Theoretical Fables: The Pedagogical Dream in Contemporary Latin American Fiction


"Latin American fiction, arguably the most inventive literature of recent decades, seems marked by its self-reflexivity, by its playful relationship to history and the everyday, and by its concerns with the ways in which language works. But is it, Alicia Borinsky asks, really a literature whose primary goal is to raise metafictional questions about writing and reading? While the effects of this literature include dismantling the illusions of realism, naturalism, and historicism, the haunting and disturbing energy of its major works lies in their capacity to invoke a region beyond literature through literature. Whether through its use of history, its framing of a non-causal view of the world, or its nostalgic evocation of a feminine realm, Borinsky argues, the contemporary Latin American novel does not just ingeniously dismantle the referential claims of the more traditional novel; it offers a post-modern version of the lessons taught by fiction. For Borinsky, the "theoretical fables" of contemporary Latin American fiction challenge the reader to perform, rather than merely to consume a message; yet they do so while preserving literature's more permanent impetus to persuade, alter, and guide. Theoretical Fables progresses by way of close readings of the works of eight canonical - and not quite canonical - Latin American authors. Borinsky argues that the Latin American "theoretical fable" has its origins in the work of the early twentieth-century Argentinian writer, Macedonio Fernandez. In this light she studies the works of Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julio Cortazar, Jose Donoso, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Manuel Puig, and Maria Luisa Bombal. Fresh readings of recognized authors and a new genealogy for Latin American fiction of this century make Theoretical Fables a volume of interest to students, scholars, and the general reader." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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