Latin American Gothic in Literature and Culture 9781138234222, 9781315307671

This book explores the Gothic mode as it appears in the literature, visual arts, and culture of different areas of Latin

705 35 2MB

English Pages [290] Year 2017

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

Latin American Gothic in Literature and Culture
 9781138234222, 9781315307671

Table of contents :
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
List of Figures
List of Contributors
Introduction: Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Persistence of the Gothic
SECTION I: (Re)Visions of History
1 Civilization and Barbarism and Zombies: Argentina’s Contemporary Gothic
2 Rural Horrors in Chilean Gothic
3 Fragmented Gothic Identities in Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo
SECTION II: Displacement, Transposition, Tropicalization
4 Machado de Assis’s nightmarish World: Displacements of the Gothic in Brazil
5 Duplicitous Vampires Annihilating Tradition and Destroying Beauty in Froylán Turcios’s El vampiro
6 Liberation and the Gothic in Carlos Solórzano’s Las manos de Dios
7 Gothic in the Tropics: Transformations of the Gothic in the Colombian Hot Lands
SECTION III: Occupation and incarceration
8 “I’ll Be Back”: The United States’ Occupation of Puerto Rico and the Gothic
9 Marie Vieux Chauvet’s World-Gothic: Commodity Frontiers, “Cheap Natures” and the Monstrous-Feminine
10 Casa por cárcel: Incarcerating Homes in Costa Rican Life and Fiction
SECTION IV: Science, Technology, and the Uncanny
11 Shadows of Science in the Río de la Plata Turn-of-the-Century Gothic
12 Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”: Carlos Fuentes’s Little History on Photography
13 Media, Shadows, and Spiritual Bindings: Tracing Mexican Gothic in Óscar Urrutia Lazo’s Rito terminal
SECTION V: Contemporary Gothic Paradigms
14 The Vampiric Tradition in Peruvian Literature: A Long Journey from Modernist Conventions to Gothic Postmodernism Ruptures
15 Cultural Cannibalism: Gothic Parody in the Cinema of Ivan Cardoso
16 Pedro Cabiya’s Caribbean Grotesque
17 Towards a Darker Reality: The Post-Gothic Simulacrum in Edmundo Paz Soldán’s Los vivos y los muertos

Citation preview

Latin American Gothic in Literature and Culture

This book explores the Gothic mode as it appears in the literature, ­visual arts, and culture of different areas of Latin America. Focusing on works from authors in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Andes, Brazil, and the Southern Cone, the essays in this volume illuminate the existence of native representations of the Gothic, while also exploring the presence of universal archetypes of terror and horror. Through the analysis of global and local Gothic topics and themes, they evaluate the reality of a multifaceted territory marked by a shifting colonial and postcolonial relationship with Europe and the United States. The book asks questions such as: Is there such a thing as “Latin American Gothic” in the same sense that there is an “American Gothic” and “British Gothic”? What are the main elements that particularly characterize Latin American Gothic? How does Latin American Gothic function in the context of globalization? What do these elements represent in relation to specific national literatures? What is the relationship between the Gothic and the Postcolonial? What can Gothic criticism bring to the study of Latin American cultural manifestations and, conversely, what can these offer the Gothic? The analysis performed here reflects a body of criticism that understands the Gothic as a global phenomenon with specific manifestations in particular territories while also acknowledging the effects of “globalgothic” on a transnational and transcultural level. Thus, the volume seeks to open new spaces and areas of scholarly research and academic discussion both regionally and globally with the presentation of a solid analysis of Latin American texts and other cultural phenomena which are manifestly related to the Gothic world. Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Binghamton University-State University of New York, USA. Inés Ordiz is a PhD Student and Instructor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Washington, USA.

Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature For a full list of titles in this series, please visit

76 The Cultural Imaginary of Terrorism in Public Discourse, Literature, and Film Narrating Terror Michael C. Frank 77 The Centrality of Crime Fiction in American Literary Culture Edited by Alfred Bendixen and Olivia Carr Edenfield 78 Motherhood in Literature and Culture Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Europe Edited by Victoria Browne, Adalgisa Giorgio, Emily Jeremiah, Abigal Lee Six, and Gill Rye 79 Heritage and the Legacy of the Past in Contemporary Britain Ryan Trimm 80 Storytelling and Ethics Literature, Visual Arts and the Power of Narrative Edited by Hanna Meretoja and Colin Davis 81 Multilingual Currents in Literature, Translation and Culture Edited by Rachael Gilmour and Tamar Steinitz 82 Rewriting the American Soul Trauma, Neuroscience and the Contemporary Literary Imagination Anna Thieman 83 Milton and the Early Modern Culture of Devotion Bodies at Prayer Naya Tsentourou 84 TransGothic in Literature and Culture Edited by Jolene Zigarovich 85 Latin American Gothic in Literature and Culture Edited by Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno and Inés Ordiz

Latin American Gothic in Literature and Culture

Edited by Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno and Inés Ordiz

First published 2018 by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2018 Taylor & Francis The right of Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno and Inés Ordiz to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data CIP data has been applied for. ISBN: 978-1-138-23422-2 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-30767-1 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by codeMantra

A los puntos cardinales: Marieta, Javier, Juan y Arian. A Gerardo, todos los días. A María del Carmen, Jesús y Lourdes.

This page intentionally left blank


List of Figures Acknowledgements List of Contributors Introduction: Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Persistence of the Gothic

xi xiii xv


I n é s O rdi z and S andra C asanova -V i z ca í no

Section I

(Re)Visions of History


1 Civilization and Barbarism and Zombies: Argentina’s Contemporary Gothic


I n é s O rdi z

2 Rural Horrors in Chilean Gothic


O lga R ies

3 Fragmented Gothic Identities in Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo


A ntonio A lcal á G on z á le z

Section II

Displacement, Transposition, Tropicalization


4 Machado de Assis’s Nightmarish World: Displacements of the Gothic in Brazil


S andra G uardini Vasconcelos

5 Duplicitous Vampires Annihilating Tradition and Destroying Beauty in Froylán Turcios’s El vampiro C armen S errano


viii Contents 6 Liberation and the Gothic in Carlos Solórzano’s Las manos de Dios


Dav i d Da lt o n

7 Gothic in the Tropics: Transformations of the Gothic in the Colombian Hot Lands


G a b r i e l E lj a i e k- Ro d r í g u e z

Section III

Occupation and Incarceration


8 “I’ll Be Back”: The United States’ Occupation of Puerto Rico and the Gothic


S a n d r a C a s a n ova -V i z c a í n o

9 Marie Vieux Chauvet’s World-Gothic: Commodity Frontiers, “Cheap Natures” and the Monstrous-Feminine


K erst i n Oloff

10 Casa por cárcel: Incarcerating Homes in Costa Rican Life and Fiction


I l s e B u ss i n g

Section IV

Science, Technology, and the Uncanny


11 Shadows of Science in the Río de la Plata Turn-of-the-Century Gothic


S o l e da d Q u e r e i l h ac

12 Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”: Carlos Fuentes’s Little History on Photography


Ad r i a n a G o r d i l l o

13 Media, Shadows, and Spiritual Bindings: Tracing Mexican Gothic in Óscar Urrutia Lazo’s Rito terminal E n r i q u e Aj u r i a I b a r r a


Contents  ix Section V

Contemporary Gothic Paradigms


14 The Vampiric Tradition in Peruvian Literature: A Long Journey from Modernist Conventions to Gothic Postmodernism Ruptures


Rosa M ar í a D í e z C obo

15 Cultural Cannibalism: Gothic Parody in the Cinema of Ivan Cardoso


Daniel S erravalle de S á

16 Pedro Cabiya’s Caribbean Grotesque


P ersephone B raham

17 Towards a Darker Reality: The Post-Gothic Simulacrum in Edmundo Paz Soldán’s Los vivos y los muertos


S ergio F ern á nde z M art í ne z



This page intentionally left blank

List of Figures

10.1 Bars, razor wire, and gates guard the facades of homes in a middle-­class neighborhood in San Pedro, San José. At the home in the right, one can see the original low wall and gate; in recent years, the top bars with lance ends were added for “security” reasons 139 10.2 Defensive elements around a middle-class home in Curridabat, San José 143 10.3 Neighboring homes in Curridabat, razor wire alongside an electrified top fence as defensive elements 143 10.4 Hideous results of employing numerous defensive elements in the front of a house in Betania, San José 144

This page intentionally left blank


The editors would like to thank the following academics, colleagues, and friends who have helped us think through and review this volume: Enrique Ajuria Ibarra, Gerardo Pignatiello, Arian Hasenpusch, Rosa María Díez Cobo, Javier Ordiz, Edgar O’Hara, and Kent Kinzer. Your help with this project has been inestimable. Special thanks go to ­Justin D. Edwards for his help and support during the first stages of this project. Research to complete parts of the introduction and chapter eight was possible thanks to Binghamton University’s Dean’s Research Semester Award and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities Fellowship granted to Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno. This book became a project at the International Gothic Association Conference held in Vancouver on July 28–August 1, 2015; we would also like to thank the conference organizers and attendees for coordinating and participating in such a thought-provoking convention.

This page intentionally left blank

List of Contributors

Enrique Ajuria Ibarra is Assistant Professor at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Mexico. He has previously published several articles and book chapters on Mexican horror cinema. He is the editor of the peer-reviewed online journal Studies in Gothic Fiction, and is currently preparing a book on the relationship between travel, Gothic, and the horror film. Antonio Alcalá González is a Researcher and Professor of contemporary literature at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico City, and lecturer on literary criticism at UNAM. One of the pioneers in the recent raise of interest for the Gothic in Mexico, he is founder of the International Gothic Literature Congress which has been held biennially at UNAM since 2008. His three main areas of research interest include the relationship between the Weird Tale and the Gothic, the presence of Gothic motifs in the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, and the use Gothic motifs by the Mexican writers Carlos Fuentes and Juan Rulfo. His has published in journals of Mexican universities and edited the Gothic Studies special issue Nautical Gothic: The Presence of the Gothic on and Under the Sea. He has also contributed to the volumes A Companion to American Gothic, Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture, and Oscuras latitudes: Una cartografía de los estudios góticos. Persephone Braham (PhD University of Pennsylvania) teaches Spanish and Latin American studies at the University of Delaware. Her research interests are Caribbean cultural and literary studies, film studies, and gender and monstrosity. She is the author of From Amazons to Zombies: Monsters in Latin America (Bucknell, 2015), editor of African Diaspora in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean (Delaware, 2014), and has published numerous articles on monstrosity, gender, and race in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ilse Bussing holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature, from the College of William and Mary, a Master’s in Latin American Literature, from the University of Costa Rica, and a Ph.D. in English Literature, from

xvi  List of Contributors the University of Edinburgh. Her Ph.D. thesis The Haunted House in Mid-to-Late Victorian Gothic Fiction, explores the convergence of architecture and social history in a specific site thus revealing one of her main research interests, the interdisciplinary study of space in life and fiction. Her publications focus mostly on the Gothic. She is lecturer in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Costa Rica, as well as in the Master’s in English Literature program, where she teaches a Gothic Literature specialty course. Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Binghamton University-State University of New York. She holds a PhD in Hispanic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, where she specialized in fantastic literature from the Hispanic Caribbean. Her current research work focuses on contemporary popular genres– Gothic, horror, mystery, science fiction and gangsters—in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. She has published several articles on zombies, monsters, cannibalism, serial killers, and the Female Gothic among other Gothic subjects in various journals, including Gothic Studies Journal and Revista del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled El gótico transmigrado: horror y misterio en la narrativa puertorriqueña del siglo XXI, in which she explores the relationship between contemporary Gothic literature and the current socio-economic and political crisis in Puerto Rico. David Dalton is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His primary area of focus is Mexican and Spanish American literary and cultural production, particularly as these relate to the fantastic and/or science and culture. He also greatly enjoys Spanish American theater and seeing how this medium provides insights into the roles of science and the fantastic in the region. He has published approximately twenty articles on these subjects in various journals and edited volumes. His current book project, tentatively titled Forging the Mestizo, is currently under contract with the University Press of Florida and it will hopefully come out at the end of 2018. Rosa María Díez Cobo holds a doctoral degree in English Philology (Comparative Literature) from Universidad de León (Spain), Department of Modern Languages (2005). She was the Head of the Spanish Department in the School of Literature and Language Studies at The University of Witwatersrand at Johannesburg (South Africa) in 2007. She has been recipient of several research grants and has been a visiting scholar at the Freie Universität (Germany), Pennsylvania State University (US), Oxford University (UK) and the University of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). In 2008 she was awarded a two-year postdoctoral

List of Contributors  xvii fellowship by the Spanish Ministry of Education (MEC), and she developed her research both in the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (Argentina), and in the Hispanic Studies Department at UC Riverside (California, US). Currently, she is teaching English language and literatures at the Universidad Internacional Isabel I de Castilla (Burgos, Spain); she also collaborates with the Spanish and Classical Department at the Universidad de León (Spain). She has focused on multicultural narrative experiences concerning Latin American communities on both sides of the US/Latin America frontier. Most particularly, she has devoted to the exploration of the postmodernist phenomenon from a North American and a Latin American perspective. She has also specialized in the comparative study of fantasy narratives, particularly magical realism and dystopia, from a Latin American-North American viewpoint. She has authored many critical articles and a book entitled Nueva sátira en la ficción postmodernista de las Américas (2006). Gabriel Eljaiek-Rodríguez is Head of Spanish Instruction and Latin American Studies at the New School of Atlanta. Previously he served as Visiting Assisting Professor of Spanish at The George Washington University and Lawrence University. He received his Ph.D. in Hispanic American Literature from Emory University in 2012. His areas of specialization include Latin American cinema and literature, Latin ­A merican Gothic and horror cinema, Migration, and Museum Studies. In 2006, he edited the book La tras escena del museo, which discusses the uneasy relationship between museum objects and ­visitors. He has also published extensively on Latin American cinema, cultural ­“mestizaje” in the Americas, and the political implications of cinematic horror, in journals such as Hispanic Research Journal, Imagofágia, Mandorla and La Habana elegante. His new book, Selva de fantasmas. El gótico en la literatura y el cine latinoamericanos (Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, 2017) focuses on the ways in which the Gothic genre is transformed in Latin American literature and cinema. His forthcoming book, The Migration and Politics of Monsters in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan 2018) explores the political uses of horror in the continent, including Latin American filmmakers’ hybridization of horror tropes from other national contexts. Sergio Fernández Martínez holds an M.A. Degree in Spanish and Comparative Literature at the University of León, Spain, where he works as a researcher and teaches Rhetoric as a predoctoral instructor. He has been recipient of several awards; for instance, in 2016 the Institut d’Estudis Catalans granted him a scholarship to study the gothic elements in Mercè Rodoreda’s oeuvre. His field of specialization includes Body Studies, contemporary Spanish poetry, and Gothic fiction. He has written widely on these topics, and among his

xviii  List of Contributors many publications, he co-edited, together with Natalia Álvarez and Ana Abello, the monograph Territorios de la imaginación: poéticas ficcionales de lo insólito en España y México (2016) Adriana Gordillo is Associate Professor of Spanish at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research and teaching interests include twentieth- and twenty-first-century Hispanic American narratives, with an emphasis on neo-baroque aesthetics, myth, and literature of the fantastic. Her work deals with the intersection of art, memory, and the representation of otherness. She has published articles in scholarly journals, among them the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies and Hispanic Issues. She is the coeditor of the Hispanic Issues volume entitled Writing Monsters: Essays on Iberian and Latin American Cultures. She is currently working on a book-length project tentatively titled Reading the Monster in Latin American Literature: Symbolism and Theory that continues the exploration of monster symbolism in Latin American literature. She also has an interest in creative writing, particularly poetry, and is the recipient of awards including the Victoria Urbano Women’s Poetry Award and Voces Nuevas. Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos is Professor of English Literature and Comparative Literature at the University of São Paulo, where she obtained her MA and PhD in Literary Theory and Comparative Literature. She did her post-doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge (1993–1994) and at the University of Manchester (2008), and was Visiting Research Associate at the Centre for Brazilian Studies at the University of Oxford (2005). Over the past years, she has been carrying out research on the presence and circulation of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century English novels in nineteenth-century Brazil. She has organized several books, has published articles and chapters both in Brazil and abroad and is the author of Puras Misturas. Estórias em Guimarães Rosa (1997), Dez Lições sobre o Romance Inglês do Século XVIII (2002), and A Formação do Romance Inglês: ensaios teóricos (2007), for which she got the 2008 Jabuti Prize (Literary Theory and Criticism). She is curator of the João Guimarães Rosa Archive, at the Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros (USP). Kerstin Oloff is an Assistant Professor (Latin American Studies) at the University of Durham, UK. Her book, Ecology of the Zombie, is forthcoming with Liverpool University Press in 2018. She has published articles on Caribbean and Mexican literatures and is co-­editor of Perspectives on the ‘Other America’: Comparative Approaches to Caribbean and Latin American Culture (2009). Inés Ordiz holds a doctorate degree in Modern Languages from the University of León (Spain), with a specialization in Comparative Pan-American Gothic literature. She is the coeditor of the volume

List of Contributors  xix La (ir)realidad imaginada: Aproximaciones a lo insólito en la ficción hispanoamericana, which focuses on the various manifestations of fantasy in Latin American literature. She has published articles on contemporary zombie cinema Mexican and Argentinean Gothic and the feminine grotesque. More recently, she contributed to the volume Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture: The Americas with a chapter on Mexican Gothic dystopia. She is currently working on her second PhD on twenty-first-century Hispanic Female Gothic at the University of Washington in Seattle. Soledad Quereilhac holds a PhD in Literature from Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) and is a Researcher at Argentina’s Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET). She teaches Argentine Literature at UBA and is a Member of the Instituto de Historia Argentina y Americana “Dr. Emilio Ravignani” (FFyL, UBA). She coordinates a project by young researchers on literature and press in Argentina from 1870 to 1940. Quereilhac regularly publishes contributions as a literary critic on La Nación newspaper. She is the author of Cuando la ciencia despertaba fantasías. Prensa, literatura y ocultismo en la Argentina de entresiglos (Siglo XXI Editores, 2016). As a researcher, Quereilhac has specialized in the relationship between literature, science, and the occult during the period from the end of the nineteenth century to the first half of the twentieth century. She has privileged the Rioplatense fantastic narrative and its projections of the scientific imagery. She also focuses on the study of press articles related to literature and to the dissemination of science. Olga Ries studied Hispanic and Anglophone Literature at Bielefeld University, Germany, where she also earned her PhD in InterAmerican Studies and was a research fellow at the Inter-American research group E Pluribus Unum? Ethnic Identitites in Transnational Integration Processes in the Americas at the ZiF (Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung/Center for Interdisciplinary Research) Bielefeld. After research stints in Spain and Mexico, she is currently residing in Santiago de Chile, where she has taught literature and cultural studies at, among others, the Universidad Alberto Hurtado and the Universidad Diego Portales. Her research areas are, besides Gothic fiction, late nineteenth-, and early twentieth-century avantgarde and literature in/ of exile. She also writes fiction, has translated Russian poetry into Spanish, collaborated with Nerudiana, the official organ of the Pablo Neruda Foundation, and is currently working on a project on the representations of evil in nineteenth-century South America. Carmen Serrano is an Assistant Professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is currently working on her book project Vampires, Doppelgängers and Live Burials: Innovation and

xx  List of Contributors Transformation of Gothic Forms in Latin American Narratives and is the author “El vampiro en el espejo: elementos góticos en Yo el Supremo” in Revista Iberoamericana as well as “Revamping Dracula on the Mexican Silver Screen in Fernando Mendez’s El vampiro.” In addition to her studies on themes of the supernatural and the fantastic, Serrano also writes about the novel of the Mexican Revolution and US Latino literature. Daniel Serravalle de Sá is Senior Lecturer at Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC). His research interests incorporate the study of popular culture and the relationship between literature and cinema. In recent years, Daniel has written about the Gothic and its manifestations in different cultural contexts. He is the author of the book Gótico Tropical: o sublime e o demoníaco em O Guarani (Edufba, 2010) and has published chapters in the books World Film Locations: São Paulo (Intellect, 2013), and Directory of World Cinema: Brazil (Intellect, 2013) Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture: The Americas (Routledge, 2016).

Introduction Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Persistence of the Gothic Inés Ordiz and Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno

In the prologue to her book Galería fantástica [Fantastic Gallery] (2009), the Argentine critic and writer María Negroni states that what has thus far been defined as fantastic literature in Latin America is, in fact, Gothic literature: a literary corpus that she describes as “nocturnal and feverish” (9). It is Gothic’s unruly and chaotic nature—­contrary to the “Enlightenment’s geometry of knowledge” (9)—that allows her to read Latin American writers and poets such as Carlos Fuentes, Felisberto Hernández, Rosario Ferré, Alejandra Pizarnik, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Julio Cortázar, Octavio Paz, Horacio Quiroga, Silvina Ocampo, and Vicente Huidobro as Gothic authors whose oeuvre reshapes Latin American fantastic fiction and creates a new form that defies the “prisons of reason and of common sense” (9). This, however, has not been the dominant stance among critics. Latin American Gothic fiction has remained a marginalized form compared to the fantastic and (even more so) to magical realist fiction; in fact, the latter was considered by critics to be a singularly Latin American and Caribbean literary phenomenon until recently. The reasons for this marginalization are both locally socio-historical and related to the rejection that the term “Gothic” received as it appeared in various contexts and cultures worldwide. The mode, respected not even by the English highbrow culture of the eighteenth century, has been historically discredited as naïve and repetitive. Ricardo Gutiérrez Mouat connects the decision of Jorge Luis Borges, Adolfo Bioy Casares, and Silvina Ocampo to omit Gothic narratives in their influential Antología de la literatura fantástica [The Book of Fantasy]1 with this rejection. This text established the first definitions of the fantasy mode in Latin America, although it was not until the sixties that the genre truly flourished, coinciding with, and in part caused by, the editorial phenomenon known as the Latin American Boom. The predisposition to exclude Gothic texts from this canon is made clear when Bioy Casares brands The Castle of Otranto as “an ancestor of the deceitful kind [of writing] featuring abandoned German castles, decrepit spider webs, storms, chains, bad taste” (7). The authors of the Antología, however, do not omit works of fiction that contain literary motifs typically associated with the Gothic—vampires,

2  Inés Ordiz and Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno ghosts, and castles—or with science fiction—time travel and metamorphoses. They include them, nevertheless, in the category of fantastic literature, which they divide into three different sub-categories: those with the presence of a supernatural being or event, those in which the fantastic is understood as a syntactic alteration, and those with an oscillation between a natural and a supernatural explanation. It has been argued that, for Borges, privileging fantastic literature (over Gothic and other neighboring genres or modes) is ultimately a question of “literary politics.” That is, by focusing on the fantastic as an all-encompassing literary category mostly defined as an “artifice … a creation of a world and not a replica of the world” (Brescia 5), Borges found a way to renew Latin American fiction (and, therefore, a way to insert himself and other Argentine writers of the fantastic into a universal canon) and “to dethrone the reigning tradition of realism” (Brescia 7). Between the first publication of the Antología de la literatura fantástica and the emergence of the Latin American Boom, other writers and literary critics expressed similar views of the idea of fiction as pure artifice. For instance, in 1945, Cuban writer Virgilio Piñera stated in his essay “El secreto de Kafka” [Kafka’s Secret] that true artists (of which, according to Piñera, Kafka was the ultimate example) should be concerned with “literary invention” and “literary surprise”—that is, with the process of creating literature through “enormous architectures of images” (230). This creative aspect of the text is what makes it atemporal and accessible to future readers. Even though Piñera favored this understanding of literature as craft— which resembles, and is contemporary to, Borges’s definition of the fantastic—­it is also important to note that his own fiction included several elements that we might consider Gothic, such as cannibalism, excessive violence, secrecy, claustrophobic spaces, the uncanny, and the presence of doubles. Apart from these formal issues, the absence of the Gothic from Latin American and Caribbean literary studies has been connected to issues of identity, nationhood, and the global market. In fact, Glennis Byron suggests that the rejection of the Gothic in certain traditions might be merely a matter of naming: “For many,” asserts Byron, “there is a concern that identifying and reading these texts as Gothic is … a kind of colonial imposition” (“Global” 370). In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, this impression follows the denunciation of different forms of non-mimetic literature that were accused of being elitist, escapist and, therefore, almost anti-national. In 1955, for instance, Mexican critic José Luis González described this type of literature as dangerously globalizing: In Mexico nowadays it seems to be fashionable, among a meagre but loud minority that call themselves the elite of the new generation, a

Introduction  3 sort of literary universalism. The universalism of these writers has a well-known precedent: to forget that Mexico exists. (Qtd. in Duncan 17) These attacks reflect a predilection among critics for the realist and/ or historical novel, which becomes a nationalist representation of Latin American reality free of outside (colonizing) influences. Latin American literary criticism, thus, has been largely centered on the analysis of historical texts and, when focused on non-mimetic types of discourse, has favored fantastic literature and, unquestionably, magical realism. Ever since Alejo Carpentier defined lo real maravilloso [the marvelous real] in his 1949 prologue to El reino de este mundo [The Kingdom of this World], this concept has been used to define Latin American realities as they are reflected in literature. According to Carpentier, the conception of reality in Latin America is inherently different than in Europe and the United States; while the latter is dominated by reason and logic, the former accepts the existence of the supernatural in the ordinary. Carpentier’s theories, along with the writings of other critics (such as Uslar Pietri and Miguel Ángel Asturias), were of great influence in the process of defining Latin American literary identity that took place during the forties and the fifties (in the hands of authors such as Octavio Paz, Leopoldo Zea, or Lezama Lima). Latin American distinctiveness, therefore, was reflected in literature through magical realism, a peculiar “amalgamation of realism and fantasy” which becomes “an authentic expression, one that is uniquely civilized, exciting and, let us hope, perennial” (Flores 189, 192). In the eyes of certain critics, this mode became a vindication of Latin American literature’s place in the global literary canon. A binary division between the literary manifestations of lo real maravilloso2 and the Gothic, which associates the former with Latin American “magical” reality and the latter with the shadows of European and North American rationalism, would be too simplistic in the globalized era. If, as Byron suggests, we understand the Gothic to be “a product and symptom of modernity,” a global perspective on literary history would lead us to accept that “responses to modernity similar to what the West has named Gothic have emerged elsewhere, even if differently modulated by other historical and cultural conditions” (370). This idea follows an attempt to overcome Eurocentrism and, therefore, diverges from the consideration of the Gothic as a colonizing discourse. Moreover, some contemporary authors have denounced the artificiality of the connection between magical realism and Latin American identity: “The understanding of Latin American reality as being ‘magical’ is not only influenced by the European avant-garde …, but also directed to an alien public: the urban middle class and the Western reader in general” (Volek 11). For Emil Volek, Latin American magical realism becomes

4  Inés Ordiz and Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno “an artifact of cultural exportation” prepared for a reliable customer: “Europe, avid consumer of American wonders” (11). This opinion is shared by Latin American writers and critics such as the authors belonging to the literary group McOndo3 and to the Mexican Generación del crack [the Crack Generation],4 among others. Recent criticism has defined magical realism and its connections to other literary modes from a more international perspective. For Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris, magical realism can no longer be considered exclusively Latin American, but rather, a “contemporary international mode” (4) which— like the Gothic, one could argue—draws attention to socio-political and cultural “perversions” and focuses on local histories within a global context. According to the authors, magical realist texts transgress “ontological, political, geographical, or generic” (5) boundaries through the use of hallucinatory scenes, fantastic events, metamorphosis, phantasmagoric characters, and ghosts (6). It is important to clarify, however, that, as Lucie Armitt has explained, the relationship between reality and the supernatural is essentially different in magical realist and Gothic texts. Unlike in the traditional ghost story, the real and the supernatural acquire equal narrative presence in magical realism, which reveals that, in this mode, “the extraordinary exists most absolutely within the quotidian real”. The exceptional Other is not only normalized, but also welcomed: “[w]here magical realism embraces the foreign … the Gothic fights to keep the stranger at bay but fails” (Armitt 224, 225). Herein lies the quintessential contrast between the two modes. These theories can be read alongside recent analyses of “globalgothic” as presented by Byron and theorized by Justin D. Edwards and Fred Botting. According to the authors, in a globalized modern world, the Gothic becomes a language to express “world changes that impinge diversely and relentlessly on different locales and peoples” (Botting and Edwards 13). This new world order is marked by new terrors that often take the shape of old Gothic tropes: vampires, monsters, ghosts, witches, and zombies. In Globalgothic, Botting and Edwards point to both the globalization of the Gothic and the gothification of globalization. Along with contemporary analyses of magical realism, the globalgothic, exemplifies our understanding of these modes and their relationship to the contexts in which they appear: magical realism is no longer exclusively Latin American, in the same way that the Gothic is not a uniquely European mode. Moreover, contemporary critics and authors agree in recognizing the need to elaborate a more comprehensive study of Latin American literature (Esteban and Montoya Juárez 7). For instance, in the introduction of their anthology of new literature, 5 the McOndo authors state that the writers of the globalized world “share a similar bastard culture, which has inevitably (and unintentionally) united [them]. We all grew up watching the same TV programs, admiring the same movies, and

Introduction  5 reading everything worth reading, in a synchrony that can be labelled as magical” (Fuguet and Gómez 18). The literary group includes ­authors from many countries in Latin America, but also from Spain. This is because, according to the authors’ perspective, contemporary Latin American literature is inscribed within the fluctuating currents of world literature. It is precisely in this context that we can begin to understand Latin American literature from a Gothic (or globalgothic) perspective, as some of the authors in this book do. This standpoint also allows us to endorse Duncan’s assertion that “[i]t is absurd to suppose that Spanish American writers have written in isolation and have not been part of literary trends simply because foreign critics have neglected to mention them” (6). The lack of criticism examining Latin American Gothic should not be considered evidence of the absence of this mode in the subcontinent, but rather a testimony of the evolution of literary history and global capitalism. Thus, we understand that the “traditional” Gothic genre that Bioy Casares rejects (of castles, spider webs, storms, and chains) evolves in various ways, adapting to different socio-historical contexts and becoming a dark and complex response to different processes of modernity as experienced in different parts of Latin America. In these regions, considerations concerning naming (of the mode), self-representation (of the nation), as well as the demands of the global market might have darkened the production of this mode. Nevertheless, the Gothic persisted. As David Punter argues, …part of the force of Gothic is precisely that it continues: it continues, as it were, against the odds, with its apparatus in shreds, its diagnostics discredited, its authors—and indeed its critics—­pilloried by the cultural police and made to look not a little foolish by their own controversies. (7) In fact, even though the critical study of this mode has been largely marginalized for the reasons above, the mode has undeniably infiltrated the Latin American literary tradition. Authors belonging to the Latin American canon such as Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, and Adolfo Bioy Casares have been (largely, in some cases) analyzed in Gothic terms.6 Some twenty-first-­ century monographs and collections of criticism have claimed a space for the Gothic and related forms of fantasy in Latin American criticism. Negrótico (2015) by Nadina Olmedo and Osvaldo di Paolo, for instance, looks at the intersections between the Gothic and crime fiction in literature and film, focusing on the use of horror, mystery, and crime as the fundamental aesthetic components of these narrative forms. According to the authors, both fictional forms make use of the same recurrent elements, such as monsters, and labyrinthine or ruined settings.

6  Inés Ordiz and Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno This emphasis on monstrosity is the main focus of Persephone Braham’s book From Amazons to Zombies: Monsters in Latin America (2015). As she points out, monsters have always existed and they appear across times and cultures, “but only in Latin America did Amazons, cannibals, zombies, and other monsters become enduring symbols of national and regional character” (1). In her work Braham considers the Gothic as a genre existing within a wider consideration of narrative forms that can harbor monsters. This is also the case in Estrategias y figuraciones de lo insólito en la narrativa mexicana XIX–XXI (2014) [Strategies and Forms of Fantasy in Mexican Literature 19th–21st century] edited by Javier Ordiz and of La (ir)realidad imaginada: Aproximaciones a lo insólito en la ficción hispanoamericana (2015) [The Imagined (Un)real: Approaches to Fantasy in Spanish American Fiction] edited by Inés Ordiz and Rosa María Díez Cobo. In both cases, fantasy (“lo insólito”) takes center stage. Within these parameters, the Gothic is explored alongside other modes and narrative forms, such as science fiction, the fantastic, the marvelous, and magical realism. Horror, frequently considered one of the fundamental characteristics of the Gothic, has also been studied in recent works within film studies. One example is Gender and Sexuality in Latin American Horror Cinema (2016) by Gustavo Subero and in the edited volume Horrofílmico: Aproximaciones al cine de terror en Latinoamérica y el Caribe (2012) [Horrofílmico: Approaches to Horror Film in Latin America and the Caribbean] by Rosana Díaz-Zambrana and Patricia Tomé. These works of criticism that explore the Gothic (or related topics) in the literature, film, and culture of Latin America have initiated a necessary dialogue that opens up the possibility of reading Latin America as a Gothic space. This is one of the aims of Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture: The Americas (2016), edited by Justin Edwards and Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos. Here, Gothic in the Americas—though the volume mainly focuses on the southern United States, Mexico, Haiti, and Brazil—is understood as part of a process of transculturation and tropicalization. According to the editors, “Gothic adapts to a new geography through a process of appropriation to engender autochthonous texts that do not simply abandon North Atlantic Gothic but problematize and alter it to fit a unique location” (2). Tropical Gothic, thus, offers a reading of the fictions of horror and terror in the Americas in relation to their history of colonialism and its consequences on issues of gender, race, and class. The result is what Edwards calls a “mongrel text,” that is, a text that cannibalizes Gothic tropes and conventions, and becomes both local and global (16, 24). In this context, the globalgothic not only becomes an essential concept in the process of rethinking the importance of the Gothic in the contemporary global world, but also opens the door to considerations of its presence in the literary traditions of many countries. Furthermore, the

Introduction  7 globalgothic is not an invitation to forget about local histories but rather a mechanism that allows us to examine local literatures across history through the lens of the Gothic from a perspective born in the era of globalization. According to Byron, contemporary Gothic circulates in a global context that goes beyond notions of “Enlightenment modernity” (4). As the chapters in this volume propose, however, the Gothic in Latin America is very much rooted in local realities and histories, and often linked to different processes of modernization. These include the colonization and occupation of the region by Europe or the United States; the formation of the new nation-states following the wars of independence; and the collapse, failure, exhaustion, and absence of national projects that lead to violence, inequality, and exclusion. The texts analyzed in this volume engage with the Gothic in several forms—through transposition, tropicalization, appropriation, and/or parody—while examining historical and contemporary local issues. By means of thorough analyses of nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century fiction, the chapters in this volume propose new ways of understanding both Latin American literature, and the Gothic. Given the complexity of the different national narratives of the Latin American and Caribbean countries, however, Latin American Gothic in Literature and Culture should be read as a first approach to ­different ­representations of the Gothic mode in this region of the world. The volume covers fiction from all regions of Latin America (North, Central, South, and the Caribbean), from the diverse countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Haiti, C ­ olombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. Additionally, the chapters included in this book offer critical readings grounded on ­historical, ­sociological, postcolonial, and postmodernist studies. Literary works from other perspectives and regions, such as Latin ­A merican literature written in the diasporas and/or in languages other than S­ panish, ­Portuguese or French,7 go beyond the scope of this volume. The chapters in the first section of this book, “(Re)Visions of ­H istory,” offer an innovative analytical approach to the cultural and socio-­ historical events of Argentina, Chile, and Mexico through their representations in Gothic works. Inés Ordiz explores Gothic novels and short stories published in Argentina in the last thirty years. By focusing on the trope of the zombie and on the use of the grotesque, she examines how contemporary Argentine authors actively undo the dichotomy “civilization vs. barbarism” that has defined Argentina’s society and history since the mid-nineteenth century. In twenty-first-century Argentina, global fears mix with national episodes of terror to present how the country’s barbaric past still haunts its supposedly civilized present. In the next chapter, Olga Ries studies the evolution of the Gothic mode in parallel to the socio-political developments in Chile. She traces the dark ways in which the Gothic has mirrored the different stages of Chilean

8  Inés Ordiz and Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno history: from a bandit-ridden backwater after the independence from Spain, to the urbanized society of present-day Chile. According to the author, rural iconography permeates the country’s national narrative, becoming a central motif in the Gothic imagination of authors such as Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna, Marta Brunet, and Manuel Rojas. In the last chapter of this section, Antonio Alcalá González considers haunting in Juan Rulfo’s novel Pedro Páramo a reminder of the social fragmentation of Mexico in the twentieth century. The author interprets the overwhelming presence of ghosts in the text as a Gothic device aimed at highlighting the persistence of the past in Mexico’s present. The second section of this volume, “Displacement, ­Transposition, Tropicalization,” comprises chapters that examine the transformations that the Gothic undergoes in different contexts and how these adaptations engage with local social concerns related to violence, coloniality, progress, and social inequality. Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos recognizes the appropriation of some of the traditional Gothic conventions and their transplantation in the work of Machado de Assis. According to the author, Machado de Assis’s reworking of the Gothic in “Um Esqueleto” [A Skeleton] and “Sem Olhos” [Eyeless] expose the reality behind Brazil’s self-constructed image of a natural and tropical paradise, laying bare the violence underlying social and personal relationship in the public and domestic spheres. Central America is the context of the next two chapters of this section. The first one, by Carmen Serrano, delves into the understudied novella El vampiro by Honduran modernista 8 writer Froylan Turcios. The author explores the elements in the text that originate in the Gothic mode—more specifically, the vampire—as well as in pre-Columbian myths and folktales, to provide an innovative reading that sheds light onto the modernistas preoccupation with science and progress. The next one, by David Dalton, considers how a Gothic reading of Carlos Solórzano’s play Las manos de Dios, set in Guatemala, reveals another level of interpretation that goes beyond a mere existentialist reading. Dalton focuses on the character of El Diablo [The Devil] as a Gothic (anti)hero, in order to reveal his inner contradictions: he is both a Latin American revolutionary who wants to free people from the abuses of the church, and an “endangerer of women.” The multiple layers of meaning of this character point to Solórzano’s understanding of coloniality in Latin America. The last chapter of this section, by Gabriel Eljaiek-Rodríguez, focuses on the cinema of Colombian filmmakers Luis Ospina and Carlos Mayolo, as well as on the literature of Andrés Caicedo. Together, these “three amigos,” as the author describes them, adopt and transform Gothic stories, characters, and themes to the tropical context of Cali, on the Pacific coast of Colombia, to offer a critical vision of the country’s past and present history of violence and social inequality.

Introduction  9 “Occupation and Incarceration,” the third section of this book, includes three chapters that study texts in which the source of Gothic terror arises from enclosed, claustrophobic, or occupied spaces in the context of the home—domestic or national. In the first chapter, Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno considers two contemporary Puerto Rican narratives that belong to the category of Gothic science fiction: the short story “El ‘Terminator’ boricua” [The Puerto Rican ‘Terminator’] by José E. Santos and the film Los condenados [The Condemned] by Roberto Busó-García. In an analysis that explores the Gothic workings of time and time travel Casanova-Vizcaíno highlights the subversion proposed by the narratives’ questioning of colonial concepts of “modernity” and “progress.” Kerstin Oloff’s chapter, which also focuses on Caribbean fiction, examines the Gothic themes of enclosure and the monstrousfeminine in relation to the ecological exploitation and appropriation that shaped the capitalist world-system. By comparing the systemic violence against women with the violence against nature in Marie Vieux ­Chauvet’s novel Amour, Oloff offers a study of Haiti during the D ­ uvalier era and of the Gothic mode as an example of world literature. Finally, Ilse Bussing presents a novel approach to the Gothic by examining Costa Rican playwright Daniel Gallego’s play En el séptimo círculo [In the Seventh Circle] using journalism as critical backdrop. Bussing reads into contemporary Costa Rican society’s fears and anxieties, and how these engender dwellings that, beyond protecting the population, entrap them in their own homes. In this way, these familiar spaces become Gothic enclosures that, by suggesting the possibility of domestic incarceration, reveal the sinister foundations of domesticity, family life, and social hysteria. The chapters in “Science, Technology, and the Uncanny” focus on the eerie effect of scientific discoveries and their relationships with projections of time and space. In her chapter, Soledad Quereilhac analyzes four short stories by fin-de-siècle writers from the Southern Cone: Eduardo Wilde, Eduardo L. Holmberg, Leopoldo Lugones, and Horacio Quiroga. Quereilhac reads the texts’ material, rational, and/or scientific understanding of apparently supernatural phenomena as a literary representation of the era’s exploration of science, empiricism, and their possibilities/limitations. The last two chapters of this section consider these topics in the context of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Mexico. Adriana Gordillo examines the narratives Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty” written by Carlos Fuentes, arguably “the most Gothic of all major Latin American writers” (Gutiérrez Mouat 297). Gordillo offers an analysis of these texts by addressing the importance of photography as a “catalyst of mysteries,” but also as a representation of the fragmentation of the self, and the understanding of the present and the past as ruins. Lastly, in an attempt to understand the Gothic as more than a mere adaptation of a European mode, Enrique Ajuria

10  Inés Ordiz and Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno Ibarra puts forward a reading of Óscar Urrutia’s film Rito terminal that focuses on the film’s representation of local fears. Through an analysis of haunted media and ghostly representation and their relationship to the uncanny, the author sheds some light on local tensions between modernity and tradition, urbanism and rurality, white and mestizo. The chapters in the final section of this book, “Contemporary Gothic paradigms,” discuss current directions of the Gothic, examining Latin American and Caribbean texts in relation to Postmodern conceptualizations of parody, the grotesque, and/or recent critical notions of globalgothic and post-Gothic. Rosa María Díez Cobo proposes the idea of a “homegrown version of the Gothic” to analyze Peruvian literature. Through her critical reading of twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature, mostly focused on the trope of the vampire, Díez Cobo sees Peruvian Gothic as a reformulation of the Gothic mode that follows the logic of the globalgothic and Gothic Postmodernism and, in turn, legitimizes its presence in Latin America. Daniel Serravalle de Sá analyzes the movies of Brazilian filmmaker Ivan Cardoso from a perspective that links the Gothic to cultural cannibalization. The author explores how, through the appropriation of traditional concepts of parody, Cardoso uses Gothic both to expose the mode’s artificiality and to elaborate a social commentary. Persephone Braham studies several novels by Puerto Rican/Dominican writer Pedro Cabiya. As Braham argues, his brutally gruesome and violent plots, plagued with monsters and zombies, expose the corporeal ramifications of the Gothic in a colonial and postcolonial Caribbean setting. In this market-driven context, both body and landscape are consumed in “a cannibalistic orgy” that further emphasizes colonialism’s brutal psychology. Finally, Sergio Fernández Martínez uses Jean-François Lyotard’s concept of simulacrum to address the “postGothic” in Bolivian writer Edmundo Paz Soldán’s novel Los vivos y los muertos. As a continuous rewriting of the Gothic, the post-Gothic, Fernández Martínez argues, not only blurs boundaries and makes the margins the new center, but, in the case of Latin America, creates a new canon that distances itself from magical realism as a popular literary mode.

Notes 1 This anthology, containing an array of fantastic short stories, fragments and poems written by authors from all around the world, was first published in Argentina in 1940 and revised in 1965 and 1976. The volume was first translated into English under the title Extraordinary Tales in 1971 and as The Book of Fantasy in 1988. According to Gutiérrez Mouat, the only Gothic story that the editors chose to include was Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” (297). 2 Some critics, such as Alicia Llarena, distinguish between magical realism and lo real maravilloso. In this introduction we have chosen to use both terms indistinguishably.

Introduction  11 3 The name of this group is a wordplay in which Macondo, the imaginary town in Gabriel García Márquez’s Cien años de soledad [A Hundred Years of Solitude] is connected to one of the utmost symbols of globalized capitalism: McDonald’s. 4 The Crack was a literary movement in Mexico that was initiated in the mid-nineties by young authors who reacted against the conventions established by the Latin American Boom. Some of its authors include Ignacio Padilla, Jorge Volpi, and Eloy Urroz. 5 The authors included in the anthology are Juan Forn, Rodrigo Fresán, and Martin Rejtman (from Argentina); Edmundo Paz Soldán (Bolivia); Santiago Gamboa (Colombia); Rodrigo Soto (Costa Rica); Alberto Fuguet and Sergio Gómez (Chile); Leonardo Valencia (Ecuador); Jordi Soler, David Toscana, and Naief Yehya (Mexico); Jaime Baily (Peru); Gustavo Escanlar (Uruguay). 6 See Victor Sage (for the Gothic in Cortázar), Antonio Alcalá González, Gutiérrez Mouat, Javier Ordiz Vázquez and Inés Ordiz Alonso-Collada (for Fuentes), Claudette Kemper Columbus (for García Márquez), Armitt’s “The Magical Realism” (for Allende), Ordiz Alonso-Collada (for Bioy Casares), and Olmedo (for Quiroga, María Luisa Bombal, José Donoso, and Alejandra Pizarnik). 7 The quotes in languages other than English in all the chapters have been translated by the authors themselves, unless otherwise noted. In the case of the primary texts, the original version of the quotes is also included—for secondary sources, only the English translation appears in the texts. 8 We are maintaining the Spanish word modernista to differentiate Latin American modernismo from North American Modernism.

Works Cited Alcalá González, Antonio. “Fluid Bodies: Gothic Transmutations in Carlos Fuentes’ Fiction.” A Companion to American Gothic, edited by Charles L. Crow, Wiley Blackwell, 2013, pp. 534–46. ———. “‘I Want to Escape These Walls, but I Can’t Exist Outside Them’: Spaces and Characters in Carlos Fuentes’s Gothic Fiction.” Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture: The Americas, edited by Justin D. Edwards and Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos, Routledge, 2016, pp. 143–57. Armitt, Lucie. “The Gothic and Magical Realism.” The Cambridge Companion to the Modern Gothic, edited by Jerrold E. Hogle, Cambridge UP, 2014, pp. 224–39. ———.“The Magical Realism of the Contemporary Gothic.” A New Companion to the Gothic, edited by David Punter, Blackwell, 2012, pp. 510–22. Bioy Casares, Adolfo. Prologue. Antología de la literatura fantástica, edited by Jorge Luis Borges, Silvina Ocampo, and Adolfo Bioy Casares, Editorial Sudamericana, 1965, pp. 7–14. Botting, Fred and Justin D. Edwards. “Theorising globalgothic.” Globalgothic, edited by Glennis Byron, Manchester UP, 2013, pp. 11–24. Braham, Persephone. From Amazons to Zombies: Monsters in Latin America. Bucknell UP, 2015. Brescia, Pablo. “A ‘Superior Magic’: Literary Politics and the Rise of the Fantastic in Latin America.” Forum for Modern Language Studies, vol. 44, no. 4, 2008, pp. 379–93. Byron, Glennis. “Global Gothic.” A New Companion to the Gothic, edited by David Punter, Blackwell, 2012, pp. 369–78.

12  Inés Ordiz and Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno Di Paolo, Osvaldo and Nadina Olmedo. Negrótico. Pliegos, 2015. Díaz-Zambrana, Rosana and Patricia Tomé, editors. Horrofílmico: Aproximaciones al Cine de Terror en Latinoamérica y el Caribe. Isla Negra Editores, 2012. Duncan, Cynthia. Unraveling the Real. The Fantastic in Spanish-­A merican Ficciones. Temple UP, 2010. Edwards, Justin and Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos, editors. Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture: The Americas. Routledge, 2016. Esteban, Ángel and Jesús Montoya Juárez. “¿Desterritorializados o multiterritorializados?: La narrativa hispanoamericana en el siglo XXI. Literatura más allá de la nación, edited by Francisca Noguerol Jiménez, María Ángeles Pérez-López, Ángel Esteban, and Jesús Montoya Juárez, Iberoamericana, 2011, pp. 7–13. Flores, Ángel. “Magical Realism in Spanish American Fiction.” Hispania, vol. 38, no. 2, 1955, pp. 187–92. Gutiérrez Mouat, Ricardo. “Gothic Fuentes.” Revista Hispánica Moderna, vol. 57, no. 1–2, 2004, pp. 297–313. Kemper Columbus, Claudette. “The Heir Must Die: A Hunderd Years of Solitude As a Gothic Novel.” Critical Insights. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, edited by Ilan Stavans, Salern Press, 2011, pp. 276–99. Llarena, Alicia. “Claves para una discusión: el ‘Realismo Mágico’ y ‘Lo real maravilloso americano.’” INTI, vol. 1, no. 43/44, 1996, pp. 21–44. Negroni, María. Galería fantástica. Siglo XXI, 2009. Olmedo, Nadina. Ecos góticos en la novela del Cono Sur. Juan de la Cuesta, 2013. Ordiz Alonso-Collada, Inés. “El modo gótico en La invención de Morel de Adolfo Bioy Casares.” Estudios Humanísticos. Filología, no. 34, 2012, pp. 133–45. Ordiz Vázquez, F. Javier and Inés Ordiz Alonso-Collada. “Ecos del gótico en México: Carlos Fuentes y otros narradores contemporáneos.” Siglo Diecinueve, vol. 18, 2012, pp. 315–32. Parkinson Zamora, Lois and Wendy B. Faris, editors. Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Duke UP, 1995. Piñera, Virgilio. Poesía y crítica. Conaculta, 1994. Punter, David. “The Ghost of a Story.” Introduction. A New Companion to the Gothic, edited by David Punter, Blackwell, 2012, pp. 1–9. Sage, Victor. “‘[T]he Privileged Horror… of the Constellation:’ Cortázar’s Use of the Gothic in 62: A Model Kit.” EREA: Revue Electronique D’Etudes Sur Le Monde Anglophone vol. 2, no. 5, 2007, pp. 1–12. Subero, Gustavo. Gender and Sexuality in Latin American Horror Cinema. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. Volek, Emil. “Realismo mágico entre la modernidad y la postmodernidad: hacia una remodelización cultural y discursiva de la nueva narrativa hispanoamericana.” INTI, vol. 1, no. 31, 1990, pp. 3–20.

Section I

(Re)Visions of History

This page intentionally left blank

1 Civilization and Barbarism and Zombies Argentina’s Contemporary Gothic Inés Ordiz This chapter explores several Gothic novels and short stories published in Argentina during the past thirty years. Through an examination of a modest selection of these contemporary texts, it aims to examine the complex dichotomies connecting the natural world to a supernatural event, and the violent past to the global present. Works by authors such as Mariana Enríquez, C. E. Feiling, and Leandro Ávalos Blacha1 are examples of an equally universal and inherently Argentine literary terror; their narratives show a manifest influence of some of the masters of English and American Gothic and address global fears while, at the same time, successfully reflect the country’s national identity and harrowing past. The texts make use of canonical figures of the horror genre such as the cannibal and the zombie to explore issues related to the opposition civilization/barbarism—which has allegedly shaped the Argentinean national identity through history. They also explore the traumatic return of the country’s past violence, from colonial times to the last military dictatorship and the economic crisis of 2001. Some of the texts portray these national concerns while acknowledging the universal quality of contemporary Gothic, becoming a suggestive example of the collaboration between the global and the local in the postmodern literature of terror. As mentioned in the introduction to this volume, the term “Gothic” has been systematically rejected in Latin American literary criticism, especially in relation to the fair amount of analyses of magical realism and fantastic literature. Julio Cortázar, one of Argentina’s best-known and most prolific authors, defends the mode as having a strong presence in the Southern Cone. When trying to find a reason for the fair quantity of fantasy literature in the literature of Río de la Plata, the writer defines the Gothic as a mode intrinsically connected to Argentinean identity and history. In “Notas sobre lo gótico en el Río de la Plata” (1975) and “The Present State of Fiction in Latin America” (1976), Cortázar mentions Argentinean cultural polymorphism, derived from multiple migrations and the large geographic size of the country, as a reason for its isolation and boredom and for an expected turn to the fantastic in literature. Ultimately, however, the author understands the essential presence of

16  Inés Ordiz the supernatural in Argentinean letters as pure chance, the same kind of chance that generated the creative explosion in the Italian Renaissance, in Elizabethan England, in seventeenth-century France and in Spain during the thirties (“The Present State” 527). On the other hand, in their prologue to the anthology El terror argentino [Argentinean Terror], Elvio E. Gandolfo and Eduardo Hojman assert that terror per se was never the focus of canonical narratives in the country, maybe because of the traditional rejection of certain modes and genres not considered “highbrow” (14–15). Exceptions in the Southern Cone, according to the authors, include Horacio Quiroga’s short stories, parts of Rodolfo Wilcock’s El caos [Chaos], La sinagoga de los iconoclastas [The Synagogue of the Iconoclastic] and El estereoscopio de los solitarios [The Stereoscope of the Lonely], some examples of Silvina Ocampo’s fiction, and some contemporary fiction of authors such as C.E. Feiling, Gustavo Nielsen, Carlos Chernov, and Mariana Enríquez. Moreover, contemporary Argentinean Gothic can be ascribed to a recent revisionist literary trend which makes use of literature to explore memory and, particularly, to describe the terror of the Proceso—the last military dictatorship (1976–1983). 2 As it will be exemplified by various narratives explored in this study, authors resort to the Gothic to portray the terrors of a recent past that lurks in the shadows of a supposedly modernized society. Moreover, when examining Argentinean fantasy writing, 3 the Gothic contrast behind the dichotomy civilization/barbarism seems to be a suggestive starting point. These two terms have defined Argentinean identity, as well as political and literary discourse from the beginning of the nineteenth century, and still seem to appear in the country’s contemporary literature of terror. In the years following Argentina’s independence, two political projects began to appear: on the one hand, some groups emphasized reverence to the country’s native history and symbols; while on the other, it was suggested that the new country should follow European models, rejecting the local and indigenous. This polarization was particularly relevant during the first years of the nineteenth century, when two political parties were formed: the European-­centered unitarios, supported in the capital, and the locally-­ focused federales, backed by citizens of the rural provinces. These two models were linked to the concepts of civilization (cosmopolitanism, Europe, and progress) and barbarism (Latin-Americanism, nationalism, gauchos, and the natives) from the government of Juan Manuel de Rosas (1829–1852) (Fleming; Ordiz). This dichotomy was first defined by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento in 1845 in Facundo: Civilización y barbarie [Civilization and barbarism], a work of creative non-­fiction which equates the former with the cities and the latter with the countryside. One of the narratives which has historically been argued to represent this dichotomy is Esteban Echeverría’s “El matadero” [The Slaughterhouse]. Originally published in 1838 (1871 in the English translation), this story

Civilization and Barbarism and Zombies  17 denounces the cruel abjection and violence taking place in Buenos ­A ires during the dictatorship of Juan Manuel de Rosas (1835–1852), and uses the slaughterhouse in the title as a metaphor for the whole country. Grotesque images of blood and animal entrails, combined with shocking descriptions of violence in the text become the ultimate evocation of the collective terrors of the times. “El matadero” is not only a canonical narrative, but is also considered the first Argentinean short story (TorresRioseco 182) and the foundational text of the country’s literature (Viñas  15; Gazzera 84). Given that Argentina’s literary history seems to be grounded in terror as a mode of representation, Cortázar’s claim about the Gothic as a mode characteristic of Argentinean identity might not be so far-fetched. The simplified and biased notions that Sarmiento puts forward have been used to read the not-so-simple reality of Argentina’s culture and that of other Latin American countries as well. In this chapter, I would like to argue that this dichotomy can be read from the critical perspective of the Gothic as a means of highlighting the presence and significance of this literary mode in contemporary writing. The term “Gothic” itself was originally used to refer to the northern European peoples who sacked Rome in the fifth century AD. Subsequent generations represented the Goths as “barbarians, primitive peoples who with brute force had overturned the cultural achievements of Roman civilization,” which enabled a set of dualisms such as “primitive versus civilized, barbarism versus culture” (Spooner 13). According to Catherine Spooner, not only have these binaries defined the way that the term has been recognized throughout its history, but the violent barbarism inherent in the perception of these peoples’ role in history “lies behind the modern understanding of Gothic as the passionate overthrow of reason” (13). This lack of reason is embedded within Gothic literature’s descriptions of the outsider, and it is precisely because of the mode’s persistent description of an Other “Satan, demon, orphan, the outsider, vampire, ghost, non-Christian gods, sexually dangerous woman, racially different characters etc.” (Khair 6) that it has been defined as a “writing of Otherness” (Khair 5). While the presentation of these absolute categories is characteristic of some of the first Gothic fictions, in the malleable literature of terror these dichotomies are being undone. The blurring of boundaries separating absolute concepts such as life/death, good/evil, human/monstrous, male/female, self/other, and past/present is common in contemporary manifestations of the mode, particularly those written from a subversive standpoint. The Gothic has thus become an intrinsically heterogeneous mode of writing which continuously oversteps its own boundaries. In this sense, Otherness travels from the margins to the center of contemporary Gothic narratives, exposing the monstrous characteristics of what lies within, as opposed to what is kept “outside,” and existing “in part, to raise the possibility that all ‘abnormalities’ we

18  Inés Ordiz would divorce from ourselves are a part of ourselves, deeply and pervasively” (Hogle 12). This shift from unmovable opposites to a dissolution of boundaries, along with the reformulation of monstrosity as part of ourselves, mimics the evolution of the dichotomy civilization/barbarism in Argentinean literature. When examining the literary works of the country’s current generation of authors, Elsa Drucaroff describes the merging of these categories: “barbarism and civilization have fused, that coordinating conjunction or which separated them no longer makes sense, and they are now indiscernible.” 4 The author even coins the term “civilibarbarie” [civilibarbarism] (477) to denote this dissolution of a dichotomy long-­established in Argentinean literary productions. Thus, while in Sarmiento’s worldview (and in many of the works of the gauchesca genre written in Argentina)5 the Other is the barbarian gaucho, the past years have seen a swift in the understanding of the monstrous. Thus, in some examples, barbarism starts to be understood not as a quality of the outsider, but as belonging to the center of the country’s literary imagination. This tendency entails a self-exploration (a redefinition of who is ultimately the “us” in the dichotomy us/them) and an innovative perspective of Argentina where a middle-class porteño can be more barbarous than a brain-eating zombie.6 The numerous readings of Sarmiento’s text, together with a changing perception of history, culture, and tradition, have allowed the notions of civilization/barbarism to evolve from a reductionist binary into an informed understanding of the complexity of Argentinean identity, becoming key concepts in the cultural, historical, and literary analyses of the country’s productions. The novels and short stories being analyzed in this chapter inscribe these binaries into a modern production of literature of terror informed by a “self-consciousness about its own nature” (Spooner 23) that characterizes contemporary Gothic texts. Some of the texts reflect on the dichotomy civilization/barbarism by reproducing it, recreating a self-conscious “writing of Otherness,” while other works challenge this dichotomy, either by reversing it or by undoing it altogether.

Civilization vs. barbarism El terror argentino, the collection of Argentinean short stories written during the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, was published in 2002. As a retrospective view on Argentinean Gothic from the twentyfirst century, some of the texts reproduce a traditional conception of the civilized and the barbaric—tellingly, the first story in the volume is Echeverría’s “El matadero.” In some of the texts, such as Manuel Mujica Láinez’s “El hambre” [The Hunger], Germán Rozenmacher’s “Cabecita negra” ­[ Little Black Head], and Lázaro Covadlo’s “Llovían

Civilization and Barbarism and Zombies  19 cuerpos desnudos” [It Was Raining Naked Bodies], the pervasive and overwhelming violence is inscribed within the narration of Argentinean history. “El hambre” (originally published in 1950) imagines the extreme circumstances that may have brought settlers to perform acts of cannibalism during the first settlement of Buenos Aires in 1536. “Cabecita negra” (originally published in 1961) also represents an attempt at reading the country’s history and cultural constructions in terms of its cultural terrors. The short story reproduces the Argentinean archetypal fear that barbarism (represented by the federales in the nineteenth century and the negros in the twentieth century) causes in civilization (Gandolfo and Hojman 159). European immigration to Argentina and the practical extinction of the indigenous and Afro-Argentine peoples during the second part of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century facilitated the preponderance of images of whiteness which were “instrumental in the establishment and reproduction of a regime of racial domination that subordinated lower-class people with indigenous, mestizo and, to a lesser extent, African ancestry” (Aguiló 178). With the emergence of Peronism (1946–1955), a political movement based on the legacy of Juan Domingo Perón and his second wife, Eva Perón, these discourses of homogeneity and uneven social structure began to be contested politically. This movement mobilized the masses that had moved to Buenos Aires from the provinces to look for work, generating anxieties within the capital’s middle and upper classes that were expressed through racialization. Terms such as cabecita negra and, simply, negro (black) were used to refer to mestizo people. These designations “did not simply entail dark skin, but also … a provincial and working-class background, lack of civility and appropriate social behavior, and a political allegiance to Perón” (Aguiló 179). This civilized terror or provincial barbarism is embodied in the main character of Rozenmacher’s story, a conservative middle class man whose home is invaded by what he perceives as a black man and a black woman.7 This narrative reproduces the horror trope of the home invasion while also representing a homegrown type of historical terror.8 “Llovían cuerpos desnudos” (originally published in 2000) reenacts another violent era in the country’s history that returns to haunt the protagonist in the form of trauma: Marcelo, the protagonist and narrator, is traumatized by his experience during the country’s military dictatorship. The coup d’état of 1976 was followed by the Proceso in which “disappearances” of political opponents were frequent. During these years, it became common practice to throw bound and/or drugged people into the Río de la Plata from military planes. Marcelo suffers from constant visions of naked bodies falling from the sky, which leads him to eat and drink too much and to hit his wife, eventually leading her to suicide. The impossibility of forgetting a traumatic past, which in turn generates violence in the present, is the main theme of the text, which

20  Inés Ordiz becomes an example of Gothic resources projected upon Argentinean history. In this sense Marcelo’s trauma, which traps him between a violent past and an uncomfortable present, mirrors the country’s division on how to approach the memory of the dictatorship in institutional terms. While some demand a (re)opening of the criminal archives in order to try in court government officials responsible for human rights violations, others advocate for simply moving on (Dinardi 217). These short stories reinterpret the country’s past by means of its terrors, configuring a narrative tradition that reflects societal violence and fears. As barbarism is associated with the first Spanish settlers of the sixteenth century, the federales of the nineteenth, as well as both ­mestizos and the forces of Jorge Rafael Videla in the twentieth century,9 brutality is revealed as a feature intrinsic to the history of the country. The presence of violence in Argentina’s historical identity has, of course, been insinuated before: in Facundo, Sarmiento also considered the concept of terror as key to understanding the politics of barbarism in the nineteenth century. While depicting Rosas as a monster, the author inaugurates a literary practice which makes use of Gothic strategies to represent historical and political terror (Ansolabehere 3). In a similar way, El terror argentino recuperates texts which describe some of the most violent events of the country’s past and, while reinscribing them in the context of the Gothic, highlights the presence of barbaric terror as an essential feature of Argentina’s history.

Civilibarbarism… and zombies Younger generations of Argentinean writers seem to have engaged in an active undoing of the dichotomies separating civilization and barbarism: “Before, one of the two terms was often challenged in some way, but today’s post-dictatorship literature brings along something painfully new: the realization that this antinomy has lost all meaning” (Drucaroff 478). The alienation experienced by contemporary Argentineans who write after the dictatorship, but during the remnants of the economic crisis results in a distressing undoing of structures. As Drucaroff explains, In the Argentina of the defeated democracy, the security forces and the crime forces are one and the same and corruption is not an exception but a structural mode for political action; savage capitalism presents crime as naturalized to the very poor and the very rich, and doesn’t even offer any reasonable objectives to give meaning to life to the rest, especially to young people. (Drucaroff 484) Some authors of the younger generation read this disillusionment in Gothic terms. Mariana Enríquez, one of the young Argentinean authors who is working in the field of terror, has in fact affirmed that “the Argentinean reality is Gothic” (qted. in Drucaroff 297). So far, Enríquez

Civilization and Barbarism and Zombies  21 has published four compilations of short stories: Cómo ­desaparecer completamente [How to Disappear Completely] (2004), Los peligros de fumar en la cama [The Dangers of Smoking in Bed] (2009), Chicos que vuelven [Boys Who Return] (2010), and, more recently, Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego [Things We Lost in the Fire] (2016). Because of limited space I will focus on the latter, which reproduces a type of terror originating in the reality of social injustice, everyday sexism, and a silenced past that refuses to disappear. Most of the stories are narrated by female characters with different backgrounds, such as unhappy wives and mothers, madwomen, witches, repressed lesbians, and victims of hate crimes against women. All of them live in an imperfect, patriarchal society that oppresses them in distinct ways. In “Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego,” the eponymous story of the anthology, a group of female activists decide to burn themselves as a sign of protest after several women are burned alive by their partners. The story is reminiscent of the witch burnings of the Inquisition, but offers a reinterpretation of this history: “Siempre nos quemaron. Ahora nos quemamos nosotras. Pero no nos vamos a morir: vamos a mostrar nuestras cicatrices” [They have always burned us. Now we burn ourselves. But we won’t die: we will show our scars] (Enríquez 192). The re-appropriation of Spanish history underlies both the barbarism inherent in the old structures of power and its continuation within civilized societies. In “Nada de carne sobre nosotras” [No Flesh on Us], the unnamed narrator takes home a skull that she finds in the street and obsesses over it to the point that she plans to steal bones from mass graves in order to give it a body. The story offers a commentary of both anorexia (the protagonist aspires to be as thin as her friend, the skull) and of Argentina’s violent past: “Todos caminamos sobre huesos, es cuestión de hacer agujeros profundos y alcanzar a los muertos tapados” [All of us walk on bones, it’s just a question of drilling deep enough to reach the covered dead] (Enríquez 129–30). In “Tela de araña” [Spider Web], an unhappy wife tells the story of her trip to Corrientes (in Northeastern Argentina) to see her family and the events that take place between there and Asunción (Paraguay), where they choose to travel to from Corrientes. The narrator is married to Juan Martín, an uptight, privileged, and oppressive porteño whom she despises, but is unable to leave. His character is portrayed in opposition to that of Natalia, the narrator’s beautiful and tolerant cousin, who is described as a benevolent witch. The plot revolves around several dichotomies intrinsically connected to Argentinean identity and history. While Juan Martín represents civilization’s fear of barbarism, the privilege of the aristocracy living in Buenos Aires, as well as the oppressive patriarchal order, Natalia embodies everything that this order fears: she is free, powerful, sexual, and refuses to be subjugated, all of which incite Juan Martín to call her a “puta” [whore] (Enríquez 110). The urban background of both the narrator and her husband contrast with the provincial and uncivilized

22  Inés Ordiz realities that they experience, such as the market in Asunción, a hotel in Clorinda (Formosa) with no warm water, and the difficult roads crossing the jungle. The caricatured portrayal of Juan Martín offers an intelligent mockery of traditional perceptions of the civilization of the city (versus the barbarism of the provinces), which yet again highlights the meaninglessness of the distinction. Enríquez’s stories are set in a background of social inequality, which becomes an all-pervading presence haunting them in the form of violence, ghosts, and unnamed monsters. In “Bajo el agua negra” [Under the Black Water], a district attorney is trying to find enough evidence to convict a policeman accused of killing two teenage boys by throwing them into the Riachuelo, a river in Southern Buenos Aires. Even though Riachuelo is considered one of the most contaminated places in the world, 20,000 people reside near the river basin, sixty percent of whom live in territory which is considered unsuitable for human habitation (Walsh). In Enríquez’s narrative, social injustice and the Gothic are intertwined: if the real children currently living in this area are ill (Urdinez), in the story they are grotesquely malformed; if the river is a wasteland of pollution and toxic waste, in the fictional account it is also home to a Lovecraftian demigod10 who is awoken by one of the teenage boys thrown into the river. Moreover, just like Covadlo’s “Llovían cuerpos desnudos,” this story situates the source of barbaric terror in the abuse of power by the authorities. From a contemporary perspective, Enríquez seems to suggest that brutality has never stopped being a part of Argentinean reality. Leandro Ávalos Blacha also belongs to a younger generation of authors who uses the Gothic to effectively undo the dichotomy civilization/­ barbarism while offering a social commentary of contemporary Argentina. In 2007, the author published Berazachussetts, a zombie novel which won the Indio Rico award in 2007. Zombies are perhaps one of the most interesting Gothic monsters to be analyzed from a binary perspective: while they physically represent everything Other, their recent use in globalized media make them subversive figures that remind us of our own monstrosity. Because of its abject bodies and liminal existence (halfway between life and death, human and monster), the living dead “is always the alienated, the foreigner. And it brings out our fear of the outsider” (Fernández Gonzalo 25). On the other hand, zombies have been used in contemporary narratives as an unwieldy reminder of human monstrosity and, more specifically, of the atrocities brought about by globalized capitalism: “Zombies are us: figures of unproductive expenditure, too slow, lumbering and inflexible to cope, too corporeal and disconnected to be anything other than the jetsam of a virtual dematerialisation entailed in the flight of globalisation” (Botting 196). In this context, zombies become contemporary metaphors for an excess

Civilization and Barbarism and Zombies  23 of representation (too slow, too corporeal, too abject), the emptiness of postmodern existence and, ultimately, ourselves. In Berazachussetts, four friends walking in a forest stumble upon an unconscious semi-naked punk girl leaning on a tree. After deciding to take her to their apartment, they find that she is not a normal girl, but a zombie called Trash11 who likes to keep leftovers from her flesh-eating banquets in Tupperware containers. This scene demonstrates the bitter sarcasm that characterizes the whole novel that, with each description of a new character, evolves into the grotesque. Some of these characters are Periquita (a disabled girl and an extortionist), Francisco Saavedra (a corrupt politician), and Arévalo (the sadistic son of Saavedra, who enjoys torturing the homeless). The currency in use in Berazachussetts is the “patachussetts.” This name is reminiscent of the patacón, the voucher that the Buenos Aires authorities issued between 2001 and 2002 as an alternative currency in an attempt to alleviate the economic crisis by covering the absence of money circulation. Other names are also invented and often correspond to a parody of globalization: Longchamps Élysée (a hybrid between Longchamps, a city north of Buenos Aires, and the Champs-Élysées in Paris), Boedimburgo (Boedo, a working-class neighborhood of the capital, and the Spanish name for Edinburgh), Rin del Plata (as in Río de la Plata), Ezpeletámesis (Ezpeleta, in Quilmes, and the Spanish name for the river Thames), Pehuajóllywood (Pehuajó, a partido in the province of Buenos Aires, and Hollywood). The imagined chronotope of the novel is, therefore, both international and parodical.12 In Berazachussetts, the realization that “zombies are us” is only the starting point of the narration. Trash is not a villain, but a protagonist who is, moreover, much less monstrous than her human counterparts. Susana murders her husband, Milka kills an old lady by covering her with cement, and the Ligestri couple sings lullabies to the empty crib of their dead baby, whom the wife nurses when it comes back to life as a zombie. Barbarism and death are defining features of Ávalos Blacha’s invented reality which, ultimately, is nothing but a metaphor for contemporary Buenos Aires. These stories are centered around characters who live in the author’s interpretation of the Argentinean capital, offering a grotesque metaphor of social life in the city before the 2001 crisis in which zombies are much less threatening than corruption, class inequality, and an unavoidable social disaster waiting to happen. The novel makes use of the absurd and the grotesque to completely undermine the dichotomy civilization/barbarism by highlighting the viciousness at the core of civilization. The 2001 economic crisis was not the consequence of a brutal outsider, but a product of the uncontrolled and barbaric capitalist aspirations of banks and financial capital, and the violent politics aimed at protecting businesses (Drucaroff 481). It is by revealing this fact that Berazachussetts becomes both a subversive zombie narrative and an intelligent commentary of contemporary Argentinean history.

24  Inés Ordiz An examination of some of the Gothic narratives written in Argentina during the past seventeen years reveals a fascinating shift in the literary representation of self and Otherness with regard to the dichotomy civilization/barbarism. While some of the authors use the mode to reproduce a historical fear of the outsider such as the federales or the mestizos, others make use of the Gothic to fictionalize a dreadful recognition of the barbaric within the core of the country’s social and political institutions: the military, the government, and capitalism. These writers’ Gothic texts expose the dark corners of the nation’s mixed identity, situated in an ambiguous realm defined by future hopes and past violence, by the existence of both the European and the native, by the “imported” civilized and the native barbaric, and, ultimately, by representing a collapse of these oppositions.

