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Cooptation, Complicity, and Representation

Desire and Limits for Intellectuals in Twentieth-Century Mexican Fiction


Shigeko Mato

Is the affiliation between intellectuals and hegemony unbreakable? When intellectuals attempt to retell history from its bottom side, or when writers try to represent the so-called marginalized subject, are they not simply reinforcing the perspective and agenda of society’s hegemonic currents? Cooptation, Complicity, and Representation engages in a discussion of the problem of this potentially unbreakable affiliation between intellectuals and hegemony. Through five twentieth-century Mexican literary works: Pedro Páramo (1955, Juan Rulfo); Hasta no verte Jesús mío (1969, Elena Poniatowska); three short stories from Ciudad Real (1960, Rosario Castellanos); Llanto: Novelas imposibles (1992, Carmen Boullosa); and Muertos incómodos (falta lo que falta) (2005, Subcomandate Marcos and Paco Ignacio Taibo II), this book attempts to examine the contradictory phenomenon that emerges when intellectuals’ desire to represent a marginalized subject or history clashes with their own limited ability to fully know the marginalized. No critics have compiled these five seemingly unrelated Mexican texts in order to scrutinize such a contradictory tendency. Cooptation, Complicity, and Representation provides an innovative way to connect the five texts by delineating, within specific Mexican historical and geopolitical contexts, how and why intellectuals have difficulty moving away from the reproduction of «otherness», when they attempt to represent a marginalized subject or history. This book can be useful for those who are interested in the Spanish American boom literature, twentieth-century Mexican literature, women writing, testimonial writing, subaltern studies, postcolonial studies, historical novels, and cultural studies.


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Acknowledgments vii


Acknowledgments I would like to thank Dr. Tey Diana Rebolledo for reading my book proposal and giving me constructive suggestions toward the publication of this book. I would also like to extend my appreciation to Dr. Liliana Elizabet Jurewiez, Editor of Hispanic Journal, for allowing me to reprint Chapter 4, “Impossibility of Re-writing the Once Vanished History: Llanto: Novelas imposibles,” which was originally published as “Moctezuma in the City: Revisited Past in Carmen Boullosa’s Llanto: Novelas imposibles” in Hispanic Journal 28.2 (2007) pp. 117–134. Mato, Shigeko. “Moctezuma in the City: Revisited Past in Carmen Boullosa’s Llanto: Novelas imposibles.” Hispanic Journal 28.2: 117–134. PA: Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2007. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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