Chapter 3 Appearance, Disappearance and Displacement: A Carnivalesque Reading of De amor y de sombr
a All the images of carnival are dualistic; they unite within themselves both poles of change and crisis. — Mikhail Bakhtin1 Introduction This chapter moves away from the focus on local and rural events to an examination of the impact of national events on citizens with the arrival of a military dictatorship in Allende’s 1984 novel De amor y de sombra. Drawing on work by Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, the aim of this chapter is to view Allende’s second novel through a carnivalesque lens. Particular attention is paid to the tensions between authorities and citizens; these tensions are examined through the questions of appear- ance, disappearance and societal displacement. This chapter contends that Allende provides a nuanced reading of changes which af fect all citizens in a totalitarian regime, and that, by tracing carnivalesque features, the fundamental coherence which underpins the text can be clearly illustrated. As mentioned in Chapter 1, De amor y de sombra is often compared unfavourably with La casa de los espíritus, and studies which focus exclu- sively on the text are few and far between: critics who have broached the 1 Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), p. 126. 72 Chapter 3 text are divided on the question of coherence, which may be due in some part to the challenge of locating the novel within a particular genre. Linda Gould Levine, for example, believes that Allende ‘blends fiction with fact [in De amor y de sombra] to create...
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