Notes 1 Rather than presenting a complete account of contemporary Argentinean horror literature, a project which would be overambitious for a single contribution, this chapter offers a heterogeneous selection of texts published during the twenty-first century in the attempt to expose some of the current trends of the mode in the country. Authors not included for the sake of space are, among others, Diego Muzzio, Alejandro López, Pablo De Santis, Sebastián Basualdo, Gustavo Nielsen, and Carlos Chernov. 2 Among all the novels published in the last 30 years on the Argentinean Dirty War, or the period of state terrorism from 1976 to 1983, Noguerol stresses the importance of Liliana Heker’s El fin de la historia [The End of History] (1996), Sara Rosenberg’s Un hilo rojo [A Red Thread] (1998), Luis Gusmán’s Villa (1995) and Martín Kohan’s Dos veces junio [Twice June] (2002). It might also be relevant to point out that this topic is also explored by Julio Cortázar in a rather Gothic manner in “Apocalipsis en Solentiname” [Apocalypse in Solentiname]. 3 I use “fantasy writing” as an umbrella term encompassing the fantastic, the Gothic, the uncanny, science fiction, and the marvelous. 4 The emphasis is the author’s. 5 The gauchesca literature is a subgenre which uses the figure of the gaucho (a cowboy of the prairies of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, southern Brazil and southern Chile) as the central figure. The narratives normally took place in oven spaces, like the Argentinean Pampa, and were written by authors who sometimes romanticized (and therefore othered) the figure of the gaucho. 6 Porteño is a term commonly applied to people from the city of Buenos Aires. Its origin is the word puerto [port]. 7 For an in-depth analysis of twenty-first-century literary representations of race, I recommend reading Ignacio Aguiló’s “Tropical Buenos Aires.” 8 Julio Cortázar’s famous “Casa tomada” (1946) also reproduces this trope, as it has been argued by numerous critics, to present an anti-Peronist allegory. 9 Jorge Rafael Videla was dictator of Argentina from 1976 to 1981. 10 The author herself admits that the story quotes H. P. Lovecraft (Velasco). 11 Trash is a zombified version of a character appearing in Dan O’Bannon’s 1985 film The Return of the Living Dead (García); through this reference, the author acknowledges the filmic zombie tradition while adapting it to a new context. Trash’s humanity can also be interpreted as an intrinsically Romerian

Civilization and Barbarism and Zombies  25 evolution of the zombie figure. In Romero’s Day of the Dead (1985), the director had played with the idea of a humanized zombie, personified in the domesticated Bub. 1 2 In an interview with Facundo García for the periodical Página/12, the author ascribes this global quality of the novel’s references to an aspiration of Europeanness which he sees as characteristic of Argentinean cities: “In their attempt to become what they’re not, [the characters] end up being grotesque. And this links to the widespread notion that we, as Argentineans, are the ‘most European country of Latin America’. All it takes is a little rain for the old ladies to say ‘Buenos Aires looks like London!’; when it overflows ‘it looks like Venice!’ We never look inwards to find what we are, we just imitate.” The international spaces reimagined by the story thus represent both Ávalos Blacha postmodern take on the zombie narrative and his understanding of Argentinean urban identity.

Works Cited Aguiló, Ignacio. “Tropical Buenos Aires: Representations of Race in Argentine Literature during the 2001 Argentine Crisis and Its Aftermath.” Argentina since the 2001 Crisis. Recovering the Past, Reclaiming the Future, edited by Cara Levey et al., Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp. 177–94. Ansolabehere, Pablo. “Reescrituras del terror,” Cuadernos Lírico no. 10, 2014, pp. 2–10. Ávalos Blacha, Leandro. Berazachussetts. Entropía, 2007. Bioy Casares, Adolfo. Prologue. Antología de la literatura fantástica, edited by Adolfo Bioy Casares et al., Sudamericana, 1976. Botting, Fred. “Globalzombie: From White Zombie to World War Z.” Globalgothic, edited by Glennis Byron, Manchester UP, 2013, pp. 188–201. Cortázar, Julio. “Notas sobre lo gótico en el Río de la Plata,” Cahiers du monde hispanique et luso-brésilien no. 25, 1975, pp. 145–51. ———. “The Present State of Fiction in Latin America.” Translated by Margery A. Safir. Books Abroad vol. 50, no. 3, 1976, pp. 522–32. Dinardi, Cecilia. “Assembling the Past, Performing the Nation: The Argentine Bicentenary and Regaining of Public Space in the Aftermath of the 2001 Crisis.” Argentina since the 2001 Crisis. Recovering the Past, Reclaiming the Future, edited by Cara Levey et al., Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp. 215–232. Drucaroff, Elsa. Los prisioneros de la torre. Política, relatos y jóvenes en la postdictadura. Emecé, 2011. Enríquez, Mariana. Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego. Anagrama, 2016. Feiling, Carlos Eduardo. El mal menor. Planeta, 2012. Fernández Gonzalo, Jorge. Filosofía zombi. Anagrama, 2011. Fleming, Leonor. Introduction. El matadero; La cautiva by Esteban Echeverría. Cátedra, 1986, pp. 11–88. Gandolfo, Elvio E. y Eduardo Hojman, editors. El terror argentino: cuentos. Alfaguara, 2002. García, Facundo. “En el sur están pasando cosas raras.” Página/12, 15 March 2008,–9512-2008-03–15.html. Gazzera, Carlos. “Ficción y postsociedad. La memoria del horror en textos de la cultura argentina.” Ficciones del horror. Literatura y dictadura, edited by Carlos Gazzera et al., Ediciones Recovecos, 2006, pp. 83–98.

26  Inés Ordiz Hogle, Jerrold E. “The Gothic in Western Culture.” Introduction. The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, edited by Jerrold E. Hogle, Cambridge UP, 2002, pp. 1–20. Khair, Tabish. The Gothic, Postcolonialism, and Otherness. Palgrave, 2009. Noguerol, Francisca. “Narrar sin fronteras.” Entre lo local y lo global. La narrativa latinoamericana en el cambio de siglo (1900–2006), edited by Jesús Montoya Juárez et al., Iberoamericana, 2008, pp. 19–33. Ordiz Vázquez, Javier. “Civilización y barbarie en la narrativa argentina del siglo XIX.” Estudios Humanísticos (Filología) 15, 1993, 141–52. Spooner, Catherine. Contemporary Gothic. Reaktion Books, 2006. Torres-Rioseco, Arturo. La novela en la América hispana. U of California, 1939. Urdinez, Micaela. “A orillas del Riachuelo.” La Nación, 7 June 2014, lanacion. Velasco, Marta. “Mariana Enríquez. ‘Los elitistas consideran menor el terror porque está ligado al entretenimiento.’ El cultural, 1 June 2016, elcultural. com/noticias/buenos-dias/Mariana-Enriquez/9361. Viñas, David. De Sarmiento a Cortázar. Siglo Veinte editores, 1971. Walsh, Brian. “Urban Wastelands: The World’s 10 Most Polluted Places.” Time, 4 November 2013,

2 Rural Horrors in Chilean Gothic Olga Ries

Chile is definitely not the first country most readers would immediately think of when it comes to Gothic fiction; Neruda’s poetry and magical realism would be probably the literature of choice, not least for Chileans themselves. And yet, a distinctly dark and brooding undercurrent has been present in the national literature practically since its inception and currently enjoys renewed popularity. This chapter proposes to study a particular set of recurring Gothic motifs, those related to the countryside and its inhabitants as the primary carriers of the terrible and the ominous within Chilean literature. The list of works studied here, while far from being exhaustive, does include examples published between the 1870s—in the early stages of the formation of a national literature—and 2014, covering the majority of genres and several prominent writers: Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna, Marta Brunet, Manuel Rojas, Francisco Coloane, Poli Délano, Francisco Ulloa, Joaquin Díaz Garcés, and Pablo Espinoza Bardi. They also reflect, like in a darkened mirror, the different stages of Chilean history, from the tiny, bandit-ridden, rural, former Spanish backwater after the independence, to the aggressively expanding, increasingly wealthy republic of the twentieth century, and finally, the highly urbanized, hectic society of today—which, however, still maintains the notion of rural bliss at the center of national identity. It is therefore not surprising that rural landscapes (and their inhabitants, be they real or mythical) loom large in the national narrative, and this is also true of Gothic fiction. The aim of this study is therefore to analyze Gothic fiction as an essential element of Chilean culture and to explore how it treated potentially difficult, locally significant socio-political topics, such as rural banditry or the conquest of the Araucanía, adapting an essentially international genre to specific national aesthetics and contents. As with so many things in Chilean cultural history, the introduction of rural spaces, its inhabitants, and their beliefs into the national canon can be traced back to the work of Vicuña Mackenna, one of the foremost Chilean intellectuals of the nineteenth century. Although his fame as a politician and historian has overshadowed his considerable literary talent, in his highly influential historical studies he has recorded

28  Olga Ries a multitude of episodes and characters that inspired generations of writers and artists, and contributed to the young country’s nascent self-­ perception. This is particularly visible and relevant in the case of his best known “creature,” Chile’s “national monster:” the murderer and torturer La Quintrala—a heavily fictionalized version of a seventeenth-­ century noblewoman, Catalina de los Ríos y Lisperguer (Ward 87). The complex topic of the Quintrala and her numerous reincarnations until the present day far exceeds the scope of this article, but it is worth noting that with this character, Vicuña Mackenna establishes several patterns that will reverberate in Chilean literature. He establishes Catalina’s country seat in La Ligua (a village not too far from Santiago), and more generally the countryside itself, as the nest of evil, where horrible murders and torture take place. The same happens with local folklore, as he claims to have “recovered” La Quintrala, not just from the archives, but rather from the mythical memory of the simple people, where she lived on for centuries: “Esa tradición existe viva, aterrante, manando sangre todavía” [this tradition still exists, living, horrifying, bleeding] (Vicuña Mackenna 7). Irrespective of the actual truthfulness (or mythological status) of the Quintrala account, Vicuña Mackenna’s historical writings provided a multitude of motifs and characters for other writers. Some of them were highly successful themselves, such as Subterráneo de Santiago [Tunnels of Santiago] (1878), an anticlerical Gothic novel by Ramón Pacheco that remained in print for over half a century, or Los amores del diablo en Alhué [The Devil’s Love Affairs in Alhué] (1895) by Justo Abel Rosales, one of the earliest works of fiction to integrate both rural and indigenous folklore into national literature. Another example of Vicuña’s literary followers is Francisco Ulloa, deputy director of the Santiago gaol, and in that function the author of a book about the Chilean penitentiary system, La penitenciaria de Santiago: lo que ha sido, lo que es i lo que deviera ser [Santiago Penitentiary: What It Has Been, What It Is and What It Should Be] (1879). He was also a prolific author of crime fiction, such as one of the earliest attempts at a metropolitan crime novel set in Santiago with Libertina [Libertine] (1895), or the novel that concerns us here: El bandido del sur. Episodios 1830 a 1837 [The Bandit From The South: Episodes 1830–1837] (1874).1 While Ulloa as a novelist is not nearly as effective as Vicuña Mackenna or even Rosales, he nevertheless tackles a number of highly topical issues of the age, among them rural banditry. It was endemic in much of colonial and post-Independence Chile, due at least in part to its specific social structure. Almost all of the land in the colonial territories was concentrated in the hands of owners of large haciendas or fundos, with the mass of the population either renting plots of land in exchange for services and unquestioning subordination to the landlord

Rural Horrors in Chilean Gothic  29 (inquilinos), or landless populace occasionally hired for seasonal jobs, such as harvest (peones) (Bengoa, El poder 19). The last group reached a peak of nearly sixty percent of all adult men circa 1850 (Valenzuela Márquez 59), a situation that produced an extremely large percentage of essentially uncontrollable, homeless population prone to, or at least suspected of, vagrancy, banditry and other criminal activities (Valenzuela Márquez 65). This traditional social structure was only seriously challenged after 1870, as migration both north, to the newly discovered saltpeter deposits (and later the War of the Pacific over these deposits2), and south, to the former Mapuche territories, drew masses away from the rural heartland of Chile. But the division between the landowners and landless peasants also ran along racial fault lines: the fundo owners were usually descendants of Spaniards or other Europeans, whereas their servants, commonly referred to as rotos, were largely mixed race descendants of indigenous and European populations. In the specific social climate of post-­I ndependence Chile, a country struggling to define its newly found national identity, those rotos became a national symbol that embodied both the country’s strength and endurance and its backwardness, chthonic monsters lurking outside bustling, modern cities such as Valparaíso or Santiago, a natural force to be dominated and feared (Subercaseaux 87; Donoso 118). For example, Joaquín Edwards Bello, a highly influential intellectual of the early twentieth century, qualifies the roto as “inculto” (uneducated), “sucio” (dirty), and vicious, product of a deadly embrace on the battlefield (that is, rape) (Edwards Bello 42). Ulloa’s Bandit is a romanticized version of these fears and socio-­ evolutional concepts, one that owns as much to Ann Radcliffe’s exotic brigands as to Vicuña’s historical analysis. It tells the story of Diego, a landowner’s son (whereas most real-life bandits were peones) (Valenzuela Márquez 37), who, out of jealousy, kills his own brother, kidnaps, and accidentally kills his beloved. A gang of bandits finds him when he is about to violate her corpse. He becomes their leader, robbing haciendas and marrying the former leader’s adopted daughter (her abduction as a child and search for her true parents constitutes a Radcliffean subplot). He is finally killed, unrecognized, by his own father in a belated act of revenge. Throughout, the novel combines scenes of graphic violence with eerie landscape descriptions, filled with darkness and disconcerting sounds, but devoid of people other than the bandits and their victims. Combined with a rather quick narrative pace, this creates an uncanny, disquieting atmosphere that subverts all notion of rural idyll. A sensation of savagery and abandonment is reinforced by the bandits’ behavior: a new chief is elected via a competition of strength, where the competitors lift and carry around a tree trunk. This scene is inspired by the story of Caupolicán, one of the best known mythical episodes from the Conquest

30  Olga Ries of Chile.3 Contemporary bandits, therefore, are in their behavior a direct continuation of the indios, mortal enemies of the newly independent, “white” Chilean state, a representation of rural banditry that after Ulloa becomes established in national fiction (Dantel 245), and their activity an echo of the Indian attack, malón. Both, indios and bandits, are natural enemies of the established, civilized order, embodied by the centralized, conservative government of Diego Portales (1829–37). It is his death at the hands of conspirators that is shown to be the factor that allows the bandits to flourish, for Portales—described as an “omnipotent and terrible minister” (Ulloa 107)—fought them without a pause. Furthermore, his death also stops a project capable of reforming life on the whole continent and save Peru from an “arbitrary government” (Ulloa 103). These statements certainly reflect attitudes entertained by the conservative sectors concerning the “atavistic” lower orders and neighboring states (Pinto Vallejos 30). Ulloa’s Gothic bandits, who in spite of themselves have to admit the dead man’s greatness, are by no means pure entertainment and titillation, and have in fact entered Chilean politics as part of a discourse on law, order, and centralized government. This political instrumentalization of the Gothic is all the more interesting, as this view of Portales’s personality and politics persisted well into the twentieth century (Loveman and Lira 249), and Ulloa with his bandits is therefore not an exotic outlier, but rather exemplary of the tastes and attitudes of the contemporary urban elites. Although such politicized discourse is by no means common in Chilean Gothic, the same fear of the irrational, savage, primitive countryman fuels much of it, with many tensions centering around the country house as the place where both the powerful upper classes and the feared lower orders cohabit. As a social institution, the hacienda is the oldest sociopolitical structure of the country, originating in the decades after the conquest, and obtaining its definitive shape in the late colonial period (Bengoa, El poder 27). This strict social division, combined with close physical cohabitation, in the same limited space of the groups of patrones, inquilinos, and peones is also the origin of the larger social structure of the later independent country until well into the twentieth century (Bengoa, El poder 18). Poetically, those spacious structures, perched on enormous, thinly populated spaces, often of 20 hectares or more—that of the aforementioned Quintrala was almost 300,000 hectares (Bengoa, El poder 69)—­acquired the traits associated with castles or even castle ruins in European Gothic. Darkness, loneliness and a vague sense of danger permeate the atmosphere of Joaquín Díaz Garcés’s Un siglo en una noche [A Century in One Night] (1899) in spite of the fairly realistic setting—in the recent past (at the time of writing), near the city of Los Andes north of Santiago. But Díaz Garcés very skillfully creates mysterious, uncanny scenery that is the actual protagonist of his

Rural Horrors in Chilean Gothic  31 haunting tale—an old crumbling hacienda, inhabited solely by the aging owner, his equally old manservant, pigeons, and—it is rumored—the ghost of a former patrón, who inexplicably disappeared. On a cold, misty winter night, a stranger arrives at the hacienda and makes an unusual proposal to the owner: he knows about a treasure buried there by his predecessor. After a short, tense discussion, they go to an abandoned room at the far end of the building and proceed to break the brick floor, a protracted, intimate yet haunting scene almost palpably filled with the owner’s anxiety, distrust and fear of the stranger, who is described as having “los ojos de un gato, algo vidriosos” [eyes of a cat, somewhat glassy] (Díaz Garcés 93). This atmosphere—driven by greed mingled with mutual distrust—and the musty cold darkness of the room, increasingly grate on their nerves, and the stranger seems more and more diabolical with each passing minute. These complex emotions are skillfully shown through a change of perspectives, from an omniscient third person to first person narrator and back, exploring the psychological horror of the situation. Finally, they find a large earthenware vat under the compacted floor and are barely able to suppress the impulse to kill each other over the treasure, but finally break the vat open together. Inside, instead of the promised riches, is the decayed corpse of a man. Their mutual distrust vanishes instantly, with the rays of the morning sun, and is replaced with a sudden understanding of the previous owner’s disappearance and his true fate. This quite intimate story elegantly adapts Gothic conventions to the scenarios of central Chile, producing not just a fanciful narrative, but rather a poetic recollection of decadence in a region that has become increasingly eclipsed by trade and mining. It also exposes the inherent violence and darkness at the heart of a region where most elite families still had their country retreats. The story’s atmosphere grows, accordingly, from dark and uncanny to increasingly tense and torturous, culminating finally in the horrifying discovery of the corpse. Stylistically, it relies rather on psychological terror, making it seem so much more modern than Ulloa’s novel, leaving crude violence, or rather the evidence of it, only to the very end (and to the furthest corner of the hacienda). Díaz Garcés’s handling of the atmosphere is also an excellent example of Freud’s famously untranslatable unheimlich as a Gothic device. While it is usually rendered as “uncanny” in English, the German term is more complex, as its use coincides partly with its opposite, heimlich (meaning belonging to home, trustworthy, cosy, but also hidden, secretive), making it polyvalent, notoriously difficult to define and emotionally highly evocative. Freud himself suggests an interpretation that is highly relevant in our case, namely that the unheimlich is “the overemphasis of psychic reality compared to the physical” (317). This reading of the term suggests a tantalizing clue to the “uncanny” atmosphere in

32  Olga Ries both Díaz Garcés’s and Ulloa’s work: both can be read as symbolically charged psychograms of their respective epochs, that allow the authors as well as the readers to inscribe the respective scenarios with their own “psychic reality”. Díaz Garcés’s hacienda literally has hidden skeletons from (presumably colonial) days gone by and the action is driven mainly by psychological factors. Ulloa’s violent and lonely pseudo-­rotos, on the other hand, illustrate quite well the author’s doubts about their moral qualifications as the new nation’s backbone. The familiar (heimlich) landscapes of home collapse thus in Ulloa’s and Diaz Garcés’s inkyblack, misty winter nights into their total, nightmarish, unheimlich opposite. However, compared to the horrors lurking in the woods and the open fields, the hacienda, with all its gruesome secrets, can seem like a refuge, particularly near the old frontier, the site of a brutal—and recent—war of conquest and colonization, that of the former Mapuche territories (Bengoa, Historia 252). This is what happens in the story of a mysterious cultural clash conjured up by Marta Brunet, in La machi de Hualqui [The Machi of Hualqui] (1962). The author herself was from Chillán in southern Chile, and she places her machi (indigenous healer) in Hualqui, near Concepción, also in southern Chile, but other than that, the tale itself is quite “gothically” vague. We are not told the place or date, or even the names of the characters, they are simply a “girl,” described conspicuously and repeatedly as “white,” having “light colored eyes,” “nails like mother of pearl,” and an “old woman,” “la machi de Hualqui y no quiero otro nombre” [the machi of Hualqi and I don’t want another name] (Brunet, l. 49). The latter is a rather curious, chthonic creature that combines two groups of outsiders in twentieth-century Chile, Mapuches and Jews: “Pero si en la vestimenta hacía recordar a las indias, el tipo era de chilena entroncada en judíos, de los cuales heredara la nariz corvina y los ojos encajados muy adentro en las cuencas” [But if in her clothing she was similar to the Indios, her type was that of a Chilean descended from Jews, from whom she inherited the curved nose and the eyes very deep in their sockets] (Brunet, L. 3). Her skin has the appearance of stones or burnt clay, making her seem made of earth, even Golem-like, and this earthy darkness contrasts strongly with the girl, who is, as we have seen, a creature of light. The image of the witch as indigenous is by no means an invention of Brunet, but rather something that existed within the Chilean elite for generations, as traits of it can be found in the aforementioned Quintrala, but also in paintings such as Magdalena Mira’s Witch Conjuring a Tempest (1884): her witch’s facial features and clothing look like a barely romanticized version of indigenous women’s, while common

Rural Horrors in Chilean Gothic  33 attributes of European witches, such as the broom or the cauldron, are absent. In fact, the act of conjuring itself consists of dropping herbs into an open fire, which produces a thick smoke, again a fairly popular image of machis’ herbal magic. Brunet, therefore, alludes to already established stereotypes when creating her machi. The girl’s curiosity thrusts her in the machi’s arms who, pretending to take revenge for a lover’s quarrel, executes a complex and eccentric magic ritual (as her true motif is to take revenge for her own daughter’s death). This results in the death of the cursed man and in the girl’s madness, who henceforth ceaselessly tries to imitate and reverse the machi’s curse. It is important to note, however, that the concept of magic itself in this narrative, apart from the physical appearance of the witch, is not rooted in indigenous rituals: the symbolism of the frog as a diabolical, unclean animal goes back to Christian images, and ultimately biblical plagues (Ferguson 19); the use of needles and drawings of the objects of witchcraft is also of Western origin. Indigenous Chilean mythologies, such as Mapuche or Aymara, connect the frog with water, fertility, and renovation of life (Montecino Aguirre 380), symbols incompatible with the ritual described by Brunet. Rather, the enigmatic and contradictory figure of the machi is a crystallization of the fears and phantasies of thoroughly Westernized urban dwellers. Poorly understood groups of outsiders (such as Indios, Jews, or other non-Spanish speaking immigrants), the vastness of the campo populated by those outsiders, all combine to form this dark, uncanny character. Brunet’s vision throws a harsh light on the anxieties and insecurities of the elites vis-a-vis a largely indigenous, barely explored countryside that, although politically and militarily dominated, remains incomprehensible and therefore dangerous for the “civilized man.” The mental collapse of the girl, who is clearly a member of the local elite, comes to symbolize this Gothic dimension of post-Independence rural Chile, the fragility of the concept of “Western civilization” outside of the cities: the irruption of the irrational and the uncanny on the scene comes to be read as a confrontation with the indigenous and foreign. Manuel Rojas’s El colocolo (1959) shows an atmosphere of perpetual unease from a comparatively rare perspective—that of the peasants. As such, it is also one of the best examples of the use of folklore motifs in Chilean literature. It opens with a description of a winter night which, rather than a simple background of the events, is in itself a sentient being filled with sounds that portend evil: El silencio, montado en su macho negro, dominaba los caminos que dormían vigilados por los esbeltos álamos y los copudos boldos. Los queltehues gritaban, de rato en rato, anunciando lluvia, y algún guairao perdido dejaba caer, mientras volaba, su graznido estridente.

34  Olga Ries [Silence, mounted on his black steed, dominated the sleeping roads that were guarded by slender poplars and shadowy boldos. Lapwings cried, again and again, announcing rain, and some lost night heron let go, during flight, his shrill call.] (Rojas 133) Set in central Chile among peasants, El colocolo gives, within a frame story of a quiet nighttime conversation, an overview of this region’s popular mythology. First and foremost, of course, it tells about the monster of the title, a murderous hybrid creature. But other characters of the ­m estizo imagery, such as the calchona (a woman covered entirely in thick wool-like hair that wanders about the ­countryside at night), the chonchón (a monstrous bodiless flying head), and ­c andelillas (wandering ghostly lights) also feature ­prominently in these stories. Told by poor rural inhabitants, these episodes ­offer a sympathetic image of popular beliefs, radically different from the more common perspective of the urban elites. The candelillas and the c­ olocolo are especially discussed in great detail: the longest episode describes the complex beliefs associated with the latter, its appearance, behavior and its way of killing its victims by sucking their ­saliva and with it their life energy. This tragic, bleak story, with its dead victims, ­destroyed families, and houses burnt to the ground, is a perfect scenario of rural horror framed by a quiet scene of three men, drinking mulled wine and telling each other stories. The second appearance of the colocolo, to one of the men on his ride home, is radically different: “un ratón horrible, con pequeñas plumas en vez de pelos, la cabeza pelada y llena de sarna y el hocico puntiagudo, en medio del cual se movía una lengua roja y fina como la de una ­c ulebra” [a  horrible mouse, with little feathers instead of fur, the head bald and full of scabies and a pointed snout, in the middle of which a tongue, red and thin like that of a snake, was moving] (­Rojas  144). This monster accosts him while he is riding, half drunk and half asleep, m ­ aking him lose both balance and consciousness. ­Finally, by daylight, those terrible visions literally dissolve into thin  air, and the monster’s shiny,  fixed eye—that the man crushed trying to kill the ­c olocolo—turns out to be his now ruined Waltham watch. Rojas’s story begins so darkly and mysteriously, but later becomes successively lighter, even humorous. Irrational fears disappear with the cold and darkness, folk mythology is substituted with the explained supernatural, and in turn the modern world, symbolized by the imported watch. Overall, Rojas produces an unusual, even playful perspective of an otherwise rather somber topic.

Rural Horrors in Chilean Gothic  35 Francisco Coloane’s narrative oeuvre elegantly fusions a poetic yet realist image of southern Chilean spaces with heavily Gothic undercurrents, where nature itself often becomes the source of bizarre or downright terrifying situations. Mythology and everyday life, European and indigenous mentalities are inextricably linked, which gives Coloane’s Patagonia an eerie, phantasmagorical air even before anything supernatural occurs. Although the title Galope de esqueletos [Skeleton Gallop] (1945) seems to suggest a horror story in the vein of Hammer Studios productions, it depicts in fact an episode in the life of ranchers. A group of men goes out into the wild in early spring in order to search for a herd of cows lost during the previous, particularly harsh winter. During their search, they are followed by strange sounds and meet a mysterious stranger, who might or might not be a woman—an enigma in this almost exclusively male world— and finally find the lost herd, only to realize that during the recent thaw, the animals must have been caught in the disappearing snow masses and impaled on branches that were hidden under the snow: “todos más o menos en la posición de un galope estático grotesco y macabro, cuando las aves de rapiña dejaron aquellos esqueletos mondos” [all of them more or less in the position of a static, grotesque and macabre gallop, after birds of prey left their skeletons bare] (Coloane 235). This natural—and certainly also economical—disaster creates a kind of Wild Hunt, a grotesque yet entirely natural sight. Although Coloane almost never recurs to traditional elements of the Gothic, such as ghosts or ruins, his use of natural phenomena, the projection of Freud’s “psychological reality” onto them produces a very similar, quite uncanny effect, making the natural world of the extreme south the true source of incomprehensible horror for those who live in it. Témpano de Kanasaka [Kanasaka Iceberg] (1941) is a gloomy tale set entirely on a boat, with an entirely unsentimental crew, contrabandists, and a prostitute, who in the icy open sea near Cape Horn repeatedly stumble on a supposedly haunted iceberg, driven by a grotesque, tortured, silently laughing ghost that persecutes mariners: “su mano derecha, levantada y tiesa, parecía decir ‘¡Fuera de aquí!‘” [His right hand, lifted and stiff, seemed to say ‘Get out!’] (Coloane 202). This disturbing specter owes as much to local indigenous lore, such as lakuma, water spirits that attack seafarers (Montecino Aguirre 276), as to the Occidental myth of the Flying Dutchman—which has its own Chilean variant, the Caleuche— but here this image acquires an immediacy of pain and suffering unmatched by traditional mythology.

36  Olga Ries Although this episode finally has an absolutely reasonable explanation—­a member of the Yaghan tribe died in an accident, and his body was trapped in the ice—the uncanny, deeply disturbing impression that it makes on the shipmates remains and literally haunts them, all strangers to these waters. It becomes a symbol of the sociopolitical condition of the indigenous peoples and through it, the indio himself has become—not just as a cultural or folklore phenomenon, but in his bodily existence—a haunting specter. And this is where the true horror resides, in the knowledge of the effects of colonization and extermination of the indigenous peoples: as logically explicable as the Gothic effect appears here, nothing can mitigate the oppressive sensation that it produces in the shipmates (and as a consequence in the reader), something that has its roots in Chilean political, economic, and social history and has repeatedly found an echo in both folklore and literature. Adivinanzas [Guessing Games] (1986) by Poli Délano presents a fairly complex structure in a limited space, with two frame narratives, each from a different point of view, embedded like a literary Russian nesting doll into the short story. This device allows for the tension to build up quickly and to develop successively additional layers of horror, although the full understanding of the tragedy only occurs within the last lines— and is known only to the perpetrator and the reader (who therefore turns into a witness), remaining hidden from the police. All begins with an excerpt of a police report stating the mysterious demise of the Barrechea couple. The second fragment, set on the previous night, shows the Barrechea home burglarized by a sinister man whose face is concealed by a mask. He threatens the couple, and Dr. Barrechea recognizes him. The third fragment, told in the first person perspective by a young man called Oscar, tells of an evening after a barbecue in his parents’ fundo, in a valley where the hills are “bloodied” by the setting sun (Délano 17). Beside him, there are a couple of people present: a friend, an uncle—both drunk—Ritta—a German girl from the barracks down the road—and Reynaldo—a tenant farmer4 with his dog Tigre. Reynaldo, whom Oscar calls “indio infeliz” [miserable indio] (Délano 20), is there to work, slay the sheep, and take care of the fire. Ritta, presumably an immigrant, is yet another outsider, but her situation is subtly different: while she lacks both status and wealth at this point, she is not part of the social microcosm of the fundo, and as a “white” definitely not subject to the racist hierarchy that reigns there. In a fit of drunken dare, Oscar and Ritta decide to decapitate Tigre and drain his blood, like a sheep, as a joke. When Reynaldo protests, he is beaten unconscious. The next fragment brings us back to the house—Reynaldo is the masked man, Ritta and Oscar are the Barrechea couple, and they fail to see any wrong in their past actions, but Reynaldo has come to take revenge. The final fragment is the conclusion of the police report: Mrs Barrechea has been found beheaded and drained of blood like a sheep, while her husband, apparently after murdering her in a fit of madness, has committed suicide.

Rural Horrors in Chilean Gothic  37 At first glance, Adivinanzas seems to be yet another link in the chain of the horrors at the hacienda stories, but a closer look shows a reversal of patterns seen so far. As in the narratives seen before, violence is shown to be a fundamental experience of living in the countryside, to the point that nature itself is “bloodied,” but here this violence does not originate with outsiders, like peones, indios, wandering strangers, or even the feared lower orders. Rather, it is caused by the owners, those who are at the very heart of the system and whose racism and a limitless sense of superiority result in senseless violence, exemplified in the killing of the dog. Reynaldo is initially their victim, and his actions—like the murders—while undoubtedly cruel and violent, are reactions, something that likely would not have existed without the original acts of violence by the patrón. On the other hand, those acts and their true meaning remain hidden from the public, only the reader becomes a witness, almost an accomplice of sorts. On the surface, they seem nothing but random violence, and therefore—the story suggests—Chile will experience the same dynamic, like a perverse domino of cruelty, again and again. In the decades since the publication of the majority of these stories, Chilean society has irrevocably changed: most of the haciendas have been dissolved, and the majority of Chileans currently live in cities (roughly a third of the national population in Santiago alone). This necessarily means a shift in the representation of the countryside, although it is interesting that the topic clearly did not disappear from the national imagery. In Tricofobia (2014) by Pablo Espinoza Bardi, the revulsion caused by hair found in the drain—something probably most owners of modern bathrooms have experienced—becomes incorporated into the older motif of an abandoned, dirty southern village where an old woman lives, “a black, long-haired bundle” [un bulto negro y de largos cabellos] (Espinoza Bardi 33). She is obviously a modern relative of several malignant creatures that roam the Chilean countryside: the Viuda, the Llorona, or the already mentioned Calchona—who is also, like the character from this tale, entirely covered by long, shaggy hair (Montecino Aguirre 87). A traumatic encounter with this entity that turns out to be a “amasijo de cabellos jabonosos” [clump of soapy hair] (Espinoza Bardi 39) beset with insects, gets the nameless protagonist and narrator straight to a mental hospital, where he tells his experience. The loss of the soul, feared consequence of an encounter with creatures like the Viuda, is here transformed into its secularized version, the loss of sanity by excessive repulsion, the danger to spiritual purity becomes that to physical cleanliness—both coincide in the danger and damage caused to the psyche and the body in their respective contexts, and the modern urbanite, although as far from the roto of yesteryear as possible, cannot escape the uncanniness that lurks in every corner of the perpetually familiar yet foreign countryside. The stories analyzed here demonstrate that while very few—if any— authors in Chile could be said to write exclusively or predominantly

38  Olga Ries Gothic fiction, the list of authors who occasionally do5 is quite impressive, and their works show remarkable flexibility and adaptability of style and themes. However, while several Gothic modes, such as anticlerical Gothic, have proven to be passing—if successful—literary fads, rural Gothic has remained relevant. It reflects crucial social, political and cultural moments in the nation’s history, allowing a heterodox (re)reading of Chilean history and mores through these stories. Ulloa’s bandits, in spite of an abundance of melodramatic elements, reflect a very real, dangerous phenomenon in the young republic, while Vicuña Mackenna’s Quintrala not only takes part in the post-­ Independence search for a uniquely Chilean history and identity, but even manages to become a cultural icon, surpassing by far other historical (and fictional) figures. Díaz Garces’s story of gloom and aristocratic decay was written in an age of decadence for both the landed aristocracy’s traditional way of life and their political influence. All these works were written during what probably could be called the golden age of Chilean Gothic, with several bestselling novels in this genre, but rural Gothic adapted itself perfectly well to the new literary styles of the twentieth century. This is especially the case with criollismo—a genre that took particular interest in the lives and customs of the “little people,” seen as true representatives of the nation. Rojas’s folkloric tale is a particularly poetic take on this motif. The incorporation of the extreme south into the Chilean republic, arguably one of the biggest socio-­economic changes in national history, is reflected twice, from highly differing perspectives, in Brunet’s mystifying witch tale and in Coloane’s glimpses of southern nature, beautiful, sublime and terrifying in equal measure. Interestingly, the shift towards urbanity in the last decades did not make rural Gothic lose attractivity, but the increasing cultural gulf between modern urban life and what is perceived as traditionally rural deepens the sense of estrangement or even rejection often present in this genre. This happens in Espinoza Bardi’s version, where a small village is the seat of everything that causes revulsion. However, the by far most brutal and disturbing story in this collection, Délano’s Adivinazas, was written (and published) during the seventeen-year-long military dictatorship, thus reflecting indirectly the trauma inflicted on the nation by this period, even though it does not mention the dictatorship— or, in fact, politics—in the text itself at all. This adaptability and expressiveness, therefore, suggests that for many writers, rural Gothic, like no other genre, seems perfect to deal with particularly difficult and ambiguous topics, to capture the quasi-­ feudal atmosphere of rural Chile and to offer profound psychological analysis of the country’s ongoing struggle with its complex identity of being simultaneously a former colony and a colonizer, painting a society torn apart by the historical divisions between the urban upper class and the rural mestizo population.

Rural Horrors in Chilean Gothic  39

Notes 1 It should be noted that “south” here refers to what today is central Chile, as today’s “south” was Mapuche territory until 1881 and, therefore, not part of Chile. 2 The War of the Pacific (1879–1883) between Chile on the one side and Peru and Bolivia on the other, ended in a Chilean victory and considerable territorial gains. Both the conflict itself and the employment opportunities later massively affected central Chile, since both soldiers and workers were recruited mainly from this region. This resulted in lessening pressure on social and economic structures. 3 Caupolicán, or Teopolicán, is mentioned by chroniclers (such as Jerónimo de Vivar) as an indigenous leader during the conquest of Chile in the mid-­ sixteenth century, but it was his important role in Alonso de Ercilla’s epic poem La Araucana (1568–1589) that turned him into a central character of Chilean history. Ercilla also includes the episode Ulloa alludes to: in order to be made toqui (leader), Caupolicán carries a tree trunk on his shoulders for two days and two nights, proving his physical prowess. 4 Also see above in this chapter about the legal and social status of tenant farmers (inquilinos). 5 Among those not included here are José Donoso, Magdalena Petit, or Baldomero Lillo.

Works Cited Bengoa, José. El Poder y la Subordinación. Historia social de la agricultura chilena. Tomo I. Ediciones Sur, 1988. ———. Historia del pueblo mapuche. Siglo XIX y XX. 6th ed., LOM editores, 2000. Brunet, Marta. “La machi de Hualqui.” Marta Brunet- Retablo de la literatura chilena. Universidad de Chile. machi_hualqui.htm. Coloane, Francisco. “El témpano de Kanasaca.” Cuentos completos. Alfaguara, 1999, pp. 41–49. ———. “Galope de esqueletos.” Cuentos completos. Alfaguara, 1999, pp. 231–35. Dantel Argandoña, Elvira. “El bandido en la literatura chilena.” Boletín de la Academia Chilena de Historia, 1933. Memoria chilena. memoriachilena. cl/602/w3-article-68534.html. Délano, Poli. “Adivinanzas.” El cuento chileno de terror. Publicidad y Ediciones S.A., 1986, pp. 13–21. Díaz Garcés, Joaquín. “Un siglo en una noche.” Cuentos chilenos de terror, misterio y fantasía, 2015, pp. 87–97. Donoso Fritz, Karen. “Rotos y gauchos en el siglo XIX: de corruptores del orden social a la exaltación como identidad nacional popular.” El orden y el bajo pueblo, pp. 105–32. Edwards Bello, Joaquín. “No existe homogeneidad de la raza I.” Crónicas reunidas (I) 1921–1925, Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales, 2008, pp. 37–44. Espinoza Bardi, Pablo. “Tricofobia.” Chile del Terror. Una antología ilustrada, edited by Aldo Astete Cuadra, Austrobórea editores, 2014, pp. 31–41. Ferguson, George. Signs & Symbols in Christian Art. 1954. Oxford UP, 1979.

40  Olga Ries Freud, Sigmund. “Das Unheimliche.” Imago. Zeitschrift für Anwendung der Psychoanalyse auf die Geisteswissenschaften vol. V (1919), pp. 297–324. Heiremans, Carolina et al., editors. Cuentos chilenos de terror, misterio y fantasía, Editorial Cuarto Propio, 2015. Loveman, Brian and Elizabeth Lira. Las suaves cenizas del olvido. Vía chilena de reconciliación política 1814–1932. LOM editores, 1999. Montecino Aguirre, Sonia. Mitos de Chile. Diccionario de seres, magias y encantos. Sudamericana, 2003. Pinto Vallejos, Julio et al., editors. El orden y el bajo pueblo. Los regímenes de Portales y Rosas frente al mundo popular, 1829–1852, LOM editores, 2015. ———. “El orden y la plebe. La construcción social de los regímenes de Portales y Rosas. 1829–1852.” El orden y el bajo pueblo, pp. 15–60. Rojas, Manuel. “El colocolo.” Cuentos chilenos de terror, misterio y fantasía, Editorial Cuarto Propio, 2015, pp. 133–46. Subercaseaux, Bernardo. Historia de las ideas y de la cultura en Chile. Tomo IV. Nacionalismo y cultura. Editorial Universitaria, 2007. Ulloa, Francisco. El bandido del sur. Episodios 1830 a 1837. Imprenta de la República, 1874. Valenzuela Márquez, Jaime. Bandidaje rural en Chile central. Curicó, 1850–1900. Dirección de bibliotecas, archivos y museos, 1991. Vicuña Mackenna, Benjamín. Los Lísperguer y la Qintrala (Doña Catalina De Los Ríos). Episodio histórico-nacional con numerosos documentos inéditos. Imprenta del Mercurio, 1877. Ward, Ronda. “A Colonial Woman in a Republican’s Chilean History: Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna and La Quintrala.” Journal of Women’s History, vol. 13, no. 1, Spring 2001, pp. 83–107.

3 Fragmented Gothic Identities in Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo Antonio Alcalá González

Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo (1955) is an author’s reflection on the fractured identity of his country during the first half of the twentieth century. That century began with a civil war: the Mexican Revolution, a cyclical disturbance that ended at the same point where it had begun. By the end of the conflict, new oligarchies had replaced the old ones, while the differences among social classes remained unchanged. The character whose name gives the book its title was a landowner from Revolutionary times who ultimately brought ruin and death to the town that lived and perished under his control. As a result, the text has most often been studied from perspectives focusing on the role of Pedro Páramo as a self-appointed ruler who imposes his authority on the inhabitants of Comala through the use of language and violence.1 My purpose here, however, is to explore another possibility: that of approaching Rulfo’s novel as a Gothic work in which the atmosphere created by the presence of haunting ghosts allows the author to express his preoccupation about the social fragmentation of his country. Rulfo’s legacy, like that of Carlos Fuentes, has recently been examined from the perspective of its literary adherence to the Gothic. Both authors rely on the creation of enclosed spaces, where haunting presences become a channel of expression for dialogues with the past—such dialogues would lead to a better understanding of Mexico’s present and future. In the case of Pedro Páramo, Rulfo adapted the Gothic to Mexico’s rural context. He created a small town that could represent any of its kind in the outlying areas of the country, an isolated place that was as hot as hell itself. 2 In this chapter, I will be exploring how the town becomes an inescapable scenario where ghosts from the past irrupt page after page, making it impossible for the main character to leave. The voices of these ghosts disturb and confuse both the narrator and his reader, as they take us on a journey of reflection on the legacy of the Mexican Revolution. As a starting point, I consider it necessary to provide a general context of the Revolution, in order to explain how Rulfo made use of the Gothic to express his concerns about the situation in his country after the years of armed conflict. The war broke out in 1910, ignited in part by the demands of peasants who challenged the capitalist economic organization

42  Antonio Alcalá González that controlled Mexico. During the second half of the nineteenth century, smaller land holdings had been gradually acquired either at very low prices or, in some cases, through violent means. As a result, at the beginning of the war most arable land was concentrated in large estates called haciendas. The owners of these large properties paid extremely low wages to the peasants who worked for them.3 After a decade of fighting, the war ended, yet the social reforms it had demanded did not materialize. The group that directly benefited from the war was not the peasants, but that of the bourgeois classes that played a more important role in the new situation. Now, being in power was based not only on the possession of land and the exploitation of the lower classes, but also having the control of a growing political system composed of an intricate network of influences. Under this new scheme, the thirties saw the consolidation of a system in which the peasants became dependent on the protection of the government as well as on powerful local leaders called caciques. As the century progressed, this new reality extended to all impoverished sections of Mexican society, including those in urban centers whose populations were increasing due to the consolidation of industry. In the cities, union leaders assumed the role of the rural leaders and aligned with the government to create a panorama of domination similar to that of the rural areas. According to Adolfo Gilly, the ten years that the war lasted rendered only the destruction of one state and its replacement by another, thus establishing a new relationship between those who had power and those who did not. Oppression remained, and the new type of interaction was simply a continuity of the tradition of subordination that had existed since colonial times and had been reshaped through the wars of Independence, Reform, and Revolution (364). In my analysis of Pedro Páramo, I propose that Pedro represents the ruling groups in Mexico that have replaced each other with the installment of every new regime. They have systematically imposed their views and order, like the man who tyrannically governs Comala. On the other hand, Páramo’s neglected son, Juan, is a representation of the Mexican people, fragmented and confused, caught between the present and the legacy of their own country. Before analyzing the Gothic implications of the way in which Rulfo expresses his views on the historical context described above, I consider it important to review the fragmented structure in Pedro Páramo. According to Carol Clark D’Lugo, Mexican fiction from the last century shows a constant presence of “fragmentation as a literary technique throughout the century, both as a technical strategy within the aesthetic sphere and as a mode that, contextually or metaphorically, evokes the social and political realities of the country” (xi). The reason for such fragmentation, she explains, is to move readers from a passive attitude into a “more participatory role within fiction” that can motivate them

Fragmented Gothic Identities in Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo  43 to reflect critically upon the “lies and deceptions” that governments have imposed on Mexican society since the nineteenth century (1, 3). Pedro Páramo is divided into nearly seventy fragments, varying in length from less than half a page to several pages. In the first five fragments, Juan Preciado, whose name is not revealed until after fragment twenty, narrates why and how he arrived in Comala; the reader is thus led to believe that the story will be linear. The rest of the text, however, consists of constant switches between Preciado’s narrative time and the events in the life of Pedro Páramo and his last wife, Susana San Juan. In addition to this structural fragmentation, Marie-Agnès Palaisi-Robert identifies the existence of multiple accounts that fragment reality in the novel into several views based on subjective opinions and appearances (415). This occurs because both narrators, Preciado and the omniscient speaker who relates the events from Páramo’s times, rely on dialogues to construct their narratives. As a result, the novel is narrated in large part through the connection of different voices, and we come to understand that most of those voices pertain to the deceased. The previously mentioned lack of linear structure and the absence of a unified perspective of events work together to produce a dynamic process that gradually allows the reader to realize that every character is a ghost connected to different scenarios or times. These ghosts are wandering souls who cannot abandon the world of the living, and it is around them that the Gothic atmosphere in the text develops. Their existence turns the whole town into a haunted scenario that corresponds to the description that Chris Baldick proposes for a Gothic space: “it is a house of degeneration, even of decomposition, its living-space darkening and contracting into the dying-space of the mortuary and the tomb” (xx). As the town turns into an inescapable place of decay, the spirits living in it make the town a house of death. These haunting souls remind the reader of the Gothic impossibility of escaping from the past which, as pointed out by Catherine Spooner, remained a distinctive feature of the Gothic during the previous century: “The development of Gothic in the twentieth century, then, is bound up with an interrogation of the crucial elements of revenant history and claustrophobic space that have always been defining features of the Gothic” (45). This is the first Gothic characteristic in the text I wish to emphasize: Comala is a claustrophobic prison where the past is permanently haunting Juan Preciado’s present, in the form of the ghosts of those who lived in the town in the times of Pedro Páramo.4 This produces a flux between three different times, and makes the reader take an active role created by the text structure: Pedro is the past, Juan becomes the present from which he narrates his experience inside a tomb, and the reader is reading the text in a future time after all the events and dialogues in the novel have occurred.

44  Antonio Alcalá González The evident presence of a constant movement between past and future in the text takes us to the second Gothic element in the story; i.e., the flux of times identified by Jerrold E. Hogle in Gothic texts: The regressive and progressive nature of the Gothic has been and remains [emphasis in the original] necessary to deal with the social unconscious of modern humanity in all its extreme contradictions spawned by its looking backward and forward so much of the time. (7) In Rulfo’s novel, the movement between times creates a process in which the past imposes itself upon the present and future, since the dead remain in the town haunting the present with their voices—voices that reach us through Juan’s narration. Avery Gordon indicates that “to be haunted is to be tied to historical and social effect” (190); this is confirmed in Comala, where the ghosts cannot leave because, as Juan is told, there are not enough living people who can pray for them: Si usted viera el gentío de ánimas que andan sueltas por la calle. En cuanto oscurece comienzan a salir. Y a nadie le gusta verlas. Son tantas, y nosotros tan poquitos, que ya ni la lucha le hacemos para rezar porque salgan de sus penas. No ajustarían nuestras oraciones para todos. Si acaso les tocaría un pedazo de Padre nuestro. [If you could see the crowds of souls that are loose in the street. They appear right after twilight. And nobody likes to see them. They are so many, and we are so few, that we no longer try to pray for them to alleviate their sorrows. Our few prayers wouldn’t be enough for so many. If anything they would be getting a piece of the Lord’s Prayer.] (55) The resulting scenario is a confluence of spirits from previous times who cannot be made to abandon the place they haunt with their presence. They create a present which is haunted by the return of the past, but lacks the possibility to establish a proper dialogue with it. Rulfo indicated that his characters break through the boundaries of time and space, given that the dead have neither time nor space (Sommers 518). As a result, they become the axis around which the two Gothic elements in the text revolve. Not only do they represent the permanence of the past in later times, but it is also through their dialogues that we, the readers, move inside the secluded town. When asked if Pedro Páramo was the main character of the novel, the author explained that the story’s focus is the townspeople themselves, the penitents who died in sin.5 In his study of the ghost as a haunting figure, Gordon also

Fragmented Gothic Identities in Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo  45 mentions two characteristics that help in exploring the function of Rulfo’s dead characters: …the ghost imparts a charged strangeness into the place and sphere it is haunting, thus unsettling the propriety and property lines that delimit a zone of activity or knowledge … the ghost is primarily a symptom of what is missing. It gives notice not only to itself but also to what it represents. (63) The spirits in Comala play both roles, for they blur the limits of space, time and even the lines between the two concepts (as Rulfo commented). About the connection between history and ghosts, Andrew Smith describes ghosts as reminders of what a social group is missing. They are: …historical beings because they are messengers about preoccupations of a particular age. Ghosts are never just ghosts (meaning dead people); they provide us with an insight into what haunts our culture. Ghosts, of course, cannot die and as such are a persistent reminder of what a culture can only express in oblique terms. (153) Indeed, the role of the ghosts in Rulfo’s text is to underline the historical absence of a unified society in Mexico. Preciado meets the spirits at different times and places and does not see more than two of them together. And when the voices become too strong, fear makes him collapse. His journey portrays a lack of understanding of the division between past and present, and life and death. Similar, in a way, to Juan and the Revolution, Mexico seemed to have learned nothing from the war that could have helped plan a better future for the country. As a result of his gradual passive travel from door to door, he learns nothing certain about himself or the town. It is through the presence of five ghosts that Rulfo progressively guides Juan and then the reader into the recollection and assembly of pieces that echo the fragmented society in the writer’s country. These five characters are Abundio, Eduviges, Damiana Cisneros, Dorotea, and Susana San Juan. Preciado’s encounters with the first four are the threshold he crosses to his final resting place. Susana’s reflections, on the other hand, will be contrasted with Juan’s views at the end of this study. In the second part of this chapter, I will describe and explore the role these characters play as Juan confronts them. On her deathbed, far from Comala, Juan’s mother sends him to travel to that place. She claims that they will be closer there, but he fails to understand the implications of her comment. Juan is sent to search for his father, Pedro Páramo, yet he learns that Pedro is dead. We gradually realize that what Juan has really been sent to look for is death itself.

46  Antonio Alcalá González He finds it at the place where his mother was born and where she wants him to rest forever: «Allá hallarás mi querencia. El lugar que yo quise. Donde los sueños me enflaquecieron… Sentirás que allí uno quisiera vivir para la eternidad. El amanecer; la mañana; el mediodía y la noche, siempre los mismos; pero con la diferencia del aire. Allí, donde el aire cambia el color de las cosas; donde se ventila la vida como si fuera un murmullo; como si fuera un murmullo de la vida…» [«There you’ll find my home place. The place I loved. Where dreams drained me… You’ll feel one wants to live there forever. Dawn, morning, noon, and night, always the same, but with a difference in the air. There, where the air changes the color of things; where life is ventilated as if it were a whisper; as if it were a whisper of life..»] (62)6 Comala is a space where things are permanent because they are dead, trapped in specters of what they were before. As time passes, Juan learns the town is filled with death represented by the ghosts that have been moving around him since he arrived there. Although Juan is initially unable to hear the sounds, Eduviges tells him she hears the galloping of Miguel Páramo’s horse, though both rider and animal have long been dead. It is Damiana Cisneros who later confirms that Comala is a ghost town: Este pueblo está lleno de ecos. Tal parece que estuvieran encerrados en el hueco de las paredes o debajo de las piedras. Cuando caminas, sientes que te van pisando los pasos. Oyes crujidos. Risas. Unas risas ya muy viejas, como cansadas de reír. Y voces ya desgastadas por el uso. Eso me venía diciendo Damiana Cisneros mientras cruzábamos el pueblo. –Hubo un tiempo que estuve oyendo durante muchas noches el rumor de una fiesta… Me acerqué a ver el mitote aquel y vi esto: lo que estamos viendo ahora. Nada. Nadie. Las calles tan solas como ahora. Este pueblo está lleno de ecos. Yo ya no me espanto. Oigo el aullido de los perros y dejo que aúllen. Y en días de aire se ve al viento arrastrando hojas de árboles, cuando aquí, como tú ves, no hay árboles. Los hubo en algún tiempo, porque si no ¿de dónde saldrían esas hojas? [This town is full of echoes. It is as if they were hiding behind the walls or under the rocks. When you walk, you feel that they are following in your footsteps. You hear creaking. Laughter. Very old laughter, as if tired of laughing. And voices worn out by time…” That was what Damiana Cisneros was telling me as we were walking through the town. “There was a time when I heard the murmurs from a town party for several nights… I went to see what was going on and I saw this: what we’re seeing now. Nothing. Nobody. The

Fragmented Gothic Identities in Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo  47 streets as empty as they are now. This town is full of echoes. I no longer am frightened. I hear the dogs howling and I let them howl. And on windy days, you see the wind dragging tree leaves, but here, as you can see, there are no trees. There must have been trees at some point. Otherwise, where would those leaves come from?] (45) Juan hears the whispers of the dead, and when they become an unbearable swarm, they bring him closer to recognize that he is dead. In fact, Eduviges warns him about listening to the mourning of a dead person. Although Juan is dead from the time he enters Comala, he is unaware of his situation. The realization of death is constantly deferred and the fear he experiences is the last step in the process of recognition that begins when he meets Abundio, who guides him on his way to Comala. After a flock of raucous crows flies over, the two travelers leave the hot climate and descend, as if moving into the underworld, into a space of heat without air that leads to Comala. The presence of these black birds, usually associated with death and devastation due to their attacks on crops, marks the beginning of the narrator’s journey into the land of death. Juan’s guide was once the person in charge of bringing the mail into the town, and was thus the town’s connection with the outside world. He is described as a muleteer, but he also seemed to herd travelers to Eduviges’ door just in the same way as he guides the narrator through the first gate of death: the entrance to the ghost town itself. This is the first step in Juan’s long journey into acknowledging his own death. The second gate is the door of Eduviges’s house. Her home is full of furniture left by those who went away.7 Even before her death, she served as a connection between the world of the living and the world of the dead. This connection can be seen when she recognizes that Miguel Páramo has turned into a ghost before he realizes it, and when she explains why Juan’s mother calls her with a distant dead-like voice to report her son’s arrival. Although Eduviges’s body clearly reveals its lifeless condition to Juan, he fails to acknowledge this truth: Su cara se transparentaba como si no tuviera sangre, y sus manos estaban marchitas; marchitas y apretadas de arrugas. No se le veían los ojos. Llevaba un vestido blanco muy antiguo, recargado de holanes, y del cuello, enhilada en un cordón, le colgaba una María Santísima del Refugio con un letrero que decía: “Refugio de pecadores.” [Her face was translucent as if bloodless, and her hands were withered; withered and completely wrinkled. Her eyes could not be seen. She wore a very old white dress, covered in ruffles, and hanging on a ribbon around her neck was a medal of Our Lady of Refuge, with the inscription “Refuge of sinners”.] (19)

48  Antonio Alcalá González These last words confirm Eduviges’s role as guardian of the gate of death. She welcomes all sinners who stay in Comala as penitent souls after their death. The next gate towards Juan’s confirmation of death is marked by the arrival of Damiana Cisneros; she opens the door to the room of murmurs where Eduviges has confined him. Damiana is the first to reveal the narrator’s name. Her role is not only to introduce him to the reader, but also to confirm the identity of Comala as a haunted town where even those who believe they are alive are haunting ghosts. It is through dialogues that Juan and the reader comprehend little by little the true condition of the dead town as they move from one gate to the next. Actually, the novel contains minimal descriptions in exchange for privileging spoken language. As a result, the barriers among characters are strongly marked by language. For example, Abundio gives answers that do not correspond to Juan’s questions; and Damiana simply disappears instead of responding when Juan asks if she is alive. ¿Está usted viva, Damiana? ¡Dígame, Damiana! Y me encontré de pronto solo en aquellas calles vacías. Las ventanas de las casas abiertas al cielo, dejando asomar las varas correosas de la yerba. Bardas descarapeladas que enseñaban sus adobes revenidos. [“Are you alive, Damiana? Tell me, Damiana!” And suddenly I found myself alone in those empty streets. The windows of houses open to the sky, the leathery branches of weeds poking out through them. Flaked walls showing their crumbling adobe bricks.] (46) He fails to comprehend that the lack of a proper dialogue with these two characters is due to their belonging to the past in spite of their appearance in the present. He stays alone in the town, watching wagons with sleeping passengers, but a closer look reveals that they are all: …carretas vacías, remoliendo el silencio de las calles. Perdiéndose en el oscuro camino de la noche. Y las sombras. El eco de las sombras. Pensé en regresar. Sentí allá arriba la huella por donde había venido, como una herida abierta entre la negrura de los cerros. […empty wagons, grinding up the silence in the streets. Getting lost in the dark way of the night. And the shadows. The echo of the shadows. I thought of coming back. I felt up there the trace through which I had come, like an open wound in the blackness of the hills.] (50) Nevertheless, his reflections on leaving the town come to a halt when Donis appears. Together with his sister, this character represents an intermediate stage between Damiana and the last gate, Dorotea. The two

Fragmented Gothic Identities in Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo  49 siblings keep Juan in their house, yet he escapes after seeing the woman’s body melting into mud: El cuerpo de aquella mujer hecho de tierra, envuelto en costras de tierra, se desbarataba como si estuviera derritiéndose en un charco de lodo. Yo me sentía nadar en el sudor que chorreaba de ella y me faltó el aire que se necesita para respirar… De su boca brotaba un ruido de burbujas muy parecido al del estertor. Salí a la calle para buscar aire, pero el calor que me perseguía no se despegaba de mí. [The body of the woman made ​​of earth, wrapped in crusts of clay, fell apart as if melting in a mud puddle. I felt as if I were swimming in the sweat that poured out of her and I was missing the air that I needed to breathe… Out of her mouth came a gushing noise very similar to that of a death throes. I went outside for air, but the heat would not stop chasing me.] (61) After Eduviges, this is the second visual evidence for Juan that the inhabitants of the town are ghosts. This is his last conscious sight before he recognizes that he is also a dead body, a prisoner in the decaying town while lying in a tomb at Dorotea’s side. At this point, we understand that Juan Preciado’s experience in Comala has been a journey into the realization of his own death, divided into several stages. Preciado’s tomb is where the three main stories of the text converge. At this place, the narrator allows Juan and the reader to listen to Susana San Juan’s voice. There are three reasons why she is very important in the text. First, her death is the reason Pedro Páramo decides to let the town die and spends his last days looking at the road to the cemetery. The second reason is her perspective of time as a fluid present; in it, current events are molded by the past, and those in the future are always visible in a very near horizon. When she tells Rentería (the town priest) that he is dead, it is because she knows that everyone is alive as a necessary step prior to being dead. Finally, her understanding of time fuses with her relationship with death, which she brings not only to her father but also to the whole town. As a child, when her father sent her into a cave to look for gold coins, the only thing that she could bring to the surface was a skeleton that broke into pieces when she touched it: El cadáver se deshizo en canillas; la quijada se desprendió como si fuera de azúcar. Le fue dando pedazo a pedazo hasta que llegó a los dedos de los pies y le entregó coyuntura tras coyuntura. Y la calavera primero; aquella bola redonda que se deshizo entre sus manos. [The body broke into pieces; the jaw fell off as if it were made of sugar. She gave him pieces one by one until she reached the toes and

50  Antonio Alcalá González she handed him joint after joint. The first part she gave him was the skull; that round ball that fell apart in her hands.] (96)8 She comes back from that experience as a changed person who understands that nothing is permanent. Such a perspective allows her to transcend time and comprehend that death is not to be feared since it is a necessary step in life. She can sense her father when he comes to say goodbye after his death because her mind is trapped between her physical reality and a world of ghosts. However, from the perspective of the omniscient narrator and Pedro, who are limited to a traditional frame of reference that only considers the present, the only conclusion is that Susana is not from our world. During her days at Pedro’s side, she manages to remain isolated in her mind, in a semi-conscious state that allows her to live in a world of her own, disconnected from the reality outside: Susana San Juan, metida siempre en su cuarto, durmiendo, y cuando no, como si durmiera. La noche anterior se la había pasado en pie, recostado en la pared, observando a través de la pálida luz de la veladora el cuerpo en movimiento de Susana… Desde que la había traído a vivir aquí no sabía de otras noches pasadas a su lado, sino de estas noches doloridas, de interminable inquietud. Y se preguntaba hasta cuándo terminaría aquello. Esperaba que alguna vez. Nada puede durar tanto, no existe ningún recuerdo por intenso que sea que no se apague. Si al menos hubiera sabido qué era aquello que la maltrataba por dentro, que la hacía revolcarse en el desvelo, como si la despedazaran hasta inutilizarla. Él creía conocerla… ¿Pero cuál era el mundo de Susana San Juan? Ésa fue una de las cosas que Pedro Páramo nunca llegó a saber. [Susana San Juan, always in her room, sleeping, and if not, seeming asleep. The night before he had been standing, leaning against the wall, looking at her body in movement through the dim light of the candle… Since he had brought her to live here, he knew of no nights at her side other than those painful nights of endless concern. And he wondered when it would end. He hoped that some day. Nothing can last forever; no memory, regardless of its intensity, can last forever. If only he knew what was hurting her on the inside, what disturbed her sleep, as if she were being torn apart until rendered useless. He thought he knew her… But what was the world of Susana San Juan? That was one of the things that Pedro Páramo never knew]. (100–101) Her mind is lost in memories and in past dialogues related to her late first husband. This ability to transcend time allows her to evade any attempt by Pedro to impose his authority on her as he has done with the

Fragmented Gothic Identities in Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo  51 rest of Comala. In a similar way, after death, her perception remains in flux, moving between experiences of life and her situation inside a buried coffin: Estoy aquí, boca arriba, pensando en aquel tiempo para olvidar mi soledad. Porque no estoy acostada sólo por un rato. Y ni en la cama de mi madre, sino dentro de un cajón negro como el que se usa para enterrar a los muertos. Porque estoy muerta. Siento el lugar en que estoy y pienso… Pienso cuando maduraban los limones. En el viento de febrero que rompía los tallos de los helechos, antes que el abandono los secara; los limones maduros que llenaban con su olor el viejo patio. [I’m here, face up, thinking of that time to forget my loneliness. Because I’m not lying here just for a while. And not in my mother’s bed, but inside a black box like the one used to bury the dead. Because I am dead. I feel the place where I am and I think… I think about when the limes ripened. About the February wind that would break the stems of the ferns before neglect turned them dry; ripe lemons that filled the old courtyard with their aroma.] (80) Susana’s view of time and her contact with death allow her to establish a dialogue with the past. Juan, on the contrary, is unable to understand what happens around him because he lives in a permanent present that blocks his possibilities of perspective. From her early experience with the skull in the cave, Susana learned that corpses are dead and unmoving, while ghosts are dynamic entities. When Juan becomes trapped in the Gothic closed space where the past is in constant irruption, he fails to understand what Susana reveals through her reflections; she is the only one in the text who understands that the past lives in the present just as the ghosts of her father and her first husband move beyond the barriers of time and place.9 On the other hand, throughout the novel, Preciado remains in a passive role, guided from gate to gate towards his final resting place, without resistance. When the two narrative lines are contrasted, Rulfo’s concern is clear for the reader: a passive acceptance of the present will lead only to the tomb, with no understanding of how the process occurred. By means of the Gothic discourse built around the presence of haunting spirits in the isolated and dead town of Comala, Rulfo presents the reader with two narrative lines: that of Pedro Páramo and Susana when Comala was full of life; and that of Juan Preciado, who arrives in a dead haunted town. Through these characters, the author gives us his view of Mexico’s reality after the Revolution. It is a nation inhabited by multiple Juan Preciados who fail to recognize the fragmented present of an incomplete Revolution that did not bring what it promised. Such individuals live surrounded by ghosts from the past but fail to understand what their presence means.

52  Antonio Alcalá González Their narrow view prevents Mexico from breaking free from a life of oppression similar to that of Comala where, even after death, Pedro Páramo is still referred to as a powerful oppressor. If the people remain blind as they move toward the future, their country will stay fragmented and ignorant of the haunting voices from its own past—voices that will not progress beyond unclear murmurs of unkept promises. The answer lies in an active and comprehensive dialogue with the past, as proposed by Susana’s experience. In the end, Pedro Páramo is not only a reflection on the Mexican situation in the mid-twentieth century, but also a proposal of what is needed to escape from the repetition of a circle of exploitation that has characterized Mexico’s history from the Conquest era until the present day.

Notes 1 Sources that can be consulted to review perspectives on Pedro Páramo as a violent ruler and on the use of language in Rulfo’s novel include Amit Thakkar’s The Fiction of Juan Rulfo: Irony, Revolution and Postcolonialism and the collection (in Spanish) La ficción de la memoria: Juan Rulfo ante la crítica, edited by Federico Campbell. 2 The town is isolated in the sweltering Mexican countryside and its name, Comala, echoes the word comal, a flat griddle used directly over fire to heat tortillas and food in general. 3 An example of the exploitation within this system was the common practice of deducting, from the workers’ pay, the cost of their basic provisions, which were supplied by the company store (tienda de raya), often located next to or inside the large estate and owned by the employer. The workers were sometimes even charged interest for these products. The result was that most workers almost never saw a coin in exchange for their work. 4 The time difference between the two story lines is at least that of one generation since Pedro is Juan’s father. In addition, Abundio reports that Pedro died many years ago. 5 Juan Rulfo once commented that according to popular belief in Mexico, dead characters cannot leave their place of death (Sommers, 518). 6 The original text appears in italics, marked by angle quotes. 7 The phrase in the original text, “los que se fueron” [those who left], is ambiguous since it can refer to people who moved to another place, as during Mexico’s twentieth-century rural migration into the cities. However, it can also mean that people simply passed away. Eduviges mentions that they never came back for their belongings, reinforcing the second interpretation. 8 During the traditional Mexican celebration known as the Day of the Dead, people pay homage to their deceased relatives by placing on an altar a decorated sugar skull with the dead person’s name on the forehead. 9 Just as her father visited her after dying, Susana’s husband remained at her side until she died.

Works Cited Baldick, Chris. Introduction. The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales, edited by Chris Baldick. Oxford UP, 2001, pp. xi–xxiii. Bárcenas Ramón. El mundo sombrío de Luvina y Comala. U de Guanajuato, 2015. D’Lugo, Carol Clark. The Fragmented Novel in Mexico. The U of Texas P, 1997.

Fragmented Gothic Identities in Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo  53 Gilly, Adolfo. La Revolución Interrumpida. Editorial Era, 2007. Gordon, Avery F. Ghostly Matters. U of Minnesota P, 2008. Hogle, Jerrold E. Introduction. The Cambridge Companion to the Modern Gothic, edited by Jerrold E. Hogle, Cambridge UP, 2014, pp. 3–19. Palaisi-Robert, Marie-Agnès. “El Rastro de Juan Preciado entre los Mundos Mestizos de Juan Rulfo”. Tríptico para Juan Rulfo: Poesía, Fotografía, Crítica, edited by Víctor Jiménez. Fundación Juan Rulfo, 2006, pp. 403–22. Rulfo, Juan. Pedro Páramo. RM, 2012. Smith, Andrew. “Hauntings.” The Routledge Companion to Gothic, edited by Catherine Spooner and Emma McEvoy, Routledge, 2007, pp. 147–54. Sommers, Joseph. “Los muertos no tienen tiempo ni espacio (un diálogo con Juan Rulfo).” La ficción de la memoria: Juan Rulfo ante la crítica, edited by Federico Campbell, Ediciones ERA/UNAM, 2003, pp. 517–21. Spooner, Catherine. “Gothic in the Twentieth Century.” The Routledge Companion to Gothic, edited by Catherine Spooner and Emma McEvoy, Routledge, 2007, pp. 38–47.

This page intentionally left blank

Section II

Displacement, Transposition, Tropicalization

This page intentionally left blank

4 Machado de Assis’s Nightmarish World Displacements of the Gothic in Brazil Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos For a skeptic and ironist like Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839–1908), what might be the purpose and meaning of engaging with the fantastic, the horrible, and the macabre in approximately twenty out of the more than two hundred short stories he published over the span of his writing career? Known for his corrosive humor and derision, which he activated to probe the inner workings of late nineteenth-century “fluminense”1 society and mores, most of his short stories deal with everyday events and paint miniature portraits of the men and women who inhabited the capital of the Brazilian Empire, with their shortcomings, snobberies, and ambitions. Snapshots of ordinary life as they are, they capture those significant moments in human existence that encompass the whole gamut of emotions and experiences, while their characters are involved in episodes that display both what is most elevated and what is basest in their acts and behavior. Thus, generosity, friendship, love, and renunciation coexist in tense relation with greed, cruelty, and vanity in narratives which explore the delimited space of bourgeois and elite circles, and relationships in which marriage, adultery, disappointment, jealousy, disillusion, money, and interest play a central role. As short stories often do, Machado’s hinge on those incidents involving crucial decisions or revelations, which come to transform the characters’ lives definitively and inexorably. Presiding over this small and circumscribed world, an intrusive narrator, sometimes in the first person, sometimes in the third, makes his appearance as a controlling voice, always ready to intervene with his comments and opinions, as he keeps under scrutiny the idiosyncrasies, pettiness, and predicaments of his characters. His sardonic and cynical outlook keeps this small world at arm’s length in order to better observe, criticize, and debunk it, whether explicitly or implicitly. Though predominantly lifelike in their depiction of situations and characters, however, that cluster of twenty or so stories flouts realistic conventions and procedures, and relishes either the fanciful or the somber dimensions of human existence, not without sometimes suggesting a certain playful stance of the narrator, while he deploys the uncanny to expose the oppression of a patriarchal order and hint at the shadows

58  Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos of Brazil’s slave present or recent past. These short stories, commonly described as “fantastic,” comprise in reality a wide variety of situations, which border on the macabre, on the oneiric, on the mysterious and threatening, on the sinister. He does so, as M. Elizabeth Ginway argues, “not to endorse the presence of the supernatural and ghostly, but rather, to unsettle and unnerve, offering depictions of violence, especially in images of the body … and the body politic” (211). Echoes of the reader of E.T.A. Hoffmann and of Edgar Allan Poe, whose “The Raven” he translated into Portuguese in 1883, reverberate in several of his narratives either as direct or indirect references. 2 Since at least the 1840s, Poe was well known in Rio de Janeiro among the men of letters. 3 The prestigious Revue des Deux Mondes, which circulated in the intellectual circles of the Brazilian capital and which Machado was very familiar with, had dedicated a long essay to Poe’s stories in October 1846 (Forgues). While Machado could boast an 1890 three-volume edition of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe in his own private library (Massa), his knowledge of Poe certainly dates from much earlier, since as a member of the Portuguese Circulating Library he would have had access to works by Poe available in that institution.4 References to Poe feature not only in some of Machado’s stories, but also in his foreword to Várias Histórias (1896), wherein he makes a public excuse for publishing so many short stories and claims they are nothing more than pastimes, not being made of the same matter and in the same style that gave Mérimée’s the reputation of masterpieces and placed Poe’s among America’s most prominent writings (“Advertência” 476). While Poe pervades Machado’s stories structurally (Cunha), it is their examination of the hidden recesses of man’s mind and soul, their exploration of his fractured mental state, his insanity, and the catastrophe of dissolution that seem to underlie their affinities. Keeping a firm stronghold on the everyday events of his present, Machado was a relentless observer of human plight and misery. The psyche with its pathologies is at the core of celebrated stories like “A Causa Secreta” [The Hidden Cause], “O Alienista” [The Alienist], or “A Cartomante” [The Fortune-Teller], which foreground the perversions and neuroses that constitute the seamy side of human behavior. Other stories seem more light-hearted in their treatment of human foibles and failings. The sheer number of his short stories does not allow for generalizations, though they can be said to flaunt a variety of subjects, tone, and formal solutions, and configure narrators whose stance is always distant and critical, with Machado’s humor consistently operating as a kind of moderator in his approach. From another angle, they constitute a “tapestry of allusions” (Garber 65), once they mobilize an impressive repertoire of literary and philosophical references in the Western tradition. Machado invariably had them at his command and did not hesitate to freely deploy these resources. It is in this key that one should

Machado de Assis’s Nightmarish World  59 take his appropriation of Gothic conventions, which are occasionally used as tools to delve into some areas and aspects of human life, with its pathological disturbances, and at the same time are debunked by his skepticism and critical distance. In light of these more general issues, this chapter discusses two of his early short stories, “Um Esqueleto” [A Skeleton] and “Sem Olhos” [Eyeless], 5 in order to explore the nature of Machado’s reworking of Gothic devices, and argues that his recourse to those devices serve the purpose of foregrounding aspects of Brazilian society which did not fit into the country’s constructed self-image as a natural haven and tropical paradise, but rather laid bare the violence underlying social and personal relationships within the public and domestic spheres. In both stories, the home, that apparently most secure of all places, becomes the stage for scenes of oppression against women, and the family turns into the site of desecration and debasement, in the hands of predatory and cruel husbands. Haunting looms large over the lives of the female characters and transforms the home into the locus of the uncanny, simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar, protective and menacing, ambivalent in its combination of domesticity and hidden secrets. As such, it comes into view as the privileged ground for the exercise of patriarchal power and tyranny. Both stories were published in Jornal das Famílias (1863–1878), a monthly magazine specially dedicated to the family and aiming at the moral instruction and entertainment of its predominantly female readership. Needlework, patterns, fashion, household management, cooking, and literature (narratives and poems) was the fare offered them, with the clear intention of informing and helping them become better mothers and wives. From 1864 until the magazine’s demise, Machado de Assis was a regular collaborator and contributed with a very significant number of stories. At first sight, it might seem that Machado indulged in providing amusement for idle readers in narratives dealing for the most part with light subjects. However, the stories he published in the course of his years of collaboration with the magazine hovered between seriousness and mockery, in their depiction of situations and study of the contrast of characters. Though considered to be didactic and edifying, and generally conventional in structure and outlook, they are a laboratory for future developments, and in the case of “Um Esqueleto” and “Sem Olhos” an excellent illustration of Machado’s craftiness in embedding serious meanings in an apparently harmless pastime. In “Um Esqueleto,” a third-person narrator provides the frame that will set the stage for the narrative that follows: in a rainy evening, a group of young men are by the beach talking about art, literature, and politics when one of them, Alberto, recalls the German lessons he had had in the past with a Dr. Belém, an eccentric man that he remembers with affection as the best friend he had ever had. The atmosphere is

60  Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos Hoffmannesque, according to the homodiegetic voice, and the plot revolves around the story of a skeleton, which Alberto learns Dr. Belém kept in a glass cabinet in his study. Dr. Belém’s sudden decision to remarry is communicated to Alberto one day, while they are having a conversation. His choice falls on a young widow who, after an insistent courtship which lasts about three months, gives in and accepts Dr. Belém’s proposal. In Alberto’s regular visits to the Beléms, he begins to suspect that there is something wrong with the newly-weds, and is intrigued by D. Marcelina’s sadness and silence, until he discovers that the skeleton was the couple’s daily guest at dinner table, as a warning to D. Marcelina of the risks of unfaithfulness. Dr. Belém then tells Alberto that he had killed his first wife because of his suspicion that she had betrayed him with a neighbor. Never having been found out, his crime is now the source of his remorse, since his first wife was proven innocent, and the skeleton serves a very specific purpose: É simples, continuou ele; é para que minha segunda mulher esteja sempre ao pé da minha vítima, a fim de que se não esqueça nunca dos seus deveres, porque, então como sempre, é mui provável que eu não procure apurar a verdade; farei justiça por minhas mãos. [‘It is simple,’ he went on; ‘so that my second wife is always at my victim’s feet, in order never to forget her duties, because, as always, it is unlikely I will search for the truth; I will do justice with my hands’.] (“Um Esqueleto” 823) Dr. Belém’s naturalness is alarming—‘I dine with my two wives’ (821)— and it both frightens and horrifies Alberto and D. Marcelina. A trap seems to be set for D. Marcelina and Alberto when Dr. Belém travels and asks his pupil and friend to take care of his wife. A month later, a letter from Belém summons them, requesting them to join him and take the skeleton with them. When they finally meet, he accuses them of loving each other, confesses he was planning to murder them, and disappears taking the skeleton with him. At this point, Alberto brings his account to an end, and the silence filled with terror that has fallen on his audience is broken by his revelation that the whole story was of his own invention, made up to prepare them for tea. With this anticlimactic revelation, after the narrator’s investment in building up suspense, it would not seem far-fetched to suggest that Machado could be playing with a convention that was systematically employed by Ann Radcliffe, when rational explanations cancel out any intimation of the presence of the supernatural. Machado’s familiarity with her work is evidenced by a passing allusion to her novels in a crônica6 dated January 15, 1877: “Vejam lá; eu que li … os romances de Ana Radcliffe” [Take note: I who have read … the novels of Ana Radcliffe] (“Aleluia! Aleluia!” 357).

