Outsized reality : how “magical realism” hijacked modern Latin American fiction
Stanford, Amanda Theresa
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Creative Portion abstract (75%): Literary Fiction Manuscript Souvenirs of the Revolution Against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, betrayal, sexual deviance, rigid morality and a fatal subservience to moral correctness drives the Montelejos clan: complex and self-serving, innocent and deluded, larger than life, an illustrious family line in its final decline. Mariabella Montelejos, who tries to sell her only daughter for the price of a new carriage during the bloodiest part of the Revolution. Her daughter, Portensia Montelejos, who leaves her mother’s body to moulder in the front room after soldiers come at the point of a gun. Gloria Vasquez, celebrated beauty, practising witch, and tormentor of her step-sister, Teresa: ill, gullible, naive, awoken to her destiny by the surreal birth of her daughter. Paulina, a child who once communed with the holy, made an empty vessel by the abuse of her father – and revered as a living saint as she lies dying in a Pueblano convent. The men of the family, weak and susceptible to the mandates of their dying class, are no match for the machinations of such women. Evil abuser Ebner Collins, paralyzed by a jealous man’s bullet in the middle of the Sinai desert. Hernando Vasquez, cowed into marriage by the longing for his dead wife, Evelyn Cuthbert. Guiermo Fuentes de Solis, cuckolded husband. Jaime Vasquez, who hears voices and lives at the bottom of a bottle, unable to save his cousin Paulina. The Revolution is the beginning of the end for Montelejos, and the miraculous will be its undoing. Analytical Portion abstract (25%): An Outsized Reality: How “Magical Realism” Hijacked Modern Latin American Literature With the publication of Gabriel García Márquez’s Cien Anos de Soledad in 1967, Latin American writing captured the world’s attention. Critics, readers, and imitators rushed to discuss and emulate this astounding novel. A whole genre of literature, “magical realism”, was popularized, and with it, critical discussion of its influences, history, genre limitations, and the sheer “imagination” it brought to the forefront of literary debate. In this thesis I will discuss the problems associated with “Western” critical analysis of Latin American writing, specifically as it seeks to define, without a proper context, the literature which draws life from the history and culture of Latin America and categorizes its literature without the cultural understanding required.