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Unfinished Writings / Interrupted Communities in Postdictatorship Latin America

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posted on 01.08.2021, 00:00 authored by Oscar Daniel Campo Becerra
My dissertation examines a set of Latin American novels from the last decades of the twentieth century that strategically interrupt, avoid, or block narrative closure. I argue that what I call “unfinished novels” challenge fundamental assumptions of cultural belonging and collective social subject in the decline of the national-popular state. Rather than the totalizing novel of the Latin American Boom novel during the sixties, where the social, ethnic, and economic divisions integrate in a harmonic form, I demonstrate that the formal “failure” of the unfinished novels makes visible the entanglement between violence and history in Latin American postcolonial states. I analyze the disrupted communities portrayed in these novels to understand how the entry of transnational capital modifies the ways of “being together” in the aftermath of Latin American dictatorships. Through the reading of José María Argueda’s El zorro de arriba y el zorro de abajo and Clarice Lispector’s A hora da estrella, I show how the un-finishing formal mechanisms work, the aesthetics and political implications of them, and put into question what I called the paradigm of the “literature outside itself” (literatura fuera de sí), a predominant way of reading novels within Latin American Studies.



Riera, Gabriel


Riera, Gabriel


Hispanic and Italian Studies

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level


Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

Rosman, Silvia Niebylski, Dianna Brown, Nicholas Sauri, Emilio Vich, Victor

Submitted date

August 2021

Thesis type




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