Dreams and Realities: Selected Fiction of Juana Manuela Gorriti (Library of Latin America)
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In this way, the keepsake negotiates extremes of political allegiance and introduces secrecy and deception as principal tropes of the story. The glove represents the romantic inconstancy of Wenceslao, who hurts the two women who love him. Wenceslao receives the devotion of Manuela Rosas and Isabel, one the representative of Federalist politics, the other a Unitarian supporter.
To cultivate the love of these women, Wenceslao alters his political allegiance, endangers his standing with his Federalist father, and eventually pays with his life.
The story is told, however, from the perspective of Isabel, thus allowing Gorriti to emphasize a feminine world of intuitive and Unitarian wisdom that drives an alternative version of history. Trick doors, concealed identities, and letters of confession gone astray lead to the unfolding of plot and guide the story toward its inevitable conclusion. But the returning trope of bloodshed reminds us of the drained national body, devastated by civil war, despoiled on the landscapes of an emerging nation in which individuals can no longer heal.
Instead, she xlvi Introduction leaves her characters in a realm of hallucination and madness in which they wander in search of meaning. Only the voice remains to haunt future generations. Setting the pace of the stories, operatic arias warn of danger and anticipate the tragic unfolding of love amidst civil war. Singing voices not only contrast with the silence enforced by the state, but also serve as a reminder of an ongoing ethical loss.
They structure the rhythms of prose in order to link text to musical composition, but the voices also allow Gorriti to link her American landscape to the cloak-and-dagger dimensions of European romantic opera, with its cast of political intrigues and double entendres. The voice of indigenous conscience is challenged by European aggression and might. When the couple returns to Peru, the young girl discovers her hidden past. Using this scenario, Gorriti attacks the colonial regime that fails to protect the rights of indigenous women, while also blaming the Peruvian nation for its ongoing confusion of values.
Sexual licentiousness carries the dangers of eventual incest; in an unruly state, dysfunction marks the family. Unable to restrain its military personnel or protect its wards, the regime is held responsible for the dissolution of society. Gorriti, however, goes one step further by insisting upon the interchangeability of subjects, representing the Indians as surrogates in a complex play of European desires.
Indeed, they introduce the possibility of parallel worlds that lie beyond European grasp. To orchestrate this double time, Gorriti insists on movement and massive upheaval, always evoking the nomadic aspects of characters to advance her plot.
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It is no wonder that travelers and highway bandits are the constant stock of her literary world. On the one hand, a revision of the past, seriously steeped in nostalgia, may be read as a strategy to preserve local history while also amassing an inventory of local histories upon which to build a future.
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- Dreams and Realities: Selected Fiction of Juana Manuela Gorriti?
On the other hand, the frenzied dual course of narration, incited by repetitions and doubling, by masquerade and disguise, puts the alignment of any national narrative in question. Hayden White observed that in order for an event to be historical, it must have two possible interpretations. Her example allows us to understand a nation through discordant readings, through a gesture against totalizing thought. Masked identity is a constant in her stories, as if to say that disguise is a sine qua non for the emerging personality in America.
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What is interesting, however, is her fascination with the topic as a way to subvert the Rosas regime and introduce the possibility of women moving beyond the traditional domestic sphere assigned to them. Disguise enables movement. A highway robber who nonetheless maintains an ethical stance, Gubi Amaya is both cruel and delicate, aware of his heinous crimes but critical of those who disregard human interest.
His is the story of a delinquent whose identity lies beyond the limits of the law. Duality reigns in a topsy-turvy world that refuses absolute answers. The only authority, as characters remind us, is found in the art of telling.
It is not surprising that Gorriti and her contemporaries consistently tell tales of travel. As might be expected, travel moves not simply the eye and mind, but the physical self as well. Travel produces a material response to landscape, exaggerating the contact between individuals and the land through sensation and feelings.
As a result, we are directed to the physical basis of experience; we train our eyes to the body. Travel also creates a space for the naming of new subjectivities, mediated through variants of speech and often through translation. Through their bilingualism, the foreigners expand the range of debates about the other nation named.
