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Política y estética del fraude en el modernismo latinoamericano: escritura, canibalismo y pedrería en Rubén Darío

  • Author(s): Salvatierra, Leon
  • Advisor(s): del Valle, Ivonne
  • Rosa, Richard
  • et al.

This dissertation draws on colonial texts in order to expand the critical corpus of Azul, beyond its conventional binary readings, either exclusively aesthetic or primarily Marxist, to render a vision of Rubén Darío that includes an account of Latin America as a space of criticism and transgression that challenges fixed notions of national identity, historical contexts, and authenticity in art. Expanding on definitions of fraud, this project develops the concept of fraude as a theoretical framework to show how Darío aesthetically constructs a writing which is deceptively apolitical. By fraude, I illustrate the form in which Darío appropriates and inhabits European identities and their spaces in order to invert the colonial violence historically inflicted in Latin America. Far from l&rsquoart pour l&rsquoart figure that is still so prevalent in the criticism ofAzul, the fraude, once decoded, reveals Darío as a poet whose writing opposes the empires of Spain, England, and the United States.

By reexamining the colonial discourse-- in relation to sculpture, cannibalism and precious stones--, my research exposes the colonial texts, designed to appropriate and exploit the &ldquoother,&rdquo as an act of fraud in and of itself. Thus, Darío&rsquos writing, in reversing the colonial fraud, acquires a "hidden" political significance. To engage the colonial discourse within a modern nineteenth-century perspective also establishes new ground for reinterpreting the politics behind the works of Modernismo authors, such as José Martí and José Enrique Rodó with whom this dissertation is in conversation. From this viewpoint, the literary texts are to be understood as socially symbolic acts that aesthetically question and undermine dominant narratives. Even in the twenty-first century, when the global markets more than ever mediate and displace historical occurrences through the use of technology in visual mass media, blurring the boundaries between falseness and authenticity, an evaluation of fraude as a strategy for analyzing and questioning our social "reality" is necessary. This project places Modernismo in conversation with Transnational American and Postcolonial Studies by investigating how people, through shared colonial histories (still relevant in our present time), aesthetically negotiate their legacy.

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