Academic journal article Romance Notes

Mestizaje and the Lyric Subject: Paratexts, Texts, and Contexts in the Poetry of Jaime Luis Huenun Villa

Academic journal article Romance Notes

Mestizaje and the Lyric Subject: Paratexts, Texts, and Contexts in the Poetry of Jaime Luis Huenun Villa

Article excerpt

ON MESTIZAJE AND THE LYRIC SUBJECT

About the notion of mestizaje, we eco, in first instances, the use that the poet gives to it. All in all, we are aware of the theoretic difficulties of this concept. For some critics, the notion of mestizaje is no longer a valid explicative concept, at least not in cultural and textual processes that imply heterogeneous crossing of references and the movement of sensibility matrices stemming from diverse cultural origins (cf. Sobrevilla, and Vich). Precisely, concepts like transculturalization (Angel Rama), literary and cultural heterogeneity (Cornejo Polar), hybridity (Garcia Canclini) have been extensively discussed in Latin American cultural and literary criticism with the intension of shedding some light on the multiplicity of literary registers and ways in which these registers circulate and generate conditions of sociocultural continuity. It is not the objective here to definitively shut down such long an illustrious polemic. It is of interest to examine in detail, that which the own poet calls mestizaje (better said, mestizo poetry), something that we intend to do from the process of construction (and analytic dismounting) of the category of the lyric subject. We suspect, however, that mestizo poetry, in this particular case, would allude to a kind of textual registry exhibiting a deliberate political intentionality of writing poetry that displays signifiers which recognize diverse origins, not only in terms of cultural difference, but also (and perhaps more importantly), in terms of social differences and differences of power. Such intentionality can be translated in textual footprints which impels us to read this poetry as a genealogic history of its own writing.

As to the category of lyric subject, we closely follow the theoretical proposal of Janusz Slawinsky, who distinguishes between the concrete individual, the creator of the given work, an area in which the poet demonstrates how he is carrying all those other rolls that the individual has carried out in those heterogeneous situations of his life, and the author, the hypothetical subject of the creative action (Slawinsky, 2). This subject is hypothetical in the sense that the notion of authorship comes from considering the poet exclusively as someone who defines himself only in relation to that which he writes (but also of what he doesn't write--a concept we would add to that of Slawinsky). On a third level, the category of lyric subject would appear. At this level, the organization of the text, we shall say that all literary enunciation is perceived as someone's enunciation, that the perception of all people is accompanied by the sense that there exists a speaking subject, which does not have to be mentioned or presented in order for its presence to affect our perception (Slawinsky, 3-4). Following this line of thought, the uniqueness of poetry would rest on one of the principle characteristics of the lyric enunciation: its specific monocentricity, the concentration of all semantic material in relation to the singular individual, the transmitter (Slawinsky, 4). This assertion refers to the fact that poetry is a tale that displays a discursive construction from an ego-centric "I" which emerges as the point of departure and arrival of the lyric enunciation. The lyric message, then, in essence, is the record of the process of the formation of a singular "I" speaker, and this process incorporates, directly or indirectly, all the semantic potential of the work of art (Slawinsky, 7).

JAIME LUIS HUENUN VILLA -- PARATEXTS AND TEXTS

If the imaginary is, to a certain extent, according to Gilbert Durand (2004), a construction and resignification, in the present, of images, things, feelings and experiences of the past of an individual who builds and projects it in, for example, a literary text, that construction is not, for this, less representative and telling of what the author--in this case, Jaime Huenun Villa--wishes to transmit and, somehow, create as his own world, in the living and reliving of the imagined and the real. …

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