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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Department of English


The Conqueror Dominated, the Conquered Seduced: Postcolonial Love in Three Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  • Author(s): Laguerta, Loraine
  • Advisor(s): Mott, Christopher
  • et al.

When critics perform postcolonial readings of works by Gabriel García Márquez, most tend to gravitate toward overtly postcolonial novels such as100 Years of Solitude, No One Writes to the Colonel, or Autumn of the Patriarch. But what critics fail to adequately address is that the novels of Márquez dismissed as simply “romance” novels—Love in the Time of Cholera, Of Love and Other Demons, and Memories of My Melancholy Whores—reveal just as much evidence of postcolonial elements as in the novels that are overtly postcolonial. Using the term “postcolonial love” as a point of departure, this essay performs close readings that highlight the shared characteristics between postcolonial theory and the romances within these novels, exposing timeless concepts such as perpetual desire, the seduction of cultural imperialism, a desire to return to purity, nostalgia for a glorified past, and the Faulknerian decay of a people and an era. 

This essay argues that although the characters struggle to come to terms with their colonial past and move forward to the postcolonial future, the novels as a whole advocate a postcolonial future, where the most ideal kind of love is one that understands other cultures without necessarily agreeing with them. On a grander scale, this essay proposes that these three texts are an answer to Márquez’s call to use literature as a means “to render our lives believable.” The author’s background in journalism adds a verisimilitude to his writing that allows readers to comfortably accept the postcolonial leap that colors these romances.

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