Shipwreck and deliverance: Modernity and political culture in Latin American literature.
AuthorLutes, Todd Oakley.
KeywordsLatin American literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
Latin American literature -- Social aspects.
Politics and literature -- Latin America.
Committee ChairChapman, Phillip C.
Scaff, Lawrence A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study examines the political theory of modernity as it appears in the work of contemporary Latin American writers and thinkers (pensadores). It is designed to help bridge the gap that separates the North American and European dialogue on modernity from the parallel dialogue on modernity currently flourishing in Latin America. The dialogues are brought together in two ways. First, the theory of modernity, which is still often thought to apply only or primarily to the developed world, is subjected to the challenge of the Latin American political and cultural context. Many features of the theory are found to apply equally well to both cultures, and these features provide the basis for the second "bridging" of the two dialogues, in which some of the most interesting Latin American responses to the problems of modernity are brought to the attention of North American and European political scholars. After reviewing the problem of modernity in some depth, the work of Jose Ortega y Gasset is presented both as a link to German philosophical thought and as a pattern for subsequent discussion of modernity in the Spanish-speaking world. Ortega's uniquely Latin way of understanding modernity is then compared to other philosophical approaches, and placed within the context of political literature in Latin America. Literature is shown to be a uniquely suitable forum for conveying Ortega's approach to modernity because it expresses in itself the central role of arts and culture in his political thought. The balance of the study focuses on the works of three contemporary Latin American authors: Octavio Paz of Mexico, Gabriel Garcia Marquez of Colombia, and Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru. Each author's major works are placed within the context of the model Latin American response to modernity inspired by Ortega and analyzed for significant contributions to the discussion of modernity. Their most important insights center around the need to assimilate the value of tradition in a new approach to modernity by means of some form of democratic dialogue combined with critical appreciation for the cultural uniqueness of nations.
Degree ProgramPolitical Science