Machado de Assis’s Nightmarish World  61 There is no supernatural in “Um Esqueleto,” but rather the depiction of madness, a theme that would often reappear in Machado’s oeuvre. Gruesome details are interspersed in the story to create an atmosphere of dread and a feeling of impending doom: the night is gloomy and there is threat of rain; Dr. Belém has sinister eyes and smile; popular superstition believes him to be a werewolf or the devil’s close friend; Dr. Belém wishes to look like Mephistopheles; Alberto’s hair stands on end; and Marcelina’s shivers in alarm. Ordinary life appears thus as full of anomalies. Fear, fright, and the suggestion of horror are at the service not of creating effect, or possibly titillating the readers, but of the representation of the family as a structure of oppression, wherein Dr. Belém acts as the arbitrary power, and institutes the morality and the rule of terror. Marcelina is typically the woman in distress of so much Gothic fiction, with Dr. Belém playing the role of the tyrannical male. At stake are the meaning and purpose of marriage, frequently in Machado a sheer matter of convenience and calculation, rather than affection or love. In such relationships, selfishness and self-interest rule, while adultery always remains a possibility. In “Um Esqueleto,” a few macabre touches help darken the picture and denounce the dire consequences of the characters’ choices and decisions. Deploying Alberto as the autodiegetic narrator and witness to all the events, the narrative does not conceal its borrowing of melodramatic and feuilletonesque devices, which are debunked by the epilogue, when all the artifice is revealed. Alberto’s imagination has certainly been fed by his reading of Hoffmann, which must have played a central role in providing him with suggestions so that he could create his own tale of horror. The reader is then told “o Dr. Belém não existiu nunca” [Dr. Belém has never existed] (“Um Esqueleto” 826) and Alberto was just whetting his friends’ appetite while they waited for tea. If his story is nothing more than a sham, however, it has succeeded in infiltrating prosaic reality with the horrific and implying that apparently ordinary, everyday life can shelter strange and disquieting experiences that disrupt the familiarity of common situations. Although the surprising and unexpected ending calls readers back to reality and is sobering in its implicit warning that they should keep their critical distance and not let themselves be carried away by their flights of fancy, the psychological violence that pervades Alberto’s story makes an impression and persists as an aftertaste on our mind. Though there are no ghosts here, the skeleton and the use that Dr. Belém makes of it create a haunting effect which the return to reality at the end does not completely erase, as it lingers as a kind of reminder of the dangers involved in transgression. Violence is definitely more graphic in “Sem Olhos,” which lies more heavily on gruesome details and horror to tell yet another story of jealousy and male oppression, a topic that pervades Machado’s fiction in general, and which the recourse to the Gothic helps foreground in more

62  Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos explicit ways.7 The omniscient narrator who opens the narrative and sets the scene for the account that is to follow eventually relinquishes his position to a first-person narrator, whose strange and nightmarish experience as a young man will soon be shared with a small group of friends gathered for tea at the Vasconcelos’s home. But before he allows Cruz, now a judge of appeal, to illustrate the conversation about ghosts and about the party’s belief or disbelief in the existence of otherworldly phenomena, the homodiegetic narrator draws our attention to the flirtatious exchange between two other guests: law student Antunes and D. Maria do Céu, a beautiful married woman whose small and round eyes are devilish and bewitching and seem to drag those who behold her. Antunes is fascinated by her whose nature the narrator describes as a combination of sacred and profane, and seems absolutely at ease talking about dresses and fashion with the two ladies, while the men are still engaged in conversation about graver matters. For anybody familiar with Machado’s cunning, the short scene involving Antunes and D. Maria do Céu should prove to be far from irrelevant or haphazard, as the denouement will later suggest. And eyes, as we shall see, will prove to be pivotal to the development and meaning of the narrative. Cruz then starts his account of the episode he experienced while on holiday in Rio de Janeiro, when he was still a law student and made the acquaintance of a neighbor, Damasceno, an old and sick man with a lean, angular face, hollow eyes, hirsute hair, and hairy and wrinkled hands, altogether “um personagem fantástico” [a fantastic character] (“Sem Olhos” 79). Because of Damasceno’s interests and theories, Cruz supposes the man is a lunatic, and decides to learn more about him. He finds out that Damasceno had been a physician and is thought to be connected to the devil by some old women living in the neighborhood. Damasceno’s cold and sardonic smile, eccentricities, and his weird ideas and questions convince Cruz that he is in fact dealing with a madman. When Damasceno falls seriously ill, Cruz finds him delirious one day and while trying to help hears from him a piece of advice: he should never look at another man’s wife and, above all, never prompt her to look back. He then asks Cruz to open a box, where he keeps a secret he wants to reveal, before dying. Inside it, Cruz finds a miniature portrait of a young woman, whose story he will hear from Damasceno. Lucinda was married to a rich doctor, a taciturn and jealous man, whom Damasceno had met many years before. Her evident suffering first fills him with compassion, which soon becomes love—silent, cautious and hopeless, according to him. One day, when Lucinda seems sadder than ever, Damasceno dares ask her if she was distressed. She raises her eyes to him, they exchange glances, and, …dissseram nesse único minuto, que digo?, nesse único instante, toda a devastação de nossas almas; corando, ela abaixou os seus,

Machado de Assis’s Nightmarish World  63 gesto de modéstia, que era a confirmação de seu crime: eu deixei-me estar a contemplá-la silenciosamente. [revealed in that single minute, what do I say?, in that single instant, all the devastation of our souls; blushing, she lowered hers, a sign of modesty, which was the confirmation of her crime; I let myself silently contemplate her.] (“Sem Olhos” 95) Lucinda’s husband sees the scene and his rage “fazia dele uma Medusa” [turns him into a Medusa] (“Sem Olhos” 95). Immediately, “uma resolução fria e quieta” [a cold and quiet resolution] (95) makes him deaf to ­Damasceno’s attempts at explanation or defense of her innocence. A few weeks later, when Damasceno returns to the small town where the couple lived, he hears contradictory news about Lucinda: some say she has died, others that she has disappeared, while some believe she is very ill. He then decides to search for the truth, only to find out that as a matter of fact she was alive but her husband had pierced her eyes with a hot iron. The indirect reference to Hoffmann’s theme of the “Sand-Man” tearing out children’s eyes as punishment would be hard to miss here. Lucinda’s bleeding eyeballs are uncannily reminiscent of Olympia’s in Hoffmann’s tale. In Freudian terms, Lucinda’s husband had carried out “a mitigated form of the punishment of castration” (Freud 139), by robbing Lucinda of her eyes. The reference to Medusa, in its turn, reinforces the symbolism by suggesting that he embodies the mythical figure who “represents the objectifying look, the gaze, of the Other, that which objectifies and takes away the Self” (Leeming 61). As the one who looks and is in control of that world, Lucinda’s husband petrifies her subjectivity, denying her the right to existence and, therefore, exercising his tyrannical power. Now on his deathbed, it is her vision that haunts a terrified Damasceno. His fingers point to the apparition that visits him and Cruz sees a ghastly woman standing by the wall, the same woman in the portrait, “com os cabelos soltos, e os olhos … Os olhos, esses eram duas cavidades vazias e ensanguentadas” [with loose hair, and the eyes … The eyes, those were two empty and bloody hollows] (“Sem Olhos” 99). Under the impact of this experience, he faints and also falls ill. With Damasceno’s death, Cruz decides to make inquiries about him, and learns that his neighbor had never been to that small town, had married at twenty-five and the portrait was in fact of a niece of his, who had died still single. While the episode had seemed to be a lunatic’s invention, an illusion of the senses, Cruz cannot however explain how he had seen the eyeless woman. If the apparition can be described as a phantasmagoria, it is the miniature portrait, therefore the image, that produces the ghosting, once there is no real ghost, but just a counterfeit, a painted representation (“signifier”) with no corresponding referent (“signified”) (Hogle 502).

64  Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos When his small audience suggests Damasceno’s madness had been contagious, and Cruz had seen what Damasceno supposed he saw, Cruz ends his narrative saying that it would be better if Lucinda’s story were true, and then asks: “Que outro rival de Otelo há aí como esse marido que queimou com um ferro em brasa os mais belos olhos do mundo, em castigo de haverem fitado outros olhos estranhos? Crê agora em fantasmas, D. Maria do Céu?” [What other Othello’s rival is there somewhere, like this husband who burnt with a hot iron the most beautiful eyes in the world, as punishment for having gazed upon other strange eyes? Do you believe in ghosts now, D. Maria do Céu?] (“Sem Olhos” 102) Cruz’s direct question to D. Maria do Céu sounds both as a provocation and a warning, and hints at the purpose of the story he has just shared with his friends. At this point, the omniscient narrator resumes his narrative to tell us that D. Maria do Céu had lowered her eyes and shivered when addressed directly by Cruz. Antunes, in his turn, stood and went to a window—“talvez tomar ar—talvez refletir a tempo no risco de vir a interpretar algum dia um hebraísmo das Escrituras” [perhaps to recover his breath—perhaps to timely reflect on the risk of coming to interpret some day a Hebraism from the Scriptures] (“Sem Olhos” 102), most certainly a reminder of the verse from Jonah (4:11) which had been Damasceno’s first question to Cruz in search of an explanation for its meaning: “E então eu não perdoarei a grande cidade de Nínive, onde há mais de cento e vinte mil homens, que não sabem discernir entre a sua mão direita e a sua mão esquerda?” [And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left …?] (“Sem Olhos” 80) Enigmatic as the cross-reference may sound, it suffices to remember that Nineveh is depicted in the book of Jonah as a wicked city worthy of destruction, and that here God is showing his mercy for the people who are ignorant of the difference between right and wrong, to suggest Cruz’s story is a warning to both D. Maria do Céu and Antunes not to make the same mistake. They might as well bring together all the mentions to “eyes” that recur in the narrative and remember Damasceno’s cry on his deathbed: “Os olhos delinquiram, os olhos pagaram!” [The eyes have offended, the eyes must pay!] (“Sem Olhos” 98), a piece of cautionary

Machado de Assis’s Nightmarish World  65 advice that resounds throughout. Cruz’s allusion to the quintessentially jealous Othello only reinforces his indirect word of recommendation against their recklessness and flirting. That he may have invented this story is evidence not only of his power of observation, but also of his defense of social order (he is a judge, after all, and as such a voice of authority) and of patriarchal prerogative. In both stories, Machado recurred to the conventions of melodrama, the Gothic, and the romantic feuilletons to depict the violence, physical and/ or psychological, permeating the domestic space and the relationships between men and women in late nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro. Marriage appears here in its dark colors, with both wives trapped by predatory and vampiric husbands. In both, he discloses behaviors that transition between madness, the bizarre, and the strange. At the same time, ambiguity arises when Machado deflates those conventions by the implication that the inset stories are simply figments of the autodiegetic narrators’ imagination. Like a Chinese box, the story within the story is a recurring strategy to create distance between narrative and reader, in which the frame, by establishing two levels of narration, places the embedded narrative at two or three removes from the reader. This distance is a sobering device, as it tones down any suggestion of exaggeration and calls the reader back to reality. Employed sparingly, those conventions seem to simultaneously cater for Machado’s readers’ craving for strong emotions and surprising events (used as they were to the very popular romantic feuilletons) and allow for the exposure of situations of distress and oppression which might be educational for his female readers. At the same time he implies that distrust and reflection are crucial in any act of reading, he denounces the violence embedded in familial relations, while apparently bowing to convention and appeasing the existing state of affairs. As we know, framing devices have been a staple of the Gothic mode since its beginnings, and by containing the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable, they introduce an element of instability, or even antagonism, between fiction and reality, whose walls they tear down in order to reveal what lies behind or underneath the rational and organized world of everyday life. Although displaced to a distinct temporal and spatial dimension from the narrator’s, the central or embedded stories in Machado function as commentaries on the situations which the frame narratives present, especially in the case of “Sem Olhos.” Here, rather than simply opening the main story with a frame (a prologue), as he does in “Um Esqueleto,” Machado employs a “bracketing frame” (Williams) as its introduction and closure. The thematic symmetry suggested by the recurring eye trope at both diegetic and hypodiegetic levels allows us to read the two narratives as mirror texts of each other, as they can be articulated in terms of meaning and interpretation. However, Machado operates an inversion in the role played by the “bracketing frame,” since this is the story we should pay attention to. Cruz’s embedded story is a

66  Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos self-contained narrative with its own conflict, development and denouement. Its final cause is implied when the frame is resumed but, instead of providing a continuation of its plot, the extradiegetic narrator leaves it open and unresolved. The Gothic’s experiment with framed narratives, deployed in this case to effect a displacement of themes that a realistic account does not usually allow for, was serviceable to Machado in his treatment of the more oppressive aspects of family life and relationships. However, Machado’s restoration of the “normality” of the bourgeois home and context intimates how his stories should be read: suspicion and suspension of belief rather than emotional involvement. Without explicitly challenging the limits posed by the purposes and outlook of Jornal das Famílias, he plays with the reader’s expectations and opens up cracks in the edifice of patriarchal order and the status quo. In this way, the violent nature of the social and personal relationships in ­Brazil is foregrounded, while women’s plight is brought to the forefront. Women’s position within the family varied considerably depending on their status and wealth. In an unequal society like the Brazilian, based on slave labor, there were several kinds of familial organization, but there is a general agreement among specialists that the landed and rural ­patriarchal family was the foundation of the Brazilian nation. Under the patriarch’s roof, upper- and middle-class women’s role was to preside over the management of the household for which they could count on domestic slaves. Marriages of convenience and the double standard were common practices, and modesty in women was a requirement. It was only in the latter decades of the nineteenth century, with gradual urbanization and industrialization in the country, that women’s access to literacy8 increased and they started to participate in the public sphere and engage more openly in campaigns for female education and enfranchisement. Women’s subaltern position is in focus in “Um Esqueleto” and “Sem Olhos.” The domestic space becomes the stage where their predicament as dispossessed subjects is thrown into sharp relief, and bourgeois homes are depicted not necessarily as a safe haven or the locus of love and affection, but as places that may shelter betrayal, oppression, and torture. These two Machado’s stories do not flaunt medieval, crumbling castles, but fill the home with the Manichaean characters of melodrama and the excess that is a constitutive element of the Gothic. As they suggest, a vicious husband—represented as a Gothic tyrant, as Medusa-like, choleric, taciturn, and sinister-looking—may haunt the familial hearth and be the instrument of its destruction. With this move, Machado calls into question both the Romantic writers’ depiction of Brazil as a natural and tropical paradise, and the myth of Brazilian people’s peaceful and conciliatory disposition. Machado helps problematize Brazilians’ proverbial affability, and the nuclear family as the sphere of affectionate ties (Holanda). Through indirection, he also illuminates other aspects of Brazilian society which did not fit

Machado de Assis’s Nightmarish World  67 into the country’s constructed self-image. One could ask if, after reading these stories, it would be at all possible for his readers to close their eyes and ignore the violence that surrounded them in the treatment of women and also domestic or plantation slaves. The construction of Brazil’s self-image as a “racial democracy” was the work of generations in the past, which would allow for a local newspaper, A Província de São Paulo, to publish this idealized and absolutely false version of interpersonal relations in the country: The Brazilian master has never considered his slave as an animal; nor has he, changing into a hunter, searched for him in the woods with the help of dogs … Brazilians do not make racial distinctions. For them, they [the slaves] all share the same moral sentiments, and even the same civil and political equality. Today’s slave will be, thanks to his talents and virtues, equal to yesterday’s master and, undistinguishable both in their capacity as citizens, they will together collaborate in the construction of the prosperity of their homeland.9 (“Os Abolicionistas”) Cordiality, the Brazilian way, has been argued to have been a conscious strategy on the part of the ruling classes to ensure their position of authority and power by means of a politics based on relations of friendship and favor, thus concealing both the underlying and the open violence that obtained in an extremely unequal society. Machado’s stories could, therefore, be seen as an indirect and subtle commentary on the history of his own present. As a matter of fact, although there is hardly one single word or reference to Brazil’s slave present in them, slavery is the specter that haunts Brazilian society and lies in the shadows of his narratives. However far-fetched it might sound to bring together and compare the oppression and cruelty against women and that against slaves, their condition of inferiority, their subordination and the brutal treatment the latter received do not make the connection implausible. The experience of the Gothic is one founded on dislocation and displacement. As a mode, it was often resorted to as a means of dealing with the excesses that cannot be contained in a realistic representation of life. In Brazil, it was not a lasting and indelible mark in its literary production, but rather residual, more of a passing fashion. Yet, the circulation of Gothic novels in nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro allowed for the transplantation and appropriation of some of its conventions in a literary tradition and a socio-historical context far removed from the British one. Through transposition, hybridization, and tropicalization, they were displaced and incorporated into a new environment to cope with a rather different cultural and historical experience.

68  Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos By containing “oral” tales of violence which refer back to the past (even if imaginary) within a rational narrative frame situated in the present, Machado coalesced heterogeneous materials (everyday events, Gothic tropes, romantic conventions) into a tense unity in order to “foreground features of the social reality” (Jameson 4) that could not be accommodated in the kinds of stories (mostly with a clear moral content) that Jornal das Famílias expected from its contributors. The call back to ordinary existence and the realist impulse provided by the narrative frame are demystifying gestures both in “Um Esqueleto” and “Sem Olhos.” Machado’s turnaround deflates any dramatic or traumatic effects of these Gothic tropes, by displacing them and suggesting that readers should be suspicious and critical of what they read. In the same move, however, he embeds in his “Gothic” stories those aspects that Brazilian social reality imposed on him in order that he, as a realist at heart, might not break with verisimilitude and artistic truth. The strange world built in these stories may look disconcerting, but it was much closer to the reader’s experience than he could fathom. Machado strips away the veneer, “the cuticle of human respect and good manners in order to be able, beneath it, to unmask, investigate, experiment, discover the world of the soul, and expose some strange components of the personality” (Candido 106), thus challenging the boundaries between normality and abnormality, reason and madness, the exceptional and the commonplace, to better configure the contradictions and the ills of his society and time.

Notes 1 This is the demonym used to refer to the city of Rio de Janeiro in the nineteenth century. 2 One of the stories that Ginway discusses is “O Capitão Mendonça” [Captain Mendonça, 1870], described as “reminiscent of Gothic horror” and “loosely based on E. T. A. Hoffmann” (213). 3 See Sara Beatriz Guardia: Until well into the twentieth century, women writers were considered to be something uncommon and did not receive any critical attention … Female texts did not circulate regularly and many remained without any recognition. This is a silenced history, a silenced writing. (12) 4 Four holdings in that library were available to Machado during his lifespan: Aventures d’Arthur Gordon Pym (1868); Nouvelles Histoires Extraordinaires (1869); Tales (Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1884); Novellas Extraordinarias (1903). 5 Published originally in Jornal das Famílias, December 1876. In: Assis, Joaquim Maria Machado de. “Sem Olhos”. Contos Macabros, edited by Lannister de Oliveira Esteves. Rio de Janeiro: Escrita Fina, 2010, pp. 73–102. 6 Crônica: hybrid form of expression, half literary, half journalistic. It is sometimes translated as chronicle, which does not render its meaning adequately.

Machado de Assis’s Nightmarish World  69 7 In his later fictional work, male power will find more subtle and surreptitious forms of representation. 8 In a crônica dated 15 August 1876, Machado de Assis, bringing to mind the recent publication of the 1872 General Census of the Empire, remarks that “[t]he nation cannot read. There are only 30 percent of individuals living in this country who can read, of which 9 percent cannot read handwriting, while 70 percent remain in a state of complete ignorance” (Assis, “Historia de Quinze Dias” in Revista Brasileira). 9 Italics in the original. Founded by a group of Republicans on 4 January 1875, the newspaper was retitled O Estado de S. Paulo in 1889 and runs until today.

Works Cited Antonio Candido. “An Outline of Machado de Assis.” On Literature and Society. Translated, edited, and introduced by Howard S. Becker, Princeton UP, 1995, pp. 104–18. Assis, Joaquim Maria Machado de. “Advertência.” Várias Histórias in Obra Completa, vol. 2, Editora Nova Aguilar, 1992, p. 476. ———. “Aleluia! Aleluia!”. Obra Completa, vol. 3, Editora Nova Aguilar, 1992, pp. 356–57. ———. “História de Quinze Dias.” História de Quinze Dias, edited by Leonardo Affonso de Miranda Pereira, Unicamp, 2009, pp. 83–87. ———. “Sem Olhos”. Contos Macabros, edited by Lannister de Oliveira Esteves, Escrita Fina, 2010, pp. 73–102. Bosi, Alfredo. “A Máscara e a Fenda.” O Enigma do Olhar. Editora Ática, 1999, pp. 75–126. Crestani, Jaison Luís. Machado de Assis no Jornal das Famílias. Edusp/Nankin, 2009. Cunha, Patricia Lessa Flores da. A opção pelo conto: confluência e alteridade em Machado de Assis e Edgar A. Poe. Dissertation, Universidade de São Paulo, 1995. Fernandes, Marcelo J. “Machado de Assis Quase-Macabro.” Poiésis – Literatura, Pensamento & Arte, n. 85, abril 2003. de_assis.htm. Forgues, E.-D. “Études sur le Roman Anglais et Américain: Les Contes d’Edgar A. Poe”, Revue des Deux Mondes, 15 October 1846/10 (Nouvelle Série T16), pp. 341–66. França, Eduardo Melo. Ruptura ou Amadurecimento? Uma análise dos primeiros contos de Machado de Assis. Editora Universitária UFPE, 2008. Freud, Sigmund. The Uncanny. Translated by David Mclintok, Penguin Books, 2003. Garber, Marjorie. The Use and Abuse of Literature, Pantheon Books, 2011. Ginway, M. Elizabeth. “Machado’s Tales of the Fantastic: Allegory and the Macabre.” Emerging Dialogues on Machado de Assis, edited by Lamonte Aidoo and Daniel F. Silva, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp. 211–22. Gledson, John, translator. Introduction. A Chapter of Hats and Other Stories. By Machado de Assis, Bloomsbury, 2008. Guardia, Sara Beatriz (ed.). “Prólogo.” Escritoras del Siglo XIX en América Latina, Centro de Estudos La Mujer en la Historia de América Latina (CEMHAL), 2012, pp. 11–12.

70  Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos Hogle, Jerrold E. “The Gothic Ghost of the Counterfeit and the Progress of Abjection.” A New Companion to the Gothic, edited by David Punter, Wiley-­ Blackwell, 2012, pp. 496–509. Holanda, Sérgio Buarque de. Raízes do Brasil, José Olympio Ed., 1989. Jameson, Fredric. Antinomies of Realism. Verso, 2013. Leeming, David. “Medusa in the Age of Realism.” Medusa: In the Mirror of Time, Reaktion Books, 2013, pp. 55–62. Leite, N. França. “Os Abolicionistas (IV).” O Estado de S. Paulo, 19 January 1881, p. 1. Massa, Jean-Michel. “A Biblioteca de Machado de Assis.” A Biblioteca de Machado de Assis, edited by José Luís Jobim, Topbooks, 2001, pp. 23–90. Williams, Jeffrey. “Conspicuous Narrative.” Theory and the Novel. Narrative Reflexivity in the British Tradition, Cambridge UP, 1998, pp. 99–145.

5 Duplicitous Vampires Annihilating Tradition and Destroying Beauty in Froylán Turcios’s El vampiro Carmen Serrano The poets associated with the Latin American modernista movement, who emerged at the end of the nineteenth century, sought new forms of artistic expression aimed to create a more universal literature that would break away from Spain’s literary trajectory. They found inspiration in the works of French Symbolists and the Parnassian movement, as well as in the work of North American writers, such as Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe, among others. While modernista poetry has long been celebrated as innovative and has received extensive critical attention, the other genres of the movement, such as its short stories and novels, have been comparatively understudied. In particular, as related to the topic of this chapter, when past critics have analyzed the modernista prose that includes supernatural events, ominous settings, doubles, and vampires, they have usually classified it as la literatura fantástica [the literature of the fantastic]. Consequently, inter-textual criticism that analyzes modernista prose constructed from a montage of Gothic references is rare. Moreover, traditionally, the Gothic has been marginalized in criticism because of the genre’s sensationalistic tendencies and predictable form, having been long described as a literature of bad taste that appealed to substandard sensibilities, among many other disdainful condemnations. Similarly, many literary writers and critics in Spanish-speaking countries have ignored this genre of literature deemed predictable, unpleasant, and obsessed with depraved characters.1 Nevertheless, the Gothic and its vampiric entities did appeal to some Latin American authors, including those associated with el modernismo (ca. 1888–1920) as illustrated in Froylán Turcios’s El vampiro (1910) whose novel features the usual Gothic devices; yet the narration also draws from pre-Columbian myths and dark colonial folktales, which exacerbate its gloomy setting and mood of decay, and heighten the sense of mystery. Similar to what the European Gothicists had done, Turcios’s novel reverts to a time that brings to mind traditions and customs from a pre-modern era, reminiscent of the archaic qualities found in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764), Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1796), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), to cite a few examples. However, in El vampiro, the plot unfolds in a Latin American setting

72  Carmen Serrano in which he commemorates colonial traditions and the indigenous past, while also articulating feelings of displacement and dread for his contemporary world. In particular, Turcios’s vampiric entity, Fray Félix Aguilar, intents on destroying the sanctity of the home and family (and allegorically, the nation), embodies fears associated with the damaging effects modernity was wreaking on Latin America, and on Central America in particular. Additionally, the evocation of vampires and illomened doubles in the novel further allegorizes how a modern faith placed in science and progress, characterized as destructive forces in the text, subverted long-standing religious beliefs, and thus threatened the traditions of the landed gentry. To emphasize the perils of the industrial age on Central American culture, Turcios evokes Guatemalan folktales and pre-Columbian myths in the construction of his vampire villain, Fray Félix—a duplicitous priest in fiery pursuit of the novel’s young heroine, Luz de Mendoza. Yet, before examining how this novel and vampire in particular speak to events that marked an epoch, it is important to describe el modernismo and the author’s work within this movement. Turcios is an emblematic figure in Central American literature who, while admired by his contemporaries, has not enjoyed the same sustained recognition as his literary peers which include Rubén Darío, José Martí, and Delmira Agustini. In Froylán Turcios: su vida y sus obras [Froylán Turcios: His Life and Works], Moisés Vincenzi chronicles the author’s life and describes the admiration many modernistas expressed for his poetry and prose. Turcios was born into an elite family in Honduras, but once his family lost its fortune during his early adulthood, he secured a livelihood by becoming a journalist and holding various diplomatic positions that allowed him to travel throughout Latin America and Europe. During those travels, he held court with poets Rubén Darío, Leopoldo Lugones, and Alfonso Reyes, among other renowned poets of his time. His particular connection to Darío, for many considered the most emblematic figure of the modernista movement, inspired some of Turcios’s prose, demonstrating their shared fascination with themes that explored realms beyond the range of conventional knowledge or understanding. The modernista movement, of which Turcios became a part through his camaraderie with the aforementioned authors, emerged in the late nineteenth century as Latin American society was being seduced by the technology and progress brought about by industrialization. The modernistas retreated and drew inspiration from mythical and magical aspects found in the distant past. In support of this observed cultural and artistic response demonstrated by the modernistas, Cathy Jrade asserts that the “modernistas’ real and immediate ties to pre-modern modes of perception and belief offered a reservoir of responses to the modern world that they had entered” (Modernismo 28). In order to respond to

Duplicitous Vampires Annihilating Tradition  73 the modern and reject it, they often referred to classic myths and dedicated their poems to Venus and Zeus, as well as other well-known figures from the Hellenistic period. In addition, they culturally contextualized their works by imbuing their poetry and prose with indigenous heroes and gods. Drawing from a variety of available worlds that dissociated their art from ideas solely focused on industrial and scientific progress, their poetry also often conjured up distant epochs and exotic landscapes that included images of princesses, regal swans, and precious objects that celebrated a dying age of luxury and the aristocracy. Because of their stand against a cultural leveling brought on by industrialization, the modernistas, successors to Romanticism, drew from mysterious and occult themes, rather than from the literary realism which was emerging as the predominant artistic style at that time. 2 Modernistas, feeling suffocated by formalized scientific reason and progress, subverted the clinical certainty of science by summoning vampires and doubles, beings for which the material world had no rational explanation, as illustrated in their short stories “Thanatopia” (1893) by Rubén Darío; “La vampira” (1897) by Leopoldo Lugones; “Las vampiras” (1906) by Clemente Palma; and “Vendetta” (1909) by Fabio Fiallo.3 These emblematic modernista writers resisted the popular scientific ordering of the world through their prose, which featured unreal beings and mystery, and they emphasized and honored the notion that certain magical and supernatural events existed outside the realm of science and rational thought. Whereas scientific thought displaced the spiritual and magical, the modernistas created literary spaces, as the above stories suggest, that celebrated the extraordinary and unreal. As illustrated in Palma’s short story, “Las vampiras,” for example, Dr. Bing, who tries to save two young men from being devoured by female vampires, states that in their Age of Enlightenment and era of disbelief, science is unable to explain mysterious forces, occult powers, and ghosts (130). So while the prevalent Positivist philosophy of the period focused on taming the material world through scientific inquiry, the modernista vampires and doubles embodied excess, mystery, contradictions, and the impossible. These monsters thus destabilized reason, and represented the return of the repressed, the monstrous, and the Devil himself—all that could never fully be understood or tethered—that conveyed a heightened appreciation for mystery and wonder, to which the modernistas were clearly drawn. Similarly, in El vampiro, the author adopts the prescribed aesthetics and themes that characterize many of the modernistas texts, such as affected language and the mentioning of precious objects that represent the luxurious and the refined, which Vincenzi’s book further emphasizes when he states the following about Turcios’s texts: “Es, asimismo, un apasionado de los mármoles, las sedas, los perfumes, las piedras preciosas, y sobre todo la perfección del espíritu, la belleza de la formas

74  Carmen Serrano helénicas … en general todas las formas de la elegancia y del lujo” [He is, as well, an admirer of marble, silks, perfumes, precious stones, and above all spiritual perfection, the beauty of Hellenic forms … in general, all forms of elegance and luxury] (11). In addition to objects of beauty, Turcios references the lugubrious and the morbid in El vampiro and in his subsequent novel, El fantasma blanco (1911) [The White Ghost], which both take place in La Antigua, Guatemala, a city whose traditions he knew well. La Antigua, once the influential capital, is famous for its colonial architecture, its impressive volcanic topography, and its Mayan ruins, qualities that the narrator in El vampiro lyrically describes in detail, thus emphasizing the narrator’s as well as the and author’s deep admiration for the region’s colonial past, its cultural traditions, and its former claim to glory.4 This romanticized atavism, coupled with the disdain for the modern, characterizes the modernista movement, revealing the writers’ loathing towards modernity’s noisy register. However, this recuperation of pre-modern era, in which authors could revive old folktales from near and distant lands to further enhance gloomy settings, also resonates with the approach taken by European Gothicists.

Old World Gothic Turcios’s novel uses the language and themes characteristic of the modernistas, yet El vampiro should also be read within the Gothic tradition. The Gothic’s imaginative representation of bygone times and its proclivity for expressing contemporary anxieties through monstrous figures provides Turcios yet another frame through which to articulate the multifaceted fears and disdain for the industrial age. While Gothic novels typically evoke an archaic past, they also address modern concerns, or as Fred Botting more succinctly states: “Gothic narratives never escaped the concerns of their own times, despite the heavy historical trappings” (2). Yet what are some of the more salient Gothic traits cited in criticism that also appear in El vampiro? Maggie Kilgour states that Gothic stories usually include a passive and persecuted female, a sensitive and ineffectual hero, and a tyrannical villain, along with the loquacious servants (4–5). In keeping with the Gothic tradition, Turcios includes the aforementioned characters and also features an orphaned heroine, a malevolent clergy, a vampire bat, and revenants, which represent other, more nuanced defining qualities usually associated with the Gothic. Similar to many Gothic texts, the plot of El vampiro unfolds in an antiquated city (La Antigua) within the walls of an old mansion filled with secret passageways and alcoves that hide a dark secret from the past that haunts the characters, both psychologically and physically. 5 The local traditions and folktales, framed within a Gothic discourse, provide a rich source material to further express the manner in which new forces, brought on by modernity, were destroying old

Duplicitous Vampires Annihilating Tradition  75 orders and traditions in this part of the continent. Situating the novels in Guatemala’s former colonial capital of the country (and not Honduras) also suggests the author’s artistic goal to transcend national boundaries, a universal approach to literature that could be attributed to the modernistas in general.6 As such, Turcios’s novel cannot be seen strictly as addressing Guatemalan concerns specifically; rather, his works respond to both Pan-American and Central American social, political, and cultural situations of the time. Specifically, at the turn of the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century, industrialization and nascent globalization were having a profound impact on Latin America trade. In particular, Central American economies were being transformed from a rural and agrarian model to a money-based market economy. Dan Koeppel explains how US owned companies, such as the Standard Fruit and Steamship Companies and The Cuyamel to United Fruit Company, were taking over territories and expanding their sphere of influence (64). More precisely, in 1904, Guatemalan dictator Manuel Estrada Cabrera approved a ninety-nine year unlimited license allowing these companies to cultivate lands and build railways (120, 249). The concession of lands to foreign interests, the construction of railroads, the building of the Panama Canal, and the Catholic Church’s complicit role in some of these maneuverings emphasized the ways in which Central American countries were being co-opted by a myriad of interests, and represented cultural and physical loss that El vampiro obliquely articulates.

New World Gothic Turcios’s representation of a feudal, dark, and monstrous world, vis-àvis the Gothic, metaphorically reflects the ways evil (industrial) entities were in the process of destroying consecrated spaces. A significant way in which the novel addresses this conglomeration of anxieties is through the figure of the vampire. A rich critical tradition has successfully argued that the Gothic and its monsters allegorize ideas about human life, or as Joan Gordon and Veronica Hollinger succinctly posit “the vampire stands before us cloaked in metaphor” (3).7 As such, Turcios’s vampires and doubles allegorize the multifaceted fears threatening the local culture, Latin American traditions, and established economies at the turn of the century.8 The novel harkens back to a romanticized and departed past that idealizes the richness of the highest strata of colonial society from La Antigua, Guatemala. In El vampiro, the characters reside in the country’s former colonial capital, whose glorious past has since been lost. The story is narrated in the first person by Rogerio, almost fourteen and in love with his fifteen-year-old orphaned cousin, Luz, whom he plans to marry. Together, they live in a gloomy and ghostly colonial mansion enjoying

76  Carmen Serrano a life of privilege and wealth from landholdings the family has owned for several generations. As descendants of the longstanding ruling class, their daily routines reflect a lifestyle appropriate for their social status. They play the piano, recite poetry, stroll through the gardens, attend Mass, and, most importantly, they never work. They neither encounter nor intermingle with anyone from a lower social class; they do not attend public schools, but are taught instead by a German governess who tends to their intellectual development. How this author characterizes this young couple and their lifestyle expresses his admiration for the more extravagant customs of the landed gentry, yet the implicit waning of the lifestyle also makes clear that he found the changes brought on by modernity disconcerting.9 They are the last of a dying, obsolescent aristocracy, who will soon be replaced by a more affluent middle class due to the changing economic structures at the end of nineteenth century. Rogerio expresses a passion for the glorious former times and pines for the slowly disappearing fantasy and splendor once found in La Antigua (Turcios 80). In addition to his nostalgia, Rogerio also despises the material, artificial, and vacuous cities heralded as models for the future (108). The narrator laments the loss of a magnificent past soon to be replaced by what he perceives as a more threatening system, specifically stating how La Antigua will be ruined by new technology: Pero al llegar a nuestras puertas el ferrocarril, desaparecería su aspecto de gloriosa vejez en breves años. Perdería, definitivamente, para siempre, su carácter único en la tierra para convertirse en una población comercial … Sus ruinas, sus tradiciones, su fisonomía solo suya, su aire misterioso de quimera, su tristeza melancólica, su fúnebre hermosura … su espíritu y su recóndito encanto desaparecería lamentablemente para dar lugar a las nuevas fuerzas y a las manifestaciones de progreso contemporáneo. [But upon the train’s arrival to our doors, its glorious old age will disappear within a few years. It will definitely, forever, lose its unique character on earth in order to be converted into a population of commerce … its ruins, its traditions, its physiognomy, its chimeric air of mystery, its melancholic sadness, its funerary beauty … Its spirit and enchantment unfortunately will disappear in order to make room for new forces and the manifestations of contemporary progress.] (127–28) The above citation explicitly reveals his admiration for the mythic past and dread for what is to come. His purposeful use of the word “chimeric,” a fantastic monster made up of disparate parts, as cited above and throughout the novel, also adds to the novel’s dark and mysterious ambience.

Duplicitous Vampires Annihilating Tradition  77 Rogerio, the narrator, described as modest, gloomy, and melancholic, expresses admiration for La Antigua and its pre-Columbian ruins. He is also completely devoted to his cousin Luz, who inspires great passion in him. Luz is portrayed as an alluring and dangerous otherworldly beauty, which is also characteristic of the manner in which modernistas imagined female figures in their poetry and prose, as the following words indicate: Su opulenta cabellera, de un negror profundo con reflejos azulados, con reflejos que sólo he visto en el plumaje de ciertos pájaros de la sierras; sus grandes ojos de sol y de tiniebla, tristes y bellos como plenilunios, ojos que hacían soñar en ignotos edenes sobrenaturales; … su aire grave de silencio y misterio, hacían de ella una criatura excepcional y casi divina. [Her deep dark opulent hair with blue highlights, are highlights that I have only seen in the feathers of certain birds in the sierras; her big eyes made of sun and darkness, sad and beautiful like a full moon, eyes that made one dream of unknown supernatural Edens; … Her silent and mysterious grave demeanor, turned her into an exceptional creature, almost godly.] (Turcios 30) The heroine embodies the ideals of beauty and tradition; yet, the metaphoric language Rogerio uses to describe Luz simultaneously transforms her into a mysterious and ominous creature. Rogerio often juxtaposes adjectives that pair death with female beauty, which is similar to the way he describes La Antigua. He describes Luz as having “mejillas mórbidas” [morbid cheeks] (30), “cabellera de tinieblas” [mane of darkness] (83), and “dedos mórbidos” [morbid fingers] (152). She also recites Edgar Allan Poe’s story “Ligeia” with “fúnebre entonación” [funerary intonation] (67), which Rogerio finds alluring. She is like the beautiful and dead ruins of La Antigua that Rogerio so admires. The words Rogerio uses to describe Luz throughout the novel suggest that she embodies ideals of beauty, culture, mystery, and tradition; however, Luz, like La Antigua, is being threatened by ominous entities. More precisely, Fray Félix, admired for his sanctity and benevolence, is also a monstrous creature wanting to corrupt Luz. And through his actions in particular, the novel expresses the threatening forces undermining the Central American culture and natural beauty, as personified by Luz. Rogerio considers Luz an essential part of his being, like someone who has been born of and split from him or, as he says, “un desdoblamiento de mi personalidad” [an unfolding of my personality] (122), which suggests he is deeply bound to her. The

78  Carmen Serrano mentioning of the “double” is also a trope repeated throughout the text, which further suggests that one tradition is being replaced by a more lurid one. The doppelgänger, a quintessential usurper, also contributes to the character development of the duplicitous and vampiric priest, Fray Félix, who is described as a deceitful holy man who pretends to serve God, but is secretly serving the Devil or some other malignant entity. Malevolent immoral Catholic monks are archetypal characters of Gothic literature, as observed in Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1796) and Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian (1797). In Lewis’s novel Ambrosio, a Capuchin monk, who goes by the appellation “the Man of Holiness,” inspires universal awe through his sermons, but driven by lust, transforms into an evil being, committing acts of murder and rape, similar to Fray Félix’s behavior in El vampiro. Similarly, in Radcliffe’s novel, Father Schedoni, is believed to be a holy man, yet he lives a double life: he commits fratricide and abducts the young heroine, Ellen, whom he also plans to murder, just one crime among other treacherous acts he commits in the story. Analogous to other priests as found in the Gothic canon, Fray Félix has hidden evil intentions, but is admired by all the townspeople, except for Rogerio, who is not deceived by the Father’s false appearance of good and immediately recognizes his hidden malevolence. Rogerio describes the priest’s hideous physiognomy which reminds him of that of a malignant wild animal (34). He has a countenance that, according to Rogerio, is simultaneously yellow and black; he also has yellow eyes and claw-like hands (55).10 The priest is a revered public figure, but also evil and animal-like, suggesting that he is a split-self and hides a monster ready to attack. Similar to other villains in Gothic novels such as in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), the characters’ hidden violence does not correspond to their public image of respectability. In Turcios’s novel, this concealed ferocity only manifests when Rogerio discovers that the priest has tried to rape Luz in the church. As a result, he confronts him with a crucifix in one hand and a whip in the other, shouting sacred words to cast him out of their home. Like any vampire would, the priest rushes from the Mendoza home, seemingly floating with his windblown black cape divided into batlike wings (38). This inclusion of the malignant priest is also an overt critique of the Catholic Church.11 The narrator, Rogerio, presented as a fervent Catholic, argues that the Church has betrayed Jesus’s teachings in becoming a decadent institution (90). This critique of the Catholic Church is also a quality that many critics have often noted as yet another Gothic characteristic.

Duplicitous Vampires Annihilating Tradition  79

Gothic Hybridity The above examples emphasize the ways in which Turcios draws from many sources; however, he also innovates by syncretizing indigenous beliefs and colonial folktales, with traditions found in both European and US Gothic-inspired literature, to produce a modernista expression of the Gothic. Jrade describes the ways in which indigenous culture inspired modernistas; these themes play a lesser role in their collective works as compared to the modernistas’ fascination with European traditions (Modernismo 28–29). Yet, in El vampiro, Turcios creates a socio-­cultural amalgamated response through his artistic synthesis of Guatemalan landscape, pre-Columbian worldviews, and local folktales, all of which further inform the novel’s Latin American Gothic identity. Turcios’s amalgamation of the Gothic and traditional indigenous myth intensify its Gothicism within a Latin American context, especially through its evocation of animal doubles portending death. At the end of the novel, a terrible battle ensues between Rogerio and a vampire bat, in which he crushes the beast with the help of the faithful household dog. Rogerio later learns that the priest has died of strangulation in another town, far from where the animal was just killed, suggesting that the vampire bat was the priest’s animal double, a feature found both in Gothic literature and indigenous traditions. The quality of being both human and animal is reminiscent of Dracula, who can transform into a vampire bat (a blood-sucking species found only in the Americas). However, this animal double also summons the preColumbian shape-shifter myth as found in the nahual or nagual. In her introduction to Turcios’s novel, Helen Umaña, explains that the author was well versed in Mesoamerican myths, as well as local folktales, and the allusion to the animal-double is an example of Turcios’s inclusion of these Guatemalan traditions. She posits that the animal-double is closely associated with autochthonous beliefs related to the nahual (13). Although these ideas vary from region to region in Mesoamerica, in general, the animal doubling is often associated with powerful man in the community, usually described as a type of shaman. One meaning of the word nahual is “to disguise” and represents the shaman’s ability to transform into an animal, such as a dog, coyote, or pig, to hide his true identity. Although not often mentioned, the vampire bat has at times been associated with the shape-shifting powers found in these indigenous traditions. The animaldouble is sometimes called on to prevent evil from entering a town, or may be summoned for astrological divination (Middleton 70–71; Correa 77). Aside from their protective function, these shamanistic entities can also cause harm. John Middleton explains the term as follows: “In broad and general terms, the kinds of meanings most frequently associated with nagual in ethnographic literature can be classed under two headings: the

80  Carmen Serrano ‘companion’ or ‘guardian’ spirit and the ‘transforming witch’” (70–71). Consequently, depending on the context, the nahual can be a benevolent animal companion and guardian, or an evil-doer. This association with evil was especially conferred on this shape-shifter during the conquest of the Americas when certain Roman Catholic missionary priests, influenced by the traditions of the Spanish Inquisition, proselytized by demonizing indigenous cultures and their belief systems (Correa 81–82). In El vampiro, the recuperation of nahualismo demonstrates how Turcios returns to a more mystical past, underscoring yet again how he is drawn to the archaic and the magical; however, he is drawing from the American pre-modern, and not solely a European one. Turcios’s text further transforms and transcends the Gothic and speaks to Central American ethos by including autochthonous beliefs and traditions. The novel tacitly evokes the famous Guatemalan legend of El ­Sombrerón, a mysterious man in dark clothing who serenades young women, usually virgins, bewitching them and leading to their perdition. El Sombrerón tale stems from an oral tradition set in colonial times, and due to the nature of oral communication and art, contrasting versions of the story exist.12 In certain versions, El Sombrerón has been described as an old man dressed in black, wearing a large black hat, who carries a guitar to woo young women with his song. This colonial folktale also appears in Leyendas de Guatemala [Legends of Guatemala] (1930), written by Nobel prize-winning Miguel Ángel Asturias, whose book retells the legends drawn from colonial and Mayan origins. In his version of El Sombréon myth, the narrator laments that priests have lost their religious dedication and have abandoned their sacred duties, thus ­leaving them open to temptation. In the story, a magical ball m ­ ysteriously appears, confounding a priest and provoking unsettling thoughts. The story indicates that this object has dark alluring and seductive powers; however, unlike Fray Félix, this priest does not cede to temptation. I­ nstead, a young boy follows the ominous ball, which magically transforms into a large hat that then attaches itself to the boy’s head, thus giving birth to El Sombrerón. In yet another version, this well-known story takes place in the region of La Antigua, Guatemala, so it is foreseeable that Turcios’s devil-like priest is suggestive of this local myth. Similar to El Sombrerón, Fray Félix dresses all in black, and the cloth of his attire reminds Rogerio of that used for mourning (55). Fray Félix also wears a black hat as ominous as his dark face, as the following example indicates: “El viento inflaba su capa negra, que hacia los costados se extendía como dos alas siniestras; y su peludo sombrero, de color de su rostro, semejaba un repugnante pliegue membranoso sobre el cráneo” [The wind inflated his black cape, which made the sides extend like two sinister wings; and his hairy hat, the same color of his face, was like a membranous crease on his head] (38). In certain oral accounts, El Somberón’s hat might also be described as forming part of the wearer’s

Duplicitous Vampires Annihilating Tradition  81 physiognomy, which cannot be removed; therefore, the use of the word, “membranous,” suggests that the hat is an integral part of the priest’s body. Furthermore, Rogerio also mentions that in his grandfather’s secret alcove, a place where the vampire monster seemingly hides, he finds a black cape and a guitar, also allusive of the El Sombrerón myth. Although Father Félix does not conform to all the characteristics u ­ sually associated with this Guatemalan myth, he does share some important ones: he wears black clothing, sports the emblematic black hat, and is intent on destroying a young virgin, Luz. While he does not ­seduce Luz with his song, he does have a hypnotic effect on her when she is alone with him in the confessional. Luz tells Rogerio that the priest is damning her and placing her under his spell: “Me voy a condenar … desde la primera confesión está hundiéndome en el infierno” [I am b ­ eing damned … since the very first confession he is submerging me into the depths of hell] (39). To further accentuate Fray Félix’s wickedness and his transgressive role in the Church, the novel alludes to Guatemalan beliefs that priests serve as agents of evil. According to Gustavo Correa, during colonial times, there was a long-standing Guatemalan oral tradition that emphasized the way that clerics, in a constant battle against ­Satan in monasteries and convents, made unsavory deals with evil ­entities (86–87). In these folktales, some priests were suspected of falling under Satan’s spell, which might further explain why Turcios bestows demonic qualities on Fray Félix. The evocation of corrupt priests, the nahual and El Sombrerón, is yet another way in which the author weaves local popular folklore into the constructions of his vampire figure. El vampiro employs language the follows modernista aesthetics and further underscores the movement’s interest in the mysterious, the unexplainable, and the lugubrious. However, Turcios also draws from, and innovates, its Gothic qualities by emphasizing the regional landscape and a tradition that includes pre-Columbian myths and Guatemalan folklore referencing animal-doubles, evil priests, and other malicious entities in cahoots with the Devil. The above examples emphasize the ways in which the mystical, the pre-modern, pre-Columbian, and the age-old Guatemalan myths inspired Turcios’s art and allowed him to comment on how modernity was destroying the beauty and patrimony of the region. Through the Gothic handling of menacing entities, El vampiro articulates inscrutable fears brought about by a fast-changing, unknowable, and portentous future. The threatening male vampire, in particular, embodies the destructive effects of modernity and suggests that new threatening forces ruin art, undermine sanctified institutions, and displace age-old customs, not just in Central America, but throughout the Latin American continent. Turcios thus not only innovates modernista prose, but also creates one of the first Latin American Gothic novels to feature vampires, through which he articulates multifaceted fears and artfully conveys the ways in which the majestic ruins and traditions were being entombed under the vacuous new.

82  Carmen Serrano

Notes 1 See Fred Botting, Gothic, who discusses the Gothic’s place in criticism in more detail. 2 See Jrade, Rubén Darío and the Romantic Search for Unity, in which she explores occult and esoteric themes in the modernistas’ works. 3 See Mora, “Decadencia y vampirismo,” for a more detailed exploration of Palma’s utilization of the female vampire. 4 By 1910, the avant-garde, such as Futurism, was gaining recognition internationally. The Futurist aims as expressed in their manifesto stand in stark contrast to the Turcios’s approach to art. Futurists especially celebrated technology, films, the railway and all of a noisy modernity and the bustle of the metropolis. See Marinetti, Manifesto of Futurism (1909). 5 See Hogle, introduction to The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction. 6 See Jrade, Modernismo, Modernity, and the Development of Spanish American Literature, who mentions their more universal approach to literature. 7 Also see Jeffrey J. Cohen, “Monster Theory (Seven Theses).” 8 Arguably, in 1910, the novel anticipates the US economic and political intervention that would be more influential later in that century throughout Central America. The country would be overtaken by the United Fruit Company, whose executives referred to it as the “Conquest of Honduras” (Euraque 7). 9 José Antonio Funes describes the manner in which Rubén Darío and Froylán Turcios were attracted to the lavish lifestyle of the aristocracy; see Funes, “Froylán Turcios y el modernismo” (205). 10 There are many adjectives used to emphasize Father Félix’s darkness suggesting that he might be black, which I do not explore here due to space limitations but could represent another line of inquiry. 11 See Dussaillant, “El decadentismo visto desde Centroamérica.” The author argues the vampire is a metaphor for institutions that impede national development (the Catholic Church being one); therefore, the vampire must be annihilated. 12 In fact Guatemala’s first feature film, El Sombrerón (1950), directed by Guillermo Andreu and Eduardo Fleischman, is based on one of this region’s most famous legends.

Works Cited Asturias, Miguel Ángel. Leyendas de Guatemala. F & G Editores, 2012. Botting, Fred. Gothic. Routledge, 2014. Cohen, Jeffrey J. “Monster Theory (Seven Theses).” Monster Theory: Reading Culture, edited by Jeffrey J. Cohen, U of Minnesota P, 1996, pp. 3–25. Correa, Gustavo. “El espíritu del mal en Guatemala.” Nativism and Syncretism, edited by Munro S. Edmonson and William Madsen, Middle American Research Institute, Tulane U, 1960, pp. 41–102. Dussaillant, Chantal. “El decadentismo visto desde Centroamérica: ‘El vampiro’ (1910) de Froylán Turcios.” Hispamérica, vol. 41, no. 123, 2012, pp. 103–109. JSTOR, Euraque, Darío A. Reinterpreting the Banana Republic: Region and State in Honduras, 1870–1972. The U of North Carolina P, 1996. Funes, José Antonio. “Froylán Turcios (1874–1943) y el modernismo en Centroamérica.” Anales de Literatura Hispanoamericana, vol. 35, 2006, pp. 195–220. ProQuest,

Duplicitous Vampires Annihilating Tradition  83 Gordon, Joan and Veronica Hollinger. “The Shape of Vampires.” Introduction. Blood Read: The Vampire as Metaphor in Contemporary Culture, edited by Joan Gordon and Veronica Hollinger, U of Pennsylvania P, 1997, pp. 1–7. Hogle, Jerrold E. Introduction. The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, edited by Jerrold E. Hogle, Cambridge UP, 2002, pp. 1–20. Jrade, Cathy L. Modernismo, Modernity, and the Development of Spanish American Literature. U of Texas P, 1998. ———. Rubén Darío and the Romantic Search for Unity: The Modernist Recourse to Esoteric Tradition. U of Texas P, 1983. Kilgour, Maggie. The Rise of the Gothic novel. Routledge, 1995. Koeppel, Dan. Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World. Hudson Street P, 2008. Middleton, John. Magic, Witchcraft, and Curing. Published for the American Museum of Natural History of New York, Natural History P, 1967. Mora, Gabriela. “Decadencia y vampirismo en el modernismo hispanoamericano: Un cuento de Clemente Palma.” Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana, vol. 23, no. 46, 1997, pp. 191–98. JSTOR, Palma, Clemente. “Las vampiras.” 1906. Cuentos malévolos. CreateSpace, 2015, pp. 130–40. El Somberón. Directed by Andreu Guillermo, Guatemala Films, 1950. Youtube, uploaded by Rock Chapin, 25 April 2016, ngNpqBVCrJc&t=242s. Turcios, Froylán. El fantasma blanco. 1911. El relato fantástico en Honduras, edited by Mario Gallardo, Letra Negra, 2003. ——— El vampiro. 1910, Casasola Editores, 2013. Umaña, Helen. “Introducción.” El vampiro, 1910, Casasola Editores, 2013, pp. 9–16. Vincenzi, Moisés. Froylán Turcios: Su vida y sus obras. Imprenta María v. de Lines, 1921. HaitiTrust Digital Library, 89099404915;view=1up;seq=5. 6.

6 Liberation and the Gothic in Carlos Solórzano’s Las manos de Dios David Dalton

Few Latin American playwrights of the twentieth century enjoyed greater success than the Guatemalan-born Carlos Solórzano (1919–2011), one of the main fixtures in the Mexican theatre from the fifties through the seventies (Schoenbach 21).1 A philosopher and intellectual at heart, he used the theatre as a platform for engaging existentialist ideas about the meaning of life. Many critics have written extensively about how he used the stage to discuss and theorize the existence and the (lack of) goodness of God (Feliciano, “Figura” 27; Uría-Santos 148); nevertheless, no scholars have noticed the connections between Solórzano’s theatre and the Gothic. In this chapter, I discuss the Gothic underpinnings of Las manos de Dios: Auto en tres actos [The Hands of God: A Miracle Play in Three Acts], 2 one of his most commercially successful works (Quackenbush, Devotas 88 and “Antitradicionalismo” 16). Originally staged in 1956 in Mexico City, the play criticizes the authoritarian nature of the Church by celebrating a rebellious Diablo who tries to free a village by awakening its inhabitants to the injustices that they face. Critics have long interpreted the characters of this play—particularly El Diablo and El Cura—as participants in a Manichean, religiously-­ charged yet inverted allegory (Feliciano, “Figura” 27; Uría-Santos 149; Dauster, “Tragedia” 28; Calderón 114; Rosenberg 41). This line of thinking speaks to the play’s existentialist nature, but it has also led to simplistic readings that ignore the fact that both El Cura and El Diablo exhibit moral shortcomings. My approach to this play invites a more nuanced understanding of El Diablo as a Latin American revolutionary. At one level, he is a tragic figure embroiled in a heartbreaking, failed campaign against oppression and corruption; at another, he is an opportunist whose revolution depends on the endangerment of women. A brief plot summary will facilitate my discussion: the play tells of a Latin American town lorded over by the Catholic Church and El Amo, an invisible yet omnipresent man who owns all of the land. Two of the village’s inhabitants, Beatriz and her brother, recently lost their father. El Amo told them that, due to an outstanding debt, the land they worked now belonged to him. In a drunken stupor, the brother retorted that the land was his; El Amo had him arrested. Beatriz asks El

Liberation and the Gothic  85 Carcelero (the jailor) to free her brother, 3 but he refuses and demands a bribe. El Diablo tells Beatriz to ask El Carcelero how much money he would need to free her brother. The man demands three hundred pesos. El Diablo tells her to agree and promises to help her get the money. He later tells her to steal jewels from the local cathedral. El Carcelero demands more money after Beatriz pays him. The woman returns to the cathedral, and El Cura catches her. Beatriz’s story causes a mass rebellion that makes El Diablo visible to all. The people almost revolt, but they are subdued when El Cura says that God has punished their insolence by destroying their crops. With El Cura’s blessing, the people tie Beatriz to a tree and leave her to freeze to death. Realizing that he can no longer help her, El Diablo apologizes to Beatriz; the dying woman accepts his words and implores him to continue his fight. Her quick act of forgiveness seems to validate El Diablo’s work by casting him as a tragic hero of futile Latin American resistance. Nevertheless, because Beatriz would still be alive if El Diablo had not intervened, he is also the character that catalyzes her death. According to Helene Meyers, one especially interesting aspect of Gothic literature is that “villains and protectors [of women] are often at least temporarily indistinguishable one from another” (18). Her assertion is especially appropriate in Las manos de Dios, where two male characters center their political movements on Beatriz’s body. If we follow the lead of previous critics and view the play as a simple inversion of moral value between El Diablo and El Cura, we fail to account for the fact that both of these characters act in ways that ultimately signal Beatriz’s life as expendable. El Diablo’s lamentation, “I’ve lost this battle of rebellion so many times” (Hands 141), reminds us that people have died from his activism before. He knows that Beatriz risks death if she steals the jewels, yet he convinces her to do so anyway. El Diablo does not order her execution, and he even tries (unsuccessfully) to detain the villagers as they go about their grim task; however, his decision to use her to turn the town against the Church causes her demise. El Diablo is such a sympathetic figure that no one has criticized his actions despite his partial culpability in Beatriz’s death. This is due to the fact that he enjoys multiple levels of signification; while he is clearly an “endangerer of women,” he is also the mouthpiece of the resistance against an impersonal God and an overbearing Amo. David García Pérez argues that Solórzano builds on the ideas of Albert Camus, who distinguished the rebel (a positive figure who seeks justice) from the revolutionary (a negative being who seeks to establish a new order through violence) by exalting the rebellious attitude of the townspeople (“Recepción” 67). His argument provides an interesting vantage point for engaging the play, but it ignores the fact that any act of rebellion, even one carried out in the name of justice, is threatening precisely due to its revolutionary potential. El Diablo’s end goal in awakening the

86  David Dalton village’s latent rebellion is to militarize the masses and obliterate the order of both God and El Amo. Women bear a disproportionate amount of responsibility in his revolution, but most of the audience views his cause as just. Thus, Solórzano produces an aesthetic that engages with the political landscape of the day through characters that enjoy multiple levels of signification. This reflects a deeper tendency within the Gothic in general; as Jerrold E. Hogle notes, the genre was born out of an Anglo-­ Saxon literary environment whose narrative—and even readers—were “torn between the enticing call of aristocratic wealth and sensuous Catholic splendor, on the one hand, and a desire to overthrow these past orders of authority in favor of a quasi-equality associated with the rising middle-class ideology” (4). Hogle provides clues as to how to approach Las manos de Dios, but we must adapt his observations to twentieth-­ century Latin America. It would be impossible for the play to be about containing aristocratic desires while transitioning to a bourgeois economy because that is not the political and economic context from which it is staged. El Amo’s control of the land reflects the agrarian feudalism that permeated many Latin American countries well into the twentieth century, where mixed-race elites officially owned the land, but indigenous underlings carried out the vast majority of work (Quijano 535–536). Solórzano equates El Amo with an oppressive land owner, an autocratic government, and even God; interestingly, El Cura uses religion to validate El Amo’s political power. Despite the playwright’s assertion that Las manos de Dios takes place in an unspecified Latin American country (Hands 97), the performance of gender and race suggests that it takes place in Guatemala—or possibly southern Mexico—where, according to Carol A. Smith, women “b[ear] the burden of maintaining the main markers of Maya ethnic identity” (738). The playscript never codes Beatriz as indigenous through dialogue or stage directions, but she does wear traditionally indigenous garb that underscores the work’s obvious racial connotations (Feliciano, “Myth” 130). Unlike the Anglo Gothic, where readers and texts teetered back and forth in their treatment of the aristocracy, Solórzano’s play unequivocally dissociates itself from El Amo. Far from a nostalgic figure of the past, El Amo becomes an omnipresent force that perpetuates great injustices throughout twentieth-­ century Latin America. Solórzano proposes a violent rupture between the people, the Church, and its complicit feudal society and posits a communal order rooted in both Marxist and indigenous traditions that will rise in its stead. This political focus has led many contemporary scholars to reject the traditional existentialist approach to the play. As Matthew Di Giordano notes, the Church and the land-owning Amo function as Althusserian Institutional State Apparatuses that form local subjectivities in a way that “disregard[s] any notion of an existential subjectivity” (4; see also

Liberation and the Gothic  87 Althusser 15–22). We can reconcile Di Giordano’s oppositional readings with those of other scholars as we view the play as a Gothic performance that imbues its different characters with multiple subjectivities, some existential, others political. In no place is this more visible than with the Church, which produces an institutional—and even physical—­ claustrophobia in the town. Indeed, the Church’s prominence in everyday life produces an antiquated atmosphere that contributes to the play’s critique. While the politics of the play is not modern, it is contemporary, and much of Solórzano’s critique comes from the mood that emerges as local religious leaders impose archaic forms of oppression on the peasantry. The playwright emphasizes the Church’s power in the town by placing an elegant baroque cathedral at the back of the stage. It may seem strange to place a baroque church on the stage of a play with such strong Gothic overtones, but we should remember that the earliest cathedrals of the region were post-Gothic. Regardless of the cathedral’s style, Jeffrey N. Cox points out that Gothic playwrights pioneered the act of staging churches to criticize religious power (133). The play clearly builds on this movement by producing what Wilma Feliciano calls a “medieval mood” (“Myth” 130). Graciela Gilman alludes to this fact as she observes that Solórzano employs church bells to create a foreboding atmosphere that communicates the town’s subjugation to religious and secular authority (65). Her observation emphasizes how this baroque cathedral, similar to its counterparts in the European Gothic, creates an uncanny environment for the play’s characters. Solórzano emphasizes the cathedral’s aesthetically pleasing stairways and stonework in order to juxtapose it with the Church’s oppressive underbelly. Beauty and splendor—­the spoils of heaven itself—become the mark of oppression, while simple, indigenous garb becomes the mark of a conquered but “good” people. The physical proximity between the cathedral and the audience produces what Emma McEvoy calls Gothic theatre’s “site-specific performance that can bring the audience into the haunted house [or domineering Church], materialising the spaces of Gothic” (220). Solórzano takes advantage of the critical potential that this site-specific production creates to emphasize the Church’s complicity with those who abuse their power. Frank Dauster has argued that, due to “the play’s deliberately depersonalized setting … Beatriz stands out and becomes the nucleus of the action” (“Drama” 93). Viewed within the context of my argument, the critic’s words allude to the ways in which the site-­ specific nature of the play creates a claustrophobic aesthetic: Beatriz, for example, can only act when in the shadow of the Church. Religion’s domineering omnipresence affects Beatriz’s agency; at the same time, it contradictorily allows her to recognize the impotence of the Church— and by extension God—in helping her resolve the problems she faces. Prior to stealing the jewels from the cathedral, she approaches El Cura

88  David Dalton and asks him for money to post her brother’s bail. Rather than acknowledge her suffering, El Cura reproaches her for missing mass. Only later does he address Beatriz’s request, but rather than validate her brother’s legitimate grievances, he demands penitence and a recognition of wrongdoing. Beyond confusing Beatriz (Martínez Rivas 284; Gilman 76–77), this conversation figuratively accentuates the claustrophobic feeling that the staging has already established. El Cura’s words, “God wants order, my daughter” (Hands 118), remind Beatriz that she may suffer the same fate as her brother if she does not repent of her rebelliousness. El Cura clearly uses his religious office to maintain a social order that enriches the Church (Reed 101). The cleric punishes all rebellious people, but he castigates women more harshly than men. Whereas her brother goes to jail, he orders Beatriz’s execution. The play suggests that the Church needs abnegated women to dutifully reproduce a pro-­Western ideology in their children. Smith’s argument that women are “the reproducers of the Maya community, both culturally and biologically” (738), suggests that the cleric’s focus on women is especially sinister. If El Cura wishes to instill a Westernized society that favors both himself and El Amo, he must make sure to bring (particularly indigenous) women to his cause and hinder them from building up their local communities. As Amerindian mothers raise their children according to the dogmas of the Church and El Amo, they ignore and forget their own cultural history, which in many cases produced more egalitarian results than those which they currently endure. After a centuries-long colonized existence, most people do not know where to look for an alternative societal order. The desired new path comes to light through El Diablo. As a demonic monster who subverts the hegemony of both the Church and the feudalistic economy in the village, he provides the anti-Western discourse necessary to foment a revolutionary movement. Monstrous figures have long held a position of prestige in Gothic literature, and as Jeffrey Jerome Cohen notes, “the monster notoriously appears at times of crisis” (6). His observation holds especially true with El Diablo, who represents the masculinized heroes of many homegrown (and usually decidedly non-Western) resistance movements in Latin America. Sólorzano builds on Latin American traditions that associate demons with banditry (Beverley 102), but he also casts El Diablo in a heroic light. Juan Pablo Dabove views bandits as teratological figures and archetypes whose defining act is to resist state power (2–12). He notes that “the European gothic novel took [the bandit-as-demon topic] quite literally” (3), yet he ignores how the Gothic-inspired dramas of Latin America did the same. As such, Las manos de Dios provides interesting insights into how the Latin American theatre incorporated the Gothic onto the stage to represent a well-known trope—that of the bandit-­demon—for it audiences. As Elaine L. Graham argues, one of the reasons that monsters (and by extension bandits) enjoy a great deal of prestige in the popular

Liberation and the Gothic  89 imaginary is that they signal “a terrible breach in formerly inviolate categories” (39). El Diablo does this when he convinces Beatriz to eschew the distinction between Church and public property and steal the needed jewels. El Diablo clearly differs from Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster, his better-known counterparts in Anglo-Saxon literature. Similar to the aforementioned monsters, this bandit-demon poses a monstrous threat to Westernized power holders (McClelland 16–17); however, because he signals a path toward cultural independence, he comes across as a champion for both the town and the audience. When he introduces himself to Beatriz as El Diablo, the girl does not believe him. She realizes that he is serious when he explicitly challenges the authority of God and El Amo. In fear, she shouts, “It’s the Devil! … Kill him!” (Hands 114), but she is terrified when numerous people come on stage, but none can see her antagonist. El Diablo then explains that only the rebellious can see him (Hands 115). El Diablo fits Cohen’s description of the monster as a figure whose forbidden actions produce fear, admiration, and even desire (16–17); indeed, people conjure his very presence by engaging in subversive thought. El Diablo specializes in showing people how they have unconsciously internalized ideals that keep them relegated to the periphery, but because he can only appear to those who bear the spirit of rebellion, he must create the circumstances that will enrage the villagers enough to revolt. His desire to free the village is laudable; however, he plans to do this by getting Beatriz in trouble with El Cura and then agitating public opinion in her favor. El Diablo’s (failed) gamble requires him to coerce Beatriz into stealing the jewels through a series of half-truths and manipulation. Many critics recognize El Diablo’s invocation of Prometheus (Feliciano, “Myth and Theatricality” 129–30; see also Martínez Rivas 277; García Pérez, “Dimensión” 196), and Wilma Feliciano goes as far as associating him with Quetzalcoátl, the rebellious God and benefactor of pre-Columbian societies throughout Mesoamerica (“Figura” 31–32; see also Caso 39). Feliciano’s association of El Diablo with Quetzalcoátl is problematic given that this character brings about Beatriz’s death when he pressures her to steal the jewels. Rather than argue about El Diablo’s goodness, it seems more precise to view him as a monster who enjoys multiple levels of signification. His desire to advocate for the (indigenous) peasants signals him as the non-Western deity Quetzalcoátl, but he manifests his similarities to the traditional Satan when he tempts Beatriz to risk her life by stealing from the Church. El Diablo—like many monsters—has superhuman powers that he uses to convince people to put themselves in danger for his revolutionary cause. Given that Las manos de Dios is a play, it is not surprising that El Diablo’s abilities often have a metatheatrical effect. When Beatriz expresses uncertainty about stealing the jewels, he shows her a vision of the past in hopes that this will convince her to do what she must to free

90  David Dalton her brother. He conjures up a memory where her brother found a wallet on the ground. Their mother punished him for thinking the money was his and ordered him to find the true owner. The staging of this segment is key to its political discourse; a spotlight shines on El Diablo and Beatriz while numerous women—including her mother—move slowly across the darkened stage. According to Cox, the Gothic theatre of Great Britain was the first to “capitalize fully on evolving lighting techniques” (127). Las manos de Dios uses innovative lighting to create an eerie feel and, more importantly, to call its audience to action. The extras distance their viewers from their performance as they meander across the stage like phantasmagoric shadows. Beyond creating an eerie, Gothic feel, Solórzano emphasizes the performed nature of the play by placing “real” characters alongside memories of the past. Steve Martínez Rivas emphasizes the surreal effects of the staging to interpret it through a psychoanalytical lens (286–288). Nevertheless, given the activist dimension of Solórzano’s theatre—and indeed, that of the Gothic in general (Cox 128), the Brechtian influence seems far more significant. For Bertolt Brecht, metatheatrical performances can become a political call to action as they denaturalize the play and the political context from which they are articulated (25). In this scene, El Diablo decries a type of false consciousness among the poor inhabitants of the village. When Beatriz explains that her mother wanted to raise “honorable” children (Hands 123), El Diablo retorts, “I already know (Theatrical) Don’t steal!4 It’s incredible how mothers, although they are wretched, bring up their children as if wretchedness didn’t exist in the world” (Hands 123). As we have already seen, El Cura constantly implores local women to accept the teachings of Christ because this will ensure that they raise children who will uphold the status quo. El Diablo, then, asserts that Latin American mothers perpetuate the region’s oppression by raising their children to respect the authority of those in power. By showing how current norms and laws condition the poor into accepting their place, El Diablo suggests that the people will only achieve economic justice by breaking current laws and demanding greater equality. The fact that the actors perform this interchange through a very Brechtian means suggests that Solórzano intended for this section to call his audience to political action. Similar to El Cura, El Diablo must convert women like Beatriz to his cause if he wishes to be successful; as such, he uses his metatheatrical powers to make her steal the jewels. He celebrates the fact that Beatriz’s brother never actually looked for the owner of the wallet, but that he instead bought clothes. If more people did this, El Amo would lose his stranglehold on the village. Even so, Beatriz does not decide to steal the jewels until El Diablo shows her that El Carcelero will execute her brother if she does not pay him (Hands 125). Some scholars note that Beatriz steals the jewels due to the difficult circumstances that she faces

Liberation and the Gothic  91 (Martínez Rivas 280). That said, we should also note that neither Beatriz nor her brother would face execution if El Diablo had not told Beatriz to bribe El Carcelero. My sinister reading of El Diablo’s actions is intensified when we consider that, despite his ability to read the (possible) future, he does not show Beatriz that she will very possibly lose her life if she steals the jewels. Clearly, El Diablo’s methods, which include endangering the lives of women, mirror those of his ideological antagonist. Certainly, there are key differences between these characters; rather than undermine official doctrines, for example, El Cura constantly upholds the infallibility of the Church. The cleric’s actions often undermine his teachings; this plays out especially poignantly in a comical dialogue where El Campanero suggests that they pray to find the stolen jewels, but El Cura demands a more “concrete” solution (128). His response is especially ironic given how he has constantly counselled people to do nothing more than pray regarding issues of life and death throughout the play, yet it fits very well within a Gothic tradition that blended tragedy and comedy in ways that has, at times, frustrated the generic expectations of the audience (Cox 128). When El Campanero and El Sacristán suggest that the Church publicly declare that stealing these jewels was an affront to God, El Cura responds, “We must see to it that this theft isn’t noticed. What would everybody think if they knew that the statue of the Eternal Father had been stripped? What wouldn’t they do afterwards?” (128). El Cura’s focus is not on the money lost—despite the fact that the jewels are worth more than the entire estate of any of the village peasants—but on the possibility that more people may cease to fear him and thus disregard his authority (Gilman 67–68). The lack of Brechtian aesthetics actually exposes El Cura as the opportunist that he is. Unlike El Diablo, he has no mystical powers, nor can he manipulate people with visions. Instead, he uses the institutional weight of the Church to coerce people into obeying. The play leaves no doubt that El Diablo represents a better path for Latin America than does El Cura. This becomes even more obvious after El Cura and El Sacristán capture Beatriz. El Cura attempts to deal with her privately; however, after being arrested, she shouts that she is innocent, thus causing such a commotion that the town square fills with people. At this point El Diablo appears to Beatriz and says, “The decisive moment has arrived! These men will know what you’ve done and they’ll justify you” (Hands 134). El Diablo’s glee after her capture underscores his problematic decision to risk her life for his cause. His politics seek justice at one level, but his willingness to risk Beatriz’s (female) life attests to a degree of immorality in his methods. During the ensuing public trial, Beatriz asserts that the jewels belong not to God, but to the people (Hands 136). This produces a widespread spirit of rebellion that makes El Diablo visible to everyone in town. El Diablo tries to convince the villagers to throw off the shackles of the Church by getting them to demand Beatriz’s freedom. The staging is key

92  David Dalton to the performance; El Diablo and El Cura stand on opposite sides of the stage and constantly yell to the village peasants, while Beatriz stands at center stage before the masses. The villagers function as a metatheatrical audience that vacillates between the idealist cries of El Diablo and El Cura’s warnings. When El Cura shouts “Only repentance can save you” (Hands 137), El Diablo responds, “There is nothing to be sorry about. … It is the voice of justice that speaks inside of you. … For once, people of this town. Let the sound of that voice, asleep in your breasts, be heard” (Hands 137). Beyond producing an interesting form of distancing by placing an explicit audience on the stage, this segment also shows the central role of Beatriz’s body in both men’s plans. The villagers physically move toward each interlocutor as he engages them. When they gravitate to El Cura, they squeeze the female protagonist between themselves and the cleric, but when they move toward El Diablo they seem to follow Beatriz toward their newfound liberator. El Diablo sums up Beatriz’s central role in his plans when he tells the villagers, “This woman must be set free, right now. Look at her! She’s young and she’s alone. Alone like each of you. Alone because you refused to join her” (Hands 136–137). At the end of the exchange, the people excitedly sway toward El Diablo and it appears that El Cura’s hold on the town has expired. When El Cura tells the villagers that God has punished them with a North Wind that will destroy their crops, they forgo their rebellious natures and murder Beatriz. El Diablo tells them to stop, but they no longer hear him because they have once again conformed to El Cura’s teachings. Similar to other non-Western monsters from Gothic fiction, he ultimately fails in his attempts to undermine the imperial economy and Church. Unlike his monstrous counterparts in the Anglo-Saxon Gothic, however, El Diablo’s failure does not come from his own physical defeat but from the death of his female recruit. El Diablo may be the demonic presence of the play, but it is El Cura and his followers who come across as the true monsters. The battle for the village has taken place through the literally crucified body of Beatriz. With her defeat, the village mob condemns itself and future generations to long-term religious and economic oppression. The tragic finale is moving at a narrative level;5 however, when viewed as theatrical performance, the critique becomes stronger still. The mechanical movements of her attackers show the dehumanizing effects of acquiescing to those in power. As the villagers suspend their agency, they become the monstrous incarnation of those who would undermine their own liberty. El Cura may win over his explicit audience on the stage, but the audience of the play clearly sides with El Diablo. As Anne Ostergaard argues, “es el cura quien por medio de mentiras y otras manipulaciones logra reprimir el brote de rebelión del pueblo y que así lo instiga indirectamente a sacrificar a Beatriz, representante de la voluntad de liberar al pueblo” [“it is the priest who, through lies and manipulation, suppresses

Liberation and the Gothic  93 the town’s budding rebellion and indirectly instigates their sacrifice of Beatriz, who represents the will to liberate the people”] (176; see also Quackenbush, “Antitradicionalismo” 16). Her observation is especially interesting when read alongside my own interpretation of El Diablo as a Gothic monster who resorts to lies and manipulation to convince Beatriz to steal the jewels. Viewed from this perspective, El Diablo and El Cura are simply two opposing forces who seek power in the village; they may have different ideals, but their methods are eerily similar. The audience may agree with El Diablo’s politics, but that does not exonerate him for his role in Beatriz’s crucifixion. One could argue that El Diablo’s actions are not immoral because political revolutionaries almost always realize that they or their comrades may die for the cause. Gilman assumes this position when she argues that, “lo que a primera vista parece un sacrificio inútil … es simplemente un paso, quizás muy pequeño, hacia un futuro de libertad” [“what first appears to be a useless sacrifice … is actually an (admittedly small) step toward a freer future”] (79). While Gilman is correct in pointing out the possible positive effect of Beatriz’s sacrifice, we should also recognize that this female protagonist did not join his movement of her own volition. She had no idea what she was getting herself into when El Diablo persuaded (tempted?) her to steal the jewels. She may identify with his idealistic stance at the end, but this does not nullify El Diablo’s actions at the beginning. If he had truly sought an equal in his quest, he would have explained the dangers inherent to robbing the jewels prior to convincing her to commit that act. By failing to do this, he shows that he ultimately views Beatriz as a disposable pawn in his political struggle. My reading of Las manos de Dios as a Gothic performance has allowed for a more nuanced approach to the play’s overall interpretation. The ties between the play and this style extend beyond its storyline to formal elements of staging, and even to the multiple levels of signification in its protagonists. If one of the central tenets of the Gothic is its ability to both attract and repulse its readers through multiple layers of signification, then El Diablo functions as the ideal Gothic (anti)hero. On the one hand, he is a sympathetic political idealist; on the other hand, he functions as a potential “endangerer of women.” He is most likeable when compared with El Cura; unlike his antagonist, El Diablo seems to sincerely wish to improve humanity. Of course, we should not forget his role in delivering the helpless Beatriz into El Cura’s hands. We certainly can, like previous critics, view Las manos de Dios as a performance that advocates political action against an oppressive ruling class or as an existential critique against God’s apparent lack of interest in humanity. However, the playwright’s use of a Gothic hero signals his own misgivings about the means for—though certainly not the ideological justification of—revolution. We may sympathize with El Diablo’s goals, but as the curtain closes the audience asks itself if the lethal cost of his failed revolution was too high.

