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Poetic Gestures in Narrative: Prose Poetics in Selected Works of Roberto Bolaño, Cristina Rivera Garza, and Darío Jaramillo Agudelo


This dissertation analyses the many ways in which the notion of "the poetic" can be perceived in the novels of three contemporary Latin American writers: the Chilean Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003), the Colombian Darío Jaramillo Agudelo (1947), and the Mexican Cristina Rivera Garza (1964). In all cases, I demonstrate the many ways in which the "poet's vocabulary" -which includes images, topics, and several technical procedures that express his or her perception of the world through the poetic word- permeates the novels and how it allows to expand his or her poetics. Furthermore, I explain how the individual aesthetic of these three authors is closely related to precepts of the historical avant-garde and certain marginal figures in Latin America in order to take up again the project of developing "new" modalities of writing. In addition to this, I point out some of the subtle political gestures involved in the transition from poetry to prose, which include among other things the loss of ideals and convictions of youngsters during the second half of the twentieth century and the addressing of the violence as a way of life in contemporary Latin America. I begin by discussing some theoretical approaches related to the interaction of genres, the different conceptions of "prose writing" and "poetic writing," and the manner in which a "poetic novel" can be conceived. In the second and fourth chapters, I focus on finding the correspondence between Bolaño's early poetry and selected novels from his early and late production: Consejos de un Discípulo de Morrison a un Fanático de Joyce, Amberes, Los detectives salvajes, 2666, and Los sinsabores del verdadero policía. In the third chapter, I study the novels La voz interior by Jaramillo, and Lo anterior and La muerte me da by Rivera Garza, always in relation with their early poetry. In my conclusion, after synthesizing the similarities and differences between the poetics of Bolaño, Jaramillo, and Rivera Garza, I propose how a poetic reading of the novels I address here can bring new light to interpretation and critical approaches to the analysis of these works.

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