At Face Value: Autobiographical Writing in Spanish America by Sylvia Molloy

By Sylvia Molloy

This examine of Spanish American autobiography from its beginnings within the post-colonial 19th century to the current day concentrates as a rule on cultural and old matters. Spanish American autobiographies are interesting hybrids, usually wielding a number of discourses right now. They aspire to documentary prestige whereas unabashedly exalting the self, and stay on own adventure whereas purporting to be workouts in historiography, the founding texts of a countrywide archive. Professor Molloy examines a variety of texts, from Sarmiento's Recuerdos de provincia to Victoria Ocampo's Autobiografia. She analyses their textual thoughts, the usual affiliations they declare, their courting to the eu canon and their discussion with precursor texts, in addition to their difficult use of reminiscence and the ideological implications in their repressive strategies. this system permits her to spot perceptions of self and tensions among self and different, hence laying off gentle at the fluctuating position of the topic inside a neighborhood.

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In both Gonzalez Martinez and Vasconcelos, the bonding with the mother cannot be ignored as a decisive influence in the scene of reading. An element of passion, even of eroticism, is introduced, that renders the scene considerably more complex. Sarmiento, who was tied just as intensely and intimately to his mother as these two writers, never could combine his two passions - mother and books - because his mother could not read. 11 It can be argued that the highlighting of the scene of reading is not peculiar to Spanish American autobiographies but is, on the contrary, a commonplace of most autobiographies composed by writers.

While attributing his discovery of books to two men, his godfather and his father, Enrique Gonzalez Martinez, in El hombre del buko, celebrates his mother as an inspiring model of intellectual curiosity and freedom of thought. " 10 Reading, here, is not so much equated with power as it is with excess. El hombre del buho devotes memorable pages to the mother's lust for reading, pages glorifying a lack of moderation that the son was never quite able to emulate: A student of my father's from the time she was very young till she married him, she acquired the habit of reading in her husband's company.

582-585) Going one step further, Jose Vasconcelos' Ulises criollo presents the mother figure not only as reader and purveyor of books but as an ideological matrix, the conscious guardian of a national culture. Reading and mother are united in one of Vasconcelos' earliest recollections: a woman with a book on her lap. In both Gonzalez Martinez and Vasconcelos, the bonding with the mother cannot be ignored as a decisive influence in the scene of reading. An element of passion, even of eroticism, is introduced, that renders the scene considerably more complex.

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