94  David Dalton

Notes 1 The criticism has struggled to place Solórzano in a specific national context due to his ties to both Mexico and Guatemala. Critics like L. Howard Quackenbush position him unequivocally as Guatemalan (“Antitradicionalismo” 16), while Wilma Feliciano views him as Mexican (“Figura” 31–32). 2 Throughout this chapter, I cite Francesca Colecchia’s 1993 English translation of this play, but I maintain the character names as they appear in the Spanish version. 3 Richard J. Callan argues that Beatriz and her brother form a single, allegorical being and that the brother is the play’s true protagonist because all of the action revolves around him (1240). His reading is interesting, but it necessarily downplays the problematic gender dynamic that my reading accentuates. 4 The Spanish “no robarás” (Manos 31) translates more precisely to the Biblical commandment “thou shalt not steal,” and, as such, this is a harsh critique of the role of the Church in facilitating the subjugation of the poor. 5 For an in-depth discussion of Beatriz as a tragic figure, see Philip Baker (42–46).

Works Cited Althusser, Louis. Essays on Ideology. Translated by Ben Brewster, Verso, 1984. Baker, Philip. “Carlos Solórzano: The Man and His Creative Works.” ­Dissertation, Florida State U, 1973. Beverley, John. Del Lazarillo al sandinismo: estudios sobre la función ideológica de la literatura española e hispanoamericana. Prisma Institute, 1987. Brecht, Bertolt. “Theatre for Learning.” Translated by Edith Anderson. Brecht Sourcebook, edited by Carol Martin and Henry Bial, Routledge, 2000, pp. 23–30. Calderón, Luis. “El miedo: Elemento de contacto existencialista en las obras dramáticas de Albert Camus y de Carlos Solórzano.” Dissertation, U of ­G eorgia, 1988. Callan, Richard. “La desgarradura transcendental del hombre en Las manos de Dios, de Solórzano.” XVII Congreso del Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana, vol. 2, Ediciones Cultura Hispánica, 1978, pp. 1239–46. Caso, Alfonso. El pueblo del sol. FCE, 1953. Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. Monster Theory: Reading Culture. U of Minnesota P, 1996. Cox, Jeffrey N. “The Gothic Drama: Tragedy or Comedy?” The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, edited by Julia Swindells and David Francis Taylor, Cambridge UP, pp. 125–44. Dabove, Juan Pablo. Nightmares of the Lettered City: Banditry and Literature in Latin America 1816–1929. U of Pittsburgh P, 2007. Dauster, Frank. “Carlos Solórzano o la tragedia como subversión.” Hispanic Journal, vol. 6, 1985, pp. 27–35. ———. “The Drama of Carlos Solórzano.” Modern Drama, vol. 7, no. 1, 1964, pp. 89–100. Di Giordano, Matthew. “The Impossibility of Freedom in Las manos de Dios and El sueño del ángel.” Dissertation, Brigham Young U, 2010. Feliciano, Wilma. “La figura de Dios en tres dramas de Carlos Solórzano.” Chasqui: Revista de literatura latinoamericana, vol. 21, no. 2, 1992, pp. 27–34.

Liberation and the Gothic  95 ———. “Myth and Theatricality in Three Plays by Carlos Solórzano.” Latin American Theatre Review, vol. 28, no. 1, 1994, pp. 123–33. García Pérez, David. “La dimensión crítico social del teatro de Carlos Solórzano.” Revista de humanidades: Tecnológico de Monterrey, vol. 27–28, 2010, pp. 189–202. ———. “La recepción del existencialismo camusiano en el teatro de Carlos Solórzano.” Literatura Mexicana, vol. 15, no. 2, 2004, pp. 65–79. Gilman, Graciela. “El sentido religioso del teatro de Carlos Solórzano.” ­Dissertation, U of California, Davis, 1978. Graham, Elaine L. Representations of the Post/Human: Monsters, Aliens, and Others in Popular Culture. Rutgers UP, 2002. Hogle, Jerrold E. “The Gothic in Western Culture.” Introduction. The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, edited by Jerrold E. Hogle, Cambridge UP, 2002, pp. 1–20. Martínez Rivas, Steve. “Carlos Solórzano en el teatro mexicano.” Dissertation, U of Southern California, 1969. McClelland, Bruce A. Slayers and their Vampires: A Cultural History of Killing the Undead. The U of Michigan P, 2006. McEvoy, Emma. “Contemporary Gothic Theatre.” The Routledge Companion to Gothic, edited by Catherine Spooner and Emma McEvoy, Routledge, 2007, pp. 214–22. Meyers, Helene. Femicidal Fears: Narrative of the Female Gothic Experience. SU of New York P, 2001. Ostergaard, Anne-Grethe. “Semiología de la destrucción y autodestrucción en el teatro de Carlos Solórzano.” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, vol. 7, no. 1, 1982, pp. 173–80. Quackenbush, L. Howard. Devotas irreverencias: El auto en el teatro latinoamericano (análisis, cronología y bibliografía). Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala, 1998. ———. “El antitradicionalismo religioso del teatro centroamericano actual.” Chasqui, vol. 9, no. 2–3, 1980, pp. 13–22. Quijano, Aníbal. “Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America.” Translated by Michael Ennis. Nepantla: Views from South, vol. 1, no. 3, 2000, pp. 533–80. Reed, Timothy. “Confesión y autoridad religiosa en el teatro de Carlos Solórzano.” Latin American Theatre Review, vol. 36, no. 1, 2002, pp. 93–106. Rosenberg, John R. “The Ritual of Solórzano’s Las manos de Dios.” Latin American Theatre Review, vol. 17, no. 2, 1984, pp. 39–48. Schoenbach, Peter J. “La libertad en Las manos de Dios.” Latin American Theatre Review, vol. 3, no. 2, 1970, pp. 21–29. Smith, Carol A. “Race-Class-Gender Ideology in Guatemala: Modern and Anti-­Modern Forms.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 37, no. 4, 1995, pp. 723–49. Solórzano, Carlos. Las manos de Dios. Auto en tres actos. Philadelphia, PA: The Center for Curriculum Development, 1971. ———. “The Hands of God: A Miracle Play in Three Acts.” Crossroads and Other Plays by Carlos Solórzano, translated and edited by Francesca Colecchia, Fairleigh Dickson UP, 1993, pp. 97–141. Uría-Santos, María R. “O antiteismo do teatro de Carlos Solórzano.” Grial, vol. 40, abril maio xunio, 1973, pp. 145–52.

7 Gothic in the Tropics Transformations of the Gothic in the Colombian Hot Lands Gabriel Eljaiek-Rodríguez

The culture of the city of Cali is a mixture of the sweat of the tropics and the longing of Transylvanian landscapes. —Luis Ospina and Sandro Romero Rey

Forget about Transylvania, London, or Ingolstadt. Beginning in the eighties, it was the Colombian city of Cali which became a preferred destination for those monsters and horrors native to Europe and the United States. In 1982, film director Carlos Mayolo used the term “Tropical Gothic” to describe his first film, Carne de tu carne [Flesh of your Flesh]—borrowing the concept from Colombian writer Álvaro Mutis. Mayolo, along with fellow film director Luis Ospina and Colombian writer Andrés Caicedo, formed a caleño1 triad of friends and collaborators who each invited monstrous figures into their native city. In their films, short novels, and short stories, these artists developed variations on an aesthetic that allowed for the translation of Gothic stories into a tropical context. Vampires, especially, are invited for the symbolic work they can do in their new environment of the capital city Cali and its surrounding state of Valle del Cauca. In the narratives of Mayolo, Ospina, and Caicedo, these monsters regularly haunt local homes and plantations, drinking the blood of peasants and workers before ultimately integrating themselves into high class families. I argue that the Gothic tradition with which these monsters are charged is used by these artists to critique local traditions of other horrors, particularly physical violence and other insidious forms of class-specific warfare. That is, Caicedo, Ospina, and Mayolo offer a critical vision of their contemporary contexts by situating Gothic characters, topics, and environments out-of-place. These Colombian artists thus engage Gothic tropes as a way to represent the otherwise unspeakable, including incest, violence, social inequality, and the abject. I analyze the migrations and transformations of Gothic tropes and characters in two movies and one short story: Pura sangre [Pure Blood, 1982] by Luis Ospina and Carne de tu carne [Flesh of your Flesh, 1983] by Carlos Mayolo, as well as Caicedo’s “Destinitos fatales” [Fatal Little Destinies].

Gothic in the Tropics  97

Cali-doscope In Cali, as in the villages of Cluj, Bistrita and the Borgo Pass, there are vampires of flesh and blood, who sink their teeth and inject needles, and then flee not to a castle or a monastery but to a penthouse. Pura sangre poster Despite the centralization that has always prevailed in Colombia and the socio-political preponderance given to Bogota, when it comes to cinema, the national birthplaces were the states of Valle del Cauca and Antioquia. This history is evident in the origins of the first long features in Colombian cinema: from Valle del Cauca came Máximo Calvo and his 1922 María, followed by Antioquian filmmaker Pedro Moreno Garzón with his 1924 Aura o las violetas [Aura or the Violets]. Almost as if they were spectral films, currently only fragments of these two movies remain, along with photographs and only a few documents that can attest to their existence. Sixty years after Calvo’s María, Luis Ospina and Carlos Mayolo used the term Gótico tropical, or Tropical Gothic, to talk about their three most recognizable films. Along with the movies of the also “caleño” Jairo Pinilla, their work would open the path for the horror genre in the country. Adopted by Mayolo and Ospina, the term Tropical Gothic was coined by Colombian writer Álvaro Mutis as a response to Luis Buñuel’s challenge to write a Gothic novel set in the tropical weather of Cali. 2 The filmmakers use Mutis’s concept knowingly, being well-versed in the Gothic genre and its connections to the horror-filmic t­ radition. For ­instance, Ospina describes his childhood engagement with Gothic ­figures in the double features that he used to attend as a young boy in Cali: …from morning program to morning program and from double program to double program I acquired a taste for horror movies and B-series films. I never miss any of the productions of Hammer Films and their various versions of the myths of Frankenstein and Dracula, with the sinister Christopher Lee and the phlegmatic Peter Cushing. (270) Ospina and Mayolo would have been well aware of the assumption, reflected by Buñuel, that the Gothic genre required a European setting, and their use of Mutis’s idea reflects their engagement with this debate. Even in their work prior to the films they deliberately label as Gótico tropical, Ospina and Mayolo begin to play with the relocation of Gothic figures to represent local political issues. For example, their 1978 documentary Agarrando pueblo [Grabbing the People] is subtitled as “The vampires of poverty.” Here, the figure of the vampire is already

98  Gabriel Eljaiek-Rodríguez made to work toward social critique. In Agarrando pueblo the filmmakers mock documentaries that thrived on images of misery, a trend in Latin America during the sixties and seventies. Ospina and Mayolo even coined a subgenre for this kind of documentaries called pornomiseria (misery porn), actively criticizing the view of the poor as an object/­ victim of the director’s gaze. Later, in Carne de tu carne and Pura sangre, vampires keep their status as Gothic creatures, haunting and feeding on the vulnerable. As they do, they become Colombian citizens and eventually replace their teeth with hypodermic needles, or other instruments designed for the extraction of blood (very much like the protagonist of George Romero’s 1978 movie Martin). This does not necessarily mean that the red and black vampiric cape is so literally replaced by a guayabera in order to fit the Colombian setting.3 Rather, the transformation places monsters among the upper ruling classes in order to rewrite European vampires (titled nobility) as Colombian vampires (landed nobility). In their version of Gótico tropical, Mayolo and Ospina regularly use bourgeois families of the Valle del Cauca as protagonists. These characters are depicted as real-life monsters with a disdain for el pueblo (the people) and a hunger for wealth and power that often proves illusory. The gloomy Balkan cliffs and the cold English forests are reimagined as the Colombian tierra caliente (hot lands) and their picturesque cities and sugar plantations. Tierra caliente is a geographical term used in Colombia to describe areas with tropical weather; it is also a classist term used by local elites to refer to the periphery of Bogota. This classism has literal geographical connections: the national capital city of Bogota is situated in the mountains—that is, in a colder environment similar to European metropolises. Everything that falls into a hotter climate is thus presumed to be outside this privileged center, and therefore comparatively inferior and primitive. Mayolo, Ospina and Caicedo intentionally play with the Otherness of the hot lands to depict the space as a plausible host to monsters. Counts, countesses, and languid ghosts are replaced by caleño drug lords, landowners, and a sinister team of murderers. In other words, these Gothic characters are “tropicalized.” Expanding from the Gótico tropical aesthetic itself, I use the phrase “Tropicalization of the Gothic” to refer to a process or mechanism by which Latin American filmmakers and writers transport characters and tropes of the Gothic genre, adapting them to Latin American cultural conditions. Elsewhere, I have discussed the ways in which the particular Latin American Tropicalization of the Gothic both pays homage to and parodies the traditional European Gothic works (Eljaiek-Rodríguez, “Transilvania-Cali-Bogotá” and “Selva”). Beyond affecting the European Gothic, Tropicalization of the Gothic also does work at the level of distinctly Latin American political questions. Artists like Mayolo, Ospina, and Caicedo offer a critical

Gothic in the Tropics  99 vision of their own contexts by situating Gothic characters out of place. This technique allows them to playfully invoke fantastic monstrosity at a literal level (e.g. vampirism) to make more palatable discussions of already existing local monstrosities (e.g. violent classism inherited from the colonial tradition.)

Medium Rare Elites: Carne de tu carne The first names that appear in Carne de tu carne are those of filmmakers Roger Corman and Roman Polanski, to whom the film is dedicated. Besides being a tribute, this paratext also clarifies how Mayolo constructs a horror film. Borrowing from Corman, Mayolo includes B-class elements like blood, sex, and clearly inexpensive special effects. Borrowing from Polanski, he emphasizes the transgression of taboos, particularly of a socio-­political and religious nature. Through the dedication, Mayolo also locates himself as heir of a particular cinematic tradition—he is part of a line of artists who specialize in horror movies and their mastery. As in many horror films from the late seventies and eighties, the horror in Carne de tu carne derives from the family, in this case the Velasco family, a long line of sugar plantation owners. This group is impermeable, so dangerously closed in on itself that it requires no external intervention to destroy its enemies and itself. In this family’s case, bloodline and horror are tied through the Velasco surname and the history of Spanish feudal violence that comes with it. One of the members of the Velasco family recites this feud between the Quirós and the Velasco families in her motto: “Before God was God and the crags, crags, the Quirós were Quirós and the Velasco, Velasco.” This assertion that the family name pre-exists both God and nature reflects Mayolo’s critique of bourgeois self-importance and its violent consequences. The Velasco family’s desire for blood, that is, its vampiric quality, is literally “kept all in the family.” The family practice of incest, a Gothic trope of great importance, is visible from the beginning of the film. The opening scenes show a dying woman who at the time of death invokes the name of her brother, enunciating him as “flesh of my flesh” and “blood of my blood.” Incest is insinuated both in the Biblical sayings and in the portrait of the brother on the night table. Incest and literal vampirism pass from the grandmother to her grandson Andrés, the only member of the family who is present when the woman expires, and the obvious depositary of the curse/traditions. These related curses of vampirism and incest permeate the film as horror narratives and also as manifestations of Colombian social, political, and economic history. Mayolo situates the story in 1956, circa the peak of the bipartisan violence that devastated the country for two decades. Colombian history has enunciated this period of time, known as La Violencia, or The Violence, as the starting point of the

100  Gabriel Eljaiek-Rodríguez war that currently strives toward a resolution in Colombia. This context of fratricidal war shapes the future of Velasco siblings Margaret and Andrés, changing them from children of a “good family” into blood thirsty undead: one of their first kills is a pájaro (bird), a conservative mercenary who has been killing liberal peasants. The more they venture out into the surrounding hot lands of the family summer house, the more visible the Gothic elements of the film become. In this space, the Gothic is “tropicalized,” and the rain forest of the Farallones increasingly becomes denser and tougher to access. The trees suddenly seem darker and the forest appears immense. Desire between brother and sister also becomes stronger. This desire for one’s own blood becomes literal in the moment when Margaret sucks Andrés’s finger after he cuts it with a plant. Their movement into the rainforest is also marked by the presence of fog, normal for this tropical terrain, but with an increasing density as the siblings go deeper into the lands owned by their family. The rising fog connects the rainforest of the Valle del Cauca with the Eastern European forests of the Gothic narratives, showing that the oppressive heat and humid south can be as Gothic as the cold and stormy north. The Vallecaucana natural environment and its inhabitants tropicalize the Gothic while maintaining pre-existing connections with Colombian legends. At the end of the film, we see a vampiric Margaret wandering the forest looking for children, like the Llorona does in the Colombian version of the legend, covered with leaves and moss and emitting animal sounds. Margaret’s appearance also invokes the Colombian folkloric description of the Madremonte (literally “Mother mountain”) who is described as a woman with vegetative and animalistic characteristics.4 While Margaret’s evolution evokes the two gendered monsters that inhabit the Colombian wilderness, importantly, it also bears similarities with Carmilla, protagonist of the eponymous Gothic novella written by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu in 1872. Like Margaret, Carmilla is presented at the beginning of the novel as an innocent woman who later reveals her vampiric nature. Both characters are constructed as beautiful and enchanting females who are able to bend the will of those surrounding them in their quest for blood (in both cases reflecting misogynistic traditions). Women have traditionally occupied a binary in Gothic stories—they are either beautiful heroines or manipulative villains—but like Carmilla, who embodies both, Margaret’s role in the film transgresses this division.5 Margaret is at first a heroine, a tragic victim of circumstances that precede her and that put her in extreme situations—she is forced to commit incest, persecuted, and murdered. At the same time, she is also a villain, happily hosting such situations and the transgressions and animal transformations of her vampiric becoming.

Gothic in the Tropics  101 The siblings finally arrive at their uncle’s house, the highest point of the rainforest and a place of temptation. Here, the playful finger-­sucking that served as preamble becomes accomplished reality, incestuous sex coached and approved by the ghosts of the Velasco family. These ancestral specters present themselves to the teenagers, forming a ghostly diorama of the family, in which it is possible to recognize important segments of Colombian high society: a doctor (played by Luis Ospina), a nun, a midwife, a writer, and a soldier. They appear surrounded by fog, against a blinding light and reciting incomprehensible litanies. The ghosts slowly metamorphose into a goose, a goat, and a pig, linking the phantasmagoria with the animality of desire, and driving Margaret and Andrés to an increasing deterioration. The ghosts bless the incest, safeguarding the curse and the visceral desire for blood. At this point in the film, Mayolo’s depiction of the vampiric transformation places sex and family at the forefront. Unlike traditional European vampire narratives, there is not a count or dark stranger who comes to suck blood or to find his lost love, transmitting the malady. Instead, the curse is located in the blood of the whole family. After committing incest, the siblings promptly begin seeking to suck the blood of nearby peasants, in what is depicted as a clear consequence of the family-­ approved sexual exchange. Unlike in Stoker’s Dracula, sex and incest are openly addressed as realities, rather than rendered as a Victorian subtext. Desire for blood is thus able to take on dual symbolism. Not only is bloodthirst representative of greed for the resources of the less fortunate, as in the European tradition, but here it is also tropicalized as the desire for one’s own privileged lineage, following the colonial classist practice of affirming one’s heredity. Supernatural and social horror mingle in Carne de tu carne, underscoring a powerful denunciation of the exsanguination of peasants and workers by the sugar bourgeoisie. The family’s narcissistic desire for their own blood fuels a similarly self-serving and insatiable desire for the blood of others. The way these landowners control the lives and deaths of their workers—impoverished peasants that are seen peripherally throughout the film—is a new subtext that engages the geopolitics of relocating the Gothic in Colombia.

Toxic Blood: Pura sangre A large bloodstain on a bed slowly covers the screen, serving as the opening image of Ospina’s Pura sangre. The image welcomes the viewer to a film where blood and its multiple meanings play a central role. Released in 1982, a year before Carne de tu carne, the film incorporates both the Dracula narrative and news reports on the “Monster of the Mangones,” a Colombian serial killer active during the seventies. In the film, the enigma of a never-caught murderer is resolved using the vampire myth: as

102  Gabriel Eljaiek-Rodríguez Mayolo, Ospina places Pura sangre’s vampire inside caleña high society, specifically in the person of sugar magnate, Don Roberto Hurtado. Due to a never-explained disease, Hurtado needs to receive constant blood transfusions from young boys, prompting their rapes, murders, and bleedings. Ospina’s vampire turns out to be a complex bloodsucker, mostly because unlike Dracula, Don Roberto cannot draw blood from his victims himself. Rather, he enlists his son to run a gang of murderers to obtain the liquid. This bleeding of youths of the same sex via the help of servants recalls the legend of Erzsébeth Bathory, a Hungarian countess accused of killing more than six-hundred adolescent girls in the span of twenty-five years (1585–1610) in order to use their blood as a youth balm.6 The filmic Don Roberto, a frail old man who “drinks” the blood of Cali’s youngsters, combines the tendencies of a supernatural vampire (Dracula, the undead with demonic powers) and a figurative vampire (Countess Bathory, the serial murderer that kills for pleasure). At first, the worn-out Don Roberto, bedridden in a hospital, under the care of a nun, seems to reflect an innocent and defeated being, ignorant of the murderous apparatus that keeps him alive. However, the illusion of a friendly old man fades as we see how he behaves with his subordinates. Don Roberto is revealed as a vampire who built his fortune sucking the life and work from peasants of the Valle del Cauca. Thanks to his illness, he comes to literally embody vampirism, in a similar manner to the heirs of the Velasco family. The scenes of violence and sex are performed by the group of murderers that supply the blood, making Don Roberto’s socioeconomic vampirism more obvious than his physical bloodsucking. However, Ospina borrows images from the Gothic tradition to underscore the sugar magnate’s physical transformations. In several shots, the camera focuses on Don Roberto through his medical curtain, depicting a silhouette similar to the shadows of F.W. Murnau’s Count Orlok on his castle walls. As protagonist of the film Nosferatu (1922), Orlok is one of the first cinematic vampires, recognizable for his hooked nose, elongated hands and long nails that look like claws—all of which Don Roberto shares. Ospina reminds us that only through the filter of the screen (whether a curtain or a movie screen) is it possible to see the true projection of Don Roberto, who is otherwise simply a sick member of the elite. Like Countess Bathory, but unlike Dracula, Don Roberto is a vampire who needs a “support network” to survive. His most trusted employees are contaminated by the evil emanating from the high-class families with which they mingle, working as the Black Hand that takes care of the dirty work. Ospina uses these secondary characters to present Colombian historical and political violence as an endemic practice. With assassins named Ever and Perfecto, Ospina alludes to the continuity and refinement of violence, as well as to the specialized, symbolic mutilation style that has accompanied the Colombian warfare.7

Gothic in the Tropics  103 Don Roberto’s network’s mode of obtaining blood is to bleed, rape, kill, and dispose of the bodies in vacant lots, an unnecessarily violent process that escalates the methods of European vampires. This vampirism parallels the sort of violence engaged in the Colombian conflict, in which the body of the Other is destroyed beyond what is necessary to simply achieve a goal. Ospina’s approach robs the vampire of the sex appeal typical of the cinematic tradition; Don Roberto is presented as a sick and repulsive old man. The juxtaposition of the hyper-violent and the seemingly pathetic is further reflected in Perfecto and Ever’s description of their boss as a harmless flea who bleeds sleeping victims. The description of the vampiric character as a flea rather than a vampire bat is a comedic twist that goes against the Gothic tradition to highlight the main character’s insidious violence through obvious understatement.8 This comparison is part of the sarcastic tone that tropicalize the Gothic in the film and that introduces touches of black humor, making the narrative even more sinister. This black humor appears in the conclusion of the film, in which the assassins walk free and the wicked Don Roberto becomes a popular saint. The film’s resolution is a tragicomic critique of the criminal impunity that reigns in Colombia, reinforced with a closing image of the assassins and their families picnicking while sharing news about the “Monster of the Mangones.”9 Like Carne de tu carne, in Pura sangre what appears to be the end of the narrative is nothing but a new beginning for those who are a source of horror. Hurtado and his son both die by the end of the film, but the deaths of these high-class thieves and murderers does not mark the end of their legacy. The enlisted gang of murderers survive, as does their sadism and bloodthirstiness. Worse yet is the twisted “discovery” of the identity of the “Monster of the Mangones” at the end of the film. In a further scathing critique of the injustice of Colombian justice, the inhabitants and police of Cali find a perfect scapegoat in a man named “Babalú,” a black, poor, and mad homeless who incriminates himself in the middle of his delirium. The name selection is not random, as the Babalú-Ayé of the Yoruba religion represents both disease and remedy. The homeless Babalú is both the apparent social disease (a product of a “sick society”) as well as the medicine that closes the case, creating an illusion of security. In Ospina’s movie the Afro-Colombian man is the pharmakon that is manipulated into “curing” the sore caleña society.10 In a further nod to the more complex social ills of Colombian society, a sardonic turn of events occurs independently from the Hurtado family or the group of thugs: the memory of the landlord becomes elegiac to the point that his tomb becomes a place of worship and pilgrimage. His mausoleum is filled with flowers and people lining up to speak in the ear of Don Roberto’s statue, as it is believed that his spirit listens and grants favors. The Gothic is tropicalized again, and the tomb––traditionally sinister, dark, and forbidden––becomes a bright public space, full of the faithful

104  Gabriel Eljaiek-Rodríguez and the curious. The one who rests in the grave becomes a popular holy man—despite being guilty of murder and robbery. Without resorting to the supernatural, Ospina’s vampire becomes a living dead who continues in the memory of those who visit his grave and ask for favors. Ospina takes a particularly disturbing, unsolved police case and mixes it with horrors derived both from a Colombian history of violence as well as horrors belonging to the Western Gothic. In doing this, he creates a tropicalized vampire, similar to European and American cinematographic depictions (Nosferatu, Martin) but Colombian enough to criticize and mock the national history of classism and violence.

Coda: The Moviegoer Count Caicedo tells a short story in the true sense of the word: a “little man” (hombrecito) decides to open a film club in the city of Cali, to show the movies that he loves so much. One of his first programs is dedicated to vampire films, and the public fills the movie theater. But after three weeks, the number of moviegoers declines for various reason (they are bored, prefer Hollywood blockbusters, or even die) until there is only one spectator left. As the little man prepares to deliver his remarks about the film, he realizes that this last person watching the film is a count, who only stands up and smiles. Although written a decade before the two films discussed previously, this story from Caicedo’s 1971 Calicalabozo shares much in common with Ospina and Mayolo’s films. The film buff that the club owner encounters is described as “the Count” (202), a character that suggests the image of a smiling Bela Lugosi in the back of the Colombian movie theater. Even without receiving any information explaining the presence of the character in that place, a familiarity with the word “count” and the reference to the vampire films make it possible for the reader to conclude this short story for herself. A close friend of both Mayolo and Ospina, Caicedo is part of what film historians have playfully called “Caliwood”—even if he is mostly recognized for his short stories and novels. Equally obsessed with cinema as his filmmaker friends, Caicedo was the founder of the Cine-club de Cali [The Film Club of Cali] a famous film spot in the city described by Sandro Romero Rey as “Andrés’s school and podium for imposing his own desires” (15). These three amigos educated a whole generation of moviegoers, especially in the horror genre. As in the aforementioned Carne de tu carne and Pura sangre, the count in Caicedo’s short story is adapted to the caleño context while still recognizable as a traditional vampire—therefore he does not need to speak or defend his “authenticity.” He is The Count, Dracula in the flesh, assessing the selection of films in the club’s programming. He proves that vampires visit and inhabit Cali, as well as Colombia, reciprocating

Gothic in the Tropics  105 the watchful gaze of audiences who show interest in them. The count mingles with the Colombian bourgeois vampires, who prove equally as blood-thirsty and destructive as their European counterparts. Mayolo, Ospina, and Caicedo created tropicalized Gothic products, among them Caleño vampires that embodied exploitative clans of landowners. This concern with denouncing the bleeding of peasants continues the Gothic genre’s attention to class conflict, albeit in a continent where class has a history tied up in colonization more so than titled ranks. Mayolo and his colleagues thus effectively highlighted the ability of the Gothic to address the taboo, the abject, and the socially unacceptable as applied to the Colombian context. Thanks to them, Cali, more than a passing destination for vampires, is as much a hot spot in the geography of the Gothic today as it was in the eighties.

Notes 1 Caleño is the demonym of the inhabitants of Cali. 2 According to Mutis, Buñuel did not believe that it was possible to situate a Gothic narration in a context other than the cold and foggy European forests. 3 A guayabera is a men’s shirt typically used in the Spanish American Caribbean and Central America, as well as in coastal areas of Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. 4 Colombian legends describe the Llorona as a crying woman with a frayed dress and long, wild dark hair. Up-close she reveals her face as a frightening skull with red eyes. Mostly represented as a pennant spirit who scares drunks and irresponsible parents, sometimes is accused of stealing children as surrogates for the ones she killed/lost. The Madremonte is described as a female monster, covered in decomposed leaves and exhibiting animal like fangs and claws. She protects the Colombian forests and jungles from hunters and urban developers, and punish bad parents taking their children with her (Cuentos de espanto). 5 Carmilla’s duality is attested by Laura at the end of her narration: “the image of Carmilla returns to memory with ambiguous alternations—­sometimes the playful, languid, beautiful girl; sometimes the writhing fiend I saw in the ruined church” (157). 6 The historical accounts of Countess Bathory, written largely by Hungarian historians, depict her either as an assassin or as a brilliant politician. Popular culture crafted the image of Bathory as vampire woman, including the images of her infamous bloodbaths. Films such as Countess Dracula (Peter Sasdy 1971) and Contes Immoraux (1974) presented her as a real-life Dracula. More contemporary cultural products like Bathory (2008) by Juraj Jakubisko and the books of Kimberly L. Craft, dig deeper in history, enunciating the story as a myth created by the enemies of the Countess, full of prejudices against a powerful woman. 7 According to Jorge Orlando Melo, during the fifties the goal was to completely eliminate the other, “to destroy their difference even after death [using] cuts and mutilations of corpses, complex and macabre visual codes sending a message to the enemy.” The unusual names of the characters refer both to the long-lasting conflict (Ever) and to this refinement of violence (Perfecto, perfect, perfection).

106  Gabriel Eljaiek-Rodríguez 8 This twist also situates Ospina in a tradition of Latin American Gothic writers and filmmakers that intentionally replace the totemic animals of the genre with less impressive but potentially more invasive creatures: insects. Horacio Quiroga’s bloodthirsty tick in “El almohadón de plumas,” and Guillermo del Toro’s insectoid device in Cronos are two such examples. 9 As reported by the Global Index of Impunity Colombia is ranked third highest impunity in the world (75.6 points), after The Philippines Islands and Mexico. According to James Rochlin “impunity is socially entrenched in Colombia due to an historical legacy of a weak state, a concomitant lack of institutionalised conflict resolution mechanisms and the stigmatization of unions” (173). 10 The Greek term pharmakon (as well as the words pharmakeia-­pharmakonpharmakeus) has been used profusely in contemporary philosophy, importantly by Rene Girard and Jacques Derrida. Derrida defines it at the same time that he stresses the ambivalent character of it: “this pharmakon, this “medicine,” this philter, which acts as both remedy and poison, already introduces itself into the discourse all its ambivalence. This charm, this spellbinding virtue, this power of fascination, can be-alternatively or simultaneously—­beneficent or maleficent” (429).

Works Cited Agarrando pueblo. Directed by Carlos Mayolo and Luis Ospina, Performances by Luis Alfonso Londoño, Carlos Mayolo, Ramiro Arbeláez, Eduardo Carvajal, Javier Villa, Satuple, 1977. Caicedo, Andrés. “Destinitos fatales.” Calicalabozo. Grupo Editorial Norma, 2008. Carne de tu carne. Directed by Carlos Mayolo, 1984. Cuentos de espanto y otros seres fantásticos del folclor colombiano. Universidad Autónoma de Colombia, 2004. Derrida, Jacques. Dissemination. U of Chicago P, 1983. Eljaiek-Rodríguez, Gabriel Andrés. “Transilvania-Cali-Bogotá: Tropicalización en tres películas de horror colombianas.” Horrofílmico. Aproximaciones al cine de terror en Latinoamérica y el Caribe, edited by Rosana Díaz-­Zambrana and Patricia Tomé Isla Negra, 2012, pp. 163–82. ———. Selva de fantasmas. El gótico en la literatura y el cine latinoamericanos. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, 2017. Índice Global de Impunidad México. Universidad de las Américas Puebla, 2016. Melo, Jorge Orlando. “Consideraciones generales sobre el impacto de la violencia en la historia reciente del país.” Colombia es un tema. Jorge Orlando Melo. Nosferatu (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens). Directed by F.W. Murnau, 1922. Ospina, Luis. “Tomando el cine en serie: de la “B” a la “Z”.” Palabras al viento. Mis sobras completas. Aguilar, 2007. Pura Sangre. Directed by Luis Ospina, 1982. Rochlin, James. “The Political Economy of Impunity in Colombia: The Case of Colombian labour.” Conflict, Security & Development, vol. 16, no. 2, 2016, pp. 173–96. Romero Rey, Sandro. Andrés Caicedo o la muerte sin sosiego. Grupo Editorial Norma, 2007. Sheridan Le Fanu, Joseph. “Carmilla.” Vampires. Encounters with the Undead, edited by David J. Skal, Black Dog, and Leventhal, 2006, pp. 103–57.

Section III

Occupation and Incarceration

This page intentionally left blank

8 “I’ll Be Back” The United States’ Occupation of Puerto Rico and the Gothic Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno

With the conquest of the Latin American and Caribbean territories, hierarchical relations were established between the colonizing subject and the colonized other: “The discovery of the Americas challenged long-standing hypotheses about the nature of the world and man’s place in it, and the New World became the arena for an exceptionally transformative encounter with monsters, real and imagined” (Braham 1). In other words, from that moment on, an imperial gaze (Pratt) was imposed on the new colonial possessions and their inhabitants, who were now defined as monstrous and threatening. This unequal vision was then manifested in the chronicles and travel narratives of explorers and conquistadors during the colonial period, but also in Gothic fiction, both in Europe and in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Caribbean, more specifically, “appeared as the backdrop to terror, whether in travelogues, where it was depicted as the site of the mysterious and uncanny, or in histories that underscored the violent process that led to its colonization” (Paravisini-Gebert 233). Therefore, travel and travel writing by Europeans not only created the “imperial order” imposed on the new parts of the world populated by a new “domestic subject” (Pratt 3), but it also contributed to setting the idea of “Otherness” in Gothic writing, which, according to Tabish Khair depends on “the presence, real or imagined, constructed or imposed, of difference” (5–6). In the particular case of Puerto Rico, this difference is established in two moments when the colonial journey initiates a process of invasion: the first, during Spanish colonization in the fifteenth century, and the second, during the US occupation in the nineteenth century that would end up defining the present-day political situation of the island. In his book Time Travel in the Latin American and Caribbean Imagination: Re-reading History (2011), Rudyard Alcocer suggests that: …time travel within the context of cultural production from and about the Americas must be understood as a strategy to envision a different reality by groups who might find the painful legacy of the past in the Americas otherwise insurmountable. (2)

110  Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno In this sense, the exploration of the past, through “time travel and similar types of temporal dislocations,” allows Latin American and Caribbean fiction to examine certain historical processes that took place in the region during the period of conquest and colonization, and the violence associated with them (6). Additionally, time travel—a device common in science fiction narratives—allows for the exploration of a past characterized by the monstrous and the uncanny. However, much like in the Gothic mode, this past constantly returns in the present and projects itself into the future. It is, therefore, the presence of the violent, the monstrous, and the uncanny—along with the understanding of time as “dialectical” and “distorting” (Punter 198)—what allows us to think of Gothic and science fiction as “hybrid creatures from their inception” (Wasson and Alder 4). This chapter proposes to examine two recent Puerto Rican narratives that belong to the category of Gothic science fiction and that take as their starting point, or as a historical referent, the US invasion and its consequences for the island’s population. Furthermore, both narrations turn on the idea of time travel, whether a physical return to the past—a journey through time in the literal sense—or the past coming into the present supernaturally. The short story “El ‘Terminator’ boricua” [The Puerto Rican ‘Terminator’] (2007) by José E. Santos and the film Los condenados [The Condemned] (2012) by Roberto Busó-García, take the encounter with the other, a product of the voyage, as well as the ideas of utopia and dystopia that we can find in Gothic science fiction, as a means of reviewing and rethinking the unequal relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. While the short story presents scientific technology as the means to undo horror (by traveling back in time and altering history in order to prevent the dystopia of the future), the film, in turn, considers science as the origin of horror (the failed scientific utopia of the past that keeps haunting the dystopian present). Likewise, through the displacement of the protagonists, a new invasion and occupation are proposed, this time from the point of view of the colonized—those who did not originally survive the invasion and colonization of the territory and of their bodies. Finally, the sinister and (post)apocalyptic aspects in these fictional accounts allow for the questioning of the concepts of modernity and progress advanced by colonial thinking.

El ‘Terminator’ boricua “El ‘Terminator’ boricua,” included in the book Los viajes de Blanco White [Blanco White’s Travels] by Santos, is the story of two Puerto Rican brothers, Arturo and Ernesto, professors at the University of Puerto Rico. Arturo researches history and culture, while Ernesto works on the creation of a time machine. The year is 2098. Arturo is fifty years old; Ernesto is fifty-one. Ernesto’s age is significant for the political

“I’ll Be Back”  111 times of the imagined future in this story: the imminent annexation of Puerto Rico as the fifty-first state of the United States. According to Ernesto himself, Puerto Rico would be “estado de la Unión dentro de cosa de meses” [a state of the Union within a matter of months], a status that the country, he claims, has wanted for “dos siglos ya” [two centuries now] (59). But Arturo outright rejects this possibility: “No será mi mundo … Te quiero, hermano, pero ese no podrá ser mi mundo nunca” [It won’t be my world … I love you, brother, but that can never be my world] (59). The story’s narrator, therefore, poses from the start the possibility of theorizing Puerto Rico through a series of intellectual, political, and temporal dichotomies: the sciences vs. the humanities, annexation vs. independence, the machine of the future vs. the study of the past. However, all these categories are experienced through everyday family life. Despite their ideological differences, the lives of Arturo and Ernesto run their normal course between family and professional matters. The brothers’ daily routine is interrupted one day when Arturo receives a letter dated in 2198, three hundred years after the Spanish-American War of 1898 that ended with the loss of the last Spanish colonies, and the entire territory of Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States. The letter is accompanied by a package that contains a rifle, a cylinder, a drawing of a flag from the Lares Revolution,1 and some specific instructions written in English: Use the gun, you will know what to do when the time comes, and it will come soon. Change things way back when. Put the small cylinder in the machine and you will get there. The machine has been confiscated in our time. (57) Arturo must travel to the past, specifically to 1898, and change the future of the island—the real one (Puerto Rico as an unincorporated territory of the United States) and the fictitious one (Puerto Rico about to become the fifty-first state). According to Isabella van Elferen, the scenery of the dystopic Gothic fiction is notorious for its “bleak landscapes painted in dark colors, humans surviving in subterranean labyrinths, and trauma and paranoia driving their psychology” (139). None of this appears in Santos’s story. In fact, there is no description of the space or its inhabitants, except for a few facts about the two brothers. Nevertheless, it is possible to think about the notion of the apocalyptic or the dystopic in the story. This type of fiction, as Sian MacArthur explains, is born of the Gothic and can be classified in various categories: “the decline of mankind by plague and disease” (50), “invasion fictions [where] humanity is threatened by the rapid and unpredicted appearance of something that has previously not been a problem” (56), “human decline, or the inability for human

112  Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno being to reproduce” (61), and “instant wipe” (68). Santos’s short story belongs to the invasion category. However, it is not about an invasion that comes from outer space, from an “already existing species,” or from “an existing species that has been scientifically modified and the resulting species becomes uncontrollable” (MacArthur 56). In the story, the invasion comes from the north, from the Empire of the United States. Similarly, it is not about a future invasion, even though the narration of the story occurs in the future; rather, it is an invasion from the past. In this sense, at least for Arturo, Puerto Rico has lived since 1898 in a constant apocalyptic or dystopic present. This idea is similar to one proposed by Puerto Rican science fiction writer and literary critic Rafael Acevedo: “Un dispositivo moderno como el Estado Libre Asociado2 es casi como la distopía, ese plan hacia el futuro que fracasa” [A modern device like the Estado Libre Asociado is almost like a dystopia, that plan for the future that fails] (Diálogo). The apocalyptic scene since the 1898 invasion is reinforced in the dystopia that started in 1952 with the constitution of the Estado Libre Asociado (ELA), producing an economic and political state that languishes unchanged, in true dystopic fashion: a stagnating ruin that can never completely collapse. Arturo asks Ernesto to go back to the “día antes” [the day before], July 24, 1898. That way, there would be no possibility for action and political change in the present (i.e., change the current political status—ELA—to undo the colony), but rather only the possibility to alter the past history of the island to change the future. Arturo must achieve the feat of the independence that never was. The letter signed by The Last One also transmits the idea of apocalypse and dystopia, even in the absence of dark, sinister descriptions of space. Like the novel The Last Man (1826) by Mary Shelley, in the letter that Arturo receives there appears “the concept of the apocalypse” as something imminently Gothic, “in that any writing that has to do with the ‘end,’ whatever shape or form this ‘end’ may take, will have a natural affinity with one of the strongest themes within gothic writing” (MacArthur 6). The Last One is not only a survivor of an uncertain future; he is also the only survivor of a political ideology in its death throes: the Puerto Rican independence movement. For María Acosta Cruz, the fictions of Puerto Rican independence create what she calls the “dream nation.” And although in current literature “the issues of national identity are no longer as pressing a matter,” this continues to appear as a theme in Puerto Rican fiction (103): “What has changed is that nowadays irony is allowed to ride shotgun with the dream nation” (108).3 In Santos’s story, however, it is not so much about irony as it is about inserting the local (the particular situation of Puerto Rico’s political status) into a narrative form (Gothic science fiction) that has been mostly identified as European and American. In any case, the irony of the text arises from using an image deeply rooted in Yankee culture, the Terminator, to highlight the

“I’ll Be Back”  113 opposition between utopia and dystopia in Puerto Rico. Even when public intellectuals “have pushed back against canonical literary orthodoxy, bringing a thaw to the exclusionary emotional hold of the independence ideal on the Puerto Rican national imagination” (Acosta Cruz 109; emphasis in the original), Santos’s story takes up an intellectual and cultural concern—the constitution of the dream nation—and works it through science fiction and the Gothic, two modes that have just begun to be developed more consistently in Puerto Rico in recent years. The open ending of the story—we do not know whether Arturo achieves his goal or not—suggests a way of seeing the history of the island as framed between two moments of change, united in the character of Arturo: 1898, when the island goes from being a Spanish colony to a United States territory, and 2098, two months away from being a state of the union. The story, then, proposes two radical alternatives: independence or statehood.4 According to Alcocer, by trying to change the effects of the conquest, time travel fiction “seeks to reconfigure human activity in the region so that in it, history can begin to move forward” (8). That prospect of moving forward is only possible in the story through the idea of radical change, in the escape from the dystopic stagnation implied by the Estado Libre Asociado. Furthermore, that radical change coincides with the debate that arose at the end of the twentieth century between neonationalist and postmodern Puerto Rican intellectuals. According to César Ayala and Rafael Bernabe: [M]uch of the Puerto Rican debates on culture, identity, and history became polarized in the 1990s around two sensibilities. For some, the rise of a heightened sense of Puerto Rican identity was a welcome development. It represented the coming to fruition of years of cultural resistance. For others, such neonationalism was a conservative reaction to the growing erosion of fixed identities in a context shaped by the passage to an increasingly globalized modernity. (332) Even if the present work does not propose to resolve this debate, it is important to note that in Santos’s story, the nationalist, independence-­ oriented vision is presented through a character who does not belong to the sexual, racial, or social-class minorities privileged by Puerto Rican narrative since the nineties. Rather, Arturo—a man with a higher education, a professor of humanities, and therefore, a member of a minority intellectual elite—is the one who must not only attempt to change the colonial history of the island, but also resolve the problem of Puerto Rican identity. That this feat falls upon a male figure implies, moreover, a return to a Puerto Rican literary tradition that privileges a paternalist discourse.5 Santos’s story, then, seeks to constitute a national hero

114  Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno whose social condition, although he belongs to a persecuted group since the invasion (the pro-independence supporters), has little or nothing to do with that of the majority of Puerto Ricans. Arturo the Soldier Arturo, as the Terminator—the destroying machine—is the soldier who travels through time to prevent the other soldier from achieving his goal. In Santos’s story, as in the movie saga, Arturo the Terminator is a kind of solitary cowboy who must complete a mission—in this case, a duel to the death with General Miles.6 However, Arturo, in contrast to the lonely cowboy, does not return to his home town (Warshow); rather, his journey is to the past. Once in the past, Arturo must avenge the dishonor caused by the United States’s invasion of the island. Therefore, Arturo must arrest the US’s territorial expansion (a popular element of Westerns) through temporal expansion, by recuperating the nation’s lost time. What Santos’s story essentially proposes is change (or, at least, resistance), which is, according to MacArthur, what defines Gothic science fiction: If traditional gothic is all about escape then modern gothic science fiction is all about resistance and the demonstration of mettle. If it boils down to fight or flight then quite simply flight is not going to cut it anymore. (58) Arturo, as a good soldier, chooses the former and interprets the latter not as flight, but as a journey. The comparison of Arturo with the cyborg Terminator puts Santos’s story within the tradition of Gothic science fiction, but also within the tradition of the romantic hero who must confront the aggressor alone. The solitary nature of the soldier/cyborg/romantic hero becomes evident in the farewell between the brothers: “Al beso en la mejilla siguió un abrazo interminable” [The kiss on the cheek was followed by a protracted hug] (Santos 60). The brothers shed tears, kiss, and hug, but they also understand that if Arturo changes history, neither of them may exist in the future. Arturo, like the prophet Moses, may be able to see into the Promised Land—temporally, in Arturo’s case—but he will not be able to enjoy its paradise, the utopia of Puerto Rico’s liberation. The farewell scene, moreover, reminds us of the Puerto Rican literary tradition that narrates the Puerto Rican soldier’s departure to (or return from) combat in foreign lands to fight US wars. Santos’s story joins the narratives of Emilio Díaz Valcárcel and José Luis González, which recount the—at times sinister and monstrous—physical and mental transformation of the soldier. But in “El ‘Terminator’ boricua,” it is a

“I’ll Be Back”  115 war without soldiers, a criollo war. Arturo is the martyr or hero, the José Martí7 of the future, who with sword and pen must confront the North American empire to prevent a future dystopia.

Los condenados Busó-García’s film was released in 2012 with a limited distribution: it appeared in only a few theaters in Puerto Rico and New York. The film was not entirely accepted by critics, who noted, above all, its technical and narrative failings. Although it is true that it is precisely those failings that complicate the (perverse) connection between spectator and fiction (so necessary in horror movies), I am more interested here in looking at the ways in which the movie shows, through fiction, the medical colonization of Puerto Ricans and the invasion of the body. Los condenados, which is closer to classic Gothic (Punter) than Santos’s short story, is the story of Ana Puttnam and her father, Doctor Michael Puttnam, a native of the United States who moved in the seventies to the fictitious small town of Rosales, Puerto Rico to develop his research in treating pediatric cancer. Even though the story and the characters are fictional, Busó-García has said that the film “was partly inspired by a scandal plucked from the life of Dr. Cornelius P. Rhoads, an American pathologist and cancer researcher who some suspect conducted ghastly experiments on patients while working in Puerto Rico in the 1930s” (Dargis).8 Years after the research, Ana and her father, now in a catatonic state, return from Mexico to Rosales to turn the family mansion into a museum to showcase the doctor’s scientific achievements. Likewise, Ana plans to improve the town’s infrastructure to turn it into “a progressive town,” in the words of Valeria, the curator of the future museum. However, once they return to the house, Ana begins to experience certain paranormal events that leads her to discover a family secret hidden within the walls of the mansion, among the previous inhabitants of the town, and even within herself. Doctor Puttnam had, in reality, abused the local population for years by experimenting on the town’s children, who little by little began to die from the effects of the radiology treatments, to the point that the town’s youngest generations disappeared. The Puttnam museum arises from Ana’s attempt to “polish” the memory of her father and expose his altruistic work. However, the town’s residents—in particular Clara, the old blind lady—do not accept the Puttnams’ return. Immediately after the family’s arrival, a series of suicides occurs among the neighbors. These are presented as ordinary actions that are in no way out of place in an old town falling to ruins, and whose only inhabitants are elderly. Although these suicide scenes (individual and collective) do not seem to be completely motivated by the movie’s narrative, they contribute to the sensation that in this town the sinister is natural, and even anticipated by the spectator.

116  Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno All of Rosales, then, becomes an open-air jail from which it is impossible to escape. The town, moreover, far from being a rose garden as its name suggests, is presented as a dystopic or post-apocalyptic space (barely surviving a catastrophe that in the beginning we cannot decipher) without a younger generation, and therefore without any possibility of regenerating: Rosales is condemned to die. The beauty and upkeep of the Puttnam house, however, contrasts sharply with Rosales’s deteriorating shacks. The mansion, painted white and lit by the bright tropical sun (although dark on the inside) is constantly shown from a low angle as one more body that offers a panoptic view of the jail-like town. The ­chiaroscuro lighting of the interior, and the camera angle when filming the outside of the mansion like an infrastructure that stretches off into the sky, constantly remind us that we are dealing with a Gothic mansion, and that the tropical space of the Caribbean can also house sinister castles. Inside the house, the stained-glass windows, the antique furniture, and above all, the great crystal chandelier in the center of the ballroom, engender the feeling of being in a place from another time, where time has stopped. The orderliness and cleanliness of the house, added to the feeling of time stopping, turn the house into a place full of dread and mystery. Following the Gothic tradition, the Puttnam house is the guardian of unthinkable secrets that, ironically, will remain forever preserved in a museum of horror. The Museum and the Laboratory Stopping––and even reconstructing––time and history is perhaps most evident in the idea of the museum. According to Susan A. Crane, “the contents of museums, one might suggest, represent the traces of evolutionary stages, examples of what did not survive but yet, paradoxically, transcended into the present” (100). In the Puttnam mansion, what does not survive is the body (and autonomy over it); rather, what endures into the present in the museum is, in fact, phantasmagoria. If, in theory, the museum represented an enlightened ideal regarding progress and modernity, in practice the Puttnam museum shows us the antimodern and barbaric: the torture and death of children. Along with medical objects and documents, in the middle of the great hall––which is the main room of the museum––there is a scale model that represents the new Rosales, the Puttnams’ future project for modernizing the urban space. This mise en abyme of the outside space is not only the main museum exhibit, but also the utopic version of the town that contrasts with the present dystopic reality. Rebuilding the town and erasing the acts perpetrated against its population are ways of building a utopia. But it is an impossible utopia. In Los condenados, the museum, like the house, has its sinister side underground: the laboratory

“I’ll Be Back”  117 in the basement. If the shacks of Rosales’s residents are counterpoised to the opulence of the mansion, the laboratory in the basement of the house-museum hides—but also reveals—the Puttnams’ horrific truth. Throughout the movie, the spectator accompanies Ana as she experiences repeated supernatural events between the hallways and the bedrooms of the house. Towards the end, the appearance of old photographs of children and recordings of Doctor Puttnam conducting his interviews with the townspeople and his radiological experiments on their children, confirms another hidden truth: Ana is, in fact, Magdalena, a native of Rosales, the wife of Doctor Puttnam, and the nurse who collaborated on the experiments that ended up killing the children of the town. As Ana slowly remembers her true identity, she also remembers her role in the town’s macabre history instigated by her spouse. Once she discovers the basement, Ana—young and arrogant—finally transforms into Magdalena—an old lady tormented by memories and shame. At the end of the movie, Magdalena is able to “see” the ghosts of the children who dwell in the mansion’s basement laboratory. The children appear as a horde of zombies who approach Magdalena, possibly to avenge their torture and death.9 The basement laboratory, then, is the source of horror (besides being the physical center of the house), and it is precisely this horror that unites all the opposing spaces in the movie: inside and outside the mansion, upstairs and downstairs in the house. Horror is born and hides inside the house, and is definitely added to the town through the children who spread it around like radiation. Likewise, horror returns to the inside of the house once the children become ghost-zombies10 that chase Ana. The museum and the laboratory are both conceived as modern utopias, with history and science presented by Ana and Michael Puttnam, respectively: “Preserved and conserved objects [in the museum] are organized in a meaningful narrative that is offered continuously and accessibly” (Crane 102). Following this idea, in the creation of both spaces, Ana Puttnam tries to build a coherent, linear, and accessible narrative that goes from a town seen as prescientific barbarism to a place of order and innovation, courtesy of the knowledge imported from outside, (from the Unites States) by Doctor Puttnam. However, this positivist utopia soon reveals its dystopic reality: the ghosts in the laboratory infect the whole house and the town, and transform the museum into a place where “the dream of reason produces monsters.”11 The comings and goings of supernatural beings and Ana’s walks through the town, on the other hand, suggest a circular, infinite narrative in which Magdalena is forever trapped. Thus, the Gothic form, “essentially semi-­circular, twisting, repetitive, open ended” (Novak 65), manages to impose itself on the teleological logic of the Puttnam museum and laboratory. The creation of the museum, like Arturo’s journey to the past, are ways of thinking and living history, and of creating utopias. Both utopias

118  Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno are possible only if the past is changed: altering the events of 1898 or “sterilizing” past events to erase their terrifying aspects. The journey to the past and the journey from the past, respectively, are means of salvaging the present and (re)founding a future community and a homeland.

Conclusion “El ‘Terminator’ boricua” and Los condenados show the immediate effects on Puerto Rican space and subjects since the invasion and occupation by the United States. Furthermore, the story and the movie—as contemporary versions of narrative forms that arise during Modernity, the Gothic, and science fiction—show the anti-modern face of that process. According to Alcocer, “Caribbean time seems to flout the linear ‘clock time’ associated with modernity, thereby allowing the past and the present to commingle” (68). In that temporal mix, as well as in the idea of the double (Ana/Magdalena, Arturo/Ernesto), contemporary Puerto Rican fiction seeks to disinter tragic pasts and reveal possible futures. The ghost-zombies of the children in Los condenados are the inhuman (or rather, dehumanized) residue of medical colonization; they are the barbarism in opposition to Doctor Puttnam’s civilization. Ana/­Magdalena, for her part, is a döppelganger: Ana is rationality; Magdalena, otherness, not only because of her origin in Rosales, but also because she is able to see and hear the others, the condemned. In the short story, Ernesto is also a man of science, while his brother Arturo is the passionate—­irrational?—being who tries to change one of the most over-determining historical events of the island. The fascination with otherness and with the double that the Gothic shares with Enlightenment thinking allows us, moreover, to raise questions “about what it means to be human” (Smith and Hughes 2). This story and this movie, however, specifically consider what it means to be boricua (Puerto Rican) and what is the true history, the hidden history, of the island. What is in play in both fictions, finally, is the possibility for change. In both the story and the movie, we witness the disappearance of groups that we associate with change: the pro-independence supporters as representatives of one of the most radical political options on the island, and children as forgers of the future, whatever it may be. That change— utopic or not, fantastic or realistic—is possible through travel. On the one hand, through Arturo’s temporal displacement that will bring him face to face with the other, who is his own ancestor; on the other hand, through Ana’s physical and mental journey to Magdalena, which will bring her face to face with others, the children who once shared with her a place, a time, and a history. The metaphorical subject12 in these stories, then, is the Gothic. While travel writing may have been essential in the formation of a colonial thinking that characterized the colonized subject as monstrous, in

“I’ll Be Back”  119 the narrations discussed here the journey is what facilitates the encounter and the introduction of subjects erased from history: independence-­ minded rebels, and an abused populace. However, Arturo and Ana/ Magdalena are two different types of travelers, and they therefore articulate distinct ways of confronting, through fiction, Puerto Rico’s colonial process. Santos’s story privileges the masculine intellectual figure as founder of the nation, while the movie returns to the idea of “illness as metaphor for colonialism” forged by literary critics in the first half of the twentieth century; in other words, Puerto Rico as an ailing social body (Gelpí 7). Even so, Busó-García’s film seems to challenge this concept in suggesting, through the Gothic, the return of the mutilated bodies as those capable of reconstructing—and vindicating—the history of those who have been excluded. In any case, pro-independence supporters, women, and children seem to say in chorus, “I’ll be back”—and their return rearticulates, through horror and mystery, the occupation of the island.

Notes 1 The Grito de Lares [Shout of Lares] was a failed attempt at revolution that took place on September 23, 1868 in the town of Lares, Puerto Rico. The rebel leaders sought independence from the Spanish Crown and proclaimed the Republic of Puerto Rico. 2 On July 25, 1952, the Estado Libre Asociado of Puerto Rico (literally, Associated Free State, although its official name in English is Commonwealth of Puerto Rico) was proclaimed. The ELA granted Puerto Ricans the right to elect a Puerto Rican governor and Congress. Still, Puerto Ricans— US citizens since 1917 when the US Congress approved the Jones Act—are not able to vote in presidential or federal congressional elections under the ELA. Every four years, Puerto Ricans elect a Resident Commissioner, who serves as a US congressman with no vote. However, the proclamation of the ELA did not imply a reversal or change of federal legislation on the island. Other matters pertaining to the relation between Puerto Rico and the United States as stated in the Jones Act, including “citizenship, immigration, coastwise shipping, commercial treaties and foreign relations, and all matters related to military activity, currency, and tariff policy,” remained the same (Ayala and Bernabe 163). To this day, the ELA has always been the favored option—over either independence or statehood—in all plebiscites held on the island. According to Ayala and Bernabe, “the debate on the nature of the ELA continues to this day. Its defenders argue that through it, Puerto Rico ceased to be an unincorporated territory, although most of those who hold this position also argue that there are many areas in which a wider autonomy would be desirable. For most statehooders and independentistas, the ELA is a thinly disguised form of territorial and/or colonial government” (173). I have chosen not to translate Estado Libre Asociado because “Commonwealth” does not accurately reflect Puerto Rico’s political relationship to the United States. 3 Acosta Cruz points out that “Puerto Rican culture has, until recently, hardly explored the two other status options, commonwealth and statehood. And yet, it is these two that represent the political will of the people.”

120  Sandra Casanova-Vizcaíno Independence, therefore, remains a “symbolic aspiration, a grand gesture of love, a refuge for national pride, and an intellectual fantasy that sustains how Puerto Rican culture imagines the nation (its heroes, its allegories, its significant stories)” (1). “El ‘Terminator’ boricua” belongs to this category. 4 Although in reality we do not know whether either of these will come to pass. 5 I am referring to the creation of the Puerto Rican literary canon by the socalled “Generation of [19]30,” a group of writers who privileged a paternalistic, elitist view of the island’s cultural production. Most literary criticism from the first half of the twentieth century neglected women and minorities, and instead used several totalizing metaphors—the family, the house, and the school—to form and explain a Puerto Rican literary tradition (Gelpí). 6 General Nelson A. Miles served in the United States Army during the Spanish-American War. On 25 July 1898, he led the invasion of Puerto Rico, and he served as the first military governor of the island. 7 José Martí was a Cuban writer, journalist, and political theorist who led the Cuban War of Independence in 1895. He was killed in battle and to this day he remains a national hero. As a poet and essayist, he belongs to Latin America’s Modernismo movement. 8 The fictional story in Los condenados also resonates with several other cases from real life, such as the use of poor, uneducated Puerto Rican women as human medical subjects during the fifties to test oral contraceptives. During the seventies and eighties, the US government conducted forced sterilization on Puerto Rican women without properly informing them of the procedure and its consequences. Also notorious is the case of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos (1891–1965), a politician and president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. Albizu Campos was arrested several times during his life on charges of sedition and conspiracy against the government of the United States. He claimed that, while in prison, he was the subject of human radiation experiments. Finally, there is the case of the former military base on Vieques, an island municipality of Puerto Rico, where the US Navy conducted bombing exercises and experiments with Agent Orange, napalm, and depleted uranium, among others, between 1941 and 2003. Currently, the island of Vieques has one of the highest cancer rates in Puerto Rico. Despite these statistics, the United States government has not cleaned the area. 9 Ana’s transformation into Magdalena, although it fulfills the Gothic trope of döppelganger, as will be seen later, can also be seen as a narrative failure of the film. In reality, there is not sufficient information in the story to explain why Magdalena would feel the need to create an alter ego, Ana. The narration seems to indicate that shame and selective forgetting were the triggers for it, but for the spectator it is impossible to verify. 10 It is unclear whether the director intended to portray the children as either ghosts or zombies. Once again, this might be a narrative failure of the film. 11 “El sueño de la razón produce monstruos” is the title of an etching created in 1799 by Spanish artist Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828). 12 I refer here to the concept proposed by the Cuban writer José Lezama Lima (1910–1976) in his book La expresión americana (American Expression 1957). According to him, identity, history, and American landscapes are constructed based on the poetic and the aesthetic, on images that belong to different periods (which he calls imaginary eras). These eras are traversed by the metaphorical subject who is charged with relating and interpreting them; the metaphorical subject goes along constructing history as if it were a poem. Lezama’s vision of history, then, is not linear, but spiral, and it can relate apparently unconnected images and moments.

“I’ll Be Back”  121

Works Cited Acevedo, Rafael. “Puentes para la ciencia ficción en el Caribe.” DiálogoUPR, October 11, 2014, Acosta Cruz, María. Dream Nation: Puerto Rican Culture and the Fictions of Independence. Rutgers UP, 2014. Alcocer, Rudyard. Time Travel in the Latin American and Caribbean Imagination: Re-reading History. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Ayala, César and Rafael Bernabe. Puerto Rico in the American Century: A History since 1898. U of North Carolina P, 2007. Braham, Persephone. From Amazons to Zombies: Monsters in Latin America. Bucknell UP, 2016. Busó-García, Roberto, director. Los condenados. Strand Releasing, 2012. Crane, Susan A. “The Conundrum of Ephemerality: Time, Memory, and Museums.” A Companion to Museum Studies, edited by Sharon Macdonald, Blackwell, 2006, pp. 98–109. Dargis, Manohla. “Disgraced Life Conjures Mysterious Forces: The Condemned, by Roberto Busó-García.” New York Times, February 28, 2013, nytimes. com/2013/03/01/movies/the-condemned-directed-by-roberto-buso-garcia. html. Gelpí, Juan. Literatura y paternalismo en Puerto Rico. Editorial de la U de Puerto Rico, 1993. Khair, Tabish. The Gothic, Postcolonialism and Otherness: Ghosts from Elsewhere. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Lezama Lima, José. La expresión americana. Instituto nacional de cultura, 1957. MacArthur, Sian. Gothic Science Fiction: 1818 to Present. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Novak, Maximillian. “Gothic Fiction and the Grotesque.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction, vol. 13, no. 1, 1980, pp. 50–66. Paravisini-Gebert, Lizabeth. “Colonial and Postcolonial Gothic: The Caribbean.” The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Literature, edited by Jerrold Hogle, Cambridge UP, 2003, pp. 223–57. Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. 2nd. ed., Routledge, 2007. Punter, David. The Literature of Terror: The Modern Gothic. 2nd ed., vol. 2, Longman, 1996. Santos, José E. Los viajes de Blanco White. Callejón, 2007. Smith, Andrew and William Hughes, editors. Empire and the Gothic: The Politics of Genre. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. van Elferen, Isabella. “Techno-Gothics of the Early Twenty-First Century.” The Cambridge Companion to the Modern Gothic, edited by Jerrold Hogle, Cambridge UP, 2014, pp. 138–54. Warshow, Robert. The Immediate Experience: Movies, Comics, Theatre, and Other Aspects of Popular Culture. Expanded reprint. Harvard UP, 2001. Wasson, Sara and Emily Alder. Gothic Science Fiction 1980–2010. Liverpool UP, 2011.

