Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

HIV/AIDS literature: Disease, culture and metaphor
by Perez-Leal, Pedro J., Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2007, 279; 3339903
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores the literary response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic with a focus on the Spanish-speaking world. The first two chapters provide the theoretical foundation on which to understand AIDS works and their socio-cultural and philosophical context. Chapter I deconstructs the traditional, oppositional dichotomy between nature and culture (by) asserting the biocultural character of the disease. In so doing, it establishes the legitimacy of the social sciences and humanities in general, and literature in particular, in addressing the multifaceted topic of disease. Chapter II considers metaphor as the fulcrum on which the relation between language and reality pivots. Although metaphor is a constituent of any discursive or cognitive process, it becomes an integral part of the process of fictionalization by which literature recreates disease as a literary object. Nowhere is this more salient than where a disease is transformed into an epochal metaphor, such as in the cases of the black death or tuberculosis. AIDS's capacity to be such a metaphor of our contemporaneity is discussed and questioned. Adopting a sociological approach to literature, chapter III contrasts the Anglo-American and the Spanish/Latin American literary responses to AIDS. While the latter constitutes a well-structured, cohesive body of goal-directed literature, the former cannot so easily be cast as a coherent corpus of literary works. It is argued that this discrepancy is partially based on a different social articulation of homoerotic desire –in particular, on the existence or lack of existence of a model of sexual identity politics on which gay and AIDS literature depends to an extent. Nevertheless, some commonality is found in the AIDS works of Reinaldo Arenas, Mario Bellatín, Juan Goytisolo, Eduardo Haro Ibars, Pedro Lemebel, Néstor Perlongher, Severo Sarduy, and Fernando Vallejo –all of them marked by the sign of corporal and textual distintegration.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kirkpatrick, Gwen, Salles-Reese, Veronica, Yarza, Alejandro
School: Georgetown University
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Modern literature, Latin American literature
Keywords: AIDS, Culture, Disease, HIV, HIV/AIDS, Literature, Metaphor
Publication Number: 3339903
ISBN: 978-0-549-93951-1
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