Anglia Ruskin University
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Unendliche Eroberung, unendlicher Widerstand? Das weibliche Körper-Gedächtnis in Gioconda Bellis La mujer habitada

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posted on 2023-08-30, 13:40 authored by Guido Rings
While the Spanish Conquest and colonialism have been key topics in international research on the so called New Historical Novel of Latin America, the testimonial novel has largely been ignored in this respect, and Belli’s most popular work, La mujer habitada, does not even appear in Menton’s very substantial list of New Novels. One reason for this neglect might be the misperception of testimonial literature as predominantly focussed on contemporary themes, but this categorization does not consider hybrid forms such as the testimonial novel, which explicitly combines explorations of the past and the present, nor does it address the contemporary relevance of Spanish colonialism for neo-colonial patterns in contemporary Latin American society, economy and politics. However, in its unique link to the subversive potential of traditional chronicles, and in its integration of new concepts of historiographic metafiction, the new testimonial literature provides a very interesting ground for further explorations of literary portrayals of the Conquest, and Belli’s La mujer habitada from 1988 plays in our understanding a significant role as one of the hybrid forms of testimonial narrative that lead to a paradigmatic change in the genre, usually dated half a decade later. This study will investigate Belli’s key work in the context of her earlier poems and the development of the New Historical Novel in order to assess how La mujer habitada dissolves the official image of a heroic humanist Conquest by body metaphors closely connected to indigenous cosmology. While there is clear evidence of meta-reflection and auto-criticism in her work, this essay argues that Belli does not always manage to maintain the same critical distance towards indigenist patterns of thought.



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Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift




Universitätsverlag Winter

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ARCHIVED Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences (until September 2018)

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