9 Marie Vieux Chauvet’s World-Gothic Commodity Frontiers, “Cheap Natures” and the Monstrous-Feminine Kerstin Oloff Marie Vieux Chauvet’s Amour, Colère, Folie (1968) is a Gothic triptych that relentlessly depicts gendered violence in a context of racialized class hierarchies and despotic terror. Suppressed for decades by her family, it was re-released only in 2005 (Spear; Kruidenier Tolliver). The present chapter focuses on the first novel, Amour, narrated by a bourgeoise named Claire Clamont, who is in many ways a classic Gothic “madwoman”: she cradles a doll in her room, fantasizes about being her brother-in-law’s wife, plots the killing of her sister and stabs a cat to practice murder. Unlike other Gothic heroines, she is not physically imprisoned; nonetheless, as the darkest-skinned daughter of a lightskinned family of coffee plantation owners, Claire is contained and restricted by class aspirations, gendered social norms, and by “colorism” which “permeates all dimensions of social life” (Charles 72). While she evolves throughout the novel through her solidarity with the women raped by the commandant Calédu, she is in many ways an anti-heroine and an unreliable narrator, who has internalized patriarchal and racist structures. This is highlighted by the format of the confessional diary in which Claire reveals thoughts that clash with her outward behavior and highlight her own ingrained biases. Claire is thus both a victim of, but also compliant agent within, a violent social order. While cutting in its depiction of the mulatto middle class, of the noiriste regime of François Duvalier and the new black middle class, Chauvet’s critique is not focused on Haitian society in isolation. Engaging with a number of familiar motifs and characters of Haitian literature since the US Occupation (1915–1934) (such as the French and American foreigners and amorous allegories of nationhood), Amour’s Gothic aesthetics are explicitly “worldly” in locating their critique within the capitalist world-system during the age of US imperialism, thus offering “the larger geopolitical context for the rise of extreme race nationalisms on the island of Hispaniola” (Kaussen 152). I am here particularly interested in the ways in which Chauvet links the Gothic monstrous-­feminine and brutal sexual violence against women to questions of ecology within this

Marie Vieux Chauvet’s World-Gothic  123 world-systemic context.1 The monstrous-feminine is brought into direct relation with the export of raw materials, dominated by the American capitalist Mr. Long, and thus also with the concomitant environmental degradation on the “commodity frontier.”2 Arguably, this aspect of her aesthetics has far-reaching implications, given that globally “women are the ones most affected by … natural disasters due to social roles, discrimination and poverty” (Gaard 180). Environmental degradation has been a recurrent concern throughout twentieth-century Haitian literature. As Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert shows, Chauvet contributed to this tradition from a highly informed perspective, as her novel Fonds de nègres (1960) reveals her thorough understanding of issues surrounding deforestation, global extractivism, and topsoil erosion. The novel was her “cri d’alarme” [“cry of alarm”] upon discovering “the agricultural problems that explain the peasants frightful misery and their root in the fast growing pace of deforestation in the district and the nation” (Paravisini-Gebert, “All misfortune” 74–75). This understanding also visibly underpins Chauvet’s approach to Gothic aesthetic in Amour. Chauvet’s representation of Claire draws on, and complicates, a specifically Haitian version of the Gothic monstrous-­feminine, that is, the tradition of tales of female zombification, rendered all the more poignant within a context of extreme gendered and sexual violence under François Duvalier (1957–1971). While it is true that Amour offers little in terms of a redemptive vision and presents us with an ending that is ambivalent in its revolutionary potential, it is through Chauvet’s insistent focus on the ecology of the racialized monstrous-­feminine that she exaggerates, and ultimately rejects, the social atomization and structural marginalization of women epitomized by female zombie tales. Refusing “to collapse her female character’s violations with metaphoric rapes of the nation” in the manner of the aesthetic of important male writers, including Jacques Roumain and Jacques Stephen Alexis (Chancy 309), she arguably seeks to re-visibilize the systemic links between gendered sexual violence, the exploitation of natural resources and unpaid or “cheapened” work (whether performed by women in the domestic sphere or the newly disowned peasant class).

Haitian World-Gothic and “Cheap Natures” My reading of Marie Chauvet’s text is undergirded by a heterodox approach to the Gothic. I understand the Gothic mode and Gothic effects, rather than only the Gothic genre, as a particularly compelling instance of “world-literature” that registers in form and content the processes shaping the capitalist world-system (Deckard et al). 3 Approaching the Gothic mode from this perspective, I propose to think of it expansively—­ temporally, geographically, and formally. This allows us to embed familiar definitions that link the Gothic genre to the Industrial and

124  Kerstin Oloff French revolutions within a larger, world-systemic context.4 Indeed, as Persephone Braham has shown, monstrous imaginaries have become strongly linked with the Americas during the conquest period (17). This monstrous proliferation can be linked to the gradual emergence of the world-system through the horrors of genocide, the slave trade and plantation slavery, and through the extraction of raw materials from the Americas (see also Sheller). The term “world-gothic” thus indicates a historical and theoretical positioning that differs from that underlying competing terms, such as for instance the “globalgothic,” which focuses on a more contemporary period. According to Botting and Edwards in their theorization of the globalgothic, the contemporary world order is characterized by multi-directionality and the erosion of nation-states: “transnational capitalism,” they write, “for so long associated with Western or US imperialism, respects no national borders in its pursuit of profits and markets” (13). The world-gothic, on the other hand, is based on a longer view of “globalization”: capitalism is a world-system and characterized by the locking together of different regions into relations of increasing inequality. This inequality was profoundly shaped by European and American colonialism/imperialism. Its newest wave is “globalization,” “the acceleration and deepening of old imperial processes under a neoliberal regime” (Fatton 24). Further, this article builds on recent ecocritical work that has yoked literary criticism to Jason W. Moore’s theorization of capitalism as a world-ecology, that is, as a systemically patterned way of organizing nature on a global scale (Deckard, “Editorial”; Niblett, “World-­ Economy”; Oloff; Deckard, “Uncanny States”; Niblett and Campbell). From a world-ecology perspective, the processes shaping the capitalist world-system involve not only the exploitation of labor-power, but also the appropriation of the unpaid (and cheapened) work and energy of human and extra-human natures, or “Cheap Natures” (Moore). Critiques of capitalism have often focused on production and the substance of “value” [socially necessary labor time], and have tended to ignore the more expansive relations of reproduction and thus arguably impede an understanding of the workings of capitalism as world-ecology. Indeed, as Moore emphasizes, “the relations necessary to accumulate abstract social labor are—necessarily—more expansive, in scale, scope, speed, and intensity. … [capitalism] must ceaselessly search for, and find ways to produce, Cheap Natures: a rising stream of low-cost food, labor-­power, energy, and raw materials to the factory gates” (53). These “Cheap Natures”—whether gendered and racialized labor or environmental resources—are appropriated under capitalism in ways that are fundamentally unequal, violent, and oriented towards profit. Capitalism thus vampirically feeds on unpaid and undervalued labor, on gendered and racialized bodies and on extra-human natural resources. In this context, I want to argue that Marie Vieux Chauvet’s novel helps us to highlight

Marie Vieux Chauvet’s World-Gothic  125 the ways in which the Gothic mode registers, and is animated by, not only the processes of exploitation but also those of appropriation. More importantly, she focuses on how to think them together within a larger framework. To express this in a more Gothic vocabulary, one might say that she highlights the ecology of, and links between, the zombified dispossessed peasant class (arriving in Port-au-Prince towards the end of the novel) and the zombified bourgeois woman-of-the-house. Amour deliberately evokes the horizon of the “world-system,” most strongly felt in Haiti through the US occupation and the lasting legacy of economic imperialism, embodied in the novel by American Mr. Long, who is backed locally by Calédu and who, after having bought up the Clamont coffee plantations, concentrates on the export of logwood. As noted above, Amour emphasizes the ways in which both the late thirties and the Duvalier régime are still shaped by the US occupation, which had created a highly militarized society and cemented Haiti’s position as a resource extraction zone, forced to provide “cheap” extra-human resources and migrant labor-power. Reinforcing global patterns of neocolonial class relations, the ruling elites under Duvalier continued to rely on foreign capital, siphoning off large sums to sustain their personal privilege (Dupuy 32). One must here further highlight that the environmental and gendered legacies of the Occupation were devastating and long-lived. As Myriam Chancy has emphasized, militarization and poverty are constitutively linked with gendered and sexual violence (318). Further, both are environment-making processes. Despite the environmental devastation wrought by colonialism, in the early twenties “over 60 percent [of Haiti] was still covered by forests. By 1945, following the American Occupation (a period of intensified lumber exportation), this number had been reduced to 21 percent; ten years later, the number was eight to nine percent” (Paravisini-Gebert, “All Misfortune” 79–80). To return to the question of the Gothic mode, it is well known that it was during the period of the late twenties and thirties, coinciding with the US Occupation, that the figure of the zombie—both the laboring zombie and the female zombie rendered compliant by a bokor— gained global visibility through the transition into the US imaginary. This transition occurred through travel literature such as William Seabrook’s Magic Island (1929) and films, including the first zombie film White Zombie (Halperin, 1932). Within these texts, the zombie tended to cater to the expression of racialized and racist imperial anxieties as well as serving to “justify” US “interventions” through paternalist rhetoric. From a world-ecology perspective, I would argue that the internationalization of these Gothic narratives was driven by the socio-ecological crisis of “new imperialism” that was felt in many different locations (Holleman 1). While creating environmental degradation and dispossessing peasants in Haiti, US imperialism had also created devastating consequences within the United States: the socio-ecological disaster of

126  Kerstin Oloff the Dust Bowl was the product of the drive for “white territorial control,” of the forceful displacing of indigenous communities and their agricultural practices, and of a push towards an agriculture based around crops for export (Holleman 8). It is noteworthy that displaced migrant workers and devastated landscapes emerged as figures in both Haitian and US literature from the mid-late thirties onwards. So I would argue that, while the US zombie texts do not feature explicit environmental degradation, they nevertheless register in displaced form the alienation between the workers and the lands they work on (Oloff). Indeed, in that sense, the ecology of the laboring zombie is fairly self-evident, while that of the female zombie is less immediately apparent, as it appears mediated by the imperial-masculine order. In this context, the most important aspect of Amour, then, is Chauvet’s insistent linking of the Gothic mode (and of the monstrous-­feminine as we will see later), to what one might call “commodity frontiers.”5 In Amour, the American ship and Mr. Long are evoked frequently as environment-­degrading forces: Le bateau indifférent transporte le bois empilé sur le quai. Le commerce de ce côté est florissant. M. Long, rouge comme un coq, dirige lui-même les opérations. Les paysans ont des faces de chiens battus. Ils tendent la main vers la paye en rechignant et regardent au loin, les montagnes dévastées. De larges plaques blanches s’étendent sur elles comme une lèpre. Des rochers immenses pointent à leurs flancs comme des tombes. (69) [The indifferent ship loads the wood piled high on the pier. Business on that end is booming. M. Long, red as a rooster, manages the operation himself. The peasants have faces like whipped dogs. They sulk and hold out their hands for their payment as they look away into the distance at the devastated hillside. Huge white patches have spread on the mountain like leprosy. Immense rocks stick out of its sides like gravestones.] (46) US extractivism results in very visible socio-ecological degradation, described here and elsewhere through imagery that is Gothic and anthropomorphic. Human and extra-human natures are intertwined, as Claire’s imagery makes abundantly clear: the “hécatombe” [slaughter] of cut trees results in diseased mountains looking like cemeteries (182), in mudslides, in degraded hillsides and destroyed livelihoods, and thus also in the creation of an army of cheap surplus labor to be sent to the Dominican Republic. On the “commodity frontier,” then, the brutality of extractivism and primitive accumulation is nakedly apparent, as is

Marie Vieux Chauvet’s World-Gothic  127 the link to human impoverishment and misery. The Gothic here thus serves to de-fetishize commodity production, global class relations, as well as, arguably, the symbolic enclosure of women within the private sphere. This becomes visible in the contrasting of Claire’s atomization (within the “private” sphere, as well as within her own subjectivity in the form of her claustrophobic diary) and a context of resource extraction. Chauvet’s text often shifts quite abruptly from Claire’s descriptions of “external” extractivism to her “internal” obsessions. In order to highlight the specificity of Chauvet’s approach to Gothic aesthetics, we might here compare her employment of the Gothic mode to Jacques Roumain’s Gouverneurs de la rosée [Masters of the Dew] (1944), which equally employed Gothic imagery to capture the increasingly visible devastation of the Haitian landscape. Indeed, in Gouverneurs, an obsession with death is prominent from the first line: “Nous mourrons tous…” (13) [We are all going to die… (23)]. This anxiety is linked to the devastation of the hills, which are “parcouru[s] de ravinements étincelants; les érosions ont mis à nu de longues coulées de roches: elles ont saigné la terre jusqu’à l’os” (15) [traversed by shining gullies where erosion had undressed long strata of rock and bled the earth to the bone (24)]. When the messianic hero Manuel, a former sugar-­cane worker, first approaches his home on his return from Cuba, the tone is similarly bleak, as the landscape is dominated by emaciated cattle and ominous flocks of crows that “à son approche, s’enfuyaient dans un noir remous, avec des croassements interminables” (29), [flew away at his approach in a dark whirl of interminable caws (36)], adding to a sense of doom and eco-apocalypse. What is striking in the novels by both Roumain and Chauvet is that the Gothic mode, when employed in relation to environmental degradation in Haiti, is not primarily animated by repression—a mechanism often seen as driving Gothic fear through the haunting secret that needs to be decoded. While concerned with “extreme states, such as violence and pain, fear and anxiety,” caused by the breakdown of community and environmental disaster, the Gothic mode is here only “weakly transcoded” (Hillard 690; Shapiro 215). However, repression does become a major concern in Amour in relation to gender and unpaid work. As is well known, Roumain’s text metaphorically conflates women and the land, offering a vision of the revitalization, or indeed figurative de-zombification, of community and the land through the finding of water thanks to the messianic sacrifice of Manuel. Symbolically, the revitalization of the land is mirrored by Annaise’s pregnancy with Manuel’s child. Patriarchal dichotomies are here employed to render different ecological regimes: a negatively connoted ex-prostitute is associated with an exploitative approach to land and labor, whereas the young virgin Annaise, who will give birth to the martyred hero’s child, is linked to ecological recovery.6 Chauvet rejects these dualisms, which replicate uncritically the association of “women” with the “natural” realm

128  Kerstin Oloff and the sphere of social and biological reproduction. They also paradoxically make gendered work appear as “one step removed from immediate impact on nature,” “mediated through a particular form of production” (Merchant 5). Chauvet’s approach, I argue, renders visible the gendered violence of a system that routinely devalues both gendered unpaid work and the work/energy provided by extra-­human natures. Indeed, unpaid gendered work, while invisibilized through the apparent mediation of reproduction through production, feeds into “commodity chains” and is arguably even “more crucial to capital than waged labor” (Clelland 82). This repression of women’s work is possible because a key feature of capitalism, according to Roswitha Scholz, is value dissociation: “a core of female-determined reproductive activities and the affects, characteristics, and attitudes (emotionality, sensuality, and female or motherly caring) … are dissociated from value and abstract labor” (127). One might say that a world-ecological version of dissociation theory might be that it is “Cheap Natures”—unpaid work and energy—that are dissociated from “value and abstract labor.”7 What does this mean for Gothic representations in this context? Representations of exploited labor in the racialized figure of the zombie, visibilizing the reduction of a person to a body that sells hours of its time, are only one particular Gothic (or zombie) effect. But the female zombies—female characters zombified by a male character who wants to control their bodies and desires—are not “workers” in the sense of the laboring proletariat. Instead, they register the gendered experience of capitalist processes of accumulation: the larger relations of reproduction largely carried out by women and identified with the “natural” realm of biological and social reproduction.

“Greening” the Zombified Woman-of-the-House The feminine-monstrous in Amour, as embodied by Claire, draws on various Gothic tropes that are the product of a masculinist capitalist world-system, in which gendered violence is the interpersonal manifestation of structural violence. Claire presents herself as an aged virgin harboring countless repressed desires shaped by a racialized patriarchal society and only inadequately met by cradling a doll, looking at pornographic postcards, and fantasizing about her French white brother-in-law. As mentioned above, Claire’s narrative also echoes tales around female zombification, in which a woman’s “‘tit bon ange”—or “the component of the soul, where personality, character, and volition reside”—is stolen by a powerful bokor to make the woman compliant to a rejected male suitor (Paravisini-Gebert “Woman Possessed,” 38). According to Paravisini-Gebert, the “master tale” of female zombification for most early twentieth-century accounts recounts “the death in October 1909 of Marie M., a young upper-class woman” (40). Marie was

Marie Vieux Chauvet’s World-Gothic  129 presumed interred but found alive five years after her supposed burial, “wild, unkempt, demented, and [having] born three children” (40). This basic tale was re-imagined by literary writers, including Jacques Stephen Alexis in “Chronique d’un faux amour” (1960), in which the light-skinned protagonist is transformed into a zombie during her wedding night and shut away in a convent in France. While Amour does not offer a tale of literal zombification and imprisonment (via poisoning and burial), Claire nevertheless presents herself as figuratively zombified: she describes herself as a “corps sans âme” (97) [soulless body (66)] and her inner life as one of emptiness, noting that there is a “[v]ide en moi.” (96) [an emptiness within me (65)]. Experiencing a lack of agency and an alienation from her own body, she offers the following image: “Je suis enfouie dans la dernière couche terrestre, à la fois morte et vivante. Non, morte, vraiment morte. Une sorte d’automate. Je n’ai plus d’âme. Est-ce ça le désespoir?” (96) [I lie beneath the last geological layer, at once dead and alive. No, dead, truly dead. A kind of automaton. I no longer have a soul. Is this what despair is? (65)]. Caught between death and life, seemingly at a remove from the public sphere of action, Claire evokes all of the component parts of zombie tales, including the (in this case figurative) burial. One here needs to emphasize that literary representations of figurative female zombification were often inscribed within the same paradigms that conflate women and the land/culture/nation. One might here think of Jacques Stephen Alexis’s sex-worker in L’Espace d’un cillement (1960), who makes a living by satisfying the desires of US marines and is “re-sensitized” through physical and emotional intimacy with a Cuban mechanic/labor activist. It is thus notable that Chauvet introduces significant changes to the version offered in popular tales as well as those offered in literary texts by her male compatriots: not only is Claire’s zombification presented within its wider socio-ecological context (of which it is a product), but it also refuses several of the narrative component parts, such as the romance plot and the fetishization of the racialized white/light-skinned female body. What I want to argue here is that Marie Vieux Chauvet’s more complex tale offered in Amour enjoins us firstly to reflect on the ecology of the tradition of female “monsters” and “virgins” (why do Gothic and zombie effects proliferate with the American occupation and its legacy?), and secondly to engage critically with some of the patriarchal paradigms underlying tales of female and collective de-zombification. Arguably, female zombification highlights, through the monstrous, the atomization of women within a patriarchal-capitalist world-order, relying on a series of symbolic and structural enclosures that fragment the gendered individual; production is separated from reproduction, occluding any possible link or alliance between the exploited zombie-­ worker (who, in zombie representations, is also sometimes female but

130  Kerstin Oloff not primarily defined through his/her gender) and the bourgeois zombie-­ housewife (or indeed, between the zombie-housewives themselves). Let us here consider “Chronique d’un faux amour” (1960), in which Jacques Stephen Alexis offered the perspective of a female zombie: the unnamed narrator tells us of her fate of being locked up in the convent, where she feels profoundly alienated from her surroundings and struggles to makes sense of the world around her. The difference between the laboring zombie and the female zombie, who was formerly part of the ruling elite, becomes abundantly clear in the following passage, in which the unnamed narrator contemplates a clock: Sur la table, depuis des années, la pendule précipitée égrène son interminable kyrielle de petits cailloux, —je les crois blancs—; blanches, ces secondes qui cognent l’une après l’une, puis roulent contre mes tempes. Voilà dix ans que j’attends ma première nuit d’amour, la nuit qui me réveillera et m’amènera au jour, la nuit qui m’arrachera à l’hinterland équivoque, incolore où je végète… (103) [It has been years that, on the table, the hasty clock chimes its interminable stream of little pebbles, —I believe them to be white—; white are these seconds that knock, one after the other, then roll against my temples. I have waited ten years for my first night of love, the night that will awaken me and will lead me to the day, the night that will tear me from the ambiguous and colorless hinterland where I vegetate…] (my translation) While the laboring zombie, a being reduced to bodily labor, produces “value,” which is defined through “socially necessary” labor time, the female light-skinned zombie’s time is wasted and figured as fundamentally unproductive, as she is suspended between life and death and trapped in between the relational states of virgin and wife. As is well known, the “revolution” heralded by the clock, and thus the production of abstract measurable time, has been linked to the development of industrial capitalism—hence the significance of the clock visualizing here a waste of time. Further, we may note that the “whiteness” of the metaphorical pebbles is heavily overdetermined and links to the symbolism of a patriarchal racialized imaginary (evoked elsewhere through the white dress and the whiteness/lightness of her skin). As Kaiama Glover astutely remarks, the nameless female zombie in Alexis’s tale is no straightforward victim of society, but rather inscribed in a racialized social hierarchy of which she was herself partially an agent: “It becomes apparent that Alexis’ narrator was in fact both transformed into an actual zombie on her wedding

Marie Vieux Chauvet’s World-Gothic  131 day and revealed as a metaphorical zombie by her first obligatory contact with a member of the peasantry” (109). Indeed, the female zombie is quite “happy to affirm an equivalence … between African genealogy and monstrosity” (Asibong 198). While “Chronique” does not place this tale of female zombification explicitly within a larger world-ecological context (as does Chauvet), it certainly highlights the racist intertwining of discourses on “nature” and “race” through the narrator’s reaction to the black and créole-speaking uncle of her husband-to-be, who she views as “gorilla” (136). If zombification tales thrive on the alienation of the disenfranchised mass of the population from the land, and on the alienation of women from the realm of production, then it must be emphasized that modern racism is the product of one such rift in socio-ecological metabolism. It was “capitalist colonialism that formulated the dualism that placed human beings outside nature and that reproduced the difference between humans and non-humans as inferiority” (Mukherjee 55). In Chauvet’s story, the tale of female zombification is further complicated, refusing to fall into narrative patterns that revolve around the white female body (a narrative which had become popular in the US cinematic context, through its embedding in racialized narratives of empire that catered to imperial fears of “contagion,” displacing the atrocities of colonization). That the monstrous-feminine hinges on repression produced by gendered and classed “atomization” within the private sphere is highlighted by Claire herself: to others, Claire, who has learned to repress her instincts, is the epitome of the woman-of-the-house, who guards the family’s honor through her virtuousness, narrowly defined through her refusal of sexual relations. But Claire of course knows that “[l]a pureté n’existe pas” (21) [there is no such thing as purity (10)], admitting that she sometimes feels she is a monster (78). Further, the racialization of the monstrous-feminine in the zombie tales is highlighted and problematized throughout: Claire, whose name means “light,” has darker skin than the rest of her family and has internalized colorism/ racism, instilled in her by her father through physical punishment. This manifests itself not only in her treatment of others and her sexual desires but also in self-abnegation and madness (see Lee-Keller). Adding to these more complicated dynamics of gender and race/color is the fact that the Gothic “secret” that haunts the text is her key role in the massacre of the workers on her parents’ coffee plantation. The zombie Claire, as is highlighted in the text, occupies a social position that is upheld by the surplus value that had been brutally extracted from severely underpaid peasant-tenants, unable to even afford their daily food. After her parents’ untimely deaths following her father’s failed resistance to US imperial ambition, Claire struggles to retain authority over the coffee plantations “because of the things she is not: male and white” (Paravisini-­ Gebert, “Marie Vieux Chauvet” 75). Unable to extricate herself from the social logic of the role she inhabits, she proceeds to ally herself with foreign

132  Kerstin Oloff capital (embodied by Mr. Long), fixing coffee prices at a rate that undercuts the coffee prices of the region. The retribution by those she had undercut is swift, as the peasant-tenants on her plantation are brutally killed. As becomes clear through these flashbacks, her “zombification” takes place within a larger world-systemic context; it is, as Martin Munro puts it, “linked to the temporal, in so far as the soul, as it is understood in the novel, is intimately connected to Claire’s past, to the familial and societal events that have rendered her soulless, as she puts it” (50). It is strongly embedded within the context of Haiti as a resource extraction zone, and the functioning of the ruling middle class as mediating between foreign interests, world market prices, and a super-exploited peasant class. Much has been made of the opposition between white Frenchman Jean Luze (who is the conscious object of her desires) and the black Haitian Calédu (who she unconsciously desires). While I do not have enough space here to go into much detail, I want to focus on a particular element of that set-up: both male characters are part of a ruling elite that are implicated in resource extractivism. Jean Luze works for Mr. Long in an administrative role (which he gradually begins to reject because of the obvious corruption and mistreatment of the peasants), while Calédu uses military force and sexual violence to support Mr. Long’s logging export business. While Claire consciously wants to identify with Jean Luze (despite the fact that his criticism of Mr. Long fails to translate into action), Calédu’s assertion that he and Claire are similar because they both have “des morts sur la conscience” (73) [killing on our conscience (49)] clearly profoundly disturbs and haunts her. Indeed, a full-blown episode of madness, evoking several familiar tropes of the monstrous-feminine, occurs just after her observation of Calédu’s brutalities from the safety of the supposedly removed space of the bourgeois “private sphere”: Ce matin, Calédu a matraqué quelques paysans. Il est en rage. J’ai assisté à toute la scène derrière les persiennes de ma fenêtre. D’autres yeux épiaient aussi dans le voisinage. Je voyais remuer les rideaux sous des mains frémissantes, luire des regards à travers d’autres persiennes; j’entendais chuchoter à droite, à gauche et parmi ces chuchotements s’élèvent à intervalles presque réguliers les jurons de Calédu, les cris de protestation, de douleurs, des paysans: ils s’étaient mis en grève pour réclamer de M. Long un prix plus élevé pour leur bois. En réponse, M. Long avait fait débarquer du bateau en rade depuis deux heures, une scie électrique que le commandant forçait les paysans à transporter eux-mêmes. L’abattage des arbres se faisait trop lentement à la hache et M. Long était pressé d’acheter au prix qu’il avait lui-même fixé, tout le bois de montagne. L’un des paysans continuait malgré les coups àparler: — Ne cédez pas! hurlait-il, tenez bon, et si je meurs n’oubliez pas qu’il vous faut à jamais rester solidaires.

Marie Vieux Chauvet’s World-Gothic  133 On le transporta mourant à la prison… Je serre ma poupée contre moi. Seule dans l’obscurité, je contemple la lune et m’essaye à sourire. Les désirs s’évanouissent. Je me sens comme purifiée. J’entends sonner les heures à l’horloge de l’église. … Mes rides s’accentuent et mes traits se fanent. Ce sera bientôt la vieillesse. Ah! vivre, vivre avant qu’il soit trop tard! (106–107) [This morning, Calédu bludgeoned several peasants. He’s furious. I watched the whole scene from behind my shutters. Other eyes in the neighborhood were spying too. I saw curtains moved by trembling hands, eyes glowing behind other blinds; I heard whispering to the right, to the left, and piercing the whispering almost at regular intervals, Calédu’s swearing, the peasants’ cries of pain and protests: they went on strike against M. Long to demand a better price for their wood. In response M. Long unloaded an electric saw from the boat docked in the harbor for the past two hours, and the commandant made the peasants haul it themselves. It was taking too much time to chop the trees down with axes, and M. Long was in a hurry to buy all of the mountain wood at the price he had fixed. One of the peasants kept talking despite the blows: “Don’t give in!” he yelled. “Hang on, and if I did, don’t forget you must stick together.” He was taken to prison dying… I clutch my doll against my chest. Alone in the dark, I gaze at the moon and attempt a smile. Desire is fading. I feel purified. I hear the church clock chime an hour. … My wrinkles deepen and my features wilt. Old age is coming soon. Oh, I want to live, to live before it’s too late!] (73) Claire’s seamless turn to the monstrous-feminine Gothic after the description of the brutalities that accompany primitive accumulation on the commodity frontier suggests that the Gothic mode is partly animated by her recognition of the repression (of exploitation) at stake in her social position. She seems to recognize, in other words, that while Calédu pushes violence to unseen extremes, he is also part of the same system of oppression that she is implicated in. Further, we also see something else at work here: the possibility of communal expression of resistance and collectivity (a utopian dream which still imaginable in Roumain’s literary universe) is here nearly stomped into oblivion by the methods employed by Calédu (and, by implication, anti-­C ommunist Duvalier) (see also Niblett, The Caribbean Novel 83). These methods involve militarized violence, rape, and an alliance with US capital.

134  Kerstin Oloff Indeed, the question of solidarity, and specifically female solidarity, is fragile in Amour, a fact driven home by a number of female doubles for Claire, who are inscribed in racialized class hierarchies: one might here mention Claire’s white-skinned sister Felicia, who marries the white Frenchman Jean Luce (who all three sisters in the novel desire but who on first seeing Claire mistakes her for the maid); or the domestic servant Augustine, who Claire was forbidden to become friends with as a child. With both friendships/relationships forestalled or impeded due to racial and patriarchal dynamics, Augustine becomes one of the most marginalized and silenced characters in Claire’s narrative, while Felicia dominates many of Claire’s obsessive fantasies. Claire is thus unable to form meaningful relations with these characters, but she begins to show public solidarity with the women of her own class raped and violated by Calédu, whose suffering reflects the increase of gendered sexual violence in an increasingly militarized society (Chancy 316). In this context, the ambivalent ending in which Claire stabs Calédu to death during an uprising of the disenfranchised former peasants is invested with much significance. The ending seems to proffer the possibility of aligning the gendered interests of the abused bourgeois women and the uprising of the dispossessed former peasants—albeit in a somewhat muted and ambivalent way, as Claire’s killing of Calédu “is hardly treated as heroic … The only action possible has become participation in the violence around her” (Dalleo 139). Part of that pessimism may also derive from the fact that while the uprising was explicitly directed against M. Long, the latter (and the imperial order he represents) is seemingly left untouched (protected as he is by a machine gun), while the rest of society is in a state of violent chaos. Over two decades ago, Paravisini-Gebert excellently summed up Marie Chauvet’s text as follows: “Chauvet’s central metaphor for the historical process … is rape, that of women by men in power and that of Haiti by repressive violent forces” (“Marie Vieux Chauvet” 75). It is this central metaphor, and Chauvet’s exploration of the aesthetic and world-historical implications, that transform Amour into a key text for thinking through the ecology of the world-gothic and, more specifically, the monstrous-feminine. This chapter sought to focus on Chauvet’s representation of the relation between the (systemic, symbolic, and physical) violence against women and the violence of an increasingly unequal world-system that develops through the downgrading and exploitation of natural resources (a process seen in its most brutal force in what Fatton calls the “outer periphery”). On the one hand, the link between environmental and masculinist violence has of course been quite explicit since the conquest period: one only needs to recall the countless depictions of nature-as-woman and woman-as-nature, which have accompanied colonization. Or, to take a twentieth-century example, one might think of the feminization of Haiti in imperialist discourse born

Marie Vieux Chauvet’s World-Gothic  135 from, and ideologically re-enforcing, the Occupation. However, the possible links between resource extraction and gendered violence are simultaneously structurally occluded, since gendered female labor is assigned to the realm of (social and biological) reproduction, seemingly “one step removed from immediate impact on nature” (Merchant 5). The “private realm” is thus conceptually subordinated to the masculinized realm of “work.” Relating this contradictory dynamic to a classic Gothic example that has found much resonance in the Caribbean, we might say that this is why Jane Eyre finds it impossible to understand her relation to Bertha Mason, the Creole Caribbean “madwoman” in the attic, who registers the horrors of the plantation (including extreme gendered violence). The plantation order is, also, of course, the source of Mr. Rochester’s wealth. It is this “mediation,” and the repression that underpins it, that animates the monstrous-feminine in Chauvet’s text. “Madwomen” like Claire are “monstrous” in the term’s etymological sense: as products of, and at least partially agents within, a brutally gendered and racialized capitalist world-ecology, in which much work by women and racialized workers of both sexes is either unpaid or undervalued, they “reveal” and “portend” systemic tendencies.

Notes 1 Creed defines the monstrous-feminine as follows: “As with all other stereotypes of the feminine, from virgin to whore, she is defined in terms of her sexuality. The phrase “monstrous-feminine” emphasizes the importance of gender in the construction of her monstrosity” (3). 2 Derived from the world-system's concept of the “commodity chain” (the chain of production and extraction processes that result in the final commodity), the commodity frontier is the “locus [within the commodity chain] where extraction geographically expands” (Conde and Walter 71). 3 I take the Gothic mode to function “more as an adjective describing certain aspects of the texts, rather than a discrete category into which these works unerringly fit” (Hillard 689). The Gothic mode “is typically concerned with extreme states, such as violence and pain, fear and anxiety, sexual aggression and perversion” (690). 4 I here build on the important collection of essays in EcoGothic (Hughes and Smith). Sharae Deckard’s chapter, in particular, seeks to push beyond national traditions and diffusionist accounts of the Gothic tradition. 5 Kaussen offers an excellent analysis of Chauvet’s debunking of Long’s “liberal” speech on the peasants’ supposed free will, which contrasts with Claire’s evocations of the screams from the nearby prison—the real “cost” of the regime that enables Long’s extractivism (173). 6 This association between prostitution and an ecology based on extractivism also underlies Jacques Stephen Alexis’s L'espace d'un cillement (1959), in which a de-sensitized, one might say zombified, female prostitute to American marines is re-sensitized by a male Cuban mechanic/labor strike organizer. 7 A list of “affects, characteristics and attitudes” from that perspective would begin to look a lot like Val Plumwood’s “master model” of modernity.

136  Kerstin Oloff

Works Cited Alexis, Jacques Stephen. “Chronique d’un faux amour.” Romancero aux étoiles. Gallimard, 1960 [1988], pp. 103–49. Asibong, Andrew. “Haitian Bride of Frankenstein: Disintegrating Beauty, Monstrousness and ‘Race’ in Jacques Stephen Alexis’s ‘Chronique d’un Faux Amour’.” The Beautiful and the Monstrous, edited by Amaleena Damlé and Aurélie L’Hostis, Peter Lang, 2010, pp. 197–208. Botting, Fred and Justin D. Edwards. “Theorising globalgothic.” Gobalgothic, edited by Glennis Byron, Manchester UP, 2013, pp. 11–24. Braham, Persephone. “The Monstrous Caribbean.” The Ashgate Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, edited by Asa Mittman and Peter Dendle, Ashgate, 2013, pp. 17–48. Campbell, Christian and Michael Niblett, editors. The Caribbean: Aesthetics, World-Ecology, Politics. Liverpool University Press, 2016. Chancy, Myriam J.A. “‘No Giraffes in Haiti’: Haitian Women and State Terror.” Ecrire en pays assiégé: Writing under Seige, edited by Marie-Agnès Sourieau and Kathleen M. Balutansky, Rodopi, 2004, pp. 303–21. Charles, Carolle. “A Sociological Counter-Reading of Marie Chauvet as an ‘Outsider-Within’: Paradoxes in the Construction of Haitian Women in Love, Anger, Madness.” Journal of Haitian Studies, vol. 20, no. 2, 2014, pp. 66–89. Clelland, Donald A. “Unpaid Labour as Dark Value in Global Commodity Chains.” Gendered Commodity Chains: Seeing Women’s Work and Households in Global Production, edited by Wilma A. Dunaway, Stanford UP, 2013, pp. 72–87. Conde, Marta and Mariana Walter. “Commodity Frontiers.” Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era, edited by Giacomo D’Alisa, et al., Routledge, 2014, pp. 71–74. Creed, Barbara. The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. Routledge, 1993. Dalleo, Raphael. Caribbean Literature and the Public Sphere. U of Virginia P, 2011. Deckard, Sharae. “Editorial.” Green Letters, vol. 16, no. 1, 2012, pp. 5–14. ———. 2013. “‘Uncanny States’: Global ecoGothic and the World-Ecology in Rana Dasgupta’s Tokyo Cancelled.” EcoGothic, edited by Andrew Smith and William Hughes, Manchester UP, 2013, pp. 177–94. Deckard, Sharae, et al. Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature, Liverpool UP, 2015. Dupuy, Alex. The Prophet and Power: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the International Community and Haiti. Rowman and Littlefield, 2007. Fatton, Robert. Haiti: Trapped in the Outer Periphery. Lynne Riener Publishers, 2014. Gaard, Greta. “From Cli-fi to Critical Eco-Feminism: Narratives of Climate Change and Climate Justice.” Contemporary Perspectives on Ecofeminism, edited by Mary Phillips and Nick Rumens, Routledge, 2016, pp. 169–92. Glover, Kaiama L. “Exploiting the Undead: The Usefulness of the Zombie in Haitian Literature.” Journal of Haitian Studies, vol. 11, no. 2, 2005, pp. 105–21. Hillard, Tom J. “‘Deep into that Darkness Peering’: An Essay on Gothic Nature.” Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, vol. 16, no. 4, 2009, pp. 685–95.

Marie Vieux Chauvet’s World-Gothic  137 Holleman, Hannah. “De-naturalizing Ecological Disaster: Colonialism, Racism and the Global Dust Bowl of the 1930s.” The Journal of Peasant Studies, vol. 44, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1–27. Hughes, William and Andrew Smith. EcoGothic. Manchester UP, 2013. Kaussen, Valerie. Migrant Revolutions: Haitian Literature, Globalization, and US Imperialism. Rowman and Littlefield, 2008. Kruidenier Tolliver, Julie-Françoise. “Reading Albania Reading Chauvet: Solidarity and the Publication of Amour, Colère et Folie.” Women in French Studies, 2012, pp. 228–47. Lee-Keller, Hellen. “Madness and the Mulâtre-Aristocrate: Haiti, Decolonization, and Women in Marie Chauvet’s Amour.” Callaloo, vol. 32, no. 4, 2009, pp. 1293–311. Merchant, Carolyn. Ecological Revolutions: Nature, Gender and Science in New England. U of North Carolina P, 2010. Moore, Jason W. Capitalism in the Web of Life. Verso, 2015. Mukherjee, Pablo Upamanyu. Postcolonial Environments: Nature, Culture and the Contemporary Indian Novel in English. Palgrave McMillan, 2010. Munro, Martin. “Chauvet the Prophet: Writing the Future and the Future of Writing.” Yale French Studies, vol. 128, 2016, pp. 43–56. Niblett, Michael. The Caribbean Novel since 1945: Cultural Practice, Form and the Nation-State. UP of Mississippi, 2012. ———. “World-Economy, World-Ecology, World-Literature.” Green Letters, vol. 16, no. 1, 2012, pp. 15–30. Oloff, Kerstin. “‘Greening’ the Zombie: Caribbean Gothic, World-Ecology and Socio-Ecological Degradation.” Green Letters, vol. 16, no. 1, 2012, pp. 31–45. Paravisini-Gebert, Lizabeth. “‘All misfortune comes from the cut trees’: Marie Chauvet’s Environmental Imagination.” Yale French Studies, vol. 128, 2016, pp. 74–91. ———. “Marie Vieux Chauvet: An Introduction.” Women of Hispaniola, edited by Daisy Cocco De Filippis, York College, 1993, pp. 74–79. ———. “Woman Possessed: Eroticism and Exoticism in the Representation of Woman as a Zombie.” Sacred Possessions: Vodou, Santería, Obeah and the Caribbean, edited by Margarite Fernández Olmos and Lizabeth Paravisini-­ Gebert, Rutgers UP, 1997, pp. 37–58. Plumwood, Val. Feminism and the Mastery of Nature. Routledge, 1993. Roumain, Jacques. Gouverneurs de la rosée. Le Temps des Cerises, 2000. ———. Masters of the Dew. Translated by Langston Hughes, Heinemann, 1978. Scholz, Roswitha. “Patriarchy and Commodity Society: Gender without the Body.” Marxism and the Critique of Value, edited by Neil Larsen et al., M-C-M’ Publishing, 2014, pp. 123–42. Shapiro, Stephen. “Zombie Health Care.” The Year’s Work at the Zombie Research Center, edited by Edward P. Comentale and Arron Jaffe, Indiana UP, 2014, pp. 193–226. Sheller, Mimi. Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies. Routledge, 2003. Spear, Thomas C. “Marie Chauvet: The Fortress Still Stands.” Yale French Studies, vol. 128, 2016, pp. 9–24. Vieux-Chauvet, Marie. Amour, Colère et Folie. Zulma, 2015. ———. Love, Anger, Madness. Translated by Rose-Myriam Réjouis and Val Vinokur, Modern Library, 2009.

10 Casa por cárcel Incarcerating Homes in Costa Rican Life and Fiction Ilse Bussing

A family man wakes up to go to work. He has breakfast, kisses his wife and children goodbye, and heads out into the garage. Before opening his front door, he undergoes a morning ritual of unlatching the three locks that, like claws, dive into both the wooden door and wall, fiercely guarding the main entrance to the house. But once the door has been freed, the man must face yet another barrier, a front-door gate that greets him with its cold, metallic bars, nearly kissing him as he leans down to unlock it. Finally, the man gets into his car, and as he is just about to start the engine, he curses (in Spanish), realizing that he should have first opened the padlock that hangs from a heavy chain that holds the garage gate to another metal bar that is welded to a wall. A loud clank of the heavy chain, as it slips from the man’s hands onto the sidewalk, announces the end of this daily protocol—for the man, at least. After he has driven away, his wife must now leave with the children, but before she does, she must close each and all of the doors and gates that her husband had initially unbolted. This family’s morning ritual finally comes to an end when, before driving off, the woman presses the button of a control that activates the home’s alarm. This sketch, so outrageous that it is highly suggestive of fiction, is in fact a realistic portrayal of present-day Costa Rican life. This chapter addresses how fact and fiction indeed meet and clash in a literary text by Daniel Gallegos, as well as in journalistic works that portray this absurd scenario. This analysis takes a close look at the “penitentiary” homes in Costa Rican real life and fiction through the eponymous Gothic motif of the labyrinth; instead of portraying eighteenth-­century voyages through catacombs, the texts discussed here contain labyrinthine trajectories through Costa Rican “homes” that have been shaped into defensive structures, redolent of anxieties about crime. Costa Rican author Daniel Gallegos, born in San José in 1930, is one of the country’s most renowned playwrights. This study examines one of his works, En el séptimo círculo [In the Seventh Circle] (first performed in 1982; first published in 1991), as well as current news articles that discuss Costa Rican anxieties concerning criminality and recurrent fears of home invasions. En el séptimo círculo explores how senseless violence is generated after young robbers enter the home of an elderly couple.

Casa por cárcel  139 The play begins with homeowners, Félix and Esperanza, having a chat before their guests, Dora and Rodrigo, arrive for dinner. Once the guests arrive, both couples tour the hosts’ “intelligent home” that boasts a hitech security system. Despite the couples’ confidence about the safety of the home, it is soon infiltrated by a group of hoodlums; upon hearing the bell ring, the owners let in a young woman, Rona, who is carrying a baby, and who asks to make a phone call because her car has supposedly broken down. As she enters, she also lets in her accomplices Rufino, Chita, and Manolo. Together, they end up terrorizing the older occupants by insulting them and abusing them verbally and physically. The second act of the play, however, displays a drastic reversal of this power struggle, since it is now the older couples who act as victimizers, thus revealing the contagious and pernicious nature of violence. By comparing this literary text to journalistic ones, I wish to explore how the classical notion of home as labyrinth is molded into a space that transmits fears and anxieties that are specific to Costa Rican society, a society which is undergoing a critical and, at times, violent transition. Even though unheimlich homes and fears of infiltrations appear in various literatures, this article maintains that Gallegos’s work reveals the acute preoccupation with crime and the vulnerability of their homes, a concern that has increased tremendously in recent years, changing not only the collective sense of (in)security in the population, but also the very essence and design of homes throughout the nation. As happens

Figure 10.1  Bars, razor wire, and gates guard the facades of homes in a middle-­ class neighborhood in San Pedro, San José. At the home in the right, one can see the original low wall and gate; in recent years, the top bars with lance ends were added for “security” reasons.

140  Ilse Bussing in other cases, when faced with an extreme situation, society’s reaction tends to be equally as extreme as the problem, and often futile. In this particular case, the heavily barred and barbed-wired face of modern Costa Rican homes resembles, more than a safe haven, a maze-like penitentiary structure (Figure 10.1).

Perceptions of (in)Security in the Country As mentioned previously, Gallegos’s En el séptimo círculo explores how a home invasion engenders tremendous brutality; instead of portraying an isolated episode of violence, this text depicts one of the most palpable anxieties in contemporary Costa Rican culture, that of public insecurity (generated by a perception of growing violence and crime) and its domestic implications. This fear is indeed so rampant that social scientists have identified it as a defining trait of contemporary Costa Rican identity. According to Julio Bejarano’s article on the relationship between public insecurity and drug use, “in comparison to other Latin American countries that are more violent (Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala), in Costa Rica, the perception of criminality as a national threat is higher” (11). The question then arises, if Costa Rica is in fact less violent than some of its neighbors, why is crime1 perceived as such a widespread and relentless threat? Bejarano also notes how, since the nineties, the definition of public safety has undergone an evolution, from a traditional view centering on the state and its role in defending a nation and its citizens from external threats, to a modern concept, focusing on the individual and his/her perceptions of human or individual safety in everyday life. In Costa Rica, it is the latter (the notion of individual safety) that generates heavily guarded homes engendered by acute fears of violence and threats of infiltration. Several studies, such as the one conducted by the School of Statistics of the University of Costa Rica in 2013 support this assertion: “59.7 percent of Costa Rican citizens consider that during the last three years, insecurity increased” (Seevers 59). 2 Furthermore, specialists coincide in asserting that Costa Ricans have modified their behavior due to these various manifestations of crime and violence that citizens face every day and perceive as ever-increasing: “Costa Ricans modify their behavior due to the fear of being robbed” (HispanTV). Moreover, as a consequence of this hostile environment, peaceful coexistence (convivencia) between neighbors and other members of society is one of the main factors that Costa Ricans perceive as drastically eroding in the last two decades. This matter is crudely revealed in the play by Gallegos, as violence quickly erupts in the dealings among the characters. The above findings clearly expose the intense worries about personal safety that haunt contemporary Costa Rican society, concerns that stem from what people perceive as an increased lawlessness and aggression.

Casa por cárcel  141 These fears materialize and shape the Costa Rican domestic sphere as well as other buildings into structures that reveal the collective psyche through their defensive and undeniably hideous exteriors: “Homes have metal grates or fences covered with barbed or razor wire. We are imprisoned and afraid. Security guards, surveillance cameras and metal curtains defend businesses, factories, banks, and condominiums” (Paguagua 5). In the documentary Doble llave y cadena [Under Lock and Key] (directed by Hernán Jiménez), sociologist Carlos Sojo concludes that Costa Rican society is a “society of fear” in which homes consequently display “an aesthetic that embodies distrust, fear.”

En el séptimo círculo: A Descent into Violence Like the heavily-guarded homes of real life, Gallegos’s play En el séptimo círculo addresses the phenomenon of how extreme fears concerning personal safety and lack of trust in others engender dwellings that, beyond protecting, entrap their occupants. Claustrophobic homes, like the one that this playwright presents, have always appeared in Gothic texts. Gallegos’s play follows in the tradition of Gothic fiction’s preoccupation with unveiling the more sinister aspects of family life; but instead of merely revealing the underbelly of domesticity, this text discloses this sort of collective hysteria experienced by the majority of Costa Rican society, regarding criminality and its effects on the family home. In addition, En el séptimo círculo reveals the generational cracks that arise in Costa Rican society, due to struggles between older, traditional groups, and recent, disgruntled generations. The topic of home security is introduced early on in the play. The owners explain how a phone call transmits a code to the home’s central computer which in turn activates metal doors that hermetically shut all the windows and doors, securing the residence from invasion: “en cada puerta y ventana hay compuertas de acero, que se abren y se cierran como las de un elevador por medio de una combinación” [on each door and window there are metal curtains that, like those in an elevator, open and close, by means of a code] (201). The mazelike home in this play is presented, above all, as a fort full of defensive features and mechanisms meant to “protect” its inhabitants and other guests. When Félix and Esperanza announce that they will be leaving on a trip the next day, their guest Rodrigo immediately asks a question that one inevitably hears before someone in Costa Rica goes on a trip: “y quién les va a cuidar la casa?” [and who is going to watch the house?]. Esperanza explains how leaving a house sitter is unnecessary since they had installed an “electronic guard:” “hemos instalado un cuidador electrónico” (200). The core of this system is a computer that, when instructed by the owners, is in charge of shutting the home hermetically and not allowing anyone in, and in a rather sinister way,

142  Ilse Bussing also not permitting anyone to exit the house: “Ahora todo está cerrado. Imposible entrar o salir. Todo se hace por medio de un computador que programa el tiempo que uno quiere que esté cerrado, o bien, se puede abrir manualmente como lo hice ahora” [Now everything is shut. It is impossible to get in or out. Everything happens by means of a computer that programs how long one wants it to stay shut; alternatively, one can open it manually, as I just did] (201). Even though Esperanza clarifies that the computer can be instructed to open the house again (after they have called by phone and punched in a code), the audience is left with a sense of unease about the home’s potential refusal to obey its owner’s commands; this initial episode foreshadows what is to come and also highlights real-life anxieties about smart homes and the power of technology vs. human authority, and sovereignty. The smart home in Gallegos’s fiction is present in real life not so much in the form of technologically advanced houses (although they are becoming more common in the nation in recent years), but in heavily fortified structures. The documentary by Jiménez begins with the narrator’s heartfelt explanation of what has occurred to homes and to the Costa Rican lifestyle in the last decades: I believe that someone put Costa Rica under lock and key … because I was very calm, but in an instant, before my eyes spear-point bars fell, locks turned, padlocks creaked, the door was shut and my country was left outside, while I was left here, completely imprisoned by a relentless fear, and everything else was left outside. This initial speech reveals not only the severe alteration of the physiognomy of the Costa Rican home, but also the resulting isolation and ironic imprisonment of its inhabitants. Since the closing of the door, Costa Ricans have relinquished communal spaces such as the streets, the neighborhood convenience store, and practically the whole world that lies outside their barricaded houses because of a relentless fear. This introductory speech also mentions some of the defensive elements that are thoroughly described in the documentary, which enable the fortification of Costa Rican houses: bars, gates with lance-like bars, barbed wire of different kinds, electrified fences, hiring guards, and private security companies, etc. This disproportionate reaction narrated in the documentary coincides with the response of the homeowners in Gallegos’s play, about introducing computerized security elements in their smart-home. Unfortunately, these extreme measures also mirror the response of real-life Costa Ricans who lock themselves into impervious structures. Needless to say, all of these home security features employed in life and in fiction resemble elements employed in castles and other medieval structures, thus echoing the same primitive reaction to retire to fortified structures in order to survive from external attacks (Figures 10.2 through 10.4).

Casa por cárcel  143

Figure 10.2  Defensive elements around a middle-class home in Curridabat, San José.

Figure 10.3  Neighboring homes in Curridabat, razor wire alongside an electrified top fence as defensive elements.

En el séptimo círculo follows in the Gothic tradition of questioning the reality of a domestic ideal, by presenting its nightmarish version, a home that entraps inhabitants in a setting full of seemingly-endless fear and violence. The labyrinthine essence of the setting in Gallegos’s play is present from the start, in the title, in an intertextual reference to the seventh circle in Hell, in Dante’s Divine Comedy.3 This reference plainly indicates that the setting in the play, far from being a nurturing dwelling, will indeed resemble a hellish site. The oppressive setting of the play heightens this sensation, and initial events soon lead to an acceleration and excess of violence that portray a Dantesque descent.

144  Ilse Bussing

Figure 10.4  H ideous results of employing numerous defensive elements in the front of a house in Betania, San José.

As mentioned earlier, the play begins when the owners, Esperanza and Félix, welcome another couple to celebrate Félix’s birthday. Soon after the guests arrive, a young woman carrying a baby rings the doorbell and asks to come in, under the pretense that her car has broken down and that she needs to call for assistance. After watching her through a surveillance camera, and debating whether or not to let this stranger in, the couples finally let her enter, an event that soon unleashes tremendous violence upon all the occupants, as the woman’s accomplices also break into the home. Clearly mirroring Dante’s seventh circle in Hell, the main component of this downward, spiraling journey is violence, mainly in its physical and sexual manifestations. When the youths break into the home, they begin saying obscenities, apparently without any cause or provocation, and threatening to commit revolting acts. Rona lets in her husband Rufino, as well as their accomplices Chita and Manolo. Manolo immediately humiliates Dora, the elderly guest, by saying “esta vieja todavía aguanta un polvo” [this old woman can still be screwed] (212). She tries to slap him (a violent response to a violent comment), and when her husband intervenes, Manolo punches him, clearly highlighting the contagious and circular nature of violence. The other woman, Esperanza, is an easy target for the youths, since they find her wearing a negligée that she had been showing her friend: MANOLO:  “¿Y

esa bata? No está demasiado provocativa para su edad?” [And that robe? Isn’t it too provocative for your age?]

Casa por cárcel  145 CHITA:  “Tienes razón, casi se le salen las tetas” [You’re right, her tits are

nearly falling out]. (216) When Esperanza, like Dora before her, slaps Manolo, he humiliates her even more by responding: “Vieja hijueputa, cree que va en serio que quiero verle las tetas, que están más secas y arrugadas que un par de ciruelas de lata?” [You old bitch, do you really believe that I want to see your tits, which are more dried up and wrinkled than a pair of prunes?] (216). These actions, meant to humiliate the older couples, are more shocking because they are committed by a younger generation who, from the standpoint of tradition, is supposed to be respectful of its elders, and also because of the seemingly unnecessary emphasis on sexuality and offensive behavior. The assaults do not stop at making remarks, however, since actions soon escalate to literally stripping the older people of their dignity, by making them take off their clothes and other accessories. Manolo tears Esperanza’s wig off and Chita insults her further by saying “Miren a Raquel Welch” [Look at Raquel Welch] (218), even though Esperanza is almost bald. The rest decide to do the same to her friend Dora, and take off her wig. Eventually, the humiliation of the elders culminates when the youths make the women strip down to their underwear, and then tie Dora’s husband, Rodrigo, to a chair that is placed on top of a table, while calling him “el rey del espectáculo” [the star/king of the show] (220). The degrading picture and the reference to the king of a show allude to the carnivalesque tradition,4 to an inversion of social roles, and to the ridiculing of figures of authority who supposedly merit respect. The young criminals further challenge the authority and norms of the older generation by ordering them to engage in libertine practices, such as drinking champagne and smoking marihuana, a practice associated with younger generations: “por qué no les damos un poco de monte a estas momias para que se pongan en onda?” [why don’t we give these mummies some weed, so that they can get high?] (222). The sense of humiliation grows as the audience witnesses a bizarre spectacle composed of the older people, placed grotesquely, as if they were unwilling participants in the composition of a gaudy painting. This carnivalesque arrangement is pushed once again to its limits by the youths, who sadistically order them to get down on all fours, bark, and then even suggest that they copulate like dogs. Rona explains that, unlike the old, stale generation, dogs at least “no tienen inhibiciones, son felices. Se montan los unos sobre los otros sin remordimientos” [don’t have any inhibitions; they are happy. They mount one another with no regrets] (224), and she tells the older couples that they should “ladrar mientras se mueren” [bark while they die] (225). The accelerated escalation of acts of violence and abuse once again emphasizes the sense that things are worsening by

146  Ilse Bussing the minute; the narrative structure indeed is shaped into a spiral that degenerates into a place of gratuitous abuse and transgression, announcing the intentions of the youths to sexually abuse the older couples. This senseless display of aggression on the part of the younger characters is so excessive that it seems to be completely uncalled for. However, some possible explanations arise as the youths vent their resentment against the elders. At the beginning, Dora tells them to take the belongings that they came for, and to just leave. Rufino, however, tells them that they did not break in for economic reasons: “No lo hacemos por necesidad” [we don’t do it out of need] (213), but what is really curious is that when asked to clarify the real reason, Rufino is unable to verbalize it: “Difícil de explicar, difícil de entender. Si ustedes supieran el placer que me dio ver quebrar una cosa como esa, no me lo preguntarían” [Hard to explain and hard to understand. If you only knew the pleasure that it gave me to watch a thing like that break, you wouldn’t be asking] (213). At this point, Rufino admits that he might not be able to grasp or explain the reasons for their desire to vandalize the house or frighten its inhabitants, but he does admit feeling pleasure in the process. Further on, this same character is finally able to provide a partial reason for their behavior: “Nos hastía todo lo que ustedes tienen. Lo que ustedes son. Lo que representan. Y no crea que no tenemos de toda esta mierda en nuestras casas. Vivimos en casas mejores que ésta” [We’re sickened by all the stuff that you have. All you are. All that you represent. And don’t think that we do not have all of that shit at home. We live in better houses than this one] (214–15). In other words, the young criminals are tired of what the older generation is and represents, which is defined entirely by what they “have” or by their material possessions, thus the logic behind the destruction of goods or vandalism. Immediately after this confession, Rufino takes a swig of liquor straight from the bottle, perhaps suggesting the resentment that he feels towards his own parents, their sole interest in material things, and their subsequent emotional and spiritual vacuity. Near the end of the play, another character’s comments reveal his own potential reason for participating in this nightmarish attack on the older people and their home. Manolo mentions how, when he was seventeen, his mother slept with his best friend, thus destroying his trust in her and in all older people. Despite individual reasons for the violence exerted on the occupiers of the house, the play seems to offer a general reason: the criminals are the literal and symbolic offspring of an older generation, who must have done something really wrong (or not done enough) in order to produce such a flawed group: “Ustedes son responsables. La herencia nos viene de ustedes” [You’re responsible. We inherited that from you] (230). This last point becomes painstakingly clear when, right before Act II, the tables are turned, and Esperanza tells her friend Dora to punch in the security code that hermetically shuts the house and traps the inhabitants:

Casa por cárcel  147 “Todo está herméticamente cerrado” [Everything is hermetically closed] (228). Upon realizing their imprisonment, the youths panic and lose their power over their elders and the latter begin exercising their power over them in the same sadistic way. Echoing the youth’s improper behavior, Dora, who is older and should be “wiser,” begins swearing and digging through Rona’s bag in order to expose its contents: pads, birth-control pills, a bottle of Channel #5, and, intriguingly, a copy of the Upanishads, or the sacred books of Hinduism. The contents of the bag are thus exposed before the voyeuristic eyes of the oldest couples in a disrespectful way, much in the same manner in which the youths had revealed the women’s “true” appearance by removing their wigs and dresses and by exhibiting them before others. Moreover, the pads and birth-control pills clearly allude to Rona’s femininity and sexuality, put on display before others, while the bottle of Channel #5 links her to her older tormentors by indicating that she seems to belong to their same privileged socio-economic class. This last point generates intriguing implications, such as the possibility that Rona is more similar to her elders than was initially suspected; considering this option leads to the conclusion that Rona and the youngsters are not only connected to the elders, but are the direct result of their predecessors’ actions. Moreover, the reference to the Upanishads is also interesting because it suggests the youngsters’ alternative belief system, no longer based on the traditional Catholic, Costa Rican context; an interest in this set of beliefs accentuates the gap between a conventional group and a new generation, seeking answers in new places. Clearly judging Rona’s moral standing (and possibly its relation to religion), Dora asks her: “Dígame jovencita; ¿no cree usted que verdaderamente es preferible estar muerta a vivir en un mundo que se ha degradado hasta tal punto?” [Tell me young lady, don’t you think that it is truly better to be dead than to live in a world that has been degraded to this level?] (230). The abuse does not stop at exposing the contents of Rona’s purse. The older characters soon begin enacting acts of physical violence akin to the ones that the youngsters had committed against them. At the beginning of Act II, Rufino’s face is burnt with acid, and even though he needs medical attention, the older people, now in control, refuse to call the medics or let Rufino leave in order to get attention. Furthermore, Dora is not afraid to admit how their only objective at that point is to be violent against their past torturers, and that even if the youngsters are a symbolic creation of the older generation—their defective product in a sense—the older characters, now empowered, are the monstrous creation of previous abuse, thus becoming the current abusers: “si nosotros los produjimos a ustedes, ahora ustedes nos han producido a nosotros. Tenemos el poder. Quien tiene el poder hace bailar a la mona” [if we engendered you, then now, you have engendered us. We have the power. Whoever has the power does as they wish] (232). Moreover, Dora mocks

148  Ilse Bussing the youths by telling them that she does not buy into their fancy excuses or fashionable theories that justify their rebellion against the elders: “no me importan sus móviles ni si tratan de justificarse en Jesús, Marx o el mismo Buda. Lo que quiero ahora es cagarme en ustedes entienden, se los voy a deletrear C-A-G-A-R-M-E, cagarme y de una manera más cruel y refinada de lo que ustedes pudiera imaginarse jamás” [I don’t care about your motives, or if you try to justify yourselves through Jesus, Marx, or even Buddah. What I want to do now is shit on you, do you get it? I will spell it out for you: S-H-I-T, shit on you in a crueler and more refined way than you could ever imagine] (232–33). The obscenities thrown around by the youths at the beginning of the play are substituted by new lewd comments employed by their older counterparts. Initial jokes that the youths made about farting and copulating are now substituted by Dora’s comment about defecating. The common denominator here is clearly a reference to all things abject, 5 to an emphasis on lower-body functions alluding to the expulsion of the unwanted, the repulsive. Both generations, then, employ these grotesque images and references to demean the other group, thus expelling what they do not like about themselves and assigning it to the Other before attacking them. After demonstrating how abuse is exerted by the young offenders to be later exercised by their previous “victims,” the violent acts that the elders commit also escalate from emotional offenses to physical abuse, and, finally, to threats about killing others. The final scene includes a horrific combination of events. Dora, the older guest, grabs Rona’s baby, goes to the top of the stairs, and threatens to drop him over the banisters. Rufino, one of the youths, reacts by grabbing a gun and threatening to kill the older people. While Dora is in a sense “armed” with a baby, or with the power to let it go, Rufino is armed with the weapon; both gestures present the same inevitable outcome—the extermination of the other, and possibly, of everyone in the home. The potential murder of the baby provokes an intense sensation of horror and disbelief in readers and viewers; moreover, at a symbolic level, the killing of the child clearly points to the annihilation of the future. The final comment is in fact uttered by Esperanza (“Hope,” in English) when she says “ya no hay esperanza” [there’s no hope] (254). Without the baby, without a basic sense of respect for the life of others, there is indeed no hope, no future. This suspenseful open ending (open, yet strongly suggesting tragedy), is the clear culmination of violence, of a violence fueled and exerted by both parties, young and old. However, the text does seem to point the finger more strongly at the older generation, based on the premise that it was this group that literally gave birth to the young delinquents. When Dora calls them “enfermos,” Chita admits being “sick” but blames the older people for her condition: “No lo estamos negando. Y ustedes tienen la culpa. Somos el resultado del tedio y la incertidumbre” [We aren’t denying it. And you’re to blame. We’re the result of boredom

Casa por cárcel  149 and uncertainty] (224). In addition to blaming the two couples and their generation for their failure to raise healthy individuals, Rona accuses them of promoting violence because of their need to lock themselves up in their home: “Ustedes, viejos decrépitos, son los primeros en desatar la violencia al encerrarse en sus casas de la manera que lo hacen negándose a ver lo que pasa en el mundo. Están muy equivocados, si se creen libres de culpa” [You decrepit old folk are the first to unleash violence by locking yourselves up in such a way in your homes, refusing to see what’s happening in the world. You are very wrong if you believe yourselves to be innocent] (225). Chita coincides in this opinion: “No hay violencia gratuita. Siempre hay algo que la produce. El primer acto de violencia lo han cometido ustedes al encerrarse, con la ayuda de esos aparatitos y rehusar ver el mundo tal como es” [there’s no gratuitous violence. Something always generates it. You’ve committed the first act of violence by locking yourselves up with the help of those gadgets, and by refusing to see the world as it is] (241). In other words, the violent acts in the play which initially seem unprovoked or nonsensical, actually stem from the older generation’s lack of interest in raising healthy descendants and from their disregard for anything that occurs outside of their heavily-­ fortified houses. En el séptimo círculo and the newspaper articles and documentary cited all point to the same social problem in contemporary Costa Rica, that of mistrust in one’s neighbors and other members of society. This lack of trust seems to be what the new generations have indeed inherited from their predecessors. Olga and Tinita, two older women who are interviewed in Jiménez’s documentary, comment about how “trust has really significantly been lost” and “now everything is very different.” In like manner, at the beginning of the play, Esperanza tells her husband that they should understand youth and that it would be wonderful to be surrounded by young people, but when Rona first rings the doorbell and Esperanza sees her through the camera, she reveals her true attitude towards both youth and other members of society in general: “lo siento, pero no le abrimos a extraños” [I’m sorry, but we don’t open the door to strangers] (Gallegos 23). In the aforementioned documentary, other critics note how, since Costa Rican culture is family-oriented as opposed to individualistic, the lack of ties between neighbors and detachment from other members of society exacerbates the issue of impervious homes: “the tico 6 is family-oriented, not individualistic. Family is most important and we are starting to try to protect that] (Vega qtd. in Jiménez). In the same documentary, Sojo asserts that the recent transformation of Costa Rican homes into “family concentration camps” indeed leads to a lack of solidarity in the community and to indifference towards the topic of urban planning, since sharing with members outside of one’s family is not perceived as a priority. Lastly, the formation of these hermetic family structures also relates to and embodies fears of the Other, represented at

150  Ilse Bussing times as a member of a lower social class or, predictably, an immigrant.7 In the play, the attacks that the older characters suffer in the hands of the youths represent the outcome of the erosion of social engagement between neighbors, different classes and, clearly, diverse generations; the text suggests that the older generation fomented this withdrawn attitude. Unfortunately, fiction reflects contemporary Costa Rican reality, a reality in which ticos are trapped within domestic prisons. As in any labyrinth, it is often difficult or impossible to find a way out. Costa Rican life includes tragedies stemming from being trapped in heavily-fortified homes; for instance, whole families often die when a fire breaks out in the middle of the night and firemen cannot enter the house because of bars, locks, and other defensive features. It seems that fear has turned the Costa Rican domestic lifestyle, in and out of books, into a pathetic existence of permanent house arrest, into “casa por cárcel.”

Notes 1 A graph in Mariechen Seevers article identifies the crimes that Costa Ricans are most concerned with and perceive as the most common: assault, homicide, break-ins, internet fraud, car theft. 2 These studies, illustrating the widespread fear and insecurity felt by citizens, can be better understood by considering the types of violence that Costa Ricans deal with both in “real life” as well as in their minds. Max Paguaga, for example, cites some of the main manifestations of criminality in Costa Rica, ranging from soccer-fan attacks in stadiums to drivers’ aggressive behavior: “violence has invaded even soccer stadiums. Dozens of car accidents diminish the population. Violent homicides are on the rise. Intolerance, disrespect, human-rights violations, aggressiveness and mistreatment pervade society, generating a feeling of impotence in decent citizens, who eventually suffer from anxiety and behaviour alterations” (5). 3 In Dante’s work, the three main settings are Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell. The latter is further divided into nine regions or circles, with the seventh circle being assigned to those who were violent in various ways. In addition, this circle has an outer ring housing those who were violent to others and their property—as in Gallegos’s play—a middle ring populated by suicides, and an inner ring destined for those who were violent against God, Nature, and Art, including sodomites (against Nature) and blasphemes (against God). 4 In Rabelais and His World, Mikhail Bakhtin discusses the Renaissance social system, including the phenomenon of the carnival. For Bakhtin, the carnivalesque effect originates in the time of carnival, in which, through costume and masks, individuals exchanged bodies and identities. The social order is inverted, and lower-class people impersonate members of the upper class and vice versa, and through this inversion, social tensions are released and the balance of the collectivity is maintained. 5 In Pouvoirs de l´ horreur: essai sur l’abjection (1980), [Powers of Horror: an essay on abjection] (1982), Julia Kristeva describes the abject as that which has been “cast off” or excluded, as elements from the self that need to be rejected. The abject is a human reaction (such as vomit or horror) caused by the lack of distinction between the self and the other; when forced to face elements that have been excluded from the self, such as shit, sewage, an open

Casa por cárcel  151 wound or a corpse, the subject suffers from trauma because he/she must face his/her own materiality and death. 6 Costa Ricans are known as “ticos” and “ticas” because of the use of this diminutive; for example, the adjective “pobre” becomes “pobrecitico.” 7 One of the main targets of racism and xenophobia in modern Costa Rican society are working-class Nicaraguans, often employed in domestic service, agricultural or construction work. Carlos Sandoval Garcia’s work Threatening Others: Nicaraguans and The Formation of National Identities in Costa Rica [Otros amenazantes: los nicaragüenses y la formación de identidades nacionales en Costa Rica] explores the condition of Nicaraguan immigrants and the subsequent xenophobic attitudes of Costa Ricans towards them, despite the latter’s utter dependence on this workforce.

Works Cited Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and his World. Indiana UP, 1984. Bejarano, Julio. Inseguridad ciudadana y drogas. Realidades y percepciones. 1st ed., Programa de desarrollo para las Naciones Unidas, 2006, centralamericasecurity. Dante. The Divine Comedy. The Portable Dante, edited by Paolo Milano, Penguin Books, 1987. Gallegos, Daniel. En el séptimo círculo. La casa y otras obras. Editorial de la U de Costa Rica, 2001. “Inseguridad en Costa Rica.” Hispan TV, Jiménez, Hernán, director. Doble llave y cadena. DART diseño arte y tecnología, 2004. Kristeva, Julia. Pouvoirs de l’horreur: essai sur l’abjection. Editions du Seuil, 1980. ———. Powers of Horror: an Essay on Abjection. Translated by Leon S. Roudiez, Columbia UP, 1982. Paguaga, Max. “¿Existe La Violencia Social En Costa Rica?” Medicina Legal de Costa Rica, vol.26, no. 2, September 2009, pp. 5–6, v26n2/a01v26n2.pdf. Sandoval García, Carlos. Otros amenazantes: los nicaragüenses y la formación de identidades nacionales en Costa Rica. Editorial de la U de Costa Rica, 2002. Seevers, Mariechen. “Noticias UCR | Alta percepción de inseguridad en el país.” Universidad de Costa Rica, 2013. “Seguridad ciudadana en Costa Rica.” Club 700, eRSroY.

