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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Temporalidad y Periodicidades impresas (1750-1870)

  • Author(s): Bottaro, Mayra Gisela
  • Advisor(s): Masiello, Francine R
  • Iarocci, Michael
  • et al.

This dissertation offers an examination of the links between print media, temporality, and narrative form in transatlantic Hispanic cultures between 1750 and 1870. I situate the production of periodical literature in print as a new cultural instrument and representational medium within the transatlantic context of the emergence of the culture of periodicity located at the intersection between nation and empire. I argue that the transatlantic perspective is useful as a historically specific, yet usefully supra-national framework for studying periodical literature in this moment. From a methodological standpoint, I resist the tendency to conflate the origin of modern print culture to the geographical boundaries implied by the concept of the nation-state, promoting instead a transoceanic analysis of nation and empire as well as a transoceanic concept of periodicity.

My first set of concerns consists of relocating the production and consumption of periodical literature within the framework of a governmental administration that modernizes an economic and cultural transatlantic space. Thus, I re-conceptualize modern colonial and post-independence circuits of communication and the distribution of textual objects in relation to concepts of transatlantic temporality and materiality.

As a result of the increased dependence on fixed schedules, the development of postal routes, and the imposition of regularity in the distribution of goods and periodicals, a series of changes in the understanding of time and the notion of futurity began to take place. My contention is that the link between periodicity and temporality is the clear marker of modernity and in fact is its constitutive element in the context of a Hispanic Atlantic space.

In my first chapter, I study Spanish and Spanish American calendars and almanacs that circulated profusely through Atlantic routes. As material vestiges of the ideological dialectic between commercial and scientific enterprises, I argue that this circulating periodical literature embodies the commodification of colonial culture, evincing the temporal and territorial paradox of empire. Focusing on their discursive attempts at rationalized control, I analyze the production of almanacs as a technology of governmentality that designed a temporal economy that restricted contingency to the past and placed futurity in the hands of political organisms. By exploring the centrality of notions of periodicity, temporal asymmetry, and deferral in the emerging concept of a transatlantic temporality, I show how the changes in the notions of time and futurity that they entail are key to understanding Latin American modernity.

Chapter II offers an exploration of the link between serialized literature and new technologies of time measurement, showing how both thematize the anxieties about time brought about by processes of modernization. The serialized novel was originally introduced in Latin America through the circulation of European newspapers during the mid-1830s, when the newly established national states were repositioning themselves slowly in a changing world. Serials encountered some initial resistance because of the way in which they articulated new modes of production and consumption of literature; but in the end they were welcomed as a key element of capitalist modernization. My focus is on the particularities of the serialized novel and the way in which it functions as a technology of modern life in Latin America. I argue, in Latin America the serial does not work as filling a void for the news, as it does in its early stages in Europe, but it is used as a pedagogy of modern periodicity: it is the result of the demands of the new money economy; it determines readers' subjectivities linked to the rhythms of what may be called the time of capital; it is incorporated as a technology of modernity embedded in transnational networks of cultural and economic exchanges; and creates expectations that encourage a desire to read that not only parallel processes of economic stimulus but also reproduce the new times that people were just learning to inhabit.

In Chapter III, from a material culture perspective and in connection with other literary productions of its time, I offer an analysis of a study case for serialized literature in the folletín La familia de Sconner, by Argentine writer Miguel Cané, which was serialized in the newspaper La Tribuna, in 1858. Written during the disintegration of cattle culture, the novel's representations appear in sync with the goal of assimilating the gaucho into the ways of modern urban liberals, while underlining the anxieties that surround the validation of domestic production in relation to a wider (literary) market of transnational exchanges. By contrasting two models for organizing time, and consequently two economies of periodicity, the novel assumes political economy, commerce and financial speculation as the basis for a new conception of society. I elucidate how the serial's materiality forges the notion of modern periodicity and its particular forms of temporal apprehension: temporal compression, resistance to heterotemporality and racional futurity. My contention is that this folletín provides us with a material outline of the organization of the time of capital, revealing at the same time the disruptive emergence of the non-simultaneous in the temporal dynamics of Latin American modernity.

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