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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Historical constructions, sexual memories
by Edwards, Matthew, Ph.D., Emory University, 2009, 239; 3396590
Abstract (Summary)

Historical Constructions, Sexual Memories examines how Latin American marginal and minority subjects defy chronological and temporal order in their artistic works in order to create alternative ways of engaging the past, which creates new ways of looking at culture and society.

In the first chapter, “Hearing Silent Voices: Manuel Puig, Prison Narratives, and El beso de la mujer araña”, Manuel Puig’s decision to express queer sex within nontraditional narrative terms represents the apex of a marginal historical narration that is imprisoned by a political struggle in Argentina’s history founded on heterosexuality. In “Discovering Silent Pasts: Copi’s Archive of the Marginal Subject”, Copi’s cartoon, dramatic and novelistic production is regarded as an archive of marginal discourses. A look into Copi’s most famous comic strip, La femme assise, his play titled Loretta Strong (1974), and his first novel, El baile de las locas (1976) locates marginality in an historical narrative that focuses on the difficulty of locating the queer body in a clear and concise narrative of the past. For Copi, the only historical narrative able to define the queer subject situates meaning itself in the erotic encounter between naked bodies. Finally, the third chapter focuses on El affair Skeffington (1992), by María Moreno. In it, a textual collage of misrepresented, misunderstood and sometimes completely unknown historical documents engages a previously disregarded past that tells of a female erotic network in conjunction with disorderly social conduct.

In these texts, each author sees traditional historical narration as limiting the way marginal subjects define themselves within chronological time. Taken together, they present a memory founded on sex as a means of embracing chaos, confusion and contradiction in their historical endeavor. When sexual intimacy becomes a way of narrating the past, sexual memory leads to a present where nothing is over-looked, not even awkward pleasures or queer passions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Quiroga, Jose
Commitee: Bammer, Angelika, Carrion, Maria Mercedes, Feldman, Hernan
School: Emory University
Department: Spanish
School Location: United States -- Georgia
Source: DAI-A 71/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Latin American literature, Gender studies
Keywords: Argentina, Copi, Latin American literature, Marginality, Moreno, Maria, Narrative history, Puig, Manuel, Sexuality, Subjectivity, Twentieth century Argentina
Publication Number: 3396590
ISBN: 978-1-109-65107-2
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