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PLOTTING SLAVES, TALKING ANIMALS: THE POLITICS OF MORALS IN NINETEENTH CENTURY LATIN AMERICAN LITERATURE

GONZALEZ, BETINA (2011) PLOTTING SLAVES, TALKING ANIMALS: THE POLITICS OF MORALS IN NINETEENTH CENTURY LATIN AMERICAN LITERATURE. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This work is a study of the relationship between literature and social criticism in nineteenth century Latin America. More specifically, it is an analysis of the critique of power as it was conveyed by authors from Mexico, Brazil and Argentina through literary genres such as the drama, the short story, the chronicle, and the political satire. It argues that through an aesthetic correlation between certain literary forms (mainly, the tragedy and the animal fable) and morality, these authors exercised a critique of the hegemonic discourse on social and racial domination in their societies. Using the figures of the slave and of the animal, these literary texts were not only criticizing governments and social practices, but also deconstructing the old aristocratic ethics in which the Enlightenment had founded the very legitimation of the modern state. Taking the figures of the slave and the animal as structural and analytical axes, this dissertation is devoted to the reading of six works. In the first section ("Slaves") it deals with three dramas that, invoking the relationship between tragedy and ethics, are proposed as political interventions that deconstruct the figure of the master and its moral contradictions in three post- colonial national scenarios. Despite the fact that its authors belonged to the political elites of their countries, these plays, Mãe (1860), by José de Alencar, Atar-Gull (1855), by Lucio V. Mansilla, and La venganza de la gleba (1906), by Federico Gamboa, are a unique access to the tensions and disarticulations within the national dominant ideologies of the times, and end upshowing how the figure of the slave was already necessary in Eurocentric discourse on legitimate ivpower and, ultimately, on the definition of the human. In the second section ("Fabulous Animals"), this dissertation analyses El gallo pitagórico (1842), by Juan Bautista Morales; Cuentos (1880), by Eduarda Mansilla, and chronicles and stories by Machado de Assis (c.1891- 1906). It argues that the talking animal in these texts (contrary to the norms of European fable) becomes a powerful vehicle for a moral critique that faces the discourse on humanism with its own failures and contradictions.


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Details

Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
GONZALEZ, BETINAbsg7@pitt.edubsg7@pitt.edu
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLund, Joshua Kjkl7@pitt.edujkl7@pitt.edu
Committee MemberAndrews, George Reidreid1@pitt.edureid1@pitt.edu
Committee MemberBeverley, Johnbrq@pitt.edubrq@pitt.edu
Committee MemberDuchesne-Winter, Juanduchesne@pitt.eduduchesne@pitt.edu
Date: 29 June 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 12 April 2011
Approval Date: 29 June 2011
Submission Date: 18 April 2011
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: animal studies; critique of Enlightenment; ethics and literature; gender relationships; non canonical Latin American Literature; patriarchalism; post-humanism; race relationships; tragedy; literary genres and morals; minor works; slavery; fable; satire
Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-04182011-113845/, etd-04182011-113845
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:38
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2016 05:15
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/7300

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