undergoes. As Susan Bassnett describes it, it is “a novel about a woman who learns how to live with herself and how to come to terms with the world” (1987: 122). The main character describes her surroundings, her world, through firsthand experiences and an accurate depiction of the colors she perceives. Every new experience constitutes so strong a challenge for her that the climax is reached when it is no longer real experiences that give meaning to colors, but rather the opposite: her feelings are veiled by the most neutral colors. Colors as symbols are both Esther’s and Plath’s means of communication with their surrounding world at those moments when language fails to do so. I will attempt to explain these roles and their grading throughout the novel by means of the tradition of color in literature, the effect of psychiatric treatments and the interpretation of Plath’s writings by feminist theories. The Bell Jar is commonly held to be an instance of feminine and feminist practice in the twentieth century because it is a novel about, as Bassnett has effectively expressed it, “the loss of beauty, about the corrupting influence of life in modern cities, … about loneliness and sex-role conflicts” (1987: 37), and –as I will show later on— there is evidence in both the content and form of the novel that maintains the woman as the protagonist in all these fields: the story is about a woman and it is told from her point of view.

Sylvia Plath can be seen as the female version of the Doomed Poet, which has traditionally been a man, while at the same time she is an example of what Bassnett calls the “Frustrated Female” and the “Deprived Woman” (1987: 1). Her story is a hopeless search for her place in society, something of what Esther is also dispossessed. As a confessional poet writing from the personal and the subjective, Plath allowed her personal experiences to completely shape her writing. The writing of the novel had begun in 1960 in England. By early 1961 she suffered a miscarriage when she had already written a good part of it. I agree with Bassnett that biographical experiences play chief roles in her work and that “[T]he spell in hospital must have woken old memories. The images of whiteness, of the self wrapped in mummylike bandages … and the dead babies appear as a recurring motif

Sylvia Plath can be seen as the female version of the Doomed Poet, which has traditionally been a man, while at the same time she is an example of what Bassnett calls the “Frustrated Female” and the “Deprived Woman” (1987: 1). Her story is a hopeless search for her place in society, something of what Esther is also dispossessed. As a confessional poet writing from the personal and the subjective, Plath allowed her personal experiences to completely shape her writing. The writing of the novel had begun in 1960 in England. By early 1961 she suffered a miscarriage when she had already written a good part of it. I agree with Bassnett that biographical experiences play chief roles in her work and that “[T]he spell in hospital must have woken old memories. The images of whiteness, of the self wrapped in mummylike bandages … and the dead babies appear as a recurring motif

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BABEL-AFIAL, 17/Ano 2008

Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a story about breakdowns and suicide attempts in which the use of colors, together with other strategies, gives unity and consistency to the process of depression that the protagonist, Esther Greenwood, undergoes. As Susan Bassnett describes it, it is “a novel about a woman who learns how to live with herself and how to come to terms with the world” (1987: 122). The main character describes her surroundings, her world, through firsthand experiences and an accurate depiction of the colors she perceives. Every new experience constitutes so strong a challenge for her that the climax is reached when it is no longer real experiences that give meaning to colors, but rather the opposite: her feelings are veiled by the most neutral colors. Colors as symbols are both Esther’s and Plath’s means of communication with their surrounding world at those moments when language fails to do so. I will attempt to explain these roles and their grading throughout the novel by means of the tradition of color in literature, the effect of psychiatric treatments and the interpretation of Plath’s writings by feminist theories. The Bell Jar is commonly held to be an instance of feminine and feminist practice in the twentieth century because it is a novel about, as Bassnett has effectively expressed it, “the loss of beauty, about the corrupting influence of life in modern cities, … about loneliness and sex-role conflicts” (1987: 37), and –as I will show later on— there is evidence in both the content and form of the novel that maintains the woman as the protagonist in all these fields: the story is about a woman and it is told from her point of view.

Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a story about breakdowns and suicide attempts in which the use of colors, together with other strategies, gives unity and consistency to the process of depression that the protagonist, Esther Greenwood, undergoes. As Susan Bassnett describes it, it is “a novel about a woman who learns how to live with herself and how to come to terms with the world” (1987: 122). The main character describes her surroundings, her world, through firsthand experiences and an accurate depiction of the colors she perceives. Every new experience constitutes so strong a challenge for her that the climax is reached when it is no longer real experiences that give meaning to colors, but rather the opposite: her feelings are veiled by the most neutral colors. Colors as symbols are both Esther’s and Plath’s means of communication with their surrounding world at those moments when language fails to do so. I will attempt to explain these roles and their grading throughout the novel by means of the tradition of color in literature, the effect of psychiatric treatments and the interpretation of Plath’s writings by feminist theories. The Bell Jar is commonly held to be an instance of feminine and feminist practice in the twentieth century because it is a novel about, as Bassnett has effectively expressed it, “the loss of beauty, about the corrupting influence of life in modern cities, … about loneliness and sex-role conflicts” (1987: 37), and –as I will show later on— there is evidence in both the content and form of the novel that maintains the woman as the protagonist in all these fields: the story is about a woman and it is told from her point of view.

Sylvia Plath can be seen as the female version of the Doomed Poet, which has traditionally been a man, while at the same time she is an example of what Bassnett calls the “Frustrated Female” and the “Deprived Woman” (1987: 1). Her story is a hopeless search for her place in society, something of what Esther is also dispossessed. As a confessional poet writing from the personal and the subjective, Plath allowed her personal experiences to completely shape her writing. The writing of the novel had begun in 1960 in England. By early 1961 she suffered a miscarriage when she had already written a good part of it. I agree with Bassnett that biographical experiences play chief roles in her work and that “[T]he spell in hospital must have woken old memories. The images of whiteness, of the self wrapped in mummylike bandages … and the dead babies appear as a recurring motif

Sylvia Plath can be seen as the female version of the Doomed Poet, which has traditionally been a man, while at the same time she is an example of what Bassnett calls the “Frustrated Female” and the “Deprived Woman” (1987: 1). Her story is a hopeless search for her place in society, something of what Esther is also dispossessed. As a confessional poet writing from the personal and the subjective, Plath allowed her personal experiences to completely shape her writing. The writing of the novel had begun in 1960 in England. By early 1961 she suffered a miscarriage when she had already written a good part of it. I agree with Bassnett that biographical experiences play chief roles in her work and that “[T]he spell in hospital must have woken old memories. The images of whiteness, of the self wrapped in mummylike bandages … and the dead babies appear as a recurring motif

Rosa Muñoz Luna The Bell Jar: Towards a Fading in Mind and Color

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Rosa Muñoz Luna The Bell Jar: Towards a Fading in Mind and Color

101