As a result of their bilingual skills, these traveling subjects begin to doubt the authority of their native tongues. The exercise creates both a minor genre and breaks up the singularity with which one equates nation, language, and home. With so much discussion of movement and stasis, perhaps it is time to address the question of narrative structure. The ruins are certainly like souvenirs, but, in a literal sense, they are stones in the ongoing project of building a house for literature. More important, they remind us of a transformation of sensibility from romantic melancholia about lii Introduction the experience of loss to the modernista habits of the urban consumer; they move us from the rural past to a modern consumerist fetish for the catalogue of goods that marked a new cosmopolitan culture emerging in the late nineteenth century.
It is an interesting case, in which the fragment, usually the basis of allegory, here overturns allegory itself and comes to stand for an aesthetic process belonging to modernization. Permanence against futurity; duration against uncertain choice. The fragment now leads to a contemplation of the relationship between experience and naming; it registers a split between feeling and object, between personal and public experience.
Gorriti took to chronicling the progress of nineteenth-century America—the advent of trains and electric lights, the buzz of industry and machines, the availability of more consumer goods.
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From that time, she abandoned entitlement and wealth and began to redesign her stories around earning a living. Her rural scenes of the independence wars were contrasted with an almost obsessive meditation on consumerism in the city. This is a crisis between tradition and modernity, between the founding moment of a nation and a cosmopolitan assertion of personal need. This crisis disturbed any supposed unity in her cultural texts, fragmenting her work into multiple realms of experience.
This emerged as the principal narrative in her later career: tales of survival juxtaposed against memories of distant wealth, stories of travelers in search of fortune on the trade routes of modern America. Gorriti, however, uses the gold rush background to try her hand at representing avarice and unrelenting sexual desire.
The novel features an impoverished orphan forced to join an adventurer traveling by ship from Chile to California. His sinister presence reminds liv Introduction us of the dangers that the Creole elites associate with modernization; equally important, he embodies concupiscence, guilt, and shame.
Similarly, the gold rush fever that is the underlying theme of this story produces uncontrollable excess. The text thus presents a crisis in the values of an emerging liberal society, a materialism that distorts ethical principles and separates children from their families. The chaos of the new society takes shape through fragmented narration and uneven stories; useless objects litter the text without clear direction or function.
Foreign populations appear, introducing new languages and crossing borders. Newspapers, gossip, and hearsay inform the tale. Against the linear authority of traditional narration, which serves to detail the colonial past, unknown voices intrude in the text; origins are suspect, racial purity is placed in doubt. These are the byproducts of a society undergoing rapid change. His race is uncertain: He passes as hunter and miner and is alternately described as Navajo and English and even as a Central American muckraker ; in San Francisco, he performs in vaudeville.
He stands for an elusive presence that the state cannot hope to control.
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The multiple positions maintained by characters like the copper-skinned man thus confuse the boundaries of nations and threaten the integrity of family. In this environment of economic advancement, danger lurks in all corners; it threatens the possibility of love and menaces the safety of all. The objective of the tale is to denounce the ethos of the modern age through ceaseless narrative movement, tracing not simply a destination, but the path of discovery that leads to it. It is not coincidental then this inquiry takes place on the new frontier, in the United States.
Dreams and realities : selected fiction of Juana Manuela Gorriti
Everything is for them, everything is for them. The Monroe doctrine has two faces. Nevertheless, the project locked Latin American nations in ambiguity and confusion. Political philosophers have covered these issues; however, they rarely take into account the literary and gendered contribution to the republican project. Her characters carry this doubleness in language and dress, and in staged public performances, they often defy the rules of state. Her work pivots on the ambiguities of a decisive nation-building movement that will usher Latin America from colony to modern state.
Most synthetically, then, her texts investigate ways of entering a modern historical movement while recognizing that memory and progress do not stand still. Dionisio Puch was a member of the family through marriage and a hero in the wars of independence. Cited in Graciela Batticuore, ed. See, for example, the contributions of Abel de la E. Cornejo Polar in Torn from the Nest, ed. Matto de Turner, xviii. Vicente G. Poverty is almost the only laurel that can be harvested by the tranquil work of the mind yet has not discouraged those novices who often have to abandon their writing and secure other work in order to survive.
Knowing the history of many writers, living in poverty, but working with faith, inspires our true pity. Why write then? The relationship between coinage and identity demands further investigation. Bibliography A. Panoramas de la vida.