This page intentionally left blank

Section IV

Science, Technology, and the Uncanny

This page intentionally left blank

11 Shadows of Science in the Río de la Plata Turn-of-theCentury Gothic Soledad Quereilhac

In his thorough study of nineteenth-century Argentine fantastic literature, Carlos Abraham provides an extremely important document for tracking the presence and circulation of European Gothic narrative in the Río de la Plata: the catalogs of the major bookstores in Buenos Aires, issued between 1839 and 1899. Both the author’s detailed compilation of titles and its analysis show an early circulation not only of the novels by Ann Radcliffe and Charles Maturin, among other writers of the classic Gothic period1—in their original language and in French translations— but also later works which extended the Gothic mode well into the later part of the nineteenth century, by authors such as E. T. A. Hoffman, Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, and Henry Guy de Maupassant. A number of false attributions were also listed in the catalogs, 2 as well as a great number of titles from Spain, where a considerable part of the books that arrived to these shores were printed (and translated). According to Abraham, these catalogs prove: …that the dissemination of the literature of the unusual was much greater than what can be estimated by studying the references and quotes made by writers of the period. The main reason for this is that a great part of that material was second-rate works, which would hardly have been considered good enough to quote; as a whole, this corpus reveals that the average reader enjoyed an easy access to the genres we study. (717) The critic finds that, during the first half of the nineteenth century, “Gothic or Gothic-like novels, which in some cases constitute an essential part of the catalogs narrative sections, were plentiful,” while in the second half of the century, Gothic narrations, though still persistent, “are displaced by more modern versions of the fantastic” (717). It is only between the 1870s and 1880s that some vernacular titles related to Gothic, uncanny, or fantastic literature (such as Eduardo Wilde’s Prometeo y Cía [Prometheus and Co.]) begin to appear in the catalog. While Abraham considers this as a sign of the “foreign or exotic

156  Soledad Quereilhac character of those genres” for the reader community, it should also be noted that a significant part of the Argentine literature related particularly to Gothic and, more broadly, to fantasy, 3 began to be published mostly in newspapers and magazines, within the slow, gradual process of literature becoming autonomous in Latin American countries (Ramos 82–111). A considerable part of Wilde’s stories, and almost all the stories by Eduardo L. Holmberg, Leopoldo Lugones, and Horacio Quiroga, were originally published in the turn-of-the-century press, and it would only be later (in some cases, posthumously) that an area of this production became part of the books we currently know. Their scarce presence in the catalogs is not then a sign of a meager cultivation of this type of narrative, but rather a result of the fact that the new short narrative, which incorporated certain Gothic or fantastic elements, was developing mainly in the periodical press—a medium with a much larger reach than books—which proposed different reading protocols and shared an inescapable bond with contemporaneity.4 As Claudia Roman holds in her study of the modernization of the press in Río de la Plata, “the popular novel and the high-culture novel, the chronicles, the memoirs, the literary controversies, and even some ‘experimental’ genres such as Lucio V. Mansilla’s causeries were molded in the frictions caused by the inclusion of literature in the daily press” (36). The short story and the short novel—or nouvelle—did not only find in newspapers and magazines a publishing space and a great mass of readers, but also a wide range of themes for their plots, as well as formal conditions such as word economy, the quest for sensational effects and the reconstruction of the frame of enunciation of the story. In his study of Rubén Darío’s and José Martí’s chronicles, Julio Ramos has observed that “the periodical press was the necessary condition for literary modernization, though it was also a materialization of the limits of autonomy” (106). His perspective is also helpful when it comes to the development of the short story, another small genre that—as the chronicle—­found its place in the press and incorporated, in an engaging but certainly more oblique and stylized manner, topical cultural issues. If the chronicle was the privileged form for portraying the changes in the sociability, the mobility and the habits of modern Latin American cities with a diurnal, enlightened yet critical sensibility, we believe that the non-mimetic short story and the nouvelle assumed a darker perspective, driven by an interest in the mysteries that lurked in the real. In this regard, there was an area of great prominence in the press and the debates of the period: the popularization of science and its usual overlapping with fin-de-siècle pseudoscientific and occultist topics, as we will see later. Articles about “weird cases” of biology, uses of electrical energy, chemical experimentation, but also about the “scientific” approach to spiritualism and other paranormal phenomena, which were quite usual in the Río de la Plata press of this period, configured an imaginary of

Shadows of Science in the Río de la Plata  157 popular science taken up and boosted in its most uncanny, fantastic or frightening aspects by the short narrative. 5 The perspective through which these new science realities were assimilated to the short story updated a sensibility inherited from the Gothic tradition. Therefore, in the turn-of-the-century years, it is possible to trace a relatively homogeneous and cohesive cycle in the development of the short story, which had as a distinct operation the assimilation of science and pseudoscience topics, intersected with spiritualism and occultism, from a fantastic perspective and with a Gothic sensibility. In these intersections, short stories sought to enhance the horrific or uncanny nature of certain events, assimilating the aura of magic, superstition, and mystery that the new scientific theories—in some cases linked to spiritualism—seemed to have inherited. The fact that all the plots were set in the readers’ “here and now” is a sign of the strong link between this literature and the culture of its time, as well as of the contaminations between literary forms and journalistic formats. From that persistent space-time correspondence, it can also be deduced that the uncanny, the dark, and the mysterious should no longer be sought in the past but in everyday reality. In this chapter, I will analyze a corpus of short stories that updated and adapted recognizable Gothic elements for the Argentine cultural environment: Wilde’s “La primera noche en el cementerio” [The First Night at the Cemetery], an ironic take on the undead from the perspective of a hygienist doctor; “Nelly” (1896), by Eduardo L. Holmberg, which replaces the typical haunted castle for a country estate in Buenos Aires and incorporates tools of scientific measurement; Leopoldo Lugones’ “Un fenómeno inexplicable” [An Unexplainable Phenomenon] (1898), which presents the figure of a ghostly double through the lens of Darwinism and Theosophy; and finally, Horacio Quiroga’s “El almohadón de plumas” [The Feather Pillow] (1907), where vampirism is expressed in zoological terms. Although these stories are not the only ones in which the aforementioned characteristics are present, they synthesize thematic lines and textual strategies which meant a modern renovation for the Gothic, and that can be found in other stories by these and other authors. These consist, for example, in a material conception of the abstract or spiritual (life, spirit or soul conceived as bodies or particles, or as having some kind of materiality), but also in the conception of ghosts and other apparitions as empirical and verifiable phenomena. Likewise, there are frequent traces of a correspondence between an occultist belief (“astral doubles,” the “strength of the mind,” “telepathy”) and scientific notions such as atavism, or technical inventions such as the telegraph; finally, a distorted or altered view on the natural (animals, instinct) through a perverse, hyperbolic, or ominous prism also appears persistently. Differently in each case, and according to each author’s narrative project, these four short-stories bear witness, by means of their formal and thematic traits, of a certain historical sensibility, certain way of

158  Soledad Quereilhac processing the secularization of mysteries, and a subtle understanding of the obscure and terrifying dimension of the unveiling attributed to the development of scientific knowledge. It is not a question of anti-scientific reactions, nor of representing the ethically negative aspects of science; rather, in a quite different direction, these stories have delved into a series of common questions: What if science were as successful as optimists predict and could advance towards the terrains of the after-death, the world of ghosts, and phenomena that are considered supernatural? What would science find there? Would the world then be more pleasant, or would the veil drawn by science only reveal a terrifying panorama? Before embarking on the corpus analysis, we should define some boundaries for the fantastic and Gothic genres, and inquire about their specific combinations in Argentine narrative.

Gothic Manifestations in the Río de la Plata Literature “I read Latin American fantastic literature as a manifestation of Gothic literature,” holds María Negroni in her prologue to Galería Fantástica [Fantastic Gallery] (9), providing a synthetic but accurate statement on how an aesthetics, a narrative imaginary, and a sensibility from other lands and other periods can take roots in peripheral countries. The idea of the fantastic as a transmutation of Gothic has its origins in Cortázar’s pioneering “Notas sobre lo gótico en el Río de la Plata [Notes on the Gothic in Río de la Plata]. Both critics conceive the Gothic as an inheritance, a transmuted legacy, and, at the same time, as a latent presence in other forms. In a sense, it can be said that the role of this genre in the local literary system emulates one of its classic characters—the ghost, a spectral, shadowy return from an ancestral past that can be seen against the light of its living doppelgänger, the fantastic. The idea of the survival of Gothic in other narrative modalities is also found in other recent works. Nadina Estefanía Olmedo (2010) talks about “echoes” of the Gothic in the literature and the cinema of the Southern Cone, with the hypothesis that throughout the twentieth century there is a “reinvention” of certain classic Gothic themes (7). For her part, and with more formal accuracy, Inés Ordiz Alonso-­ Collada tackles a sharp revision of the Gothic and the fantastic aimed at defining their specificity in textual terms yet in close relation with their context. Acknowledging the frequent hybridization and overlapping of the Gothic and the fantastic throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the author defines their distinguishing traits: while “the presence of the supernatural, the collision between worlds, the feelings of anguish/fear produced by the unknown” are key in the fantastic genre, the main Gothic trait is the “evocation of fear,” of “an intrinsic horror instilled in the reader by ominous events, be them supernatural or not”

Shadows of Science in the Río de la Plata  159 (153–54). However, this distinction does not prevent addressing texts in which the Gothic and the fantastic intermingle and complement each other, that is to say, texts in which the supernatural provokes horror (as in the case of the four stories we will analyze). In any case, her critical review of every possible Gothic combination provides solid arguments for the study of the specific forms that hybridization took at certain points in history. In this sense, it should be added that Sandra Casanova-­ Vizcaíno, following Robert Mighall, also widens the definition of Gothic beyond its classic period and in close relation with history, presenting it “not as an ‘essence’, but as a ‘process’ or ‘rhetoric,’ an attitude both towards the past and the present” (131). We believe that the corpus of turn-of-the-century stories can be described based on its two constituting branches: on one hand, its insertion in the Gothic and fantastic narrative tradition, whose European and North American models circulated in Buenos Aires; on the other hand, its close relation to science and pseudoscience topics popularized by the press. A horror instilled by the secular knowledge of the world seems to show its face in these stories—a horror much more related to the reordering of the world promoted by science than to the mere rejection of science. What these stories explore is the transformation of phenomena previously related to magic and the supernatural—rays, microscopic life, the mechanical reproduction of sound—into something natural and explainable. There is a certain fascination with the experimental potential of science, and in this regard, there is a historical piece of information that cannot be underestimated—the link these authors shared with the scientific field. Both Wilde and Holmberg graduated from the College of Medical Sciences, although only the first one practiced the profession. Holmberg dedicated himself to the natural sciences, wrote numerous works on arachnids, birds and other species, went on several exploring expeditions and was the Director of the Buenos Aires Zoo between 1888 and 1903; Wilde, along with his parliamentary work and having been in charge of the Ministry of Justice, Religious Affairs, and Public Instruction during Julio A. Roca’s first term as President, was also in charge of the National Department of Hygiene (an equivalent of what would later be the Ministry of Public Health), and wrote a variety of texts on social hygiene and legal medicine. For his part, Lugones had no formal education on science, but since his admission to the Theosophical Society of Buenos Aires in 1898 he became an avid reader of all kinds of scientific literature. He was actually commissioned by the Argentine Scientific Society and the College of Exact Sciences to write essays about the paleontologist Florentino Ameghino (1915) and Einstein’s theories (1921), where he indulged in mixing “materialist” science with his spiritualist ideas. Finally, Quiroga was an enthusiast self-learner of technical subjects such as photography, electrotyping, chemistry, pottery,

160  Soledad Quereilhac liquor distillation, and many more, and certainly knew how to craft ominous narrations out of these adventures. Thus, the four authors had, in different degrees, a scientific and/or technical training, academic or self-taught, and it may have been as an expression of their straightforward experience with these kinds of knowledge and practices that they conceived their nightmarish literary counterparts.

“La primera noche en el cementerio” As Guillermo Korn reconstructs in his prologue to the most recent edition of Prometeo y Cía, this story by Wilde had four versions: two of them were published in newspapers and the other two in books (27). Published in El Sud-americano on 20 August 1888, the first version interests us most, since it is the only one with a feature that would be removed in later versions: a digression about the composition of life which hybridizes materialism and spiritualism. Since the story tells the first twenty-four hours of a corpse in the cemetery, this scientific-occultist digression gives a new meaning to the whole piece. The story begins with a description of the graveyard in the “noches tempestuosas en que el viento silba en todos los tonos de su orquesta” [stormy nights in which the wind blows in all its orchestra tones] (Wilde 292). The Gothic appears in the landscape description, recognizable as trope. However, this is not the central element, since the narrator will quickly focus on a living man’s corpse who, on hearing a woman moaning, feels “una ráfaga loca de sensualismo cadavérico” [a mad gust of cadaverous sensualism] (293) and decides to slip into the coffin of a young woman whose body is in an advanced stage of decomposition, and whose “ex blancos” [formerly white] shreds of clothing evoke the image of a dead bride. The corpses consummate an erotic encounter—­ “vistiendo de carne con su imaginación los huesos desnudos” [dressing with their imagination the naked bones in flesh]—and eventually seem to dissolve. At this point, the narrator begins his digression on the transmigration of souls with a language that intends to combine the material and the spiritual, filling with phantasmagoria scientific notions such as atoms, viruses, and seeds: Yo creo a pie juntillas en esa especie de inmortalidad; creo en una individualidad atómica o molecular, corpúsculo, célula, grupo gaseosos, qué sé yo, pero algo material que es capaz de llevar dentro de sí la personalidad de un ser o función, como lleva el virus la rabia, el pus la úlcera, la semilla el árbol y, por último, un óvulo y un germen el cuerpo humano con su parecido y su distintivo de familia; creo en que un conjunto de átomos orgánicos puede escaparse del cuerpo de un hombre, antes o después de su muerte, y servir para perpetuarlo, dando su fisonomía parcial o total a otros seres vivientes.

Shadows of Science in the Río de la Plata  161 [I blindly believe in that kind of immortality; I believe in an atomic or molecular individuality, corpuscle, cell, gas groups, I don’t know, but something material capable of carrying within itself the personality of a being or a function, just as the virus carries the rabies, the pus the ulcer, the seed the tree and, finally, an ovule and a germ the human body with its resemblance and its family distinction; I believe that a set of organic atoms can escape a man’s body before or after his death and perpetuate him, giving his partial or total physiognomy to other living creatures.] (294) The narrator attributes that set of particles to “life,” taking the story to the realms of a fantasy with scientist echoes. The end proves that this first version was almost a draft: after the erotic encounter, the man’s corpse regains his composure and finds a group of fellow corpses, with whom he shares a kind of bizarre parliamentary debate. The Gothic tale in the graveyard, the digressive scientific ramblings and the tone of political satire at the end speak of a still structurally unstable narrative form; but that miscellany also informs of a certain period sensibility—­ the reflection on life and death phenomena leads to the realms of a materiality which is fused, as it is soon revealed, with a spiritual dimension. The question about the afterlife and the undead cannot be reduced to poetry or fantasy; the scientific domain should reformulate old concerns in a new language. Interestingly enough, the image of “life” spreading from the cemetery in tiny particles that will instill life in other beings (a kind of molecular reincarnation) is not comforting in any way, neither it exorcises the fears regarding death or rotting bodies. The language of science is not relieving; it only provides new dimensions for the uncanny. On the other hand, it should be added that this story’s original publishing context—a newspaper—influenced the way in which the uncanny was built: the author did not turn to pure mystery, or to the question about the great beyond, but rather to the kind of pseudo-­ scientific explanations which could be frequently found in the media that dealt with strange or paranormal phenomena, with which readers were already familiarized.6 The links between journalistic and literary discourses are clearly evinced in the way Wilde conceived this tale about the after-death by turning an anecdote into a phenomenon of “this” world, which makes it even more disturbing. If science was advancing in the discovery and characterization of microscopic life— with the public figure of Louis Pasteur leading the way—why not making speculations about material, actual particles that can be carriers of life, personality, spirit? The story of Dr. Wilde—a connoisseur both of literature and science—seems to elaborate a fantastic speculation about that question.

162  Soledad Quereilhac

“Nelly” There is a similar coexistence of elements from traditional Gothic and from that emerging sensibility which translated old fears into a scientist language in the nouvelle “Nelly,” originally published as an eleven-­ installment feuilleton in La Prensa between 21 January and 6 February 1896 (that same year, Holmberg published it in a book, keeping the heading “a feuilleton of La Prensa”). In his long dedication to a friend, the naturalist Holmberg recreates the setting where the story was crafted: in an autumnal night at the Zoo, while listening to the “bramidos de los leones y leopardos enjaulados” [roars of caged lions and leopards], he feels invaded by “una sensación extraña… un soplo de misterio que bien podría llamarse aura poética” [an uncanny feeling… a blow of mystery which might well be named poetic aura] (Holmberg 237). The nocturnal quality of his workplace—the Zoo, a grafting of wild nature in the heart of the city—summons mysteries and allows peeking into a hidden dimension of the visible. It is not by chance, then, that this story is filled with typical Gothic elements, both in a residual and in an emergent direction (Williams 143–48), that is to say, it includes both classical topics—­enclosed rooms inhabited by ghosts—and new ones, in which the ominous is referred to in a scientist key. “Nelly” takes place in a Buenos Aires country estate during the winter season, when only two servants remain. The large house, which had belonged to an old General, has reminiscences of the headquarters it once was and, since the beginning, the narrator hints at the traces inscribed on the wall by previous dwellers. The trope of the haunted castle is replaced by a Creole version linked to the landowning elite and the wars of independence.7 Only the grandson of the General, a young positivist, visits the estate with a group of young learned Creoles and an Englishman who has a strange look in his eyes and a phantasmagoric name: Edwin Phantomton. On a cold stormy night, the young men gather in a circle and tell mysterious tales, until the quiver of a woman interrupts them—it is Nelly, the late wife of the Englishman, who has sworn to haunt him from the great beyond until he fulfills the promise made on her deathbed. The story follows the origin of this supernatural phenomenon and the life stories related to that “case,” until a happy and sentimental solution is reached, in agreement with feuilleton conventions. The novelty of Holmberg’s story certainly lies in the merging of diverse imaginaries and traditions into the new forms of fantasy. On the one hand, the use of traditional Gothic figures is evinced in the ghostly apparitions of the main character’s grandfather, who comes back to tell part of the family’s history and prevent an incest between siblings (Edwin and his granddaughter). The mysterious airstreams, the candles that go off and the uncanny noises can also be included here. On the other hand, the elements related to an emergent sensibility regarding the

Shadows of Science in the Río de la Plata  163 horror and the fantastic are introduced with Nelly and the particular illness she suffered while alive: “histerismo telepático” [telepathic hysteria]. This combination of psychiatric and occultist terms, pronounced in the story by doctors, composes a conceptual hybrid, an authentic narrative ideologeme (Jameson 95–95),8 which sets up a dialogue with the popularization of cases of telepathy and haunted houses in the press;9 on the other hand, it points out that horror is more powerful if conveyed in a scientific discourse. In this line, Nelly’s ghost is very different from the grandfather’s, and constitutes another figure of spiritual-material synthesis, another ideologeme. The positivist young men decide to corroborate the apparition of Nelly’s ghost empirically and, for the surprise of all, succeed. Some get to touch her feet and hands, others her hair, and, as if this was not enough, while measuring her temperature, they remark: “el termómetro de mínima señalaba ocho grados” [the thermometer indicated a minimum of eight degrees Celsius]. The narrator adds: El objetivismo de la aparición se imponía…. [A]unque la materialización de Nelly tuviera todos los caracteres de una monstruosidad, no lo es menos que, en tal ocasión, los actos que habíamos realizado pertenecían por su forma al empirismo más simple y no podíamos negar que los resultados concordaban con el sentido común, independientemente de la cosa en sí. [The objectivism of the apparition prevailed… [A]ltough Nelly’s materialization presented all the traits of monstrosity, it was no less that the acts we performed in such an occasion belonged for its nature to the simplest empiricism, and we couldn’t deny that the results matched with common sense, independently of the thing-in-itself.] (284–85) Thus, the reference to the “objectivism” of the apparition signals that the uncanny in this story lies in the scientific verification of the existence of the ghost. The question of the will, taken literally as “fuerza física” [physical force], is a link to the structuring motive of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Ligeia” (1838) and the topic of guilt over infidelity. Unlike Poe’s story, the return of the woman’s ghost is not just hinted at, but explicitly verified by means of touch and a thermometer. The reading horizon of ghost stories has undeniably changed; in order to reach the desired effect, it was necessary to raise the stakes by infusing into the world of the unknown the disturbing certainties provided by scientific methods. In a telling manner, the hypothesis of suggestion or hallucination held initially by many leads the narrator to remark: “aquella realidad palpable era más grave” [that palpable reality was graver] (255). At that time, the disturbing, the dreadful, even the ominous, seemed to emerge from

164  Soledad Quereilhac facts confirmed by science rather than from speculation or fraudulent theories. With a certain similarity to Wilde’s case, Holmberg reserved the representation of speculations that were excluded from his scientific practice for his literature of imagination. Unlike other internationally renowned naturalists—such as the British Alfred Russel Wallace, who did not hesitate in admitting his spiritualist practices—Holmberg did not belong to any of the spiritualist and theosophical circles that began to proliferate in Argentina in the 1870s. However, undoubtedly charmed by that imaginary, his stories did not only incorporate references to spiritualism (for instance, mentioning names such as William Crookes, a renowned physicist and a declared spiritualist, as well as Cosme Mariño and Felipe Senillosa, local frontrunners of the Spiritualist Society Constancia),10 but also indulged in playing with the possibility of science finally accomplishing to explain the spiritual world. His “telepathic hysteria,” his 8°C ghost, and his verifiable otherworldly voices are all players in a mixing game that hybridizes cultural fields which were in a disquieting tension at the time. In this sense, regarding secular knowledge, the Gothic is nourished by a sensible horizon of the period and processes fears of its historical present.

“Un fenómeno inexplicable” As in the previous story, Leopoldo Lugones’s “Un fenómeno inexplicable” is set in a desolate house in the countryside, in the border between the provinces of Santa Fe and Córdoba. The main character is a lonely English widower that has been to India, a piece of information which summons the fin-de-siècle Orientalist imaginary. The narrator is a visitor to his house, which he describes as a “un sepulcro nuevo en el emplazamiento de un antiguo cementerio” [brand-new sepulcher at the site of an old graveyard] (126), a sentence that acquires a particular meaning on the light of our hypothesis, since it synthesizes in a single image the common trait of these turn-of-the-century Gothic fantasies: the emergence of new forms of terror (“sepulcro nuevo”) within a recognizable tradition (“antiguo cementerio”). Indeed, in this setting which reworks the topic of the lonely and mysterious house, Lugones conceives the irruption of the uncanny as a certainly innovative hybrid between Darwinism and occultism. The story was originally published in the theosophical magazine Philadelphia on 7 September 1898, with the title “La licantropía” [The Lycanthropy]. The change both in the title and the medium—from a magazine for the initiated in the occult sciences to the 1906 book Las fuerzas extrañas [Strange Forces]—has an impact on the sense of the story. A case of “licantropía” is presented in the Theosophical Society review, of which Lugones was a member himself; however, the

Shadows of Science in the Río de la Plata  165 replacement of the wolf for the monkey in the fateful self-duplication suffered by the main character leaves a trace of irony and explicitly sets up a dialogue with certain popularized notions of the theory of evolution. Among theosophists, Lugones seems to imply that the only result of the introspective spiritual journey (which the character learns from the yoghis) is an encounter with a trivial monkey, which blocks any spiritual dimension. In agreement with the theosophist rejection of Darwin’s theory of evolution, considered as an aesthetic and philosophic atrocity by Helena Blavatsky and Annie Besant (two of the main figures of theosophy), Lugones’ fiction portrays that atrocity with a Gothic sensibility. However, in Las fuerzas extrañas—a book targeted at a broader public and influenced by the idea of unknown forces disrupting everyday life—another meaningful dimension appears in the story. The duplication suffered by the Englishman is a strange, rare, “unexplainable” phenomenon that addresses the social terrors of the period: fears of atavic regression, of sensing the animal in the man,11 of knowing that, as a species, we are connected to those distorted “doubles” of ourselves, according to a popularized conception of apes held by the press and certain literature (despite the fact that they are not our ancestors but a contemporary species). Likewise, the theosophical figure of the “astral double” is merged with the notion of the antecessor in the evolutionary tree. The third element in this fantastic synthesis is the literary figure of the double, defined by Sigmund Freud as a modern solution to certain primitive fears such as the animation of shadows (27). With that synthetic mosaic, the story narrates the irruption of a “strange force:” the sinister ghost of an atavic animality coming back from the interior of man. The final image portrays that regressive threat in a plastic, visual sense, when the narrator (skeptical at first) captures a precise simian profile in the Englishman’s shadow. As with Nelly and the thermometer, horror is not the result of a suggestion or a hesitation regarding the supernatural; on the contrary, it is the product of empiric verification.

“El almohadón de plumas” “El almohadón de plumas” is paradigmatic of the discursive, aesthetic, and imaginary combinations that constitute Quiroga’s narrative: an expressionist naturalism (Romano 1312) mixed with the fantastic, and a taste for horror combined with the rhetoric of science popularization. Originally published in Caras y Caretas, on 13 July 1907 (included in Cuentos de amor de locura y de muerte [Stories of Love, Madness, and Death] in 1917), this story sets up a dialogue with the journalistic corpus of “weird cases,”12 while it is also marked by modernist rhetoric and has a clearly Gothic setting. From the outset, the relationship between Alicia and Jordán is described with the semantic field of coldness: “Su luna de miel fue un largo

166  Soledad Quereilhac escalofrío. Rubia, angelical y tímida, el carácter duro de su marido heló sus soñadas niñerías de novia” [Their honeymoon was a long shiver. A blond, angelic and shy young girl, her husband’s rough character had chilled her childish bridal reveries] (Quiroga “Almohadón” 97). Coldness is transferred to the atmosphere as well: “La casa en que vivían influía no poco en sus estremecimientos. La blancura del patio silencioso— frisos, columnas y estatuas de mármol—producía una otoñal impresión de palacio encantado” [The house in which they lived influenced her chills to no small degree. The whiteness of the silent courtyard—marble friezes, columns and statues—produced the autumnal impression of an enchanted palace] (97). The house is an objectification of the lack of eroticism in the couple, and conveys the idea of a virginal princess locked in a palace; it also sets the tone for the irruption of vampirism, a form of perverse sexual possession, with the apparition of the hallucinated anthropoid, identified by Margo Clantz (106) as Jordán—the husband. However, while Alicia’s progressive weakening initially seems a result of the lack of eroticism, the development of the story points at a different kind of mystery. The narrator says: “[p]arecía que únicamente de noche se le fuera la vida en nuevas oleadas de sangre…. Apenas podía mover la cabeza. No quiso que le tocaran la cama, ni aun que le arreglaran el almohadón” [it seemed only at night that her life drained out of her in new waves of blood…. She could barely move her head. She did not want her bed to be touched, not even to have her pillow arranged] (Quiroga “Almohadón” 99–100). Thus, the narrator focuses on the pillow and the blood, while the monsters hallucinations and her “terrores crepusculares” [crepuscular terrors] gradually anticipate the uncanny presence of the bug. The story may well have ended when, after Alicia’s death, Jordán detects the “manchitas oscuras” [small dark spots] (100) in the pillow—the reader would have no trouble in interpreting that disturbing suggestion. However, the narrator does not only explain how the “bola viviente y viscosa” [living, viscous ball] (101) had emptied Alicia in five nights, but in a final paragraph in the style of a zoological description adds: “Estos parásitos de las aves, diminutos en el medio habitual, llegan a adquirir en ciertas condiciones proporciones enormes. La sangre humana parece serles particularmente favorable, y no es raro hallarlos en los almohadones de pluma” [These bird parasites, diminutive in their usual environment, can reach enormous proportions under certain conditions. Human blood seems particularly favorable to them, and it is not rare to find them in feather pillows] (101). Thus, the story suggests that this “animal monstruoso” [monstrous animal] is not a creature from the great beyond or a supernatural demon, but just a “parásito de ave” [bird parasite]—a louse, or a tick—which could be hidden in the feather pillow the reader is seated on while reading the story. In the cold tone of a scientific study, the description implies that these Creole vampires can perversely deviate from their taste to

Shadows of Science in the Río de la Plata  167 human blood. The key for the horror effect in “El almohadón de plumas” lies in the enunciation of the uncanny in a scientific jargon, which provides the case with an effect of verisimilitude based on discourse of the period. Although Quiroga introduces a clear explanation that banishes all mystery, this is even more disturbing than any insinuation of the supernatural, since it shows that nature itself harbors atrocious animals, little monsters that can take away human lives in a daily setting. Thus, the atmosphere of wretched love and marital coldness is merged with the “weird case,” a coexistence that heightens the disquieting effect, since both are products of a novel conception of vampirism. Twenty years later, in “El vampiro” [The Vampire],13 Quiroga will reimagine a story of deviated and mortal love, now merged with cinema. With authentic Gothic sensibility, Quiroga detects the phantasmagoria of cinema both in its technical and symbolic aspects. Ultimately, in all of his film stories (and even in his silent film reviews),14 the experience of the spectator in the screening room can be interpreted as an encounter with ghosts in the darkness. While these two stories have different themes and forms, they share a common Gothic sensibility, which finds an over-nature in nature and a renewal of primitive magic in technique. In short, a diurnal encounter with the threatening ghosts of the night.

Conclusion From the critical revision of these four turn-of-the-century Argentine stories, a common element arises: the supernatural event that provokes horror is always accompanied by an explanation of a scientist nature— an explanation that provides a biological materiality to “life” after death (Wilde); that identifies a ghost apparition through verifiable, measurable empiricism (Holmberg); that deciphers the atavist nature of an spectral double (Lugones); and that reveals the zoological nature of a monster hidden in a pillow (Quiroga). Far from the fantastic hesitation effect that would arrive later in Argentina, and would be represented by Silvina Ocampo, José Bianco, or Julio Cortázar (whose texts would be a little closer to Todorov’s classic definition [1982] or to Campra’s aesthetics of indeterminacy [1991]), the themes in these stories are conceived in the light of the period’s scientist imagery, and incorporate the rational and materialist explanatory rhetoric in order to banish any mystery. However, this unveiling, this rationalization of experience is not tranquilizing but exactly the opposite—the monstrous, the spectral, the beastly do not get to be conjured but rather revealed in all their material reality. The atrocious does not belong to the great beyond but rather to the “here and now,” and can be positively verified among us. In dialogue with the strong presence of sciences in newspapers and magazines (where they were originally published), these stories seem to constitute a literary answer to the questions, debates and hopes raised in

168  Soledad Quereilhac those years by the approach to the scientific field of an area of pseudo-­ sciences, or the so-called “occult sciences” (spiritualism, theosophy, magnetology). If statements such as this were frequent in the press: “Alchemy was the precursor of chemistry; astrology, of astronomy. It shall also be expected then that occultism is the precursor of a currently ignored science, destined to open new horizons for the human spirit” (E. L. 3), it can be said that these stories played with the idea of achieving that horizon of possibilities, and transformed inventive scientific-­ occultist hybrids into certainties, empirical facts. It should be noted, however, that there is a remarkable aesthetic difference between these narrations: while Holmberg and Wilde (two men from the Argentine Generation of 1880 who wrote literature in their spare time) introduce texts with a less polished formal structure, and left more room to ironic and/or humorous digressions, Lugones and Quiroga (who belonged to the generation that followed and identified themselves with Latin American modernismo) build certainly more obscure fantasies without luminous compensations, and do not fear perverse deviations or radical estrangements. Likewise, their writing already exhibits a concern about style and form, something directly linked to the gradual professionalization of the literary activity in Río de la Plata. In any case, in all these stories it is possible to find direct allusions to certain tropes of Gothic literature: the graveyard setting (Wilde), the solitary, enclosed houses (Lugones) which evoke old edifications (Quiroga) where the ancestors seems to remain in portraits or inscriptions (Holmberg). Since castles are not common in the Southern Cone, the hint at that element, already identifiable by the Río de la Plata readership, is fulfilled with settings of a similar aura in the vernacular logic. Thus, the adaptation of a convention is accompanied by an election of motives classically linked to supernatural horror such as ghosts, the living-­dead, doubles or monsters, but—as we have said—from a contemporary perspective. In this sense, it could be said, firstly, that the fusion of Gothic and fantastic is predominant and, secondly, that the updating of horror literature conventions is mostly realized through a vigorous effort to delve into, define, and verify the nature of the unusual, rather than through narrative strategies designed to create suspense or great effects. In Río de la Plata, the strong presence of sciences in the social imaginary stimulated an original manifestation of Gothic literature, in which horror was able to speak the language of its period.

Notes 1 Critics have situated this period between 1764 and 1820, that is to say, between the publications of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto: a Gothic Story, and Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer. 2 The author detects, for instance, a great number of novels attributed to Ann Radcliffe which, in fact, she never wrote. Among these, he found El castillo

Shadows of Science in the Río de la Plata  169 de Nebelstein [The Castle of Nebelstein], of 1843, and Las visiones del castillo de los Pirineos [The Visions of the Castle of the Pyrenees], of 1839 (Abraham 685). 3 Following some of the classic works on the fantastic mode such as Rosemary Jackson’s (1986), and more recent ones such as Ordiz Alonso-Collada’s (2014), we consider that the term “fantasy” comprises all the non-mimetic genres, or modes, which spread across the domains of the pure fantastic, the uncanny, the scientific fantasy, the marvelous, and the Gothic. Additionally, and as Irène Bessière claims, we consider that the fantastic mode cannot be conceived outside the cultural context from which it emerges and with which it sets up a dialogue: The fantastic story uses sociocultural frames and forms of understanding that define the domains of the natural and the supernatural, the trivial and the uncanny, not in order to reach a metaphysical certainty, but in order to organize the confrontation of those elements in a civilization which are related to phenomena that escape the economy of the real and the super-real, the conception of which varies according to the period. (1974) Thus, in our view, history provides the backbone of fantasy, structuring its forms, its topics and its sensible dimension in each period. 4 For an assessment of the remarkable difference in number between book and newspaper readers on the cusp of the century, see Adolfo Prieto and Geraldine Rogers. 5 I have dealt specifically with these topics in Quereilhac, “Reflexiones” and Cuando la ciencia. 6 Among the several examples, two significant ones deserve to be mentioned: the coverage by some of Buenos Aires’ newspapers (La Nación, La Crónica, La Prensa) of the 1881 and 1884 controversies between “materialists” and/or scientist intellectuals, and some members of the Spiritualist Society Constancia. In the first one, Dr. Miguel Puiggari, professor of Chemistry and Dean of the College of Physics and Maths, confronted Rafael Hernández, a declared spiritualist and brother of the Martín Fierro’s author, regarding the possibility of an empirical study, using scientific methods, of after-death phenomena. In the second one, Alejo Peyret, a professor of History and Free Courses in the National School of Buenos Aires, renewed the controversy with Hernández over a similar subject (Quereilhac Cuando la ciencia). 7 It is worth recalling that the grandfather of the author, the baron Eduardo Kaunitz de Holmberg, fought in those wars. 8 For Frederic Jameson, ideologemes are figures of synthesis, symbolic resolutions of conflicts or tensions that can be found within the historical series, that is, in the extratextual reality. Jameson detects the presence of ideologemes in the way traditional fairytales construe notions of good and evil, oneness and otherness. In the case of the stories we are studying, the figures of synthesis resolve tensions between scientific and pseudoscientific discourses, and propose entities that are fusions of spirit and matter; for instance, the combination of a psychiatric diagnosis (hysteria) with a supernatural power, telepathy; also, as we shall see, the apparition of a ghost with a measurable temperature in °C. 9 For example, “Algunos hechos curiosos” [Some Curious Facts] La Prensa, 10 July 1897, or “Hechos telepáticos” [Telepathic Facts], Constancia, 2 November 1906. 10 In “Nelly” and “La casa endiablada” [The Devilish House] (1896) he includes these and other references to the occult sciences of the period.

170  Soledad Quereilhac 11 See Adriana Rodríguez Pérsico. 12 See the relation of this story with the note “Un caso raro” [A Weird Case] La Prensa, 7 November 1880, in Alfredo Veiravé. 13 Originally published in La Nación on 11 September 1927, and included later in Más allá, his last book, published in 1935. 14 See Quiroga (Arte).

Works Cited Abraham, Carlos. La literatura fantástica argentina en el siglo XIX. Ciccus, 2015. Bessière, Irène. Le recit fantastique. La poètique de l’incertain. Larousse, 1974. Campra, Rosalba. “Los silencios del texto en la literatura fantástica.” El relato fantástico en España e Hispanoamérica, edited by Enriqueta Morillas Ventura, Siruela, 1991, pp. 49–74. Casanova-Vizcaíno, Sandra. “‘Sombras nada más.’ el gótico en Latinoamérica y el Caribe.” Badebec, vol. 3, no. 6, 2014, pp. 127–37. Castro, Andrea. “Edgar A. Poe en castellano y sus reescritores: el caso de ‘The Oval Portrait.’” Anales N. E. 11, Göteborg University. Faculty of Social Sciences, 2008, pp. 97–126. Cortázar, Julio. “Notas sobre lo gótico en el Río de la Plata.” Cahiers du monde hispanique et luso-brésilien, vol. 25, no. 1, 1975, pp. 145–51. E. L. “Fin de siglo místico.” La Prensa, July 1, 1896, p. 3. Freud, Sigmund. Lo siniestro. JVE Psiqué, 1997. Glantz, Margó. “Poe en Quiroga.” Aproximaciones a Horacio Quiroga, edited by Ángel Flores, Monte Ávila, 1976, pp. 93–118. Holmberg, Eduardo L. Cuentos fantásticos. Edicial, 1994. Jackson, Rosemary. Fantasy. Literatura y subversión. Catálogos, 1986. Jameson, Frederic. “Narraciones mágicas. Sobre el uso dialéctico de la crítica de los géneros”. Documentos de cultura, documentos de barbarie, La narrativa como acto socialmente simbólico. Visor, 1989. Korn, Guillermo. “Estudio preliminar” a Wilde, Eduardo. Prometeo y Cía. Biblioteca Nacional, 2005, pp. 11–32. Lugones, Leopoldo. Las fuerzas extrañas. Cátedra, 1996. Negroni, María. Galería fantástica. Siglo XXI, 2009. Olmedo, Nadina Estefania. “Ecos góticos en la novela y el cine del cono sur,” Dissertation, U of Kentucky, 2010. Ordiz Alonso-Collada, Inés. “Estrategias ficcionales de lo insólito: la literatura gótica frente a la literatura fantástica.” Badebec, vol. 3, no. 6, marzo 2014, pp. 138–68. Prieto, Adolfo. El discurso criollista en la formación de la Argentina moderna. Siglo XXI, 2006. Quereilhac, Soledad. “Reflexiones sobre una sensibilidad de época. La imaginación científica en la literatura y el periodismo (1896–1910).” Badebec, vol. 4, no. 8, 2015, 32–59. ———. Cuando la ciencia despertaba fantasías. Prensa, literatura y ocultismo en la Argentina de entresiglos. Siglo XIX, 2016. Quiroga, Horacio. “El almohadón de plumas.” Todos los cuentos, edited by Jorge Lafforgue and Napoleón Baccino Ponce de León, FCE, 1993, pp. 97–101.

Shadows of Science in the Río de la Plata  171 ———. Arte y lenguaje del cine. Losada, 1996. Ramos, Julio. Desencuentros de la modernidad en América Latina. FCE, 2003. Rodríguez Pérsico, Adriana. Relatos de época. Una cartografía de América Latina (1880–1920). Beatriz Viterbo, 2008. Rogers, Geraldine. “Caras y Caretas en la ciudad miscelánea de 1900: afinidades de un semanario popular con el espacio urbano de Buenos Aires,” Iberoamericana, vol. 4, no. 14, 2004, pp. 29–45. Roman, Claudia. “La modernización de la prensa periódica, entre La Patria Argentina (1879) y Caras y Caretas (1898).” Historia crítica de la literatura argentina. 3: El brote de los géneros, edited by Alejandra Laera. Emecé, 2009, pp. 15–37. Romano, Eduardo. “Trayectoria inicial de Horacio Quiroga: del bosque interior a la selva misionera.” Quiroga, Horacio. Todos los cuentos, edited by Jorge Lafforgue and Napoleón Baccino Ponce de León, FCE, 1993, pp. 1305–39. Todorov, Tzvetan. Introducción a la literatura fantástica. Ediciones Buenos Aires, 1982. Veiravé, Alfredo. “El almohadón de plumas. Lo ficticio y lo real.” Aproximaciones a Horacio Quiroga, edited by Ángel Flores, Monte Ávila, 1976, pp. 209–14. Wilde, Eduardo. Prometeo y Cía. Biblioteca Nacional, 2005. Williams, Raymond. Marxismo y literatura. Península, 1997.

12 Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty” Carlos Fuentes’s Little History on Photography Adriana Gordillo It is not the person ignorant of writing but the one ignorant of ­photography, somebody has said, who will be the illiterate of the future —Walter Benjamin

Carlos Fuentes is said to be “the most gothic” of Latin American canonical writers, in part through his consistent use of tropes associated with this literary mode, like witches, ghosts, haunted houses, and vampires (Gutiérrez Mouat 297). However, Fuentes’s writings, as Genaro Pérez argues, differ from classic Gothic narratives because they do not end with balanced and symmetrical resolutions. Fuentes’s texts “do not present retribution as a consequence of transgression or error, nor do they show a clear and distinct polarization between good and evil, but more ambiguous oppositions” (9). Such ambiguity echoes a baroque ethos that permeates Fuentes’s work, and one that also has been related to the author’s re-­creation of Gothic themes, as he himself points out when attributing the authorship of Aura to Quevedo.1 The creative possibilities of the baroque and the Gothic modes, their themes, narrative devices, and tropes are a common thread in Fuentes’s oeuvre, most prominently, in the stories where the uncanny is predominant. 2 As I will discuss in this essay, photography is an understated trope that connects both the baroque and the Gothic aesthetics in Fuentes’s narrative. Frequently, a photograph is one of the key elements through which the main character of a story becomes aware of its dubious place in history, turning photography into a ruin of the past, all the while making photography into an allegory of our fragmented and multifaceted individual and collective identity. In this chapter, I argue that Aura (1962), “Constancia” (1987), and “Sleeping Beauty” (2004), act as a literary photograph that can be used to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the past and its haunting nature.

Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”  173

The Baroque and the Gothic: Fuentes’s Aesthetics of Syncretism The baroque and the Gothic share similar qualities; however, only the former has taken a strong foothold in the Latin American cultural landscape. This position is likely based on baroque aesthetics’ attempt to reflect a complex reality that integrates the notions of unity and plurality, of freedom and containment. The baroque deals with excess, plurality, and fragmentation, but also with what José Lezama Lima called “estética de la curiosidad” [aesthetic of curiosity] and a “poiesis demoniaca” [demonic poiesis] (22). For Lezama Lima, this aesthetic relates to a fracture that has its origins in the “the appropriation and enhancement of the language of the conqueror, as well as the expression of overabundance that reclaims a style’’ (Duno-Gottberg 314). To summarize, the baroque reflects the Spanish state of social turmoil in the seventeenth century, its colonial counterpart, and subsequent and continuous adaptations in the New World. The baroque is, thus, what Mabel Moraña (following Octavio Paz) has expressed as “the ­inaugural moment of a process in which the American essence emerges with its own voice, although it is still articulated to the institutions and discourses of the Empire” (Relecturas i). 3 According to Chiampi, the Latin American appropriation of the baroque aesthetic is divided into two main areas: first, what the author calls “legibilidad estética” [aesthetic legibility], which refers to the specific use of baroque literary strategies that are associated with modernist and vanguard movements of the early twentieth century (18). Second, Chiampi continues, the baroque relates to a process of “legitimación histórica” [historic legitimation]. Although this process begins in the colonies (as Moraña argues), it is not until the twentieth century when the baroque was fully appropriated and theorized as an episteme capable of giving voice to the complex and contradictory nature of the Latin American scenario (18). On a similar note, the Gothic has its roots in the tension of the old and the new. On one hand, in eighteenth-century France, the term “gothic” was associated with the aesthetic opposed to civilized values, since it fostered the aesthetic of darkness, mysticism, and superstition attributed to the groups that promoted the fall of Rome and the ­subsequent “dark” period of the ­M iddle Ages (Amícola 48). On the other hand, Germans and Bretons, who focused their ­energies on a gothic revival, used such a mode as a way to contest the ­eighteenth-century French aesthetic. The Gothic revival gave the ­G erman and English people a way to recreate

174  Adriana Gordillo their respective national origins while distancing themselves from the cultural influence of France. As David Punter and Glennis Byron ­a rgue, “the Gothic is still associated with the true, but lost, foundations of a culture” (5). The Gothic, therefore, allows and promotes (­w ithout losing the internal logic of the text) the creation and speculation of alternative historical outcomes. Not in vain, the appropriation of the Gothic in the United States focused on the colonial aspects of the territory. The baroque and the Gothic traveled to the New World, the former to the Hispanic speaking world and the latter to the Anglophone world, and established themselves as aesthetic modes that allowed for speculation, fragmentation, abundance, and alternative accounts. These two modes had common themes, for instance, the coexistence of contraries that is reflected in the baroque principle of coincidentia oppositorum as well as the hybridity associated with Gothic characters such as vampires, werewolves, or cyborgs. Moreover, since the baroque and the Gothic have been associated with a state of crisis, of rupture and of questioning the norm, it should be no surprise that they continue their mixing nature within a global world.4 This state of crises is at the core of the paradoxical, multilayered, and intricate history of the Hispanic speaking world, which Fuentes re-imagined and discussed throughout his writings, from works of fiction to essays, and from plays to interviews. Not in vain, he remarked that one of his responsibilities as a writer was to give voice to everything that has been silenced by official history (Hernández 43–44) and that “el mundo reclama constantemente que sea escrito, que lo que no se ha dicho sea dicho” [the world demands to be constantly re-written in order to express that which has not been said] (“El gran desafío”). It is no surprise then that numerous critical analyses examine Fuentes’s narrative in light of historical discourses, as well as in relation to the baroque, which is seen as a cultural analytic device that explains the intricacies of Latin America’s particular take on modernity (see Dhondt). What is surprising is the growing body of literary criticism that discusses Fuentes’s (and others’s) flirtation with the Gothic, given the perceived marginality of the genre within the Latin American literary canon. The growth of hauntology, spectral readings, and the notion of ghosts as a metaphor of a past that needs to be acknowledged and resurrected are probably behind this trend. Furthermore, the spread of postcolonial discourses as well as the increase in memory and trauma studies as vehicles to explore areas that have been afflicted by social conflict, have fed the need to study the many allegories provided by Gothic narratives in the region. The studies on Fuentes’s uncanny vein often comment on the use of Gothic motifs as a way to “emphasize” the return of the past as the essence to understand the present. 5 However, since the return of the past is an integral part of Fuentes’s entire oeuvre, the most meaningful aspect of his use of Gothic themes r­ esides on the “emphasis,” on the stress that such tropes allow the reader to pinpoint the notions of

Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”  175 “haunting” and “return.” The distinctiveness of Fuentes’s use of Gothic motifs lies, thus, on the reading pact that comes with the genre and the highlighting effect that it provides to his recurrent dialogue with historical discourses. Let us recall that the reader is at center stage within the baroque aesthetics that governs Fuentes’s cultural hermeneutics. In the best of Miguel de Cervantes’s tradition, Fuentes believed in the reader as the one in charge of creating meaning.6 For him “La literatura implica un acto de confianza en el futuro y en el lector … La última palabra de la gran literatura queda en manos del lector” [literature implies an act of confidence in the future and in the reader … The last word of the greatest literature is in the hands of the reader] (“El gran desafío”). Since the Gothic reader is predisposed to the deployment of certain literary devices, the genre allows the personification of the past and its resurrection. Moreover, due to the nature of the genre, it allows for time and reality disruptions without compromising the internal logic of the text. Such reality disruptions promote discussions on the intricacies of time and history, as well as the limitation of writing about such themes. Fuentes’s syncretic use of the baroque and the Gothic— categories of hybridity—becomes an arena for discussions on literary creation, while also providing a mechanism to express the paradoxes of Latin American history. It is through this baroque/Gothic blend that Fuentes articulates the triad that guides his literary production (artistic experimentation, technique, and tradition).7 In addition, through this organic mixture, the author creates the most powerful allegories of his otherwise common and recurring topics on history and culture.8 The Gothic vein contains, thus, Fuentes’s ars poetica. In this direction, ­Pedro García Caro argues that Aura is the ars poetica of Fuentes oeuvre (155); however, I believe that it is in the intertextual return (the revenant-like effect) of the novella (and the characters) where the reader finds Fuentes’s literary manifesto. This re-incarnation of Aura brings to mind the effect that the second Quijote had on the first one and the baroque self-referentiality that, in the end, was the immortalizing attribute of Cervantes’s novel. In Fuentes’s case, Aura’s projections into the future and her Gothic recreation through other characters such as Constancia and Alberta Simmons, highlight the essence of the author’s take on time, death, and desire as I will argue later.

Photography as Ruin Among the discourses that aim to recover the past, Fuentes gave photography a privileged position. Following Benjamin, Fuentes stated that, during the nineteenth century, photography gave a face to those who did not have one in historical accounts (Hernández 62). Photographs are, thus, the ruins of the past that Fuentes wanted to resurrect. Not surprisingly, his work often referred to photography, which is present

176  Adriana Gordillo in some of his interviews9 and in books such as Retratos en el tiempo [Portraits in Time], a text comprised of his son’s photographs and the author’s reflections on them. Also, in many of Fuentes’s stories the author resorts to a photograph as the decisive element that blends the present, the past, and the future, while also becoming the element that sparks consciousness about the self within the other.10 For instance, in Aura and in “La bella durmiente” [Sleeping Beauty], Felipe Montero and Dr. Caballero discover (or possibly create) their past identity thanks to a photograph that they perceive as theirs. In “Constancia,” the narrator uncovers the mystery that involves his wife through a photograph and the information that he finds about her in the archives of Seville. The plot of “Viva mi fama” (which was not translated in the English version of the text) develops around the photograph of a man that does not yet exist. When Goya sees this photograph, he diminishes its artistic value (not unlike Baudelaire’s critique on photography) since there is no difference between reality and its representation, the dislocation that gives life to the mystery of art (281). In “Gente de razón” [People of Reason] the mystery of Ferguson’s mestizo past is revealed after the discovery of a photo. In Instinto de Inez [Inez], Atlán-Ferrara’s brother is a young man that captures the attention of Inez, however, we only know about him thanks to his photo. Curiously, it is one in which he appears and disappears suggesting that he is the contemporary double of ne-el, the character of the prehistoric counterpart of the story. Evidently, the use of the photograph is not only present in Fuentes’s uncanny work but, more critically, becomes the catalyst of mysteries. One of Fuentes’s most compelling comments on the link between photography, history, and literature is through his analysis of Juan Rulfo’s photographs. For Fuentes, these photographs reflect “Zapotec ruins and baroque ruins”; they are the ruins of the past, but of a past that “reemerges as the static present” reflecting Mexico’s paradox: “the ruins are eternal, the new is ruinous” (Juan Rulfo’s Mexico 15). Rulfo’s photographs, Fuentes continues, resurrect all the people of Pedro Páramo and The Burning Plain … Each man, woman, and child in this marvelous collection of photographs possesses the beauty of forms that defy oblivion. It is at this juncture that the literary and plastic arts of Juan Rulfo converge. (Juan Rulfo’s Mexico 15) In Fuentes’s case, this convergence, this defiance of oblivion, takes place through his recreation of Gothic themes becoming one of the author’s main discourses on the fictionalization of history. The influence of Benjamin in Fuentes’s reading of Rulfo’s photography stands out. Benjamin’s philosophy of history and his ideas about Daguerre’s legacy seem to permeate many other opinions by Fuentes. For instance, in his seminal work Little History of Photography and while discussing Hill’s Newhaven Fishwife’s photograph, Benjamin points out that the photographer’s art brings back to life “something that cannot

Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”  177 be silenced, that fills you an unruly desire to know what her name was, the woman who was alive there, who even now is still real and will never consent to be wholly absorbed in ‘art’” (276). Fuentes’s take on the link between “something that cannot be silenced” and the desire (and impossibility) to know and recreate the photograph’s subject can be traced to the influence of Empress Carlota in the author’s writings. The contrast between the painting of a young Carlota and a photograph of the dead woman in her coffin was an image ingrained in the writer’s mind since his childhood. Such contrast was an inspiration for “Tlactocatzine del jardín de Flandes” (Feijoó 77) and Aura/Consuelo (Paiewonsky-Conde 154), two of the texts that most accurately reveal Fuentes’s take on the enigmatic nature of time. The shock of this contrast came back to him when listening to Maria Callas’s voice: Aura was born in that instant when Maria Callas identified, in the voice of one woman, youth as well as old age, life along with death, inseparable, convoking one another, the four, finally, youth, old age, life, death, women’s names: ‘La juventud,’ ‘la vejez,’ ‘la vida,’ ‘la muerte.’ (“On Reading and Writing Myself” 538) Beyond Benjamin’s exploration of photography, a look on Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida’s readings on the subject provides conceptual tools and theoretical insights to understand the role of photography in Fuentes’s work. In sum, what lies at the core of a photograph—in symbolic terms—is the relationship between the absence of the photographed subject (within the image) and the new presence of the subject that is now part of an image. Benjamin stresses this relationship as an “absence of contact between photography and actuality” (qtd. in Marsh 100). According to Eduardo Cadava, such “absence of contact” results in a state of “withdrawal” in which the photographed subject comes to an understanding of its finitude and of “the posthumous character of our lived experience” (89, 90). Consequently, Cadava argues in his reading of Benjamin, “the photograph is a cemetery… A small funerary monument, … a grave for the living dead” (90). In an essay about Barthes’s work Derrida (an enthusiastic reader of Benjamin) develops this idea of photography as the “presence of an absence” by focusing on the symbolic meaning of the interstice created by the referent and the photogram. What Barthes called the “supplement,” an “addition” or sign that serves as a substitute to the original referent that is part within the photograph while also being “unlocatable within it… never inscribed in the homogeneous objectivity of the framed spaces” (41). For Derrida, the “power of the supplement” lies in that unlocatable space between the presence and absence of the referent that gives rise to “the return of the dead,” as Barthes puts it (qtd. in Derrida 41).11 In this sense, Derrida

178  Adriana Gordillo continues, the return of the dead manifests metaphorically as a specter, an eidolon that “does not relate to a present or to a real but, in an other [sic] way, to the other, and each time differently according to the type of ‘image’ whether photographic or not” (The Work 48). Subsequently, for Derrida, ghosts are “the concept of the other in the same,” an idea that resonates in Fuentes through a number of his stories and their intertextual juxtaposition, starting with Aura and her descendants (41–42).

Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”: A Literary Photograph Fuentes’s writing is well known for its self-referentiality. Many scholars have picked up on this idea that Ignacio Solares summarizes as “a Balzacian tradition of dialogue with oneself” (94). However, there are some works such as the triad Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty” that present a strong genealogical connection. This connection serves as a snapshot, a microcosm of the author’s ideas on the return of the past and on the literary mechanisms that he uses to portray it.12 This intertextual link, this belonging to “the same mythical family” (Fuentes, “On Reading” 536)—recalls the baroque self-referentiality of Cervantes’s second Quijote. According to María Augusta da Costa Vieira, this self-referentiality, along with the creation of a more impersonal public, and an author shattered into many voices, turns the Quijote into an autotelic discourse (366). In Fuentes’s case, the autotelic discourse is developed due to the re-creation of similar ghostly characters throughout this triad. The revenant-like effect of a returning “aura” emphasizes the idea of a past that lives in the present in an intra and meta-discourse. In “On Reading and Writing Myself: How I wrote Aura,” Fuentes explains that the characters that gave birth to the novella, on a conscious level, were the women from Henry James’s Aspern Papers, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, Alexander Pushkin’s Queen of Spades, Jules Michelet’s sorceresses, and the Greek goddess Circe (536–37). The latter plays an important role in Fuentes’s subsequent texts, particularly, in his writings of ghostly characters that evoke the essence of Aura (the character).13 Circe is “the Goddess of Metamorphoses,” a symbol of constant transformation that becomes “other without losing its anteriority” (“On Reading” 537). In this regard, Fuentes’s appropriation of Circe as a metaphor of artistic transformation (as change that preserves its own historicity) resembles Derrida’s notion of the ghost as “the other in the same” (41–42). Circe’s metamorphic effect—as I would like to call this recurrent trait of Fuentes’s writings—is one of the pillars of the author’s literary criticism and creative work, as he also points out in Cervantes o la crítica de la lectura. In this seminal text, Fuentes says that all literary work comes from previous forms of art that are, subsequently, prolonged and transformed through their every new iteration.

Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”  179 With this in mind, Fuentes asserts that the most interesting aspect of a literary reading is to consider how a text builds upon previous forms of writing (27).14 Although Circe’s metamorphic effect is at the core of all of Fuentes’s work (see Solares), it is developed most prominently within his own literary production in Aura (1962), “Constancia” (1987), and “Sleeping Beauty.” In this literary triad, “Constancia” and “Sleeping Beauty” become direct descendants of Aura thanks to a similar narrative structure and a set of common tropes. Among these tropes are: ghostly figures that are mistaken by living characters, a discussion on historical guilt, and a photograph—the decisive element that blends the present, the past, and the future serving as the turning point that gives way to a discussion of time as a cyclical movement. In Aura, the character of the same name is the projection of Consuelo’s youth, an old woman who, over a century ago and due to her inability to conceive a child, decides to experiment with potions. These potions allow her to give life to the ghost of her young self and that of her husband’s, General Llorente. Felipe Montero (a young historian hired by Consuelo to complete her late husband’s memoirs) discovers that he is a specular image of General Llorente. Montero uncovers the mystery of his new/old identity as a result of the reading and re-writing of the General’s work, in addition to his engagement with a series of photographs. Coincidently, Benjamin argues that “there is no work of art that is looked at so closely as a photograph of oneself” (287). Along these lines, Derrida connects the ruin with the specter, as well as with the self-portrait. For him, the ruin is like a self-portrait since it connects us with the memory that we have created of ourselves (Memoires 68). According to Corinne Montoya Sors, both memoires and photographs act like a “specular and reveling surface” (37). Writing is, as Corinne Montoya Sors explains, what allows contact between different periods of time and characters such as Consuelo and Aura, General Llorente and Felipe Montero (37). When Montero finds the third folio, he discovers a stack of old photographs that portray the General and young Consuelo/ Aura. In these photographs, Montero finds himself, yet—as the narrator says—he feels that he has been “borrado, perdido, olvidado” [erased, lost, forgotten] (Fuentes, Aura 39). If the reading and re-writing of the memoirs is the catalyst of “una suerte de ósmosis entre los dos hombres” [a sort of osmosis among the two men] (Montoya Sors 36) the photograph of young Llorente’s face is the medium that allows Montero to “re-insert” himself in the moment captured by the picture, thus recovering his (other) identity. This “insertion” coincides with Benjamin’s analysis of photography’s long exposures during its early stages, which “caused the subjects to live their way into, rather than out of, the moment” (280). Although the common belief in numerous communities, as reported by ethnographic research, is that “the camera steals the soul,” there are also reports on indigenous

180  Adriana Gordillo peoples that embraced the process of being photographed since it was said to provide “a record which has kept vivid and alive their historical presence” (Warner 194–95).15 With this in mind, the photograph becomes a dual space of life and death. On one hand, it brings life since it allows the vivification of General Llorente in Montero, perpetuating the memory (and thus, the life) of Consuelo’s loved one. On the other hand, the picture itself carries the principle of death since photography is, as stated by Barthes, “the intrusion, in our modern society, of an asymbolic Death, outside of religion, outside of ritual, a kind of abrupt dive into literal Death” (92). But unlike Barthes’s notion of photography as a “dive into literal Death,” Fuentes’s use of photography resembles a ritual, a revenant that comes back to life in the author’s representations of what he called “la vida de la muerte” [the life of death] when discussing Aura’s symbolism (Hernández 50). This coming back is dynamic; it is Circean, since it carries its own essence while transforming itself—not only the characters, but also subsequent texts of the same “mythical family”—into a new work of art. In this regard, Fuentes’s Circean metamorphic effect goes beyond the notion of the revenant since it exceeds the limits of the narration and permeates new literary productions that establish intra as well as intertextual relationships. Take, for instance, the case of “Constancia,” the first direct descendant of Aura. In “Constancia”16 the character that names the novella—just like in Aura—is a ghost. But unlike Consuelo’s youth projection, which could live only three days at a time in Aura—Constancia is an apparition that grew old alongside her second husband, Dr. Whitby Hull. Constancia was a ghost who (for forty-­one years) gave life to her first husband’s ghost (the Russian actor monsieur Plotnikov) thanks to the life that she derived from Dr. Hull. Constancia and Dr. Hull met during his medical school training in Franco’s Spain. Later on, the couple settled back in the doctor’s native Savannah, a city that the narrator describes as a twin image of Seville, a city full of labyrinths, paradoxes, and enigmas (“Constancia” 85). After a series of uncanny events that involve his wife and their Russian neighbor, Dr. Hull discovers a photograph that shows Constancia and Plotnikov as a young couple holding a baby. Just like in Aura, the photograph becomes the “reveling surface” that sparks the subsequent events and the discovery of the story behind Constancia. If in Aura the reading and re-writing of the General’s memoirs, is the other catalyst in Montero’s understanding of (and diving into) the past, in “Constancia” the archives of Seville hold the essence of the couple’s story. This tale centers on the journey of the Russian refugees Constancia, Plotnikov, and their seventeen-month-old baby. The family fled their country to Spain in 1929 and then later attempted to arrive to America in 1939, but were detained and murdered in Cadiz. The couple sent their possessions (a photograph among them) to Savannah previous to their failed voyage,

Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”  181 establishing a ghostly connection between Constancia and Dr. Hull, Seville and Savannah. The Spanish archivist who helped Dr. Hull with his search for Constancia pointed out the similarities between the couple’s assassination and the killing of Benjamin (75). Although this is the first direct allusion to Benjamin in the text, the narrator’s comments on photography situate the novel in the German’s theoretical sphere from the very beginning.17 For instance, Dr. Hull’s encounter with Plotnikov at the mall’s photo booth involves a discussion about our fragmented self and how photography serves as a reminder of such fragmentation: “–¿Quién cree usted que saldrá fotografiado? ¿El actor? ¿El hombre privado? ¿El ciudadano ruso? ¿El aprendiz de escenógrafo? ¿El refugiado en América? ¿Quién?” [Who, among all of the personalities that we are, is photographed in a specific moment?… The actor? The private man? The Russian citizen? The stage designer? The refugee in America? Who?] (16). Plotnikov’s dialogue here resembles Benjamin’s allusion to Eugène Atget, the French actor and photographer whom he believed to be a “Busoni of photography,” a virtuoso, “an actor who, disgusted with the profession, wiped off the mask and then set about removing the makeup from reality too” (284). If, for Fuentes, literature is a tool to give life to everything that was silenced by history, for Benjamin, Atget’s photographs fulfilled the same function: they “looked for what was unremarked, forgotten, cast adrift” (285). Atget’s photographs deprived reality of its aura, which Benjamin described as “a strange web of space and time: the unique appearance of a distance, no matter how close it may be” (Benjamin 285).18 Benjamin’s aura seems here like an accurate description of Fuentes’s ghostly characters. The second descendant of Aura (and of Aura) and the third component in this Circean triad is “Sleeping Beauty,” the fifth short story from the collection Inquieta companía [Uncanny/Restless Company]. Inquieta compañía is a compilation of stories that flirt with Gothic tropes; it is plagued with ghosts, witches, vampires, and old mansions. “Sleeping Beauty” is a story dedicated to Peter Straub, a poet and novelist born in Wisconsin, well known for his horror stories. Straub’s dedication is relevant since it points toward a new branch of Fuentes’s “mythical family”: in 1982, Peter Straub wrote a short novel, The General’s Wife, in which he recreated the essence of Aura as homage to Fuentes’s work. A year earlier, Fuentes had expressed his admiration of Ghost Story, Straub’s novel. “Sleeping Beauty” is an example of a genealogical and specular relationship that shows how art generates itself in response to other works of art. In other words, through the genealogical branches of “Sleeping Beauty” one can see the migration of stories and their pilgrimage toward new cultural manifestations that the author had already discussed in his own work. Tracing Fuentes’s mythical sources (per his own literary advice), takes us to medieval oral traditions and the interpretation of fairy tales. Despite

182  Adriana Gordillo the title and given the tone of the collection, the reader of Fuentes’s short story is conscious about the possible ghostly nature of the text. This dislocation creates a deformed and monstrous image of the story from its very beginning that also places it within Aura’s genealogy. According to Bruno Bettelheim, “Sleeping Beauty,” its oral, written, and subsequent filmic representations, are a symbolic response to the physiological and psychological changes of adolescents. This transformation involves a period of contemplation and self-reflection, of sleep and dream that forms the individual’s character. Moreover, Bettelheim argues that the essence of “Sleeping Beauty” is the opportunity to wake up to a new life, both in a biological and social sense. This waking-up to life takes place through the possibility of creating a new life, which, I believe, could also be done through the re-production of art.19 This possibility of creation is linked to a superior level of existence that Bettelheim calls “a mutuality,” a relationship where “the one who receives life also gives life” (235). The new being (biological or social) that results of this relationship, connects its creator with a new sense of life that transcends time. One could argue that photography is a manifestation of mutuality, since it is capable of immortalizing, through mechanical reproduction, an instant that is ontologically impossible to repeat, thus, giving a new life to it (the photographed subject) (Barthes 4, 79). Fuentes’s triad—Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”—reflects this mutualistic sense through the mythical families and literary echoes that connect his works and that of others. In this sense, Fuentes’s recreation of a character serves like a revenant that comes back to haunt us and to serve as a reminder of the consequences of our acts, not only of individual acts, but those that are part of our society. The thematic variations in the author’s works, the narrative turning points that he introduces in this “third child” of Aura promote a discussion on the horrors of the holocaust. Like in “Constancia,” “Sleeping Beauty” narrates the story of a medical doctor (Dr. Caballero) and a narcoleptic woman married to Emil Baur, a German entrepreneur who built his fortune in Mexico thanks to the country’s political quarrels at the turn of the twentieth century. Baur requires Caballero’s expertise in his isolated mansion, described as a Victorian or Neo-Gothic house that appeared to have “its own mist” (su propia bruma) (Inquieta 172), resembling Benjamin’s descriptions of Art Nouveau photography and its “penumbral tone, interrupted by artificial highlights” (283). 20 Caballero notices the pictures in the woman’s room and sees his own face in them. His identity is in question and Baur becomes the source of information that reveals the mystery. According to Baur, Caballero turns out to be the Nazi doctor Georg von Reiter, who was in charge of eliminating “a los incapacitados mentales y a los físicamente impedidos en Treblinka” [the mentally handicapped and physically disabled in Treblinka] (Inquieta 204). Women were the last to be executed in

Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”  183 Treblinka, since they were used as housemaids and sex slaves. Alberta Simmons (Baur’s narcoleptic wife), was actually Reiter’s lover and he tried to save her by adding her name to the log of executed prisoners. However, Alberta Simmons was sacrificed when the “efectiva burocracia nazi” [effective Nazi bureaucracy] discovered the lie and Reiter was executed hours later on a count of treason (204). Baur (or Commander Wagner) found the lovers’ bodies embraced in a pile of cadavers, despite the time difference in their death, and took them to Mexico to give them a proper burial. Returning to Fuentes’s trope of eroticism and death, Caballero/Reiter is the only one capable of “reviving” Alberta Simmons, because—as the narrator states—only another ghost could give her life through its own virility. As we have seen, this revival of a ghost thanks to another ghost (this mutualistic effect) has also an echo in “Constancia,” where Plotnikov’s existence depends on his wife’s “feeding” on Dr. Hull’s life for over 40 years. The deceased reviving the deceased, the memory of a dead person, the trauma generated by loss, not only keeps the memory of the beloved one alive, but also connects us with the nature of life and the inevitability of death. 21

Final Thoughts The narrative techniques, the symbolism, and allegories of the baroque and the Gothic allow Fuentes’s reader to dive into interconnected timelines that personify the ruins of the past. The author’s use of Gothic symbolism places, more than his realistic narratives, 22 the responsibility of interpretation on the reader, creating an effect that highlights the place of the past within the present. Photography (and Benjamin’s thoughts on it) is one of Fuentes’s most significant allegories of ruins, which the author places strategically within his most Gothic texts. In Fuentes’s work, photographs show the characters’ coming to terms with their fragmented and transient self. They represent the moment of consciousness that erupts from understanding the past and the present as ruin. The return of Aura in consecutive incarnations of the character (and Aura through many of the novella’s narrative devices) reflects Fuentes’s thoughts on photography, literary creation, and history as a revenant. Both photography and literature create ambivalent texts where characters come to life but at the same time such characters are immobilized, paralyzed by the contingency of their medium. In this regard, Aura’s coming back to life in the characters of “Constancia” and “Sleeping Beauty” creates a sense of return, of haunting that transcends the text and highlights the meaning of Fuentes’s ideas on the presence of the past. Moreover, this intertextual revenant and the readers’ consciousness about it, creates a theatrical connection that resembles Cervantes’ second Quijote. Such connection and the repetitiveness of his characters

184  Adriana Gordillo in this triad carry Fuentes’s ideas about time, but also, they convey the author’s own discourse on the creative nature of art. In other words, Fuentes’s repetitive use of photography in connection with baroque and Gothic aesthetics, turns these stories into a collage that, when seen all together, resemble a revenant, a ghost that returns to give voice to a series of recurrent ideas that permeate the author’s entire literary corpus. In this sense, Fuentes’s Gothic narratives, along with a twist on baroque self-referentiality, give birth to a Circean effect that reflects the author’s ars poetica.

Notes 1 See “On Reading and Writing Myself: How I Wrote One of My Books” (531) and Ricardo Gutiérrez Mouat’s comment on the same passage (306); Julio Ortega’s comments on Inquieta companía (112), and Reindert Dhondt’s interpretation (through Olivier’s analysis) of the baroque as a matrix in dialogue with “its medieval Spanish roots through the Anglo-Saxon pre-­ Reformation Catholicism” (82). Furthermore, the narrator of Fuentes’s “People of Reason,” affirms that “the Gothic of Wells is an imminent Baroque” (qtd. in Dhondt 82). 2 One can think of the stories of El mal del tiempo (translated as “Mirrors of Time”), of Inquieta compañía (which could be translated as “unquiet,” “uncanny,” or “restless company”), and Inez, among others. 3 In this regard, Alejo Carpentier argues that language is the essence of creation, which translates into a change of episteme. Severo Sarduy claims that the use of baroque artifacts such as fragmented texts, the abundance of imagery, and the economy of words, is a way to criticize the bourgeois economy, its temporality, and the modern subject (For a detailed discussion on Sarduy and Carpentier’s baroque, see John Beverley, Luis Duno-Gottberg, and Irlemar Chiampi’s discussions). In a similar trajectory, Walter Benjamin proposed that the baroque was a method to communicate meaning in an allegorical way. Its main characteristic was, according to Christine Buci-­ Glucksman, in the ambiguity and multiplicity of meanings that govern allegories (70, 89). 4 See Nicholas Spadaccini and Luis Martín-Estudillo for an analysis of the baroque as a state of crisis, José Amícola, Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, and Justin D. Edwards and Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos for a discussion on the Gothic. 5 See, for instance, Gutiérrez Mouat, Pérez, and Javier Ordiz Vázquez and Inés Ordiz Alonso-Collada. 6 Fuentes develops his ideas about Cervantes’s work and the importance of reading, and the reader, primarily in his widely known essay Cervantes o la crítica de la lectura. 7 See Geografía de la novela (27). 8 For Gutiérrez Mouat, Fuentes’s recurrent use of Gothic motifs is a “reflection” on a “dark mirror… that reflects negatively on the mainstream themes deployed by the author’s more established novels” (298–99). 9 See, for instance, the interview entitled “Bajo la nieve” from 1981 in Jorge Hernández (37–63). 10 While famous photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson talks about the importance of the decisive moment in photography, Fuentes’s work incorporates a photograph as the decisive element that connects timelines.

Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”  185 11 In Derrida’s words, Although it [the referent] is no longer there (present, living, real, etc.) it, having-­been-there [is] now part of the referential or intentional structure of my relationship to the photogram, [and] the return of the referent indeed takes the form of a haunting. (Qtd. in Warner 209, Derrida 54) 12 See Gutiérrez Mouat’s comments on the similarities of “Constancia” and “Sleeping Beauty” (310). 13 See da Costa Vieira’s discussion on the creation of the character Quijote and its narrative effects. 14 In Fuentes’s words, [s]i es cierto que en la literatura no se repite el milagro del génesis, sino que toda obra escrita se apoya en formas previas, más que comenzar prolonga y más que formar transforma, entonces lo interesante es considerar, en primer lugar, cómo se apoya la escritura en una forma previa. [the miracle of genesis is not repeated in literature, on the contrary, all literary works are based on previous literary forms; a literary piece is a prolongation of other forms of literature. The literary piece’s function is not just to form, but to transform other writings, thus, the interesting thing is to consider, in the first place, how a form of writing is supported by a previous text.] (Cervantes o la crítica de la lectura 27) 15 The “stealing of the soul” is also coupled with the notion of technological power and the implication of the control of technology as a form of cultural superiority (Warner 189–202). As Marina Warner also points out, “the idea that the camera steals the soul … traveled with the medium and its users, in the same way as fears of witchcraft traveled with witch-finders” (194). 16 The first novella of the collection Constancia y otras novelas para vírgenes [Constancia and Other Stories for Virgins]. 17 Later on, when Dr. Hull visits Plotnikov’s house, his attention is called to the couple’s photograph by an “invisible flapping of wings” that anticipates subsequent references to Benjamin’s angel of history (61). On his way back to the United States and inspired by the archivist’s comment on the death of Benjamin, Hull bought a volume of the author’s essays. The narrator points out to the book cover, a reproduction of Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus, and Benjamin’s words about it (78). During the flight over the Atlantic, Hull reflected upon Benjamin’s words on Central Europe as a place “devoured by indifference, denial, and the utopias of the strong ones” (80). The Mediterranean Sea is portrayed as no more than “a ruined past incapable of restoring its original unity,” just like Plotnikov’s photographs, which reflected his fragmented identity (80). For Hull, Benjamin is the angel of history whose last vision is that of ruins, “the essence of truth because they are what remains; ruins are the permanence of history” (80). 18 For a detailed analysis on Aura and Benjamin’s ideas of the aura, see García Caro. 19 See Judith Halberstam for a discussion on how art perpetuates life while also questioning the heterosexual paradigm. 20 According to Fuentes, this house exists and it is a strange one, owned by a German family where his friends took him once: “Cruzamos un desierto eternamente crepuscular, había una luz muy especial en el paisaje. Y de pronto, vimos esa mansión de estilo moderno. Y en una de sus salas estaban los retratos del Kaiser, de Hitler y de Pancho Villa” [We crossed the eternally

186  Adriana Gordillo crepuscular desert, there was a very special light in the landscape. And suddenly, we saw that mansion of a modern architectural style. And in one of the living rooms they had the portraits of Kaiser, Hitler, and Pancho Villa] (“Entre el terror”). 21 It is Baur who implants or chooses Caballero/Reiter’s memories, situation that invites the reader to pose the questions: who controls our memory? Do we construct our own reality and plan our future based on the ghosts that are rescued by the historical tendencies of a specific time and place? Are we not all submitted to an Emil Baur (or many) that selects and re-writes our collective memory? The memory about the II World War is the axis that articulates this short text, but as Fuentes explores in many of his stories (Inez, “People of Reason”), memory is a living entity. It mutates and depends not only on past events but also in the future that we glimpse. In Caballero’s words, choosing the future means to choose the past (escoger el futuro significaba escoger el pasado) (200). 22 Fuentes argues that the fantastic is only a dimension of reality (“Las letras”).

Works Cited Amícola, José. La batalla de los géneros: Novela gótica versus novela de educación. Beatriz Viterbo Editora, 2003. Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. 1st American ed. Hill and Wang, 1981. Beccacece, Hugo. “Carlos Fuentes: Entre el terror y la belleza.” La Nación, May 9, 2010, Benjamin, Walter. “Little History of Photography.” The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility and Other Writings on Media, edited by Michael Jennings, Brigid Doherty, and Thomas Y. Levin. Translated by Edmund Jephcott, Rodney Livingstone, Howard Eiland et al. The Belknap Press of Harvard U, 2008. Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. Knopf, 1976. Beverley, John. Una modernidad obsoleta: Estudios sobre el barroco. Fondo Editorial A.L.E.M., 1997. Buci-Glucksmann, Christine. Baroque Reason: The Aesthetic of Modernity. Sage Publications, 1994. Cadava, Eduardo. “Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History.” Diacritics: A Review of Contemporary Criticism, vol. 22, no. 3–4, 1992, pp. 85–114. Cartier-Bresson, Henri. The Decisive Moment. Steidl, 2014. Chiampi, Irlemar. Barroco y modernidad. Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2000. Derrida, Jacques. Memoires of the Blind: The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins. Chicago UP, 1993. Derrida, Jacques, Pascale-Anne Brault, and Michael Naas. The Work of Mourning. U of Chicago P, 2001. Da Costa Vieira, María Augusta. “Autorreferencialidad textual y construcción del personaje Don Quijote.” Actas del II Congreso Internacional de la Asociación de Cervantistas, edited by Giuseppe Grilli, Instituto Universitario Orientale, 1995, pp. 363–70.

Aura, “Constancia,” and “Sleeping Beauty”  187 Dhondt, Reindert. “Carlos Fuentes and the Modernity of the Baroque: A Reading of His Essays.” Inti: Revista de Literatura Hispánica, vol. 75–76, 2012, pp. 31–44. Duno-Gottberg, Luis. “(Neo)barroco cubano e identidad. El periplo de Alejo Carpentier a Severo Sarduy.” Barrocos y modernos: Nuevos caminos en la investigación del barroco iberoamericano. Iberoamericana, 1998. Edwards, Justin D. and Sandra Guardini T. Vasconcelos. Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture: The Americas. Routledge, 2016. Feijoó, Gladys. “Lo fantástico por el camino topológico en el cuento ‘Tlactocatzine, del jardín en Flandes.” Simposio Carlos Fuentes, et al. Actas. U of South Carolina, 1978. Fuentes, Carlos. “Aura.” El mal del tiempo I. Alfaguara, 1994, pp. 12–42. ———. Cervantes o la crítica de la lectura. Editorial Joaquín Mortiz, S.A., 1976. ———. Constancia y otras novelas para vírgenes. Alfaguara, 2001. ———. “El gran desafío es admitir el pluralismo.” La Nación. 14 November ———. Geografía de la novela. Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1993. ———. Inquieta compañía. Alfaguara, 2004. ———. Instinto de Inez. Santillana, 2004. ———. “Con las letras se hace más que con el poder.” La Nación, 12 November 2007. ———. “On Reading and Writing Myself: How I Wrote Aura.” World Literature Today: A Literary Quarterly of the University of Oklahoma, vol. 57, no. 4, 1983, pp. 531–39. Fuentes, Carlos and James R. Fortson. Perspectivas mexicanas desde París: Un diálogo con Carlos Fuentes. Corporación Editorial, 1973. Fuentes, Carlos and Jorge F. Hernández. Carlos Fuentes, Territorios del tiempo: Antología de entrevistas. Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1999. García Caro, Pedro. “Aura y la teoría narrativa de Carlos Fuentes.” En breve: La novela corta en México, edited by Bencomo, Anadeli, Cecilia Eudave, and Anadeli Bencomo. Primera edición, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Centro Universitario de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, Universidad de Guadalajara, 2014, pp. 143–57. Gutiérrez Mouat, Ricardo. “Gothic Fuentes.” Revista Hispánica Moderna, vol. 57, no. 1–2, 2004, pp. 297–313. Halberstam, Judith. In a Queer Time and Place. New York UP, 2005. Hernández, Jorge, comp. Carlos Fuentes: Territorios del tiempo. Antología de entrevistas. Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1999. Lezama Lima, José. La expresión americana. Santiago de Chile, Editorial Universitaria, 1969. Marsh, Anne. The Darkroom: Photography and the Theatre of Desire. Macmillan, 2003. Montoya Sors, Corinne. “De Aura en adelante: El tiempo reconstruido por Carlos Fuentes.” Rassegna Iberistica, vol. 75–76, 2002, pp. 27–41. Moraña, Mabel. Relecturas del barroco de Indias. Ediciones del Norte, 1994. Ordiz Vázquez, Javier, and Inés Ordiz Alonso-Collada. “Ecos Del Gótico En México: Carlos Fuentes y Otros Narradores Contemporáneos.” Siglo Diecinueve, vol. 18, 2012, pp. 315–32.

188  Adriana Gordillo Ortega, Julio. “La compañía (siniestra) del Otro.” Revista de Occidente, vol. 285, 2005, pp. 111–17. Paiewonsky-Conde, Edgar. “La numerología como principio estructurante en Aura de Fuentes.” Cuadernos de Poetica, vol. 6, no. 16, 1988, pp. 7–28. Paravisini-Gebert, Lizabeth. “Colonial and Postcolonial Gothic: The Caribbean.” The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, edited by Jerrold E. Hogle, Cambridge UP, 2002, pp. 229–57. Pérez, Genaro, J. “La configuración de elementos góticos en ‘Constancia,’ Aura y ‘Tlactocatzine, del jardín de Flandes’ de Carlos Fuentes.” Hispania: A Journal Devoted to the Teaching of Spanish and Portuguese, vol. 80, no. 1, 1997, pp. 9–20. Punter, David, and Glennis Byron. The Gothic. Blackwell, 2004. Rulfo, Juan, Carlos Fuentes, and Margaret Sayers Peden. Juan Rulfo’s Mexico. Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002. Solares, Ignacio. “Todas las familias felices de Carlos Fuentes.” Revista de la Universidad de México, vol. 31, 2006, pp. 94–96. Spadaccini, Nicholas and Luis Martín-Estudillo. “The Baroque and the Cultures of Crises.” Introduction. Hispanic Baroques. Reading Cultures in Context. Vanderbilt UP, 2005. Warner, Marina. Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media into the Twenty-First Century. Oxford UP, 2006.

13 Media, Shadows, and Spiritual Bindings Tracing Mexican Gothic in Óscar Urrutia Lazo’s Rito terminal Enrique Ajuria Ibarra Shortly after his return from a small village in the state of Oaxaca, in ­Southern Mexico, photographer Mateo realizes that the pictures of a traditional ceremony he had taken for a documentary project are faulty. The photo roll apparently got stuck inside his camera, and each photograph suffered from double exposure. This resulted in a weird mélange of superimposed images: dancers and actors who performed on the forecourt of the village’s church overlap each other in the photographs that ­Mateo has  produced. Their colorful costumes seem to melt into amorphous bodies, but the images are mesmerizing nevertheless. Mateo’s wife, Mariana, praises them, and believes that this is successful artistic work. She is fascinated by the visual presentation of two different times collapsing together. In her own words: “Están bien locas. Son como dos tiempos ­encimados” [They are so weird. It’s like looking at two overlapped instants]. Still, Mateo is not satisfied and wishes to go back to the village to take more photographs. Even though Mariana is admiring his work, M ­ ateo looks at a wall of his apartment. He notices that, while his wife projects a shadow, he does not. In a series of shot/reverse shots, the audience discovers that the protagonist is telling the truth: what is missing is perceived only when Mateo enunciates that he has no shadow. The sequence is shot in dim light and the wall—which is not properly illuminated—­is a dark shade of blue, so the camera prompts us to look twice in order to understand Mateo’s reaction to this strange occurrence. This scene from Óscar Urrutia Lazo’s Rito terminal [Terminal Rite] (2000) summarizes the main plot and conflict of the narrative: Mateo’s photographs suggest that the film addresses and questions the notion of linear time and that the protagonist must visit the village once again in order to reclaim that part of him which has been bound with traditional rituals.1 Unlike other examples of Gothic in Mexican literature and culture, Urrutia Lazo’s film delves into the cultural anxiety that arises between a community and the foreign other, and the social uneasiness that a white man’s camera reveals as it infiltrates the ordinary daily lives of the town; spirits that were meant to be silenced and forgotten. Mateo’s

190  Enrique Ajuria Ibarra photographs, as mentioned, show that past and present constantly overlap during the narrative, but his video footage also reveals the ghost of a young woman who wishes to let herself be recognized by both the photographer and the matriarch of the village, Doña Gloria. With apparitions and missing shadows, Rito terminal presents a form of Mexican Gothic that arises particularly from issues of identity, the spectral double, memory, history, and community. The film develops a sense of negativity and transgression as the tension between technology and tradition escalates to reveal the truth about the death of the young woman who now appears in Mateo’s pictures. The plot focuses on Mateo, who is documenting the festivities of the patron saint in the small indigenous village. During the festivities, the townspeople exhibit a fear of outsiders, and a man is murdered after he attempts to court the matriarch’s granddaughter, Guadalupe. Mateo attends the funeral as an observer, and spots the ghost of a woman who looks very much like Guadalupe. His cameras also capture this spectral woman, and from then on, Mateo feels unable to detach himself from the town, especially since his shadow has also gone missing. Eventually, he learns that, the community’s matriarch, Doña Gloria, performed a ritual ceremony to bind his shadow to her in order to keep the secret of the death of her daughter Celia, Guadalupe’s mother, from being revealed. Doña Gloria was heavily involved in this death. Through flashbacks, Mateo learns that Celia abandoned her town to live with a mestizo from Mexico City, leaving her daughter Guadalupe behind to be taken care of by her grandmother. In her attempt to reclaim her daughter, Celia is killed by her own mother and her murder kept secret and forgotten by orders of Doña Gloria, who decides to raise her granddaughter in a strict and traditional fashion so that she does not make the same mistakes Celia did. From the very beginning, the narrative focuses on the tensions that arise in the constitution of identity for this closely-knit indigenous community: Roman Catholicism exists alongside traditional rites and strict social structures that see any form of racial otherness, impurity, or hybridity—­mestizaje—as outsider forces that challenge its stability. Doña Gloria exercises full control of her people in an attempt to maintain social and political balance, most particularly of the now grown-up Guadalupe. Nevertheless, the young woman appears to be cursed by the same misfortune from which her mother Celia suffered. The presence of ghosts and doubles, as well as the unearthing of past, dark secrets can be read as Gothic in this film. As Fred Botting argues, Gothic is characterized by “tensions between perception and misperception, understanding and misreading, fancy and realism,” which “heighten ambivalence and ambiguity, suggesting opposed ways of understanding events as supernatural occurrences or venally materialistic plots, imagined or actual” (5). Urrutia Lazo’s film features a prominent non-linear narrative. The plot is plagued by ellipsis and

Media, Shadows, and Spiritual Bindings  191 flashbacks, which gradually reveal what happened to Mateo and to Celia when she went back to her hometown the day she died. The film ­experience is that of ambiguity and suspicion, especially since Mateo is bound to supernatural rituals that also put his perception of time, space, and reality into doubt. His missing shadow, a projection of his being and his body, is taken away from him, further binding him to a world of spirits that he is forced to interact with and understand. While other approaches to the Gothic in Mexico have focused on revealing traces of this mode in novels, short stories, and horror cinema, I want to acknowledge that Gothic in Rito terminal does not originate from a process of borrowing or adaptation. Instead, it arises from a failure to achieve successfully a co-existence between tradition and modernity, inside and outside, which is at the core of Mexican identity as it defines itself in modern times. 2 For Roger Bartra, Mexican identity is a national myth “that appears to have no history,” (19) and is artificially elaborated by intellectuals and academics that respond to the political discourse of the modern Mexican state (16). This suggests that modernity has laid down an ideological premise for national unity that, according to Raúl Béjar and Héctor Rosales, is the result of positive attitudes towards globalization and hybridity (38). Instead, they suggest that this ends up disclosing that Mexican identity is “precarious, insufficiently constituted, ambivalent and frequently confusing, where several axes and sub-identities co-exist in conflict” (50). Identity in Rito terminal is rendered more confusing by the spiritual forces that clash with technological media, unearthing spectral insistences that must be acknowledged in order to disclose the artificial construction of identity for the subject—in this case, Mateo—and the community—Doña Gloria’s indigenous village in southern Mexico. In this sense, the haunting in Urrutia Lazo’s film responds to a reflection on the configuration of time and space that has been brought into question by the specter. This is very similar to what Bliss Cua Lim has identified in her analysis of Hong Kong ghost films. She claims that “haunting as ghostly return precisely refuses the idea that things are just ‘left behind,’ that the past is inert and the present uniform. Put simply, the ghost forces the point of nonsynchronism” (288), that is, it puts into question the sense of modern, synchronous time. Similarly, in Rito terminal, the presence of the ghost through the photographic medium brings about a questioning of linear and straightforward temporality, both for Mateo and for Doña Gloria, who is trying to efface any trace of her daughter Celia’s return to her town. The film portrays this nonsynchronous temporality by abandoning a strict linear plot, and slowly interweaves flashbacks and parallel editing to conflate the distinct times and existences of Mateo and Celia. Gothic in Rito terminal is not about borrowing fears from other cultural frameworks through the use of a particular narrative mode. On the contrary, it is an attempt

192  Enrique Ajuria Ibarra to understand local forms of anxiety that surface when the sense of belonging through time and space becomes compromised by familiar and unfamiliar spiritual forces. As such, the film should not be contemplated under the horror genre, but should be read by means of the uncanny— primarily present in haunted media and indigenous rituals—as the process to understand the issues that elicit fear and anxiety in the narrative.

More Gothic, Less Horror Although sparse, Mexican horror films display an interest in monsters, the uncanny, and the Gothic, mostly in an imitative manner that attempts to simulate successful American horror cinema or the most recent and appealing Asian cinema. Horror is typically a minor genre in the country’s film production, but, thematically, it has tended to appropriate cinematic aspects and topics that have been seen in most horror cinema from around the world. Additionally, horror in Mexico also tends to focus on re-localizations of spaces, monstrous encounters, and hauntings. This does not necessarily involve a blatant copy of situations and plots, but rather an importation that aims at exploring more regional concerns about identity, reality, and history. Early films, such as El fantasma del convento [The Phantom of the Convent] (1934), directed by Fernando de Fuentes, incorporate key Gothic features—most prominently abandoned colonial buildings and religion—to instill terror in their protagonists: suggestions of hauntings, Catholic guilt, and the revelation of secrets thought to be well hidden frame the story of three lost travelers who decide to spend the night at an abbey. Later Mexican vampire horror films, such as El vampiro [The Vampire] (1957), El ataúd del vampiro [The Vampire’s Coffin] (1958), El vampiro sangriento [The Bloody Vampire] (1962), La invasión de los vampiros [The Invasion of the Vampires] (1963), and El imperio de Drácula [Dracula’s Empire] (1966) demonstrate a tendency to emulate the successful horror film productions of the Universal and Hammer Studios, once again importing characters, monsters, settings, and situations into a more local environment. For instance, instead of ruined castles, in Mexican Gothic, vampires reside in old, colonial haciendas—­ the architectural remnants of the oligarchy that once held most of the rural population under their power. Likewise, the films of director Carlos Enrique Taboada, most notably Hasta el viento tiene miedo [Even the Wind is Frightened] (1968), El libro de piedra [The Book of Stone] (1969), and Más negro que la noche [Blacker than Night] (1975), primarily focus on spectral hauntings that affect the inhabitants of old mansions and boarding schools, settings that barely speak of a local or distinctive national approach to the Gothic. As such, Gothic horror in Mexican cinema has primarily been interested in adopting and adapting a narrative form whose key formal elements may provide an effective

Media, Shadows, and Spiritual Bindings  193 reproduction of the horror genre that is suited to a particular locale. Even though some of these horror films do explore the inevitable tension of past and present in relation to history, what they also do is import a source of horror more suited to address anxieties that may arise in our country’s modern discourse on identity. More recent films, such as Visitantes [Visitors] (2014), directed by Acán Coen, rely on this imitative model to deliver a film that actually fails to offer any innovative or localized horror look. Notwithstanding, other films, such as Servando González’s El escapulario [The Scapulary] (1968), attempt to explore the notion of Gothic horror in which the inspiration derives from local legends. The film narrates the story of a priest who hears the confession of a woman who is terminally ill. The old lady reveals the story of her three sons, all separated due to unforeseen circumstances, and who are cursed by the possession of the scapulary. When any of the three brothers possesses it, they are haunted by the proximity of death. The next morning, the priest realizes that he left his prayer book at the old woman’s house, but he when he goes back to collect it, he discovers that he had spent the night at an abandoned and almost dilapidated building where he had been listening to the confession of a ghost. The film interweaves the ghost story with a sense of disappointment towards the Mexican Revolution, which sought to end the tyranny of oligarchy in the country, and where many men and women lost their lives to an unsuccessful shift of power that remained in the hands of a few. Unlike the horror films mentioned above, El escapulario does delve into a more localized source of haunting that delivers its horror through unfortunate encounters and realizations of spectral apparitions. Rito terminal stands out from Mexican horror films because it is not a horror film per se. Instead, it explores the notion of haunting from a perspective of familiarity and unfamiliarity, focusing more on uncanny and uneasy sentiments than on the spectral experience. 3 In the film, the ghost of Celia does not wish to frighten but to let herself be acknowledged within the very social framework that wishes to cast her existence out from the history and identity of the town. Additionally, Rito terminal confronts tight impositions of elderly—or in this case matriarchal—­law in the attempt to secure local identity from any damaging external forces or intrusions. It is this law that rejects betrayals and writes down the social memory of the village with a sense of normality and belonging. For David Punter, one of the features of Gothic is that it engages with and confronts the law—of discourse, of identity, of reality—by means of transgressive textualities that help re-surface the inevitability of history as an insistent constituent of our present. He argues that: …what Gothic might say… is that the lessons of history do indeed perpetually follow us; but also that we are locked in a position

194  Enrique Ajuria Ibarra where it is virtually impossible for us to turn our head and stare at the deliverer of these lessons in the eye. (Gothic Pathologies 12) The weight of history is perpetually there, falling upon us, yet it is impossible to turn around and look back at that which haunts us. Haunting is always perceived from a specific angle, side-lining bodily fear while leaving the subject overwhelmed by anxiety. In this sense, Punter claims that: …you are reduced to, or produced in, the position of terror: not horror, for horror requires you to stand aghast… but terror, which allows your eyes to flicker every which ways, ceaselessly looking for an alternative, searching for a ‘version’ in which either this is not happening or there is a way out. (Gothic Pathologies 11) The purpose of Rito terminal is not to confront the spectator with a hideous monstrosity that threatens the bodily constitution of the self. Instead, the film attempts to reproduce what Punter suggests is terrifying: the uneasiness and the perplexity of something that questions the notion of belonging and the perception of present reality. The film’s focus on an indigenous community aims to address the sense of belonging after that which has been cast out—corporeally, spiritually, and discursively—inevitably finds a medium to attempt to speak and be remembered. The ghost of Celia is not merely haunting Mateo, but finds through his craft and his perception a way to haunt Doña Gloria. In this sense, the specter in Rito terminal brings about and questions the process of othering in the community’s configuration and the spatial and temporal framework that shapes it. Julian Wolfreys argues that one of the main roles of a haunting is “the immaterial projection of the other… discernible as a material trace” that “is a sign of historical intervention” (19). Just like Punter, Wolfreys claims that the Gothic specter is “not completely obedient to the law from which it departs,” and because of this, “that which haunts [is] so haunting, so uncanny” (19). It is this spiritual confrontation—more closely related to the realm of shadows— that is presented in Urrutia Lazo’s film: the inevitability of the past that looks for ways to escape from legal social constrictions that bind the sense of history. Shadows suddenly appear and are reflected by the technological machines that are carried into the town during the time of local and traditional celebration, the time when spirits may feel closer to the realm of the living. Photography is significant in this apparition in line with Laura Mulvey’s suggestion that photography works not with space but with time. The image reproduction of an instant reveals the limits of time and the insistence of the return, which “gives rise to that sense of uncertainty associated with the uncanny” (58). What is represented on

Media, Shadows, and Spiritual Bindings  195 the photograph reveals a certain liminality: the people the subject sees reproduced are objectified. For Roland Barthes, this “spectacle” signals the “return of the dead” (9) because in the instant of objectification, of image-ination, the subject is truly spectral (14). In Urrutia Lazo’s film, the specter of Celia takes advantage of this quality of the photographic medium to make herself recognized as an entity that wants to get back her place in time.

Gothic Shadows Mateo’s first sighting of the ghost of Celia happens during the funeral ceremony at the church. The sequence opens with a full shot of the inside of the temple, where most of the town has gathered. Candles are lit all around the altar and in front of all the wooden figures that represent various saints. A medium close-up shot reveals Mateo standing by a glass casket to observe the ritual more closely. The reverse shot reveals that he is looking at a group of women praying on their knees or standing up. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he glimpses a swift moving reflection on the casket. He believes the glass is only mirroring the group of women moving about the church, but upon closer inspection, he notices a haunting, veiled figure approaching. Alarmed and surprised, he backs away from the blurry image he has just perceived, crashing on a pedestal filled with lit candles that falls upon one of the wooden saintly figures, which catches fire. He promptly extinguishes the fire, but the whole town looks at the outsider who has completely interrupted the funeral with his mistake. The scene cuts to a shot of Doña Gloria, who had been looking at the Polaroid picture that Mateo had taken of Guadalupe earlier during the festival. At the same time Mateo gets the saintly figure on fire, Guadalupe’s picture catches fire from the candle Doña Gloria had been holding under it. This crosscut sequence parallels Mateo’s spectral experience with the very photograph that he has produced. The film shows the ghostly apparitions to be always mediated: either by reflections, projections, or printed images. Specters are only recognized by means of a visual medium. This draws attention to technology’s ability to record a reality in ways that the eyes cannot perceive directly, further suggesting the role of uncanny media in the conformation of haunting and what this haunting reveals. In Rito terminal, Mateo’s intrusion into the community is not solely his physical presence; additionally, his photography work reveals specific tensions within the community that pertain to notions of racial and inherited purity that tends to dismiss idealizations of hybridity. Doña Gloria’s actions are paradoxically intertwined to her responsibility to protect her community, but also her responsibility for killing her own daughter, Celia. This in turn becomes a silenced event, bound to be both kept secret and unearthed. Mateo’s photograph reveals a haunting glitch that

196  Enrique Ajuria Ibarra refuses to be overlooked, and forces itself to be recognized and remembered with the aid of a visitor to the community. The visuality of the ghostly image is typically linked with to technological media: in Urrutia Lazo’s film, this prompts a questioning of perceptions of reality, time, and space, and this in turn h ­ ighlights the community’s perception of time, the keeping of history, and to ­understanding the self in terms of body, soul, and shadow. For Botting and Catherine Spooner, monsters and specters have been unequivocally linked with technological media, which in turn has also impacted on the Gothic tradition. They argue that: …monsters and spectres appear, disperse and proliferate in the movements of and between media forms, leaving ghostly subjects in their wake. The movement itself displaces the habitual practices, perceptions and assumptions surrounding media circulations, receptions and reproductions thereby rendering familiar modes strange. In this sense, spectral media is not the result of a medium being spectral itself; rather, the medium’s technological features produce the sense of spectrality as a result (5). Our perception, habituated to the ubiquity and scope of media usage, takes for granted its visual production. In the case of the photograph, we tend to trust its indexical value. When Mateo discovers that the reflection of the young girl is incorporeal, this prompts a questioning of her materiality and social inclusion during the funeral ceremony. His perception of reality and the external world are seriously at odds with what he has seen, recorded, and photographed. As Botting and Spooner suggest, “a ‘ghost effect’ marks the emergence of strangeness and signals displacements in the structures of media production, reception, and naturalization in which specific selves and normal realities take their bearings” (6). The spectral apparition can be perceived through Mateo’s visual recordings—both video and photography—­which in turn prompts a sense of uneasiness towards the perception of reality. In Rito terminal, this becomes even more uncanny with the irruption of traditional rituals that bind the protagonist to the town’s matriarch, her own atonement for the death of her rebel daughter, and the history that his media have unearthed or unsilenced. This is the key to understanding the film: Mateo visits the community in search for that immaterial part of his identity that has been taken from him. Simultaneously, his subsequent irruptions into the indigenous community forces the inhabitants involved in the murder of Celia to acknowledge what they have done. Each visit unearths a fragment of what is condemned to be forgotten, by means of flashbacks in the film narrative. With a simple haunting and spectral presence on video, the young woman who defied being cast away by her hometown is slowly claiming back her identity—but only as a trace or remnant. In this sense, the spirit

Media, Shadows, and Spiritual Bindings  197 that is visible only in Mateo’s video makes its return by means of the technological visual medium: it “come[s] back from unknown realms yet also lie[s] at the origins of law and religion, calls for justice, vengeance, repayment of debts” (Botting and Spooner 2). The purpose of this specter is to recognize the fault in the social structure of the indigenous community: it reveals the fear of the outside and the crisis of identity that underpins the premise of hybridity. As the village closes itself to external influences, it risks both the stalling of the past as nostalgic reminiscence and an increased enclosure that rejects an interaction with the rest of the world. As such, technological media put this fantasy of isolated stability at risk when they recover images that are forced to be forgotten by the village elders and historians. In his analysis of phantom images and the uncanniness of photography, Tom Gunning asserts that shortly after its invention, the photograph was typically designated an ambiguous and sometimes disturbing value. On one hand, it allowed for a visual technological reproduction of instances of reality whose indexical value “could serve as both tool of discovery and means of verification.” On the other hand, photography revealed in its reproduction of material reality a disturbing notion of doubleness and phantasms associated with spirituality (18). What has been photographed turns the perception of the concrete somewhat uncanny: not only is materiality reproduced and doubled, but also supplemental instances of that which has been overlooked by the human eye yet have been picked up by the mechanical eye, that is, the camera lens. Mateo’s reaction to his video is that of estrangement and curiosity. When he spots the young woman who does not exist, he slowly realizes that this footage of reality contains a supplemental being, one who does not speak and stares back at the camera as if looking for visual recognition. In this case, Mateo does recognize her and knows her for the reflection he saw on the glass casket inside the church. In Rito terminal, film itself becomes the ideal means of communication between the ghost-world and the real world. This involves a tension between entrapment through ritual and liberation through technological forces that are external to the community. While Mateo is bound by words and ceremonies to Doña Gloria, Doña Gloria’s daughter seeks to speak and be remembered when she attaches herself to the image that is perceived by his camera. As Gunning suggests, “spirits are not simply captured in pictures; they communicate by a sort of picture language” (30). Their visual presence forces the unearthing of that which is not allowed to be spoken of, that which the community has been forced to forget. When Doña Gloria decides to cover all evidence of her own wayward daughter’s death, she becomes implicated in infanticide. Her desire for the preservation of tradition turns her into a villainous figure who seeks to bind the soul of the outsider as a form of atonement, but also as a form of silence. Nevertheless, the images speak: their pictorial code

198  Enrique Ajuria Ibarra insists in being understood and signified within the temporal and historical framework of the community. The spirit of Celia refuses to be forgotten. The uncanny in this film arises from the uncertainty of the image and its technical nature. For Mulvey: …uncanny feelings are aroused by confusion between the animate and the inanimate, most particularly again associated with death and the return of the dead. The photograph’s suspension of time, its conflation of life and death, the animate and the inanimate, raises not superstition so much as a sense of disquiet that is aggravated rather than calmed by the photograph’s mechanical, chemical, and indifferent nature. (60–61) While Mulvey refers to the late nineteenth-century tradition of the photographs of the dead, in Urrutia Lazo’s film the photographic image recuperates a spirit and materializes it on screen among the living people who are gathered at the church. Mateo has the uneasy feeling that he has seen this spectral woman somewhere else.4 Indeed, Guadalupe, the young girl he met in the village, strikes a very close resemblance to the deceased Celia, which prompts a disturbing doubleness that conflates past and present. This forces Mateo to go back to the village to try to understand what he has captured with his cameras. The disturbing supernatural is readily mediated to further instill an uncanny uneasiness towards perception and reality. Rito terminal is Gothic through its visually mediated spectralities. Like a traditional Gothic narrative, it discloses a tension between past and present; that which has been kept silenced weighs on the people who have done Celia wrong, thus eliciting an uneasiness and isolation in the village that is also enforced by a powerful matriarch. In this sense, the villainous patriarchal figure is transmuted into a female villainess that attempts to ascertain and impose a vision of the history of her community. When her own daughter Celia decides to abandon her isolated lifestyle in search for modernity, she is cast out, and her return involves the termination of her life and her offspring being kept by her own mother to raise the perfect and innocent girl she was not able to mold with Celia. Ordiz Vázquez and Ordiz Alonso-Collada argue that contemporary Gothic fiction in Mexico reveals that “under the appearance of a Western and relatively developed country, there resides in its interior the threatening ghosts of a past that inhabit a secret dimension that is not recognized, and from where they are ready to claim their revenge” (320). Their focus on the work of Carlos Fuentes reveals the anxiety of modernity towards the recognition of a troubled Mexican history. Unlike these narratives, Urrutia Lazo’s film focuses more on the other side of the Mexican (Gothic) coin: that of the fear

Media, Shadows, and Spiritual Bindings  199 of modernity and invasion of impure mestizaje upon a small, indigenous village. The roles are reversed here then. In the process of attempting to keep themselves from harm, the village exercises a fear of the urban and modern visitor, and it is this visitor, Mateo (and his cameras), that is able to bring to light and sight the cruel results of this isolation imposed on the village. Technological media reveal the cost of the tension between modernity and tradition: punishment and death, which are meant to be kept from the memory of the community. Mexican Gothic is not just what is revealed in the modern urbanism of Mexico City and what lies buried under its soil. It also discloses the effects of the confrontation between urbanism and rurality, the infiltration of the white Other and the mestizo into the idealized, contemporary indigenous community, and the disturbing efforts to keep it under tight control. Spiritualism binds Mateo to the village, but the media’s uncanny images unbind the secret that this community shares with the spectral revelation of the woman they have murdered to avoid their shame.

Notes 1 There is little evidence of the success of Urrutia Lazo’s film in Mexico. Luis Tovar mentions that the film is one of the most promising ones from the Muestra de Cine Mexicano de Guadalajara in 2000. Tovar interprets the film as a “mixture of realism and witchcraft.” In an interview with Raquel Peguero, the director reflects on the film’s main themes, mainly that “what is at stake is a confrontation that we live with, of two cultures that refuse to engage with each other,” hence the purpose is to explore the fear that results from this confrontation. 2 Approaches to identify the presence of the Gothic in Mexican literature and culture have tended to focus primarily on the works of Carlos Fuentes. To name a few, Djelal Kadir offers a reading of Fuentes’s La muerte de Artemio Cruz [The Death of Artemio Cruz] that reveals particular narrative structures that can associate the novel with the Gothic (58–59). Ricardo Gutiérrez-­Mouat suggests that Fuentes’s works that develop supernatural and uncanny mysteries that elicit horror, but that also must be resolved (39). Antonio Alcalá González has provided insightful views on Fuentes’s adaptation of Gothic to address issues of national identity, more particularly “in relation to time” (“Fluid Bodies” 534). Likewise, Alcalá González has also explored Fuentes’s turn to old houses in Mexico City historic center that function as ideal Gothic settings, trapping “protagonists inside architectural realms within this city,” as “they are haunted by unavoidable presences of a past they have chosen to deny” (“‘I Want to Escape These Walls’” 144–45). F. Javier Ordiz Vázquez and Inés Ordiz Alonso-Collada claim that Fuentes’s use of the fantastic-Gothic is aimed, as is evidenced by Alcalá González too, at “the relevance of the past as a necessary element to understand the present” (323). Nevertheless, the look at Gothic in Fuentes’s case is aimed at identifying traces, echoes, and adaptations of the Anglo-Saxon mode in order to be able to address local anxieties that are inevitably associated with national identity and the undeniable presence of the past in present times. In this sense, Gothic is merely transposed to reveal key issues that are nevertheless valuable to understand evident uncanny features in Mexican fiction.

200  Enrique Ajuria Ibarra 3 Urrutia Lazo tells Peguero that it is difficult to understand the genre of the film. He speaks of it as containing elements of tragedy and melodrama, but that it also contains “elements of suspense, mystery, and magic; that is why it is difficult to define. It is even too slow to be a thriller.” 4 This tension between what Mateo watches on the footage and his personal experience is uncanny. The protagonist is trying to grasp and understand that what he knows and does not know is hardly discernible. For Punter, this is what makes the uncanny so terrifying: “what we are afraid of is at least partly our own sense that we have been here before” (“The Uncanny” 130).

Works Cited Alcalá González, Antonio. “Fluid Bodies: Gothic Transmutations in Carlos Fuentes’ Fiction.” A Companion to American Gothic, edited by Charles L. Crow, Wiley Blackwell, 2014, pp. 533–46. ———. “‘I Want to Escape These Walls, but I Can’t Exist Outside Them’: Spaces and Characters in Carlos Fuentes’s Gothic Fiction.” Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture: The Americas, edited by Justin D. Edwards and Sandra Guardini Vasconcelos, Routledge, 2016, pp. 143–57. El ataúd del vampiro. Directed by Fernando Méndez, Alameda Films, 1958. Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1981. Bartra, Roger. La jaula de la melancolía: Identidad y metamorfosis del mexicano. Random House Mondadori, 2005. Béjar, Raúl and Héctor Rosales. “La identidad nacional mexicana como problema político y cultural.” La identidad nacional mexicana como problema político y cultural, edited by Raúl Béjar and Héctor Rosales, Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1999, pp. 25–107. Botting, Fred. Gothic. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2014. Botting, Fred and Catherine Spooner. “Monstrous Media/Spectral Subjects.” ­Introduction. Monstrous Media/Spectral Subjects: Imaging Gothic from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, edited by Fred Botting and Catherine Spooner, Manchester UP, 2015, pp. 1–11. El escapulario. Directed by Servando González, Producciones Yanco, 1968. El fantasma del convento. Directed by Fernando de Fuentes, Producciones FESA (Films Exchange), 1934. Gunning, Tom. “Phantom Images and Modern Manifestations: Spirit Photography, Magic Theater, Trick Films, and Photography’s Uncanny.” Cinematic Ghosts: Haunting and Spectrality from Silent Cinema to the Digital Era, edited by Murray Leeder, Bloomsbury, 2015, pp. 17–38. Gutiérrez-Mouat, Ricardo. “Carlos Fuentes y el relato fantástico.” Modern Language Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, 1985, pp. 39–49. Hasta el viento tiene miedo. Directed by Carlos Enrique Taboada, Columbia Pictures, 1968. El imperio de Drácula. Directed by Federico Curiel, Fílmica Vergara Cinecomisiones, 1966. La invasión de los vampiros. Directed by Miguel Morayta, Tele Talía Films/ International Sono Films, 1963. Kadir, Djelal. “Same Voices, Other Tombs: Structures of Mexican Gothic.” Studies in 20th Century Literature, vol. 1, no. 1, 1976, pp. 47–64.

Media, Shadows, and Spiritual Bindings  201 El libro de piedra. Directed by Carlos Enrique Taboada, Producciones AGSA, 1969. Lim, Bliss Cua. “Spectral Times: The Ghost Film as Historical Allegory.” Positions, vol. 9, no. 1, 2001, pp. 287–329. Más negro que la noche. Directed by Carlos Enrique Taboada, Corporación Nacional Cinematográfica (CONACINE), 1975. Mulvey, Laura. Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image. Reaktion Books, 2006. Ordiz Vázquez, F. Javier and Inés Ordiz Alonso-Collada. “Ecos del gótico en México: Carlos Fuentes y otros narradores contemporáneos.” Siglo Diecinueve, vol. 18, 2012, pp. 315–32. Peguero, Raquel. “Más que respuestas, mi filme busca abrir dudas: Urrutia Lazo.” La Jornada, 24 September, 1999,­culmas.html. Punter, David. Gothic Pathologies: The Text, the Body and the Law. Palgrave Macmillan, 1998. ———. “The Uncanny.” The Routledge Companion to Gothic, edited by Catherine Spooner and Emma McEvoy, Routledge, 2007, pp. 129–36. Rito terminal. Directed by Óscar Urrutia Lazo, CUEC/FOPROCINE/­IMCINE, 2000. Tovar, Luis. “Para muestra basta la de Guadalajara.” La Jornada, 2 April, 2000, El vampiro. Directed by Fernando Méndez, Alameda Films, 1957. El vampiro sangriento. Directed Miguel Morayta, Tele Talía Films/International Sono Films, 1962. Visitantes. Directed by Acán Coen, Videocine, 2014. Wolfreys, Julian. Victorian Hauntings: Spectrality, Gothic, the Uncanny and Literature. Palgrave, 2002.

This page intentionally left blank

Section V

Contemporary Gothic Paradigms

This page intentionally left blank

14 The Vampiric Tradition in Peruvian Literature A Long Journey from Modernist Conventions to Gothic Postmodernism Ruptures Rosa María Díez Cobo The Gothic Mode in Peruvian Literature Critical opinions of the Gothic literary mode1 have varied widely. While some authors have circumscribed it in space and time, limiting its most authentic and unadulterated expression to certain works of eighteenth-­ century English literature (López Santos 55), others regard it as a mode with the potential to mutate, evolve, and expand to unforeseen horizons beyond physical frontiers or chronological restrictions (Punter, The Literature 182). Similarly, some theoretical schools of thought have insisted on its indissoluble ties to the fantastic, even locating it as the epicenter from which this latter developed (Jackson 179; Roas 92). From other perspectives, it has been encoded as a stand-alone genre or mode, with frequent but unpredictable intersections with the fantastic and other fantasy genres and modes while remaining free of any typological dependencies (Punter, The Ghost xviii). Turning to Latin America, further divergences of opinion can be added to the aforementioned debates: the Gothic has largely been interpreted as a foreign form whose capacity to take root and prosper has aroused suspicion and even vehement rejection “in the first place [Latin American literature], is not Gothic” (Llopis 336). Peruvian literary critics have proved even more resistant to the concept of the Gothic than many of their neighbors in other Latin American countries. Thus, the major critics of fantasy literature in the contemporary Peruvian literary scene, such as Elton Honores, 2 Gonzalo Portals, and José Donayre Hoefken, have adopted an emphatically negative stance towards the Gothic: not only do they consider it a form of no significance whatsoever in Peruvian literature, but even on the international stage, they view contemporary Gothic as an obsolete phenomenon that invariably caters to the demands of a voracious and uncritical consumerism rooted in globalized mass culture. Specifically, Honores alludes to horror in English-speaking culture, within which he includes “the Gothic mode.” He contrasts it in

206  Rosa María Díez Cobo derogatory terms with horror fiction in Peru, which he claims is distinguished by a focus on social criticism and awareness: Horror serves in the Anglo-Saxon world as mere entertainment. Horror fiction is sustained by a cultural industry and a modern market. Horror is also good business in other contexts, from Gothic fashion to toys and Halloween. In Peru, however, horror fiction and its themes remit to a social memory that is activated when reading these tales, in addition to being vehicles for the ideology of a social group, and they therefore explore rather than evade our reality. (Honores, La civilización del horror 146–47) Equally symptomatic is that Horrendos y fascinantes (Antología de cuentos peruanos sobre monstruos) [Horrible and Fascinating (An Anthology of Peruvian Tales about Monsters)] (2013), compiled by Donayre Hoefken, makes no mention of the Gothic tradition in the theoretical introduction to the text, despite the fact that the anthology contains contemporary short stories whose protagonists include vampires, ghosts, werewolves, demons, witches, and clones; in other words, all the “old guard” of beings born from the shadows of the most conventional Gothic imagination. No less significant—and paradoxical—is that, although they are reluctant to acknowledge the existence of the Gothic mode in Peruvian literature, the abovementioned critics frequently highlight the influence of iconic Gothic authors in the English language; in particular, Edgar Allan Poe, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, and Stephen King are cited by Honores as authority figures for writers of horror fiction in contemporary Peru (Honores, La civilización 153). Hence, if many Peruvian scholars currently reject the “Gothic” label, how are we to interpret the profusion of themes, characters and characteristics in scores of Peruvian novels and tales that since the end of the nineteenth century, and in ever-growing numbers in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, present an undeniable affiliation with the Gothic?3 The Peruvian experts mentioned above and others (Güich Rodríguez; Sánchez Franco) have established a categorization that links these narratives to terror and horror as generic entities in themselves, but have avoided establishing any connection with the Gothic tradition. More specifically, in accordance with the theorizations of authors such as David Roas, many of the specialized studies published to date in Peru locate Peruvian horror narratives within the fantastic, and therefore the most recurrent denomination when categorizing the genre to which these works belong is “fantastic horror” (Honores, La civilización; Donayre Hoefken).4 It is only occasionally—and one could almost say timidly—that Peruvian scholars have bucked this trend. For instance, Gabriela Mora devoted her well-known monograph Clemente Palma: El modernismo

The Vampiric Tradition in Peruvian Literature  207 en su versión decadente y gótica [Clemente Palma: Modernism in its Decadent and Gothic Form] (2000) to an analysis of short stories by the modernist writer Clemente Palma. This and other studies focusing mainly on the work of Palma (Portugal; Palacios; López Gonzálvez; Cea Monsalves) have introduced and assimilated the term “Gothic.” Nevertheless, the concept does not appear to have been widely adopted, given that more recent studies have placed an emphasis on classifying fantastic horror as a completely separate entity from the Gothic. 5 Thus, to date, there is a notable and paradoxical absence of the Gothic in Peruvian literary criticism even though literary works corresponding or comparable to Gothic parameters have never been entirely absent from modern Peruvian literature. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, recent decades have witnessed an exponential growth in fantasy themes, including those of Gothic type, thus bolstering the debate on the presence of the Gothic in Peruvian literature.6 The aim of this chapter is to legitimize the Gothic conventions that can be traced in a large number of Peruvian narratives, not merely as a reiteration of imported literary genres, but rather as a reformulation of the Gothic code in accordance with the coordinates mapped by Gothic Postmodernism (Beville) and the globalgothic (Botting and Edwards). These theoretical models have successfully identified the reasons why this mode has survived through the ages, namely its persistent capacity to adapt to different periods, reflect social and cultural concerns spanning languages, cultures, and continents and hybridize with other genres and modes, often creating complicated generic configurations that seriously limit the possibility of establishing rigid critical categorizations. As evidenced by the vast literary and cinematographic output in recent decades, the Gothic is endowed with a doubly ground-breaking capacity: its original intrinsic ability to awaken atavistic fears and concerns, and its more recent potential for deconstructing absolute values, hegemonic discourses, and uncontested ontologies. In relation to this second capacity, the Gothic has forged a close bond with Postmodernism, as Beville’s theoretical study testifies, which in turn has favored its global expansion, penetrating borders that, like the Peruvian one, seemed impregnable until recent times, at least from a critical perspective.

Vampires in the Peruvian Literary Tradition In our postmodern times, the vampire remains a favorite and recurrent character in the global Gothic imagination, and Peruvian literature is no exception. The reason for this is undoubtedly the same as that in other cultural traditions: the irresistible power of aesthetic and conceptual fascination aroused by an ontological liminality whereby vampires shift between the human and the supernatural, the living and the dead, the seductive and the sinister, and the everyday and the strange (Auerbach 1).

208  Rosa María Díez Cobo In short, vampires personify the symbiosis between the beautiful and the sinister, an apparent antithesis which, as is well known, underpins the romantic sentiment largely identified to date with the flights of fancy that constitute the nature of the Gothic. Hence, its intrinsically uncanny—in the Freudian sense of the term Unheimlich—and multifaceted nature dovetails perfectly with postmodern and global impulses: this is a fluid, interstitial form that defies closed paradigms or categories. A series of themes have been established by the classic archetypical vampires (Filinion, Ruthven, Carmilla, Dracula) and their successors, which tend to be repeated, rewritten, and parodied: vampires are the epitome of transgression since they are untrammeled by space or time, their origins rooted in a past which culminated in a deadly transition, while at the same time they long for a future that can only be attained through blood, by taking the lives of others. Of particular relevance in understanding vampires is the fact that they are frequently associated metaphorically with an extra-diegetic reality, thus transforming them in many texts into a mirror and denunciation of social and political fears and concerns, a materialization of what had been repressed, or a metaphor for the encounter with an invasive and annihilating otherness (Punter and Byron 268). These and other characteristics of the vampire myth are portrayed, assimilated and in some cases redefined by those Peruvian authors who have included such a significant archetype of the Gothic in their narratives. But how has the figure of the vampire been conceptualized by Peruvian literary criticism, so reluctant to accept the existence of a home-grown version of the Gothic? For his part, Donayre Hoefken has stated that “lo vampírico no pertenece exclusivamente a lo gótico” [vampires do not belong exclusively to the Gothic] (Horrendos 14); this assertion is all the more striking when we consider that it was made by the author of Doble de vampiro [Vampire Duo] (2012), one of the most singular Gothic fictional creations in Peru in recent times. Written in experimental and metafictional prose, the novel is framed within a timeless, nightmarish atmosphere and portrays an intricate verbal universe where a series of female voices unfold, commingle, and overlap in a sort of postmodern parodic rewriting that appropriates and subverts a repertoire of conventional Gothic-vampiric motifs (Güich Rodríguez, Vampiros 57–58). Along the same lines, in his introduction to a Peruvian anthology of vampire short stories (2010), Honores locates the figure of the vampire in Peruvian literature within the category of fantastic horror, with hardly any reference at all to the Gothic mode (11–28). Thus, as previously mentioned, the denial of an evident home-grown Gothic tradition in Peruvian literature seems to be widespread among Peruvian critics and authors. However, these authors do not question the presence of vampires as a literary creature in horror fiction, which made their first appearance in Peruvian literature in the nineteenth century and have

The Vampiric Tradition in Peruvian Literature  209 since experienced increasing popularity throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as the anthology compiled by Honores and Portals confirms.7 In his introduction to this anthology, Honores establishes a tripartite chronological division regarding the presence of vampires in Peruvian literature. The first period encompasses the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and coincided with the modernist literary movement, while the second occurred towards the mid-twentieth century and ended with what Honores refers to as “un periodo de retorno a la figura del vampiro vinculado al terror” [a period of return to the figure of the vampire associated with horror] (21), which began in the nineties and continues to the present day. In the first of these periods, coinciding with the modernist movement8 authors such as Abraham Valdelomar or, most particularly, Clemente Palma9 played a key role in ushering a fully-fledged Gothic mode into Peruvian literature. Palma’s horror tales were published in two of his main volumes of short stories: Cuentos malévolos [Malevolent Stories] (1904) and Historietas malignas [Malign Tales] (1925). His novella Mors ex vita (1918) also represents an epitome of Gothic themes. Fully Gothic in their content and form, the majority of these narratives explore various shades of evil, ranging from heresy, psychological depravity, and hallucinatory drug-induced visions to sexual perversions. Of these texts, “Vampiras”10 [Female Vampires] in particular portrays a common vampiric theme, that of the female vampire framed as a femme fatale, an irresistible and merciless seductress. Although harking back to the fundamental stereotypes of the vampire myth, the short story provides an updated version of the theme by depicting a psychological reading of vampirism (Palacios 79). Thus, the protagonist, Stanislas, shows signs of having fallen victim to the night-time attacks of a vampire, which are eventually scientifically demonstrated to be the result of the vampirism that afflicts his sweetheart. According to the doctor who attends Stanislas, this is no more than a psychological reflection of the woman’s sexual impulses. As narrated in the tale, the doctor’s prescription for tackling this vampiric contagion does not include ritual murder by means of a wooden stake, or any other equally violent solution; instead, he proffers the following advice: “cásate con tu novia. Cásate hoy; si no es hoy, mañana; y si no es mañana, lo más pronto que te sea posible. Ese es tu remedio. Y … el de tu novia” [Marry her. Get married today; and if not today, tomorrow; and if not tomorrow, as soon as you possibly can. That is your remedy. And … your sweetheart’s] (Mora, Clemente Palma 247). Hence, in line with the dominant modernist aesthetic, the story depicts an ambivalent confrontation between science and supernatural beliefs, showing them to be compatible, portrays woman as evil, a predator of men or agent of the paranormal, and conveys a decadent atmosphere that permeates both the general descriptions and the p ­ sychological portrait of the main characters. Significantly, as with all of Palma’s Gothic  short stories,

210  Rosa María Díez Cobo “Vampiras” lacks a specific geographical location, evoking instead an indefinable Central European setting. This apparent lack of connection with Peru and its social, political, ethnic, and cultural characteristics links the author to an international narrative project of the Gothic. This aspect does not invalidate the originality of Palma’s work; rather, it reinforces still further the premise that fantasy literature and more specifically Gothic literature are not in the least foreign to Hispanic literary traditions. The second period identified by Honores in the evolution of the vampire in Peruvian literature was associated with the Generación del 50 [Generation of ‘50]11 and marked a transition to less hackneyed Gothic models: in an attempt to reformulate inherited themes, the vampiric canon was deflated through new parodic and humorous interpretations. The authors cited by Honores and featuring in the anthology include Luis Felipe Angell (Sofocleto), Carlos Mino Jolay and Isaac Felipe Montoro; in subsequent decades, authors such as Rodolfo Hinostroza and Carlos Herrera continued this deconstructive approach, based on destabilizing the discourse through the use of humor, parody, and irony. A good example of this second period is “Las memorias de Drácula” [Dracula’s Memoirs], a short story by Rodolfo Hinostroza.12 The narrative is an irreverent and humorous parody of the original Dracula by Bram Stoker. The narrator is Count Dracula himself, who relates in retrospect his voyage to England and his first experiences on the island after disembarking. At this precise point, Hinostroza’s text begins to diverge from the original, since Dracula recounts his victorious “vampirization” of Jonathan Harker, Mina, and Lucy who, together with the famous vampire, extend vampirism throughout the island and beyond its borders. This expansion is far from being violent or bloody, as might be expected from the nature of the characters; on the contrary, it occurs in a regulated and civilized manner that includes a histrionic press conference led by Dracula himself in an attempt to convince society of the benefits that accrue from being a vampire. In this situation, as in many others throughout history, the themes related to the world of vampires are deflated through irony and parody. Thus, for example, during the press conference, the journalists find it impossible to capture images of the vampires in their photographs, to the despair of Dracula (51). Similarly, the community of vampires moves to the United States, where they begin to travel the country offering an eloquently named circus show, “Nosferatu All Stars,” a spectacle based on deploying the abilities and talents of vampires. Thus, the story ridicules the banality of vampires who, like humans, must deal with the minutiae of everyday life. For instance, faced with the threat of global famine due to their increasing numbers, the vampires must find alternative means to satisfy their imperative need for fresh human blood. After a series of failed and comic attempts, providential seasoning with monosodium glutamate is found

The Vampiric Tradition in Peruvian Literature  211 to render any type of typically human food edible for the vampires, thus solving an imminently catastrophic situation. By way of conclusion, a brief epilogue to the story announces that Dracula has adopted a traditional and consumerist Western lifestyle: Esta noche que espero el ferry en un bar de Dover, después de haber inaugurado el aburrido busto de Jonathan Harker, me ha asaltado el recuerdo de mi viejo castillo de Transilvania. Este verano llevaré allí a mis hijos: es hora de que conozcan la tierra de sus mayores. [This evening, while waiting for the ferry in a bar in Dover after having inaugurated the boring bust of Jonathan Harker, I was suddenly assailed by the memory of my old castle in Transylvania. This summer I’ll take the kids there: it’s time they got to know the land of their elders.] (Cuentos de extremo occidente 67) The last period identified by Honores and covered by his anthology includes a good number of authors, some of whom are renowned figures of Peruvian literature, such as Carlos Calderón Fajardo, Fernando Iwasaki, and Hoefken, while others are still relatively poorly known, such as Pablo Nicoli and Carlos Enrique Saldivar. According to Honores, “en términos generales, podemos hablar de un retorno a la figura del vampiro en su imagen trágica y maldita” [in general terms, one can speak of a return to the vampire as a tragic and cursed figure] (21). This reprise of a more conventional Gothic has been accompanied by an emphasis on traits that dovetail with a global and postmodern Gothic: …que toma en cuenta como fuentes inspiradoras las referencias a la cultura de masas o bien la tensión entre la modernidad y el pasado ancestral que se resiste a morir, representado por el vampiro y su mundo, que invade la realidad cotidiana hasta amenazarla. […whose sources of inspiration include references to mass culture or the tension between modernity and an ancestral past that refuses to die, represented by vampires and their world as they invade and threaten everyday reality.] (Güich Rodríguez, Los periplos eternos 47) Among the authors that make up this list, Carlos Calderón Fajardo stands out due to the systematic manner in which he has cultivated the Gothic mode, and more specifically, the world of vampires. The singularity of some of his works, and especially of his trilogy about the mythical vampire Sarah Ellen, more than justifies devoting a section to the first volume in this trilogy, the novella El viaje que nunca termina (La verdadera historia de Sarah Ellen) [The Never-Ending Journey (The True History/Story of Sarah Ellen)].

212  Rosa María Díez Cobo

Sarah Ellen: The “True” History/Story of an English Vampire in Peru Sarah Ellen, an English woman who died and was buried on 9 June 1913 in the coastal city of Pisco, constitutes a paradoxical “historical” Gothic myth in contemporary popular Peruvian culture. According to tradition, she had been accused in her native country of vampirism due to her penchant for divination and esoteric practices. Consequently, she had sailed to South America accompanied by her husband, John Roberts, to escape probable persecution. Her tomb is practically the only remaining evidence of her actual existence, because little more is known of the reasons that finally brought the historical Ellen to Peru. However, the absence of more information that would confirm the reality of her history has not prevented her tomb from becoming a site of pilgrimage among the local population due to the alleged miracles performed by this “vampire saint.” The commemoration in 1993 of the eightieth anniversary of her burial congregated a mass of people who was expecting her to rise from the dead (Güich, Los periplos 47–49). This popularly proclaimed sainthood attracted the attention of a group of writers (Iván Thays, Ricardo Sumalavia, José Donayre Hoefken, and Carlos Calderón Fajardo) who planned to celebrate the date by means of a common literary project. Eventually, however, only Calderón Fajardo completed the initiative with the publication of El viaje que nunca termina (Güich, Los periplos 47).13 In line with the chronological periods established by Honores, this work reprises the most classic modes and themes of the “vampire Gothic.” Thus, in an intertextual evocation of the voyage of Stoker’s Dracula,14 the main character and her husband cross the Atlantic on an already outdated sailing ship, rounding Cape Horn to reach Pisco. The main character’s coffin travels in the ship’s hold (29), and just as in Count Dracula’s crossing, the ship’s crew dwindles, mysteriously disappearing over the course of the journey (87–89). The dark and melancholic atmosphere, the dismal forebodings and the course taken by the ship, apparently steered by a will other than that of the ship’s captain (82), also recall the passage of Stoker’s character to London. However, over and above the adoption of intertextual motifs, the work of Calderón Fajardo goes beyond an uncritical compilation and reiteration of Gothic themes. Sarah Ellen is conceived as a parody, in the sense of the term coined by Linda Hutcheon (1988). Specifically, Calderón Fajardo attempts to write an apocryphal story that explains the history/story of the “real” Sarah Ellen. But is the historical Ellen depicted as a real vampire in the novella? The response is complex, because although the text stresses Ellen’s obsession with Gothic literature and esoteric practices, somehow supporting the interpretation that she is not a real vampire, strange events are deliberately left unexplained, the most notable being her interaction with the already deceased Bram Stoker, the

The Vampiric Tradition in Peruvian Literature  213 phantasmagorical course of the ship on which they travel, or the series of sailors who bleed to death during the voyage to Peru. Thus, Calderón Fajardo’s novella unseats conventional Gothic premises by drawing upon a continuous ambivalence between plausibility and implausibility. There is a tension throughout the text between the real existence of vampires and their literary fabrication; as readers, we find ourselves submerged in this unsettling dichotomy, in an insoluble epistemological problem: [Sarah] tenía los ojos inyectados, las manos crispadas. Por supuesto que no era un vampiro—los vampiros no existen—pero ella se imaginaba que lo era, y al imaginarlo lo era… Y de esa manera nacen muchos seres apócrifos: genios en el arte y la ciencia, líderes iluminados, santos y vampiros. Existen porque se han inventado una verdad. Esa verdad que es real aunque no lo sea. [Sarah’s] eyes were bloodshot, her hands tensed. Of course she wasn’t a vampire—vampires don’t exist—but she imagined that she was, and by imagining it, she was… And thus are born many apocryphal beings: geniuses in art and science, enlightened leaders, saints and vampires. They exist because they have invented a truth. And this truth is real even when it is not it.] (41–42) Equally, the veracity behind Stoker’s Dracula is considered in terms of invention versus reality and “invented reality,” and Calderón Fajardo uses this to explore sophisticated poststructuralist techniques of discursive projection and disruption: Bram Stocker [sic] era demasiado popular como para no creer lo que contó en su novela Drácula. La gente cuya razón le impedía creer en vampiros resolvió que era tan imaginativo el asunto que si no existían vampiros tenían que inventarlos. Y luego de inventarlos, había que asesinarlos siguiendo al pie de la letra las instrucciones del doctor Van Helsing. [Bram Stocker [sic] was too popular not to believe what he recounted in his novel Dracula. People whose reason prevented them from believing in vampires decided that the subject was so imaginative that if vampires did not exist, it would be necessary to invent them. Then, after inventing them, they would have to be killed, following Dr. Van Helsing’s instructions to the letter.] (37) If anything characterizes this novella, it is the constant exercise of authorial self-reflection and a revision of its textual structures, always openly ambiguous and speculative: “voy a tratar de contar la verdadera historia

214  Rosa María Díez Cobo de Sarah Ellen … Todo tal vez empezó cuando John P. Roberts, esposo de Sarah, vio a Bram Stocker [sic] oculto tras un árbol, disfrazado de Nosferatu” [I will attempt to tell the true story of Sarah Ellen … Perhaps it all started when John P. Roberts, Sarah’s husband, saw Bram Stocker [sic] hidden behind a tree, disguised as Nosferatu] (15, 17). The anxieties of the text are also hinted at in a metafictional speculation on the nature of the Gothic novel: …entre los buques de vela y las novelas góticas existía aquella conexión que es aliento fatigado de los últimos seres de especie luchando por sobrevivir … El horror gótico no desaparecería nunca. Siempre habría seres ignominiosos alimentándose de la sangre de otros. Y novelas esperando para contar tremendas peripecias sangrientas. Los buques de vela estaban condenados a desaparecer, igual como los románticos a la manera antigua, como lo era John P., pero la imaginación gótica sería eterna hasta el día del Apocalipsis. […between sailing vessels and Gothic novels there existed that connection which is the weary gasp of the last members of a species struggling for survival … Gothic horror would never disappear. There would always be ignominious beings feeding on the blood of others. And novels waiting to recount terrible bloody adventures. Sailing vessels were doomed to disappear, as were old-fashioned romantics like John P., but the Gothic imagination would remain eternal until the day of the Apocalypse.] (33) In an ironic aside, one of many theoretical digressions, the narrative voice even contrasts English-speaking and Hispanic Gothic production: “Los españoles se distinguen de los ingleses en dos cosas: en que no tienen sentido del humor y que son excesivamente realistas. Jamás producirán un escritor de literatura fantástica, un gran narrador gótico” [Two things distinguish the Spanish from the English: they have no sense of humor and they are too realistic. They will never produce a writer of fantasy literature, a great Gothic storyteller] (47). Here, postmodern toying with textual levels reaches extreme heights until arriving at a mise en abyme, in which various sections of the work enter into an open dialogue with each other. In Calderón Fajardo’s narrative, Ellen herself is depicted as an inveterate reader of Gothic tales, and in a nod to Cervantes, she loses her reason and becomes what she reads and loves: the Gothic imagination (18, 70).15 This is not the only motive why Ellen is a singular Gothic character. Given the numerous ambiguities that characterize the text and hint at a possible supernatural side to Ellen’s nature,16 the reader wavers between the possibility that she is an archetypical Gothic monster—a conventional bloodsucker—or a bizarre and delusional woman.

The Vampiric Tradition in Peruvian Literature  215 From other perspectives, El viaje que nunca termina also reflects other aspects of Gothic Postmodernism and the globalgothic. For example, the narrative emphasizes the hybridization that occurs between the story’s evident Gothic atmosphere and another popular manifestation of the supernatural on the American continent: Santería. Thus, La Estrella del Mar, the ship carrying the main characters docks in Havana, is where the captain recruits new sailors who practice their Santería rituals on board. As a result, “todo el barco se convirtió en una especie de nave hechizada cruzando el mar” [the entire ship became a kind of haunted vessel crossing the sea] (74). As can be seen, this work does not simply transplant motifs from the first English Gothic to Latin ­A merican territory; rather, the Gothic forms mutate, hybridize, adapt, and dialogue with American reality. However, all hybridization also entails de-essentialization: things lose their integrity and become fragmented. This aspect does not go unnoticed by the main characters in the novella, nor by the narrator, who expresses a constant nostalgia for the Gothic in its original and already irretrievable form, displaced by the prevailing scientific realism of the early twentieth century: “Rabdomancia, navegación a vela, novela gótica eran considerados como abominables por esos fantásticos de la razón que acababan de construir el Canal de Panamá; eran odiosa y racionalmente realistas los que llenaron de zeppelines el cielo” [Divining, sailing ships and the Gothic novel were considered abhorrent by the fanatics of reason who had just built the Panama Canal; it was odious and rational realists who filled the sky with zeppelins] (74). It seems no coincidence that the novella concludes with the ship’s arrival, after many failed attempts to land, at the port of Pisco (94), and that the story ends with Ellen’s death (95), which over time would lead to her popular canonization. The traditional version of the Gothic imagination crumbles but does not disappear; rather, it mutates, surviving in a form adapted to its new Peruvian context. After all, if anything defines the nature of vampires, it is their capacity for metamorphosis. To summarize, this work appears to refute that which critics of Peruvian fantasy literature have argued so insistently, namely the inability of the Gothic to adapt to contemporary realities or to cross the ocean and attain new horizons. Hence, El viaje que nunca termina forms a textual representation of this intercontinental and intercultural hybridization, since in a paradoxical twist, the story of the historical Sarah Ellen and the Sarah Ellen mythologized in the collective Peruvian imagination merge together in an amalgam with indistinct boundaries in Calderón Fajardo’s narrative. In this work, the Gothic mode embodies Postmodernism in its most essential form, following the principles of historiographic metafiction (Hutcheon); history is appropriated and rewritten in the light of popular culture and the masses who venerate a deceased character they consider a saint not by virtue of conventional moral or religious values, but due to a purported vampirism. In addition

216  Rosa María Díez Cobo to this appropriation, Calderón Fajardo weaves a theoretical reflection throughout the text on the limits and possibilities of the Gothic narrative in postmodern times, both in the development of the fictional plot and in the critical epilogue that concludes the tale. Thus, the epilogue provides evidence of the historic Ellen and explains the genesis of the novella itself, interspersed with a critical reflection defending the Gothic, as well as the figure of the vampire, which is defined as a representative of diversity: “seres demasiado diferentes [cuya existencia] la modernidad no puede aceptar” [inordinately different beings [whose existence] modernity is unable to accept] (104). Even more significant is the association that Calderón Fajardo establishes between the climax of the popular myth of the vampire Sarah Ellen and the social and political situation of Peru at that time: “la aparición pública de Sarah Ellen como leyenda urbana, ocurrió durante el gobierno de Alberto Fujimori, época en la que la pobreza del país alcanzó niveles muy altos, pobreza que fue aparejada por una corrupción generalizada” [the public emergence of Sarah Ellen as an urban legend occurred during the Government of Alberto Fujimori, a time when poverty in Peru soared, accompanied by widespread corruption] (106). Similarly, in his zeal to vindicate a literary mode so reviled or ignored by his fellow critics and writers, Calderón Fajardo concludes by asserting the absolute contemporary relevance of the Gothic and its capacity to become the product—a reflection and denunciation—­of a given social, historical, and cultural reality: Extreme poverty and exclusion in Latin America generate a “Gothic” reality, in which the fantastic, the Gothic, forms part of the collective imagination and therefore of what is real. Pishtacos, saca ojos and vampires are not literary creations but phenomena that people think are real … Because what is real is not only that which is visible, measurable and amenable to categorisation into concepts: reality is also what forms part of both the collective and the artistic imagination. (108) However, even this critical epilogue holds an unexpected twist. Thus, the introduction of a fantasy element that once again stretches the boundaries between reality and fiction: the revelation that on 15 August 2007, the day on which a devastating earthquake ravaged the city of Pisco and its cemetery, only Sarah Ellen’s tomb remained intact, and the shelter it provided saved a man’s life (109).

Conclusions It has been argued that the Gothic mode does not and cannot adjust to the characteristics and cultural context of Peruvian literature.

The Vampiric Tradition in Peruvian Literature  217 Nevertheless, although the examples of Gothic literature in Peru may be late and scarce in certain periods, this chapter has elucidated the capacity of the genre to penetrate Peruvian literature and systematize, whether by imitating eighteenth-century British Gothic models or by postmodern adaptation to foreign contextualizations, the essence of a globalgothic that is nurtured by universal aesthetic tendencies and shaped through the use of local attributes. Thus, from Palma’s macabre modernist incursions in his short stories through mid-twentieth-century humorous fiction to the new wave of malevolent Gothic Postmodernism creators such as Calderón Fajardo, the Gothic has proved to possess a distinctive tone capable of modulating Peruvian fiction by interlacing customary topics and innovative approaches. At the same time, as we have seen throughout this chapter, the vampire represents a key figure par excellence in Peruvian interpretations of the Gothic. The enormous capacity of vampires for aesthetic, physical and psychological mutation, especially in their postmodern incarnation, renders them heterodox and malleable beings with vast textual potential as a vehicle for or reflection of social criticism. In the case of the novella by Calderón Fajardo, the history of the vampire saint, Sarah Ellen, is told through a complex, experimental narrative in which discursive boundaries constantly shift and overlap. This novella therefore demonstrates the irrefutable and definitive admission of Peruvian Gothic Postmodern fiction into globalgothic dynamics.

Notes 1 For reasons of space, I will not delve into the merits of characterising the Gothic as a genre or as a mode; however, the theoretical stance adopted here dictates a preference for considering it a mode, understood as entailing a degree of versatility and an absence of coercive conventions that help explain its enormous capacity for evolution, adaptation and symbiosis with other literary forms and genres (Miles 28; Ordiz Alonso-Collada 30). 2 Elton Honores is a central figure in fantasy literature studies in contemporary Peru. Not only is he the author of most of the studies that have paved the way for consideration of literary themes and genres traditionally ignored in Peruvian criticism, but he is also the major force behind the associated cultural panorama, having organized numerous conferences and events related to the various facets of fantasy literature in Peru. His most notable critical works include Mundos imposibles. Lo fantástico en la narrativa peruana [Impossible Worlds. The Fantastic in Peruvian Narrative] (2010), Lo fantástico en Hispanoamérica [The Fantastic in Latin America] (2011), and La civilización del horror. El relato de terror en Perú [The Civilization of Terror. Horror Fiction in Peru] (2014). In collaboration with Gonzalo Portals, he is also co-editor of Los que moran en las sombras. Asedios al vampiro en la literatura peruana [Those Who Dwell in the Shadows. Vampires in Peruvian literature] (2010). 3 This profusion is evidenced by the vast number of authors included in recent anthologies such as those compiled by Donayre Hoefken (2013) and Honores and Portals (2010), as well as by specific studies on the subject such as La civilización del terror by Honores.

218  Rosa María Díez Cobo 4 Indeed, extrapolating from the notion of “fantastic horror,” Donayre Hoefken even includes some classics of the English-language Gothic tradition: “en un rápido vistazo a la tradición fantástica, es fácil hallar no pocos monstruos literarios que han sido acuñados nominalmente, como el conde Drácula, el señor Hyde o el mal llamado Frankenstein…” [a mere glance at the fantastic tradition rapidly reveals quite a few literary monsters that have become household names, such as Count Dracula, Mr Hyde or the erroneously named Frankenstein…] (Horrendos 12). 5 It is remarkable, however, that despite using the concept of the Gothic in their articles, none of these authors proffer a theoretical discourse that sustains the solvency of the genre in Peruvian literature or in the works they analyze, and indeed they abstain from pronouncing on its tradition and scope. Most striking is the case of Moisés Sánchez Franco, who in his critical study of Clemente Palma’s Historietas malignas argues that “unfortunately, Palma’s work has been understood as fantastic or exotic, in other words, as a discourse that is disdainful of and distant from social and historical reality” (12), thus evidencing an explicit rejection of the intrinsically subversive potential of fantasy modes and genres. 6 The paradox resides in the fact that the very same authors who deny the existence of the Gothic in Peru simultaneously recognize a long and copious tradition of themes and traits akin to horror which as they themselves furthermore denounce, has been systematically ignored by canonical literary criticism in favor of an obstinate insistence on the validity and relevance of realism in Peruvian literature: Uno de los aspectos menos trabajados en el campo académico literario en el Perú son los estudios sobre la narrativa fantástica. Y dentro de este tipo de discurso ficcional, la narrativa de terror. La literatura de terror tiene así un doble estatuto de marginalidad dentro de los estudios sobre narrativa peruana: en primer lugar es marginal por pertenecer a la tradición fantástica …; en segundo lugar, por los elementos macabros que implica esta narrativa, percibidos por muchos lectores como negativos o poco educativos. [One of the aspects that has received least research attention in literary academia in Peru is the study of fantastic fiction, and within this type of fictional discourse, horror fiction. Horror literature is thus doubly marginalized in studies on Peruvian fiction: first because it belongs to the fantastic tradition …, and second because of the macabre elements inherent to this narrative, perceived by many readers as negative or unenlightening.] (Honores, La civilización 11) 7 According to Honores, aside from the mention of blood sucking beings in some pre-Hispanic myths and legends, the word “vampire” was first used in Peru in modern times at grassroots and media level to revile opponents or enemies (14). The Gothic vampire subsequently gained ground in nineteenth-­ century Peruvian fiction, mainly at the hands of the modernist literary movement. The anthology compiled by Honores and Portals contains short stories written by twenty-one Peruvian authors of variable renown. 8 As the successor to Romanticism, Modernism adopted some of the former’s rhetorical devices and similarly embraced an inclination for a sophisticated style with particular emphasis on aspects such as cosmopolitanism, the esoteric, the occult, dandyism and decadence. In addition, the impact of the first studies on human psychology and the technological developments of

The Vampiric Tradition in Peruvian Literature  219 the era helped foster the particularly subversive nature of this style, which often combined an ambiguous rejection and simultaneous incorporation of the scientific atmosphere of the time. One of the aspects, however, that distinguish the Gothic cultivated during Romanticism from a Gothic style with modernist nuances is the latter’s exploration of the intricacies of evil, which found its precedents in French Symbolism and a series of Decadent movement authors, who exerted a decisive influence in Clemente Palma (Mora, Clemente Palma 61–83). 9 Palma has been considered the father of Peruvian fantasy literature, as well as the most accomplished author of modernist literature in his country (Mora, El cuento 173–74). 10 “Vampiras” was published together with seven other short stories in the second edition of Cuentos malévolos in 1913. 11 The mid-twentieth-century period was fundamental for Peruvian literature insofar as it witnessed the transition from traditional literary models, characterized by the predominance of realism embodied in the Criollismo movement and associated prose, towards a new, more modern Peruvian narrative, with more aesthetic, thematic and experimental diversity (Cornejo Polar 258). 12 Originally published in the Peruvian newspaper “La República” in 1994, “Las memorias de Drácula” was later included in an anthology of short stories by Hinostroza, Cuentos de extremo occidente [Tales of the Far West] (2002). 13 To El viaje que nunca termina should be added La novia de Corinto [The Bride of Corinth] (2010) and La ventana del diablo [The Devil’s Window] (2011), as well as a coda, Doctor Sangre [Doctor Blood] (2014), which in some way evokes the trilogy and closes the cycle. Together, they constitute three enigmatic continuations of the first. Sarah Ellen forms a pretext in all three to portray the main characters: an anonymous writer, Rosalía and Ismael (Doctor Blood), a convict accused of leading a Peruvian terrorist organization. In La novia de Corinto, Ishmael’s hallucinatory visions in prison in which he is visited by the spirit of Rosalía, embodied by Sarah Ellen, and the subsequent dreamy digressions in the rest of the novellas, convey a macabre scenario in which a spectral atmosphere, Gothic tropes, nightmarish delusions and surreal scenes intermingle in a chaotic and disjointed text that is difficult to unravel. 14 Furthermore, the novella possesses a strong intertextual relationship with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1834) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and various narrative details establish clear parallels with his poetry. 15 This speculative artifact is revealed in the narrative in the anecdote describing Ellen’s discovery when a girl of a cameo containing a picture of the adult Ellen. In turn, a new discovery while divining leads Ellen to find a coffin in her garden, and the game of mirrors is repeated: the cameo appears for a second time, now hanging around the neck of the body discovered in the coffin, a body presenting the singular detail of lying with its arms tied behind its back (58–59). As with so many nuances in this narrative, this is yet another example of the ambiguity between “reality” and fantasy that permeates the tale. 16 It is not only her divining skills and the disappearance of members of the ship’s crew that arouse doubts about her nature: the story also describes the phantasmagorical visit of a girl—presumably the incarnation of Ellen—to the narrator, urging him to write the novella (15), Ellen’s phosphorescent appearance at certain times during the voyage (71) and the inability of the main character to see her own reflection in the mirror (86).

220  Rosa María Díez Cobo

Works Cited Auerbach, Nina. Our Vampires, Ourselves. U of Chicago P, 1995. Beville, Maria. Gothic Postmodernism. Rodopi, 2009. Botting, Fred. Gothic. Routledge, 1996. Botting, Fred and Justin D. Edwards. “Theorising Globalgothic.” Globalgothic, edited by Glennis Byron, Manchester UP, 2013, pp. 11–24. Calderón Fajardo, Carlos. El viaje que nunca termina. (La verdadera historia de Sarah Ellen). Altazor, 2009. ———. La novia de Corinto. (El regreso de Sarah Ellen). Altazor, 2010. ———. La ventana del diablo (Réquiem por Sarah Ellen). Altazor, 2011. ———. Doctor Sangre. Altazor, 2014. Cea Monsalves, Gonzalo Adolfo. Clemente Palma: el mal, la reescritura y la herejía. Dissertation, U of Concepción, 2015. Cornejo Polar, Antonio. La novela peruana. Horizonte, 1989. Donayre Hoefken, José. Doble de vampiro. Altazor, 2012. Güich Rodríguez, José. “Vampiros marca Perú.” Pasavento, vol. 1, no. 1, 2013, 47–60. ———. “Los periplos eternos de Carlos Calderón Fajardo.” Desde el Sur, vol. 7, no. 1, 2015, pp. 43–62. Hinostroza, Rodolfo. Cuentos de extremo occidente. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2002. Honores, Elton. Mundos imposibles. Lo fantástico en la narrativa peruana. Cuerpo de la Metáfora, 2010. ———. “Los que moran en las sombras. Introducción.” Los que moran en las sombras. Asedios al vampiro en la literatura peruana, edited by Elton Honores and Gonzalo Portals, El Lamparero Alucinado, 2010, pp. 11–28. ———. Lo fantástico en Hispanoamérica. Cuerpo de la Metáfora, 2011. ———. La civilización del horror. El relato de terror en Perú. Agalma, 2014. Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism. Routledge, 1988. Jackson, Rosemary. Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion. Methuen, 1981. López Gonzálvez, Encarnación. “De la tradición gótica en la literatura hispanoamericana: “La granja blanca” de Clemente Palma.” Brumal: Revista de Investigación sobre lo Fantástico, vol. II, no. 2, 2013, doi:10.5565/rev/ brumal.113. López Santos, Miriam. “Teoría de la novela gótica. La novela gótica en España (1788–1833).” Dissertation, U of León, 2009. Llopis, Rafael. Esbozo de una historia natural de los cuentos de miedo. Júcar, 1974. Miles, Robert. Gothic Writing 1750–1820: A Genealogy. Routledge, 1993. Mora, Gabriela. El cuento postmodernista hispanoamericano. Latinoamericana, 1996. ———. Clemente Palma: El modernismo en su versión decadente y gótica. Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2000. Ordiz Alonso-Collada, Inés. “Manifestaciones ficcionales del terror. El gótico contemporáneo de las Américas.” Dissertation, U of León, 2014. Palacios, Jesús. “El malévolo Clemente Palma. Modernismo, decadencia y luciferismo.” Moralia. Revista de estudios modernistas, vol. 11, 2012, pp. 70–87. Palma, Clemente. Historietas malignas. Garcilaso, 1925.

The Vampiric Tradition in Peruvian Literature  221 ———. Mors ex vita. UNAM, 1925. ———. Cuentos malévolos. Peisa, 1974. Portugal, José Alberto. “¿Un gótico peruano? Representaciones de la violencia, el ‘otro’ y re-configuraciones del pasado en la literatura peruana, 1885–1935.” Inti: Revista de literatura hispánica, vol. 67, no. 5, 2008, pp. 63–80. Punter, David. The Literature of Terror. Volume II: Modern Gothic. Longman, 1996. ———. “The Ghost of a Story.” Introduction. A Companion to the Gothic, edited by David Punter, Blackwell, 2000, pp. xviii–xiv. Punter, David and Glennis Byron. The Gothic. Wiley-Blackwell, 2004. Roas, David. Tras los límites de lo real. Una definición de lo fantástico. Páginas de Espuma, 2011. Sánchez Franco, Moisés. Historia del mal. Representación de los personajes en Historietas malignas de Clemente Palma. Agalma, 2016.

15 Cultural Cannibalism Gothic Parody in the Cinema of Ivan Cardoso Daniel Serravalle de Sá

Ivan Cardoso’s cinema is made of recycled pieces of different genres and subgenres; his films are teeming with situations, scenes, and stereotypes seen many times in mainstream cinema and television series. In the absence of what could be considered a mark of singularity, clichés and iteration become key elements in his filmmaking, which, at first sight, has no further ambition than merely entertain the spectators with its unashamed looting of other audiovisual products. The outcome is a composite of commonplace situations that favors the continuity of what has been done before, exercising its ingenuousness (if at all) in the way the different elements are spoofed, twisted, and rearranged. Self-­knowingly repetitive, precarious both in budget and technique, his cinema borrows extensively from Hollywood narrative forms, seeking to extract from them a formula for creating movies of “action” and “feeling” for consumption. Cardoso’s emulation of American cinema is deeply connected with the tradition of Brazilian chanchadas, musical comedies produced in the thirties and forties, inspired by Hollywood’s great musicals but rooted in Rio de Janeiro’s tradition of Carnival and burlesque theatre.1 His cultural strategy is arguably akin to that employed in these early national films: he departs from well-known foreign templates and reorganizes their most ubiquitous elements in dialogue with Brazilian identity and culture. However, his imitations focus on specific fictional forms and paradigms (Gothic, noir, horror, mystery, crime, science fiction), whose elements are mixed up to create a new national genre he deems terrir, a portmanteau of terror and laughter (Cardoso 15). His penchant for narrative forms that involve slapstick horror allows for representations of and gags about sexuality, race, class, or whatever categories he reckons worthy of breaking down. Although Cardoso can be considered heir of the chanchada tradition, he is also vibrantly connected with his own time and place. His work dialogues with different groups of artists from the sixties and seventies who sought to combine popular and avant-garde forms, and amalgamate traditional Brazilian culture with foreign influences. This coalition of artists working with cinema (Cinema Marginal), painting and poetry (Neo-Concretismo), and music

Cultural Cannibalism  223 (Tropicália) shared the dominant principle of Antropofagia movement, a strategy of cultural cannibalism that encouraged the conflation of disparate sources for the creation of something new. 2 I will argue here that Cardoso’s cultural cannibalism, i.e., his reworking of situations, scenes, and stereotypes, can be interpreted in the light of Gothic parodies. At the same time, his transpositions, hybridizations, and acclimatizations are tributary of foreign cultural items, as they also reveal something quite peculiar about the circumstances of Brazil’s social history and social discourses (Sá 240–44). However, the features that allow Cardoso’s films to be categorized as Gothic deserve a more detailed explanation. The notion of what constitutes a Gothic film is a thorny issue given that films that have been considered Gothic encompass “a brood of side genres, merging into a wider definition of the ‘horror film’ including monster movies and slasher films, anything dealing with the supernatural or nightmarish fears” (Kaye 180).3 The problem is that Cardoso’s films are not scary at all, perhaps amusing in the way they imitate and satirize other film genres. Nonetheless, his cinema can be connected to the Gothic given that a working interpretation of the Gothic tradition is the one David Seed recognizes in his text “Alien Invasion by Body Snatchers and Related Creatures.” He interprets the Gothic tradition as a multi-way adaptation, debating how Jack Finney’s novel The Body Snatchers (1955), adapted into the famous movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956), is an echo of Robert Louis Stevenson’s short story “The Body Snatchers” (1884). The point here is that Gothic narratives often involve a practice of assembling new stories from plundered elements of other previous narratives. Even before Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1818), prototypal eighteenth-century Gothic literature was already recycling plots, characters, and scenes from the past. Much in the same way, Ivan Cardoso’s cinema reworks situations, scenes, and stereotypes from previous audiovisual items, testifying to the vitality and variety of contexts in which the Gothic compositional vocabulary (language and image) continues to manifest itself. In this sense, Victor Sage and Allan LloydSmith argue that: Modern Gothic—with-out attachment to a particular object—is not simply an allusion to its own literary past, a remote eighteenth-­ century genre; it is immediately recognisable to a contemporary sensibility—its features, for example, instantly capable of parody— as a distinctive aesthetic shorthand, a code of iteration, which tends to imply a critical relation between the present and the past. (1) They further explain that the strength of the Gothic lies in its ability to flaunt and camouflage itself; the very moment it emerges on a text,

224  Daniel Serravalle de Sá it becomes a transforming agent for other codes (2). Therefore, it is through the idea of a metafictional, creative cannibalization of traditional Gothic tropes that Cardoso’s cinema can be connected to the Gothic and to parody. His films exhibit awareness of intertextualities in the ways they engage with a target text or genre. He employs film forms and conventions to operate within traditional concepts of parody (iteration, exaggeration, dislocation, incongruity), exposing the artificiality of the Gothic mode. Moreover, Cardoso’s films can be associated with the Gothic because their approach to parody and humor occasionally exposes the underbelly of Brazil’s largely optimistic surface. Taking on the issue of making sense of Brazilian history and identity in the form of satire, Cardoso sometimes manages to articulate pungent critiques about national issues. Caught somewhere between difference and reconciliation, his comic treatment of gloomy, menacing issues arguably represents a case in point of the Gothic in Brazil. In the next pages, I will span in cultural fashion the career of this filmmaker who is probably unknown to most of my readers. The majority of his films were not released commercially and is extremely hard to find even in Brazil. Considering that Brazil has always been isolated from the other countries of Latin America due to language and different national development, I will contextualize and describe situations, cultural items, concepts, relationship between people to give a better idea of Cardoso’s cinema, its connection with the Gothic, and his position in the intellectual and cultural climate of an era that spans from the early seventies to the early nineties.

The Legacy of Antropofagia and Dilemma of a National Identity Cardoso occupies a peripheral place in Brazilian film history and this is partially due to his creative and intellectual connection to the chanchada genre. The reasons for this trace back to the late fifties and early sixties, when an influential generation of film critics and filmmakers sought to provide the country with a set of names, themes, and films worthy of artistic and cultural appraisal (Viany 15–125; Gonzaga and Gomes 1–160). This group became seriously aware of Brazilian cinema’s historical shortcomings and endeavored to redress a long-standing history of cultural colonization by providing the country with a cinema history that could reflect a national reality of hunger, poverty, economic exploitation, and religious alienation. This intellectual project influenced how cinema was studied and even produced in the country, ultimately leading to the emergence of Cinema Novo, a movement that denounced social injustice and inequality in Brazil. Although this ideological construction of a national film history resulted in proficuous theoretical and aesthetic debates, it also restricted the scope of investigation and

Cultural Cannibalism  225 proclaimed an isolationist vision of Brazilian cinema, deeming inconsequential chanchadas and also other forms of historical appropriations from international cinema, particularly popular culture and Hollywood genre movies. As a member of a latter generation, Cardoso tends to express a sense of distress over aspects of Brazilian life (in that sense, Gothic) by means of a cinematic “carnivalization”, i.e., borrowing situations, scenes, stereotypes from American films to produce a fictional world of disjunctive representations. As a result, his cinema occasionally tends to incoherence and ideological naiveté but that does not mean it is devoid of socio-­political discourse. In his youth, in the sixties and early seventies, Cardoso held convivial relationships with elder artists and intellectuals who were redefining artistic practices. He benefited from being in contact with some of the most creative minds of his time, including Cinema Marginal filmmakers Rogério Sganzerla and Júlio Bressane;4 Brazilian horror icon José Mojica Marins (a.k.a Zé do Caixão), in some ways his mentor;5 Tropicália poet Torquato Neto, and musician Caetano Veloso (Cardoso made photos for the album Araçá Azul, 1972); Neo-Concretismo visual artists Carlos Vergara and Hélio Oiticica,6 Maestro Rogério Duprat, poets Décio Pignatari, Augusto de Campos, and Haroldo de Campos (to whom he dedicated the documentary Hi-Fi, 1999). Although these artists cannot be merged into a single movement, they are united by the wish to redefine the status quo, pursuing an artistic practice that moved foreign culture into the mainstream and making antiquated traditionalist or nationalist positions about Brazilian cultural purity. Their ideas stem from Antropofagia, one of the most original cultural movements in Brazilian modernism that had as its centerpiece the positive re-evaluation of the cannibal as a cultural norm. Dating from São Paulo Modern Art Week, in 1922, Antropofagia has been a cultural constant in twentieth-century Brazil, and it became a driving force in the seventies for the country’s national culture. Cannibalism is taken as a cultural metaphor for the ingestion and assimilation of foreign culture in Brazilian terms and, in this sense, the cannibal mind would be at work in Brazil to this day, occupying a central role in the national unconscious, which is prone to masticating and digesting the foreign other. Rather than an act of violence, it is a demonstration of respect for the outsider, capturing, dismembering, and devouring their bodies in order to absorb its virtues. “Tupi or not Tupi, that is the question” (Andrade 3), famously spoken in at a banquet during the Modern Art Week, summarizes the dilemma of national identity: a parodic version of a famous quotation by William Shakespeare, invoking the once largest indigenous group to live in the territory now called Brazil. Although this strategy of imitation adds a dimension to postcolonial political resistance, it has often been criticized as having to do with a discourse of conservative modernization (Schwarz, Ortiz). Against the

226  Daniel Serravalle de Sá regenerative aspects of the movement, its critics claim that the seventies reinvestigation of the original Antropofagia project, reduced to mere aesthetics what was formerly a fully social and political program. For Cardoso, however, these charges do not to make sense: the elements he purloins from other narratives do not belong to specific countries but to cinema. His spoofing of foreign cultural items occasionally addresses the country’s peripheral position, transforming that condition in a source of self-irony. Redeemed by laughter, the cultural cannibalism of foreign cultural items becomes a mode of interpretation that contains the cognitive function of enhancing Brazilian national consciousness in a singular manner.

Nosferato no Brasil: Gothic Disfigurations of a Tropical Paradise In the early seventies, Cardoso was building a reputation as a photographer and filmmaker. He produced a series of amateur short films in Super 8, which he entitled Quotidianas Kodaks [Daily Kodaks], among which is the notable Nosferato no Brasil [Nosferatu in Brazil] (1970).7 This experimental twenty-seven-minute film foregrounds some of the features that would appear in his later works, particularly the artistic incorporation of heterogeneous codes and conflicting styles. The first part of the film takes place in nineteenth-century Budapest, it is filmed in black and white and its angles and sequences try to reproduce a Gothic-­ horror movie atmosphere. The shots are mostly clichés taken from classic vampire movies, but the soundtrack is a contrasting psychedelic rock with distorted guitars. Nosferato is played by Tropicália poet Torquato Neto, whose long shaggy hair contrasts with F. W. Murnau’s bald vampire. Most scenes are filmed in broad daylight, which presents a problem in relation to the vampire myth.8 To circumvent the technical conditions required to shoot at night, a silent film intertitle was used, it reads: Onde se vê dia, leia-se noite [where you see day, read night]—a line from a Neo-Concretista poem by Affonso Ávila. At the same time the intertitle exposes the film technique, making the public aware of the cinematic illusion, the reference to the poem is exemplary of Cardoso’s creative practices and interpersonal artistic exchanges with members of his generation, which is revealing of the ongoing cultural effervescence in Brazil in the seventies. The emphasis on the inverted codes and styles indicates a fakery that relates to parodies, by means of vampire tropes, settings, and iconography. This hairy, diurnal vampire functions as a dual-reading strategy that requires the viewer to consider the inverted operations that characterize Gothic parodies. At the end of this part, Nosferato is killed by a swordsman (Daniel Más), indicating the inevitable fate of vampires in Europe.

Cultural Cannibalism  227 The second part of the short is filmed in color and takes place in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where Nosferato roams freely, sipping coconut water on the beach, sporting swimming trunks and a black cape (a laugh-­provoking scene), and chasing girls in bikinis. Here, Cardoso endorses the widespread idea of a Rio-Brazil, in which the regional is taken for the national, with the Sugar Loaf postcard becoming synonymous with the flag of Brazil. The vampire makes out with a swarthy girl in a sports car, chases another one into a luxuriant tropical forest and attacks another one on Copacabana beach sidewalk. Nosferato turns them into seductive vampires—an evident citation of the brides of Dracula— and later in the film they will lure and devour a man, with ketchup. The strategy here is to quote pre-existing texts or discourses and then rework and reconfigure the sources in ways that seek to expose the artificiality of the representation. However, Nosferato no Brasil should not be considered a debasement of “genuine” Gothic narratives, since the comic is intrinsic to Gothic writing since Walpole’s Castle of Otranto (1764). Instead of setting up a binary comprehension of the Gothic mode, it is perhaps best to think of it as a spectrum that, at one end, produces narratives containing moments of utter awe and dread and, at the other, works with clear signals that the codes are not to be taken seriously. Cardoso explores the duality that is inherent to the Gothic, exposing and challenging readers’ learned response of fear when encountering certain plots and tropes, such as the vampire. Avril Horner and Sue Zslonik state that “the comic Gothic turn is the Gothic’s own doppelgänger” (4) and that the “‘surface’ element of Gothic fiction allows for an easy dialectic between the rational and the irrational, emotion and intellect, artificiality and authenticity and, above all, between horror and laughter” (9). In Cardoso’s films, the parodic modification or disfiguration of the initial idea is necessary to achieve a potential critical effect. The intertextual qualities of his films express a high degree of hybridity that is not only at odds with realism and naturalism, but is also concerned with a textual mode that is self-reflexive and ludic. As Nosferato boards the plane that will take him back to his native Europe, waving good-bye from the window, the notion of Gothic assumes another meaning. The critical edge seems to come from the acknowledgment that a predatory type of tourism is taking place. Brazil has been repeatedly narrated as a tropical paradise where the land and its inhabitants are open to be invaded, viewed, and consumed in several ways. Contemporary forms range from package holidays to sex tourism reconstitute a colonial and postcolonial form of power relations of proximity and domination. The vampire in the tropics, a traveler from a wealthier nation with disposable capital to pay for experiences, suggests a critique of economic, racial, and sexual implications, in which the commodification of the bodies expose stereotypical, eroticized, and exoticized portraits of the Brazilian people.

228  Daniel Serravalle de Sá While in Europe, Nosferatu’s transgressions are punished by death; in the tropics, the laws of morality and ethics are suspended so that the vampire can indulge in fantasy and in the limits of his desires and pleasures. In addition to cultural cannibalism, Cardoso is depicting here a type of “consumer cannibalism,” which is as a matter of fact deeply connected with a set of international territorial, economic, and bodily relations through which Brazil was and continues to be formed. Accessed at the domestic level, these contemporary forms of tourism expose a gloomy, Gothic side of the tropical paradise: Brazil as a place of violence where voracious sexuality can run rampant and native bodies are available for a variety of personal services. If read in this key, laughter becomes humorless and bitter as it is used for sarcasm, distaste, or resentment in relation to the objectification of the national in the gaze of foreigners. In response to accusations of ideological nihilism, Cardoso seems to deliver here a self-reflexive national critique that resonates traditional attitudes that reinforce inequality between countries and peoples. The metaphoric meanings cannibalism comes to stand for the different ways that such relations can be imagined: aesthetically and culturally, the anthropophagic devouring of information from developed countries against domination, and as a metaphor of consumerism, where the colonized nation or body struggle against international relations of empowerment and disempowerment.

Master of Terrir: Gothic Sexualities in Post-dictatorial Brazil In the eighties and early nineties, Cardoso made three long features of great public appeal: O Segredo da Múmia [The Secret of the Mummy] (1982), As Sete Vampiras [The Seven She-Vampires] (1986), and O Escorpião Escarlate [The Scarlet Scorpion] (1990).9 These terrir films are exemplary of how Cardoso continues to incorporate Gothic parodies conventions (iteration, exaggeration, dislocation, incongruity) as an expression of his cannibal appropriations of Hollywood forms and Brazilian subgenres. Moreover, his creative incorporation, transposing, and acclimatizing of codes and paradigms sporadically express a latent sexual-political dimension that can be linked to the post-dictatorship zeitgeist in Brazil. Horner and Zlosnik argue that it is essential to historicize comic artistic expressions, for their engagement with preceding texts involves irreverent response and critical engagement with aspects of its historical and cultural moment. They argue that “parody can function as a key aspect of comic Gothic, not in the traditional sense of being parasitic upon an ‘original’ text, but … through ‘repetition with critical difference’” (12). The long feature O Segredo da Múmia is made of a series of film excerpts from an unfinished short titled A Múmia Volta a Atacar [The Mummy

Cultural Cannibalism  229 Attacks Again] filmed between 1977 and 1978. Scriptwriter and translator Rubens Francisco Lucchetti received the task of giving coherence to the random sequences without, however, abandoning the original combination of horror clichés and film-collage of different styles. The villain Professor Expedito Vitus (Wilson Grey) uses an Egyptian mummy to kidnap women and lock them up in his basement, where he conducts cruel scientific experiments related to human behavior in extreme situations—­this plot that repeats José Mojica Marins’s short Ideologia (1968), a film that re-enacts forced imprisonments, torture, and other “state-sanctioned forms of violence” (Sá 250) and which was also written by Lucchetti. In this parodic echo of a previous film, an anything but frightening mummy goes on a rampage in Brazil, invading cars and motels, abducting women that are kept captive without food or water until they gradually turn into beasts driven by primitive instincts.10 The film offers an entertaining—although still very amateurish—parody of the traditional mummy motifs, purloining elements from national and also international films genres, such as the soundtrack from Michael Curtiz’s The Egyptian (1954), and actual scenes from Henry Koster’s The Robe (1953) and Terence Fisher’s The Mummy (1959). As Catherine Spooner affirms, the “Gothic has a great[er] degree of self-consciousness about its nature, cannibalistically consuming the dead body of its own tradition” (10). The evocation of a mummy from Egypt can otherwise evoke a self-­ identified discourse of exoticism which operates as a grim joke about national identity. Cardoso perceives that postcolonial nations such as Egypt or Brazil carry on a running battle with the imagery projected upon them by the dominant nations. The irony is whether Brazilians are inclined to take on this point of view, when doing so means endorsing a discourse of exoticism that can be similarly applied to Brazil (to its advantage or detriment). These methods of othering have a long-­standing tradition in the Gothic and its displacements, projecting horrors and anomalies onto foreigners, ghosts, aliens, vaults, and other confined spaces. Cardoso seems to be making a point about the notion of the exotic and its web of influences, where the influence is not the key issue but the idiom of the exotic, which in the film consists of kidnapping, imprisonments, and violent attacks located in dungeon-like basements. Cardoso’s next two films are less anarchic and experimental, in part because he intensifies the use of elements that heighten awareness about the constructedness of the film form—with different levels of success in the outcome. On one hand, this draws even more attention to the artificial and parodic nature of his films; on the other hand, these several layers of textual and aesthetic references work against the shock and rupture effect of his previous work. Ivan Cardoso’s next films are exemplary of his tremendous knowledge about specific types of film genre and about the artificiality, hybridity, and heterogeneity of the Gothic mode.

230  Daniel Serravalle de Sá In As Sete Vampiras, Cardoso purloins images and soundtrack from the TV series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (1955–1952), editing the elements as if Hitchcock himself is introducing the film to the audience. The film is an unashamed deference to Roger Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors (1960), introducing a carnivorous plant that having achieved an extraordinary size, devours the face of a famous botanist Fred Rossi (Ariel Coelho) and infects his wife Silvia Rossi (Nicole Puzzi) with a mysterious malady. Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro is terrorized by a masked killer who drains the blood of his victims and hard-boiled detective Raimundo Marlou (a mockery of Raymond Chandler’s detective Philip Marlowe) is distracted from his comic books by the need to arrest the murderer. The actor Nuno Leal Maia, who is known for his participation in pornochanchadas or light sexual comedies that were produced in the seventies, plays the detective, while Colé Santana, an actor from chanchada’s golden age, plays the part of Marlou’s sidekick. Cardoso establishes here a line of connection between Hollywood and Brazilian film genres, dislocating traditional concepts of Gothic mystery-horror by distancing them from the expected effects of terror and fear. A key sequence in this film that illuminates socio-political contexts in Brazilian post-dictatorial history is the cabaret scene, where voluptuous she-vampires flounce in lingerie, serving as a supporting act for Bob Rider (Léo Jaime) and his Comets of Rhythm (the band João Penca e seus Miquinhos Amestrados or Banana-bunch Joe and his tamed apes), an authentically pomaded, hip swinging Brazilian rockabilly band. The costumes, hairdos, and sexually charged hip-swinging moves not only express Cardoso’s nostalgic admiration for the fifties and sixties, but point to a particular cultural construction of masculine sexuality and gender. Likewise, constructed as seductive and devouring, women vampires offer influential models of female power and sexuality, either monstrous or liberating. The female vampires operate a Gothic construction of sexuality in the film and, as Barbara Creed argues, “the female Dracula or vampire is masculinized because she penetrates her victim” (70). Creed uses the mythical image of the vagina dentata to illustrate the duplicitous nature of gender construction. These references that arguably challenge the construction of binary oppositions between male and female emerge in the film as the effect of the relaxation of the rigid cultural atmosphere and censorship that prevailed in the country from 1964 to 1985. Although Brazil cannot be considered a prudish country, the end of the dictatorship allowed for liberalization in customs and lifestyle, making themes related to gender roles and sexuality more visible on national cinema and TV. Pseudo-noir O Escorpião Escarlate, completed in 1990 but released only in 1993, is a free adaptation of “The Adventures of Angel,” a radio soap opera created in 1948 by Álvaro de Aguiar and aired for seventeen years by Rádio Nacional. In the film, Glória Campos (Andrea

Cultural Cannibalism  231 Beltrão) is a fan who begins to confuse the serial broadcasts with real life. Although, the radio dramas reference was no longer part of the Brazilian population repertoire, spectators could still relate to the notion of stardom represented by Angel. In the radio soap opera, the cruel villain Scarlet Scorpion (a reference to Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu series) is threatening journalist Dóris, who Glória imagines to be herself. In the meantime, a series of mysterious murders is taking place in Rio de Janeiro; the audacious assassin even kills someone inside a theatre where starlet Brigite, the famous Brazilian transgender Roberta Close, is delivering a striptease show. The killing takes place at the time Brigite is about to reveal her sex and the audience is left without knowing what it is. Teasing out the threshold between male and female, the representation of transgressive sexuality is here a pivotal Gothic motif that Pauline Palmer associates with doubling and spectrality (91–94). Cardoso’s depicts Brigite not as the monster but as the antidote to horror, delivering a humorous twist to the phenomenon of transsexual fantasy. This scene is exemplary of the gradual changes in customs and lifestyle that were taking place after the dictatorial period. Brazil society has always been a repressive and conservative in relation to gender differences, and the construction of sexuality in this scene diverts from typical heterosexual patterns, probing the audience’s curiosity and openness in relation to trans-sexuality. It also makes the public face heteronormativity and its own prejudices and attitudes of discrimination and stigmatization of transgender people. Filmed only five years after the end of the dictatorship, Cardoso promotes here a debate that pushes forward the agenda of sexual politics in Brazil and, in a broader sense, addresses some formidable national challenges concerning human rights that Brazilians were faced with at the end of the dictatorship.

Conclusion: Cardoso’s Auto Cannibalism I have argued here that Ivan Cardoso’s films exemplify a return of Brazilian cinema to a national movie genre derived from the old chanchadas. He uses the word pun terrir (terror and laughter) to define his quirky appropriations of both national and foreign cultural items, in which horror, sex, and humor are key elements. The strength of Cardoso’s films lies in the ways they incorporate modes and formulas from popular genres, producing a cannibalistic performance. The success of his films with local audiences demonstrate their entertainment value and how local adaptations of Gothic elements speak to Brazilian popular imagination. I have also argued that Cardoso exposes a dialectic of horror and laughter, employing parodic forms and conventions (iteration, exaggeration, dislocation, incongruity) which characterize the artificiality of the Gothic mode. However, Cardoso’s films are not simply formal affairs,

232  Daniel Serravalle de Sá they can also be read as Gothic in their approach to national history and culture, often displaying political incorrectness from both left and right political stances. I have particularly explored the significance of parody in the cinema of Cardoso, suggesting that these apparently lightweight, superficial productions challenge the dialectic between horror and laughter, revealing a Brazilian cultural dimension that is prone to comical stimuli. However, this comic Gothic does not just function as relief, it is also capable of social comments about Brazilian history and identity. The point here is that a culture of quotation (as opposed to a culture of creativity) is not doomed to superficiality. It actually contains the potential to rework cultural codifications that have defined long-established ideas and identities. In this lies the exploitation of liminality in Gothic fiction since Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto with its performative emphasis and stylized theatricality, its comic inversion of the abject and playful quality that suggests an obsession with artificiality. More recently, Cardoso is structuring a giant collage of self-­referential work composed of documentaries, articles, autobiographies, and self-tributes. The filmmaker seems to be pursuing an immense investigative work on himself and on the work of his generation, cannibalizing his own cinema, and, in the process, organizing a historical record of the great artistic minds of his time, which have somehow been part of his trajectory.11 This becomes particularly evident in the self-laudatory documentary A Marca do Terrir [The Mark of Terrir] (2005), made up of excerpts from about twenty-five different short films on Super 8, in which Cardoso starts to examine his career in hindsight.

Notes 1 Multi-act Chanchadas are considered the imprint of a popular Brazilian film genre. Adhemar Gonzaga’s Cinédia (founded in 1930) and Moacyr Fenelon’s Atlântida (founded in 1941) are the two foremost examples of national film companies that tried to replicate Hollywood genres and modes of production. Cristina Meneguello defends that chanchadas impacted Brazilian culture expressively and, a result of such cross-cultural dynamics, she argues that Brazilian audiences tend to end up favoring sub-genres which are often parodies of established genres (36). 2 The idea was originally put forth by poet Oswald de Andrade in the text Manifesto Antropófago, published in 1928. The attempt to define Brazilian culture in relation to its native traditions has its origins in the Brazilian Modernism, which symbolically begins in the 1922 Modern Art Week. 3 Although the Gothic is a well-established critical category in English Studies, there is no consensus on a precise meaning of the term and a singular definition has been difficult to isolate. Glennis Byron and David Punter state that the Gothic is “a set of irreconcilable and contradictory values both in aesthetic and political terms” (4). Lenora Ledwon argues that part of the difficulty lies in the fact that, “rather than speaking of one monolithic category of ‘Gothic,’ it is more appropriate to recognise there are many Gothics” (261). Fred Botting remarks that “the search for the Gothic …

Cultural Cannibalism  233 is a vain critical endeavour” (1). Despite these well-known difficulties in arriving at a definition of the Gothic, scholars have effectively delineated its contours and idiosyncrasies, identifying the Gothic in terms of conventions of characterization, plot, tropes, topoi, discourses, modes of representation, and composites of all these aspects. 4 Cardoso worked as assistant in Sganzerla’s Sem essa, Aranha (No way, Spider, 1970) and O Abismo (The Abyss, 1977); and in Bressane’s O Rei do Baralho (The King of Cards, 1973), A Agonia (The Agony, 1978) and O Gigante da América (America’s Giant, 1978). None of these films was released commercially; their exhibition was restricted to festivals. 5 A key difference between the two filmmakers resides in the fact that humor emerges involuntarily in Mojica’s cinema, while Cardoso intentionally pursues playfulness and ludic elements within the Gothic mode. In 1978, Cardoso directed the documentary O Universo de Mojica Marins (The Universe of Mojica Marins), in homage to his mentor. 6 Cardoso made two documentaries about painter Hélio Oiticica: H.O. (1979) and Heliorama (2004). 7 The film was not released commercially, but the group even designed a promotional poster, which is indicative of their desire to perform cinematic business. The poster was created by Óscar Ramos and Luciano Figueiredo in Rio (1971). 8 Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) and many other films are shot during the day because of lighting restrictions to shoot at night. This technique is commonly known as “day-for-night”. 9 In these decades, Brazilian horror films were produced dispersedly and disconnected from the quest of building an audience for the genre. Among other Brazilian horror movies from this period are: Shock! (dir. Jair Correia, 1984), Espelho de Carne [Flesh Mirror] (dir. Antônio Carlos Fontoura, 1984), A Estrela Nua [Naked Star] (dir. Ícaro Martins and José Antônio Garcia, 1984), A Menina do Sexo Violento [Violent Sex Girl] (dir. Mário Lima, 1987), Atração Satânica [Satanic Attraction] (dir. Fauzi Mansur, 1989) and Ritual Macabro [Macabre Ritual] (dir. Fauzi Mansur, 1990). 10 In some ways, O Segredo da Múmia is a meat-fictional spinoff of Luchetti and Mojica’s short feature. However, being a consecutive by-product, it does not offer the same instant critique of the state-sanctioned violence practice by the military dictatorship (1964–1982). The way it displaces and re-­enacts the methods of torture practiced by the military police (kidnapping, arbitrary imprisonment, isolation, starvation) is farcical and a-temporal. Nonetheless, sexuality and politics emerge as pivotal concerns in both films and the metanarrative of the nation, which employs Gothic forms to illuminate the horrors and violence of the military dictatorship in recent Brazilian history. 11 In Torquato Neto, o Anjo Torto da Tropicália [Torquato Neto, the Crooked Angel of Tropicália] (1992), Cardoso pays homage to the counterculture Tropicalist poet and lyricist for the, who committed suicide in 1972. In À Meia Noite com Glauber Rocha [At Midnight with Glauber Rocha] (1997), a collage of interviews filmed in the seventies, he makes peace with his Cinema Novo rival, Glauber Rocha, deceased in 1981. The footage also contains interviews with visual artist Hélio Oiticica (deceased in 1980), Rogério Sganzerla (deceased in 2004) and filmmaker José Mojica Marins. Oiticica receives yet two other homages in Hi-Fi (1999) and Heliorama (2004). And in Raul Seixas—Sexo, Drogas e Rock ‘n’ Roll [Raul Seixas— Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll] (1999), Cardoso pays tribute to this iconic musician, deceased in 1989, who combines traditional Brazilian rhythms with classic rock.

234  Daniel Serravalle de Sá

Works Cited Andrade, Oswald de. “Manifesto Antropófago.” Revista de Antropofagia, vol. 1, no. 01, 1928, pp. 3–7. Botting, Fred, editor. The Gothic. D.S. Brewer, 2001. Cardoso, Ivan. O mestre do terrir. Livraria Imprensa Oficial, 2008. Creed, Barbara. The Monstrous Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. Routledge, 1993. Escorpião escarlate, O. Directed by Ivan Cardoso, Topázio Filmes, 1990. Gonzaga, Adhemar and Paulo Emílio Salles Gomes. Setenta anos de cinema brasileiro. Expressão e Cultura, 1966. Horner, Avril and Susan Zlosnik. Gothic and the Comic Turn. Palgrave, 2005. Kaye, Heidi. “Gothic film.” A Companion to the Gothic, edited by David Punter. Blackwell Publishing, 2001, pp. 180–92. Ledwon, Lenora. “Twin Peaks and the Television Gothic.” Literature/Film Quarterly, vol. 21, no. 4, 1993, pp. 217–20. Lobisomem na Amazônia, Um. Directed by Ivan Cardoso, Diler & Associados, 2005. Meneguello, Cristina. Poeira de estrelas: O cinema hollywoodiano na mídia brasileira das décadas de 40 e 50. Editora da Unicamp, 1996. Nosferato no Brasil. Directed by Ivan Cardoso, Super 8 Produções Cinematográficas, 1970. Ortiz, Renato. A moderna tradição brasileira: cultura brasileira e indústria cultural. Brasiliense, 1988. Palmer, Pauline. The Queer Uncanny: New Perspectives on the Gothic. U of Wales P, 2012. Punter, David and Glennis Byron. The Gothic. Blackwell, 2004. Sá, Daniel Serravalle de. “The Strange Case of Brazilian Gothic Cinema.” Tropical Gothic in Literature and Culture: The Americas, edited by Justin Edwards and Sandra Guardini T. Vasconcelos, Routledge, 2016, pp. 240–54. Sage, Victor and Allan Lloyd-Smith. Modern Gothic, a Reader. Manchester UP, 1996. Schwarz, Roberto. Misplaced Ideas: Essays on Brazilian Culture. Verso, 1992. Seed, David. “Alien Invasions by Body Snatchers and related Creatures.” Modern Gothic, a Reader, edited by Allan Lloyd Smith and Victor Sage. Manchester UP, 1996, pp. 152–70. Segredo da múmia, O. Directed by Ivan Cardoso, Embrafilme / Super 8 Produções Cinematográficas, 1982. Sete vampiras, As. Directed by Ivan Cardoso, Embrafilme / Super 8 Produções Cinematográficas, 1986. Spooner, Catherine. Contemporary Gothic. Reaktion Books, 2006. Viany, Alex. Introdução ao cinema brasileiro. Instituto Nacional do Livro, 1959.

16 Pedro Cabiya’s Caribbean Grotesque Persephone Braham

The horrible and the preternatural have usually seized on the popular taste, at the rise and decline of literature. —Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Caribbean Gothic is uniquely suited to unveiling the psychology of colonialism: the master’s fear of the subaltern, the patriarchal suppression of other nonconforming agencies and subjectivities, and the violence that necessarily underpins an economy of slavery, commodification, and extraction. The European Gothic of the turn of the nineteenth century was “fundamentally linked to colonial settings, characters, and realities as frequent embodiments of the forbidding and frightening” (Paravisini-­ Gebert 229), and the Caribbean in particular was construed as a source of corruption, miscegenation, and madness. As Paravisini-­G ebert points out, Afro-Caribbean religions, particularly Haitian Vaudou, have consistently fueled Gothic fantasies by writers from Europe and the United States. The Gothic of the American South also takes an inherently white point of view, examining the “madness, decay and despair” of the former slave-owning class (Marshall 3). In contrast, the home-grown Caribbean Gothic is written from a subaltern perspective. In the Spanish Caribbean, early abolitionist texts such as Juan Francisco Manzano’s Autobiography of a Slave (1840) and Gertrudis Gómez Avellaneda’s Sab (1841) incorporated Gothic elements to describe the dehumanizing experience of slavery. The plantation system that nourished the great European empires depended on a series of discourses intended to justify the alienation and consumption of the human body for profit. Patriarchy, organized religion, and a racialized class hierarchy all supported this capitalist endeavor. A central theme of the Gothic is violence against women by way of oppressive social norms, psychological alienation, or physical disfigurement. The Gothic heroine, typically a virgin of indeterminate family or social status, finds herself trapped in a mysterious and hostile environment, sexually menaced by unknown or sinister forces. A key element of the Gothic is the protagonist’s sense of obscure and sinister forces

236  Persephone Braham beyond her grasp, which through the novel’s workings reveal themselves as the essential condition of female disability within a patriarchal system. The Americas, feminized for European consumption in engraved images of the cannibal princess and metaphors of savage virgin territory, were no more visibly and thoroughly exploited than in the Caribbean. Caribbean women writers such as Rosario Ferré, Mayra Montero, and Ana Lydia Vega (and their precursor Jean Rhys) have long sought to expose the essentially Gothic condition of the post-colonial Caribbean subject, and the many ways in which the exploitation of the Caribbean manifests itself within an implicitly gendered dynamic. Violence in the Caribbean Gothic is systemic, built into domestic routine, inscribed in the environment, and often made accessible to the reader through a female psyche. By contrast, the Puerto Rican/Dominican author Pedro Cabiya turns away from psychological expressions of the Gothic. Cabiya’s take on the Gothic veers toward the visceral, abject, and even risible grotesque, in which body and landscape are consumed in a market-driven cannibal orgy. His is a much more exteriorized vision that foregrounds the corporeal ramifications of the Gothic dynamic, recalling the eighteenth-­ century origins of a genre which, as Samuel Taylor Coleridge maintained, expressed itself through a “libidinous minuteness” of voluptuous images “employed to furnish a mormo for children, a poison for youth, and a provocative for the debauchee.”1 Cabiya’s novella La cabeza [The Head] (2005) and vampire-mashup novel María V. El Clásico Romance Latinoamericano del Siglo XIX—Ahora Con Brutalidad Caníbal [María V. The Classic Nineteenth-Century Latin American Romance— Now with Cannibal Brutality] (2011) expose the shocking physical realities of colonial and post-colonial existence. Together, the two works denounce the depredations of international market economics on both the physical landscape and the bodies of its inhabitants. La cabeza combines with “libidinous minuteness” (per Coleridge’s coinage) elements of horror, science fiction, and soft-core pornography. It reads like the storyboard for an exploitation film, intercutting the story of a dismembered female body with steamy sexual encounters. The main characters Daniel and Gloria, an attractive newlywed couple, suffer a horrific automobile accident in which Gloria’s lower body is trapped in the wreckage. Her life is saved by Daniel’s brother Ezequiel, a social misfit whose sinister scientific pursuits have relegated him to a possibly even more sinister career in dentistry. Ezequiel builds the remaining upper half of Gloria’s body into a macabre apparatus that, while it keeps her alive, is so horrific to contemplate that she must be constantly sedated to keep her from going mad. Daniel maintains sexual relationships with his secretary Marta and Gloria’s nurse Raquel, and Raquel in turn has a torrid affair (by way of electrical stimulation) with Gloria.

Pedro Cabiya’s Caribbean Grotesque  237 The novel’s characters are psychologically cartoonish. Physically, they combine stereotypically lascivious attributes (comparisons of body parts to ripe fruit) with organic processes minutely described in the language of a Rube Goldberg invention. Gloria’s mouth is simultaneously described as a “magnífico bivalvo,” suggesting the fluid mechanics of a mollusk, and a “fresa madura” or temptingly ripe strawberry. She is a “medio torso conectado a una máquina” [half-torso connected to a machine]: her digestive and other organs are laid bare as a system of bags and bellows emitting “una melodía atroz hecha de gárgaras y zumbidos” [an atrocious melody of gurgles and buzzes] (153–54). The abjection of Gloria’s digestive process is redoubled by its mechanical exteriority: the first thing Daniel must do when she awakens each day is “disconnect” her from the reality of her physical existence. Her grotesque physical situation is the epitome of the Gothic aberrance Coleridge decried: “The sufferings which he describes are so frightful and intolerable, that we break with abruptness from the delusion, and indignantly suspect the man of a species of brutality, who could find a pleasure in wantonly imagining them.” Cabiya achieves an effect of double abjection by not only rendering the human body in mechanical terms, but also by describing electrical or mechanical activity in human terms. When Daniel finds himself sexually aroused by his secretary, he experiences the organic equivalent of stepping on a gas pedal: Daniel experimentó un sacudimiento epidérmico provocado por una fragorosa reverberación de su torrente sanguíneo, que primero inundó sus músculos con una ración titánica de adrenalina y acto seguido la neutralizó, dejándolo húmedo, tiritante e indefenso como un gatito recién nacido. [Daniel experienced an epidermal shock provoked by a thunderous reverberation of his bloodstream, which first inundated his thighs with a titanic dose of adrenaline and then immediately neutralized it, leaving him damp, shaking and defenseless like a kitten.] (200–202) In reciprocal manner, mechanical apparatuses engage sympathetically with the sexual encounters between Gloria and Raquel: El gel de los órganos enfrascados empezaba a llenarse de burbujas, los monitores registraban con sus beeps la aceleración del ritmo cardíaco y por las mangas transparentes fluía la sangre, la linfa, los detritos más y más deprisa. El zumbido de la máquina dializadora escaló una octava, pues las bombas y filtros intentaban sincronizar su tarea a la repentina demanda creada por el cerebro de Gloria.

238  Persephone Braham [The gel of the bottled organs began to fill with bubbles, the monitors registered the acceleration of the cardiac rhythm with their beeps, and blood, lymphatic fluid, detritus flowed faster and faster through the transparent tubing. The buzzing of the dialysis machine rose by an octave, as the pumps and filters tried to synchronize their work to the sudden demand created by Gloria’s brain.] (272–73) The “participation” of the technology in human activities is what ultimately drives Daniel and Gloria apart. In the aptly titled chapter “Órganos vitales bullen en el interior de frascos estériles” [Vital organs seethe within sterile flasks] (225), Gloria’s overuse of the apparatus in her sessions with Raquel renders it too expensive for Daniel to maintain, and Ezequiel confronts Daniel (whom he has conveniently positioned in a dental chair with a mouth full of instruments) with an ominous proposal to amputate what remains of Gloria’s body. The leitmotif of galvanism, or “human electricity,” is underscored by the novella’s many allusions to Frankenstein. In Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus (1818), Baron Victor von Frankenstein uses electricity to “create life” from dead tissue. For usurping God’s role as Creator, he is condemned to spend his life pursued by the unhappy Creature of his making. Gloria and Daniel see the movie Frankenstein together in happier times, which he recalls during their accident. Daniel feels that, in saving Gloria, he has given her a choice to live, and that unplugging her would be murder. But Ezequiel describes her life as a fraud: she can neither physically exist without the machines, nor enjoy absolute human consciousness with them. It becomes evident at this juncture that Daniel serves as a sort of Igor to Ezequiel’s Baron von Frankenstein, and indeed his activity on his brother’s behalf is reminiscent of this stock horror-movie figure, the abject procurer of unclean parts: A cambio de la protección incondicional que le brindaba su hermano mayor, Daniel entregaba a Ezequiel toda su mesada; le hacía mandados … le servía de asistente en juegos científicos … Daniel suplía a Ezequiel las lagartijas, ratas, perros realengos y gatos callejeros que necesitaba para sus operaciones [y] experimentos. [In exchange for the unconditional protection provided by his older brother, Daniel turned over to Ezequiel his monthly salary; he ran errands … he served as assistant in scientific diversions … Daniel supplied Ezequiel with the lizards, rats, and stray dogs and cats he needed for his operations and experiments.] (629)

Pedro Cabiya’s Caribbean Grotesque  239 Ezequiel’s solution to Daniel’s predicament turns out to be the titular head in a jar, and he encourages Daniel to see the benefits this life of the mind could hold for Gloria: “vivir una vida mental, libre por fin de la onerosa carga del cuerpo y sus sucias necesidades como defecar, comer, reproducirse” [to live a cerebral life, free at last of the onerous weight of the body and its dirty necessities like defecating, eating, reproduction] (562–63). He paints a rosy picture of the disembodied Gloria perpetually attuned, like a household appliance, to Daniel’s mood: Si nos deshacemos del cuerpo podemos controlar las emociones directamente por medio de estímulos eléctricos. Con este dial tú decides cuán feliz se siente la cabeza, o cuán triste o grave, lo que tú quieras. Tienes hasta diez emociones para elegir. Es como el termostato de un aire acondicionado. Todo depende del tipo de conversación que quieras sostener con ella. [If we get rid of the body we can control the emotions directly by electrical stimulation. With this dial you decide how happy the head feels, or how sad or serious, whatever you want. You have up to ten emotions to pick from. It’s like the thermostat of an air conditioner. Everything depends on what kind of conversation you want to have with her.] (568–71) The idea of eliminating Gloria’s troublesome body horrifies Daniel, who remarks that he would not know what to do with just a head. Ezequiel counters that the elimination of corporeal needs and desires will refine the intellect, turning Gloria into a “walking head” akin to Stephen Hawking (584). However, Gloria has other ideas, and chooses to pursue her desiring corporeality. After her head is grafted to the unfortunate Marta’s body, Gloria leaves Daniel to be with her lover Raquel, writing in her farewell note: “es como si ella supiera exactamente cómo y dónde tocarme” [it’s as if she knew exactly how and where to touch me] (815). Daniel, the emasculated husband, is left with his secretary’s head in a jar, which he installs on Gloria’s nightstand. Rubén Rios Ávila suggests in the preface to La cabeza that the tale may draw on Paul Valéry’s literary alter-ego Monsieur Teste: “Quizás no sea demasiado impertinente relacionar a la cabeza de este relato, que es, de un modo bastante perturbador, la cabeza de la mujer deseante, con otra cabeza igual de monstruosa” [Perhaps it is not too impertinent to relate the head of this tale, which is, in a distinctly troubling fashion, the head of a desiring woman, with another, equally monstrous head] (121). This comparison of “monstrous” feminine desire—the head of a desiring woman—with the concentrated intellectuality that occupied Valéry is in itself a rather Gothic moment, exposing as it does the notion of the Gothic as an architecture of suppressed, inherently aberrant feminine desire.

240  Persephone Braham In fact, female sexual desire, especially when expressed alongside female agency, has always been constructed as monstrous, an aberration, and a threat to civilization. The Scythian warrior women known as Amazons were feared not only for their military prowess, but their very mobility, which was a metaphor for their free embrace of sexual union without matrimony. The Gothic as a concept originates with the Goths and other Germanic tribes who savaged the late Roman Empire and who were also described (erroneously) as Scythians. For centuries prior to the birth of the pejoratively named Gothic literature, gothic was the catch-all adjective for any esthetic expression deemed irrational, excessive, rustic, barbarous, bizarre, or elsewise in violation of the classical orders: the free-ranging, sexually rapacious Amazon embodies all these judgments. In Latin America, the binary construct “classical/ gothic” has been integral to the terms of civilization and barbarism. Domingo Faustino Sarmiento branded Argentina’s infamous dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas “la Esfinge” [the Sphinx] (34), the chthonic Greek monster with the head of a woman, the body of a lioness, and the tail of a serpent. She guarded the gates of Thebes, strangling and devouring men; her defeat by Oedipus opened Thebes to the dawn of the Classical age. Later iterations of this binary formula include the voracious landscapes of the Regionalist novel, which menace the unwary emissary of modern order. The Gothic genre deals with female sexuality as a form of barbarism to be reduced and contained by the confines of matrimony, like a head in a jar. Paradoxically, Gloria is saved by the modern Frankenstein Ezequiel from living as a monster, “the head of a desiring woman.” In Shelley’s original Frankenstein, the monster desires that his creator give him a mate so that he may know love: “What I ask of you is reasonable and moderate; I demand a creature of another sex, but as hideous as myself; the gratification is small, but it is all that I can receive, and it shall content me.” With the sympathy and companionship of an equal, he promises to retire to South America and live on roots and berries. Denied this possibility, the Creature threatens: “Yet mine shall not be the submission of abject slavery. I will revenge my injuries; if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear”. Unlike Adam, the Creature rebels against his maker’s power and asserts a fundamental right to exist outside the inequitable bonds of human society. Gloria, by all indications a silly and shallow woman even before her injury, seems an unlikely successor to the noble, cultivated, tortured Creature of Frankenstein’s invention. Confined to a life of sedatives, magazines, and bonbons, she is the moral and intellectual equivalent of eighteenth-century ladies debauched by reading “romances.” However, Gloria’s psychologically clouded condition does not preclude her awareness that Daniel may not really have her best interests at heart. Her departure is a rebellion against a captivity that also preceded her

Pedro Cabiya’s Caribbean Grotesque  241 physical mutilation. Daniel and Ezequiel’s willingness to revive her as a monster bespeaks a fundamental lack of “sympathy” and regard for her humanity. Her lack of accessibility as a desirable female body (though clearly still desiring) destroys her remaining value within the matrimonial bond. Given a choice to live with her on a purely intellectual basis, Daniel opts instead to restore her physically as a sexual companion and keep something extra on the side: the intellect of another woman. Gloria’s choice at the end of La cabeza to pursue her sexual relationship with Raquel recalls the Creature’s desire for a companion of equal abjectness, whose shared monstrosity would form the basis for sympathy and companionship. Gloria and Raquel’s shared womanhood is this abjection. However, by walking away from Daniel, Gloria also suggests that Daniel himself left something to be desired; given a pair of legs, any “desiring woman” might do the same.

Zombies Never Die Pedro Cabiya’s María V. El Clásico Romance Latinoamericano del Siglo XIX—Ahora Con Brutalidad Caníbal (2013) is an almost verbatim rewriting of the original 1867 classic by Jorge Isaacs, with the insertion of (as the title implies) a few scenes of brutal vampire cannibalism. In an inspired nod to recent parodies like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Seth Grahame-Smith 2009), Cabiya assigns himself co-writing credit along with Jorge Isaacs, author of the canonical romance, for what is certain to become a new classic of Latin American letters. The original María is a pillar of Latin American literature, having remained in print since 1867. It is the most widely known of the “foundational fictions” or national romances identified by Doris Sommer, who writes that its relevance goes far beyond the Colombian context it represents. According to Sommer, María “fills the slot for foundational novel in syllabi of countries such as Puerto Rico and Honduras” (172), and indeed the eponymous character is strongly linked to the Caribbean. In choosing María for a vampire rewrite, Cabiya deliberately addresses the well-known Latin American mythology of an idyllic, Hispanic, agrarian past, which is particularly central to mythologies of Puerto Rican and Dominican identity, as well as the various shades of racial anxiety built into the Caribbean plantation Gothic. But, whereas in the words of the UK publication The Telegraph, “Grahame-Smith simply lifted huge swathes of Austen’s text, onto which he grafted an unnecessarily complicated zombie plot that distracted from her far superior story” (O’Hara), Cabiya’s work improves vastly on the original by simply foregrounding its existing subtext. In doing so, María V. implicitly addresses the vast corpus of historical, ethnographic, and racial interpretations of the novel itself.

242  Persephone Braham Set in the fertile Cauca valley in Colombia, the original María by Jorge Isaacs concerns two young lovers in a romance doomed by illness, time, and separation. The setting is a large estate, where contented, respectful slaves tend flocks and harvest sugar cane. Efraín, the son of a wealthy landowner, becomes enamored of his cousin María, who was brought as a young child from Jamaica by Efraín’s father, don Anselmo. In addition to bearing the inevitable Gothic-Romantic taint of the Caribbean, María is, like Efraín’s family, a former Jew now converted to Christianity. In a final salute to the Brontë sisters, María suffers from a hereditary illness, epilepsy, which killed her mother. The romance between Efraín and María blooms on Efraín’s return from his studies in Bogota. In the interval between this return and his departure for Europe to study medicine, Efraín goes hunting and explores the estate with his father, nostalgically recalling his childhood adventures with María, his tutelage by wise slaves in hunting and trapping, and other golden moments of his youth. María suffers an attack brought on by the intensity of her love for Efraín; shortly after her recovery, don Anselmo falls gravely ill upon receiving bad news about his business affairs. A third illness, that of the freed slave Feliciana, reveals the history of Feliciana’s life in Africa, her capture by slavers, and her time with an Irish slave master prior to being bought and freed by Efraín’s father. Chapters 40–43 of Isaacs’ María recount the tragic past of the servant Feliciana as she lies on her deathbed. In Africa, the princess Nay and her slave-prince Sinar fall in love in the Ashanti kingdom. In the course of various wars and intrigues, they are forced to flee with Nay’s father Magmahú to another kingdom, where they convert to Christianity and are married with Magmahú’s blessing. That very night, however, they are captured in a raid and Nay is taken on a slave ship to America. Isaacs bases this story rather accurately on African and Ashanti history as depicted in Césare Cantú’s 1845 Historia Universale (Musselwhite 47). The story also contains a fairly detailed account of the various contraband trades in slaves, gold, caucho [rubber], rum, gunpowder, and other commodities that linked the Cauca valley in the interior with the Caribbean—­and Africa—by way of the coastal city of Turbo and the Atrato river. Efraín’s father buys Nay from the Yankee who has just purchased her and her son, and immediately grants her manumission. The details of Nay’s purchase highlight the contrast between the mercenary Anglo-Irish and Anglo-American, and the humane and fatherly Colombian. Curiously, this whole story is omitted from the 1890 English translation of the novel as well as Cabiya’s rewrite. Cabiya’s omission of the Nay and Sinar episode is interesting as it is one of the few passages in María that represents the violence of the slave trade. Isaacs describes at some length the cruelty and avarice of the slave traders and the horrible deaths of many Africans in the cargo holds of the slave ship. Ultimately,

Pedro Cabiya’s Caribbean Grotesque  243 however, María condemns slave trafficking, especially by the Yankees and Irish contrabandists who are exploiting Colombia’s natural resources, but remains ambivalent or even nostalgic with regard to slavery itself as an institution. There may be some slaveholders, like Efraín’s friend Emigdio, who are rough with their servants, but we are given to understand that this is a matter of individual character. Efraín and don Anselmo are portrayed as generous and honorable slaveholders. However, there are occasional glimpses of the Gothic power dynamic, in particular in their interactions with enslaved women. The gaze—the controlling gaze of the father, the elusive gaze of Efraín’s beloved, the downcast gaze of the slave bride dancing with the master, and the anxious gaze of servants trying to divine the desires of their owners—becomes a leitmotif in these interactions. María alternately hides her gaze from Efraín, and speaks to him passionately through her eyes: “velaban sus ojos anchos párpados orlados de largas pestañas” (78) [her eyes were concealed behind their broad, heavily fringed lids (4)]; “María me ocultaba tenazmente sus ojos” (89) [María kept her eyes hidden from me resolutely (6)]; “pero me seguía incesantemente con los ojos durante los preparativos de viaje” (143–44) [but her eyes were continually upon me while we were preparing for the journey (10)]; etc. In short, María’s eyes are parleros [chatty] though in true Gothic fashion she rarely speaks. When Remigia the slave is obliged to dance with don Anselmo at her wedding, her gaze is shuttered: “Remigia, animada por su marido y por el capitán, se resolvió al fin a bailar unos momentos con mi padre: pero entonces no se atrevía a levantar los ojos, y sus movimientos en la danza eran menos espontáneos (180–82) [Remigia, urged on by her husband and by the captain, at last agreed to dance a few moments with my father; but she dared not lift her eyes while she was doing it, and her dancing was rather constrained (15)]. Remigia’s reticence speaks volumes in the plantation context, where rape of women slaves was not uncommon and the feudal droite du seigneur cast a long shadow. Recalling the story of Nay and Sinar, Efraín contemplates the appeal of the enslaved Nay as she pleads with her white captor to take her back to Africa, remarking rather wolfishly, “Debía estar bella en su doloroso frenesí” [She must have been beautiful in her pitiful frenzy] (2659). He imagines the hungry gaze of her Irish captor: “El marino la contempló en silencio: plególe los labios una sonrisa extraña que la rubia y espesa barba que acariciaba no alcanzó a velar, … y sus ojos dejaron ver la mansedumbre de los del chacal cuando lo acaricia la hembra [The sailor contemplated her in silence: his thick blond beard couldn’t hide the strange smile that creased his lips … and his eyes betrayed the docility of a jackal when caressed by his mate] (2659–661). Here, Isaacs takes aim at the predacious Northern interloper, prefiguring the archetypical Yankee character, Mister Danger, the big-game hunter of Rómulo

244  Persephone Braham Gallegos’s Doña Bárbara (1929). Through this redirection, the Gothic condition of enslaved women in Latin America is made to stand for that of Latin America itself, as the object of the imperialist desires of the United States. Cabiya’s María V updates Isaacs’s novel with the addition of the “Indeseables” [Undesirables], or cannibal-vampires who seem to have taken over most of the territory surrounding the family estate during his stay in the capital. In this way, the original novel’s tensions and nostalgic allusions—to a vanishing plantation economy incidentally based on the consumption of human bodies—become bodies, mostly in the form of famelic, flesh-eating ghouls who are the target of continual massacres by Efraín and his faithful slaves. The result rolls back the romance flesh and reveals the Gothic bones of the original novel. On Efraín’s return from Bogota, he and his father tour the land to assess the ravages of la Plaga, a Plague that “infests” the Valley. Instead of the joyful songs of slaves returning from a virtuous day’s work in the sugarcane fields, Efraín recalls “la greguería de los Indeseables... alguna horda de Nocturnos volando bajo para el ataque; las castrueras de los esclavos que volvían espaciosamente de las masacres con las armas ensangrentadas al hombro” [the uproar of the Undesirables … some horde of Nocturnals flying low for the attack; the rustic music of the slaves returning leisurely from the massacres with their bloody weapons on their shoulders] (206). Important terms from the original acquire new meanings in María V: the cuadrillas (crews) of slaves who carried out occasional labors in María are now in effect military cuadrillas (squads) constantly drilling for their deadly expeditions, who inevitably evoke the escuadrones de la muerte, or death squads (often trained by the United States) deployed by numerous authoritarian regimes in Latin America. The machete that cut sugar cane (a potent symbol of rustic masculinity in the Caribbean and Latin America generally) is used in the updated version for hacking up Undesirables. The costumbrist interlude of Bruno and Remigia’s wedding is interrupted by an attack led by a ravishingly voluptuous female ghoul whose allure momentarily makes the men in the group overlook her fangs. The Undesirables dispatch their victims in the most disgusting way, unhinging their jaws to engulf the entire head and leaving them “exánimes y desconchados” [drained and peeled] (268), like pulped fruit. These abject remnants must be executed by the survivors to keep them from rising as newly undead. After the slaughter, Remigia dances with don Anselmo and Efraín notes that despite her reticence, “su cuerpo se estrechaba con el del amo con un amago de malas intenciones. Era patente que aquella mujer había sido de mi padre en alguna ocasión” [her body pressed into that of her master with evident bad intentions. It was obvious that that woman had been my father’s at one time] (293–94). The maidenly (or fearful) reticence in the original is a romantic memory.

Pedro Cabiya’s Caribbean Grotesque  245 In María V. (as in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) the landholding class is well trained in mixed martial arts and skilled in the wielding of the katana, the traditional sword of the Samurai. In fact, the women of Efrain’s household, including María, have been deprived of traditional schooling, not because of their gender but in favor of: el entrenamiento en las artes del asesinato furtivo, el cultivo de la fortaleza física, el kung-fu, el tiro con carabina, el manejo de las armas blancas, la esgrima, el pugilismo, y el manejo hábil de la katana, destreza esta última para la cual estaban especialmente dotadas de talento. [training in the arts of secret assassination, body-building, kung-fu, sharp-shooting, firearms practice, fencing, boxing, and the art of the katana, a skill in which they were especially talented.] (200) Instead of work baskets, María and Emma carry around severed heads and other trophies from the Undesirables to make potions and talismans. María’s illness shows in her carefully guarded eyes. They are tornasolados [iridescent], and the pupils open vertically. Her beautiful half-open mouth reveals the nature of this illness: “Entreabrió la boca y vi su lengua juguetear entre sus dientes como una salamandra sorprendida, desesperada, sin escapatoria” [She half-opened her mouth and I saw her tongue playing around her teeth like a salamander, surprised, desperate, without escape] (540). The original María ends with Efraín rushing home from his medical studies to an ill María, only to find she has died two months since. María V. extends this ending to its logical conclusion: Efraín opens her tomb to find her corpse in mid-reanimation. Unable to draw his katana, he offers himself as María’s first meal in her new incarnation. She bestows upon him “un beso sulfuroso y ardiente” [a sulfurous and burning kiss] (5121) and flies off into the night. María V. reduplicates and upsets Isaacs’s subtle Gothic notes by grafting the horror motif into the text, forcing the plantation out of its role as romantic background. In doing so, he repositions monstrosity as the prevailing, rather than underlying, paradigm of previous generations. The Undesirables could stand in for cimarrones or runaway slaves; for refugees fleeing violence and poverty; for any migrant group under the forces of globalization; or for anyone stigmatized by race, gender, sexuality, or illness. Given Cabiya’s long residence in the Dominican Republic, María V. could be describing the plight of the Haitian people, systematically abjected since their independence by colonial and post-colonial powers, subject to historic massacres, and victimized by multiple Caribbean hierarchies of race and identity, illness, natural disasters, and the predations of their own failed governments.

246  Persephone Braham The insufficiency of this interpretation will be plain to anyone familiar with colonial history. The fact is that colonial and plantation economies are systematically Gothic. Any romanticism attaching to this history and its archetypes fails to acknowledge the grotesque mutilation of cultures, bodies, landscapes, and histories, both individual and collective. In economic terms, the cannibalized reproduction of this “foundational fiction” is as much a performance as a work of literature. If romantic fiction is a category of classics, the zombie genre is a market phenomenon. Cabiya’s appropriation elevates the “best-selling” status of the original and reifies it as a marketing gambit, a popularization of something known for its very popularity. In La cabeza and María V. Pedro Cabiya demands that we examine the continuities between our own time and that of the barbarian hordes who destroyed Roman civilization, between capitalist modernity and rampaging pillagers, between fear of the Other and fear of the quotidian routine. The continual resurgence and repurposing of vampires, cannibals, and zombies throughout history shows us that the utility of the Gothic and of its monsters is unlimited. These monsters never die, because the Gothic framework that engenders them is so flexible and ubiquitous.

Note 1 Mormo is of Ancient Greek origin, a vampirical female spirit who bit wayward children.

Works Cited Cabiya, Pedro. La cabeza. Kindle ed., Zemí Book, 2011. Cabiya, Pedro. María V. El Clásico Romance Latinoamericano del Siglo XIX—Ahora Con Brutalidad Caníbal, Preface Rubén Ríos Ávila. Kindle ed., Zemí Book, 2011. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. “Review of The Monk by Matthew Lewis.” Originally published in The Critical Review, 1797, Gallegos, Rómulo. Doña Bárbara. Cátedra, 1997. Grahame-Smith, Seth. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Quirk Books, 2009. Isaacs, Jorge. María. 1867. Kindle ed., @e-artnow, 2015. ———. María. 1867. Translated by Rollo Ogden, Harper & Brothers, 1890. Internet Archive version Isaacs, Jorge and Pedro Cabiya. María V. El Clásico Romance Latinoamericano del Siglo XIX—Ahora Con Brutalidad Caníbal. Kindle ed., Zemí Book, 2011. Marshall, Bridget. “Defining the Southern Gothic.” Southern Gothic Literature, edited by Jay Ellis, Salem, 2013, pp. 3–18. Musselwhite, David. “The Colombia of María: ‘un país de cafres’.” Romance Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, 2006, pp. 41–54, doi: 10.1179/026399006x91618. O’Hara, Helen. Film review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The Telegraph, February 11, 2016, review/.

Pedro Cabiya’s Caribbean Grotesque  247 Paravisini-Gebert, Lizabeth. “Colonial and Postcolonial Gothic: The Caribbean.” The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, edited by Jerrold E. Hogle, Cambridge UP, 2002, pp. 229–58. Sarmiento, Domingo Faustino. Facundo, o Civilización y barbarie, edited by José Pablo Feinmann, Editorial Universitaria Villa María, 2009. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, 1818, Project Gutenberg edition, Sommer, Doris. Foundational Fictions. U of California P, 1991.

17 Towards a Darker Reality The Post-Gothic Simulacrum in Edmundo Paz Soldán’s Los vivos y los muertos Sergio Fernández Martínez The invigorating reconceptualization the Gothic mode has endured since its inception in the eighteenth-century renders visible an aesthetic that continually structures the zeitgeist of the contemporary world. Gothic fiction at the beginning of the twenty-first century has violently disrupted any kind of credibility, demolished ideological totems, and hence coincided with postmodernism’s “incredulity towards metanarratives” (Lyotard, Condition xxiv). In Gothic times, as coined by Fred Botting (“Aftergothic” 286–87), margins become the norm, occupying a central cultural place; and as a result, the center does not hold. Thus, the Gothic mode—largely appropriated, deconstructed, and reinvented— unfolds into polyhedral narratives where images materialize, recede, and disappear. At this juncture, Bolivian author Edmundo Paz Soldán defines the conception of his work in this manner: “La novela es un laboratorio textual de experimentación” [The novel is a textual laboratory of experimentation] (“Literatura” 60). This is certainly the case with his post-Gothic work Los vivos y los muertos [The Living and the Dead] (2009), a novel which ties in with a new growing Latin American canon born in the last twenty years dealing with other narrative interests far away from the classical literary classification—magical realism, colonial legacies, and the fight against dictatorships among other trite topics.1 From this perspective, how does the prefix “post-” qualify Goth, Gothic, and gothicism? By implication, post-Gothic follows a chronological order after the Gothic, but taking Jean-François Lyotard’s theory, the relationship between Gothic and post-Gothic relies on a specific understanding of anamnesis, just as “[m]odernity is constitutionally and ceaselessly pregnant with its postmodernity” (Lyotard, Inhuman 25). It is precisely in this sense that post-Gothic fiction is a continuous rewriting of the Gothic, neither a rupture nor a concatenate succession, but an endless working through—Durcharbeitung (26). The post-Gothic inscribes itself within the unrepresentable of the Gothic, opening a free space for the sublime: it comprises an empty space in order to reconnect the present with a selection of the past (figures, plots, settings, characters); a performativity that implies much more than a

Towards a Darker Reality  249 historical or cultural demarcation or a temporal cease. In consequence, the ludic, the very possibility of play, is thus guaranteed and erected as the sublime. Based on a true story, Los vivos y los muertos is a complex narrative device which is articulated by means of a fragmented and fragmentary diegesis and an extraordinary multiplicity of voices and viewpoints. Paz Soldán had initially planned a journalistic article, but found that it had evolved into a crime novel which, afterwards, became a meditation on loss (Vivos 205). The main hypotext of Los vivos y los muertos is the non-fiction story “The Cheerleaders,” by E. Jean Carroll, which gave Paz Soldán the coordinates to describe a bloody story set in the fictional town of Madison, US, narrated by eleven characters—both living and dead—whose voices are overlaid alongside the text. For this reason, a close reading of the novel demonstrates that Los vivos y los muertos is one of the best examples of post-Gothic fiction. This is due to Paz Soldán’s unique arrangement of the mode’s key features: if reality is pre-configured by mass culture (Montoya Juárez 69), and if its elements generate hyperlinks to previous fictions, it comes as no surprise that the characters’ lives become self-accomplished prophecies, superimposing themselves on the chronological progression of the narration and thus mirroring a structure that resembles hypermedia models. Therefore, Los vivos y los muertos is a nonlinear novel—that is, it disjoints the conventional structure of introduction, climax, and dénouement, so the events are portrayed out of chronological order— which reenacts in thirty-five terrifying episodes—finally tied together by an obscure witness, Amanda—the nine fatalities which took place in 1990 in the town of Dryden, Upstate New York, over a period of three months. Each of the episodes—narrated by different characters—­ functions as a hermetic compartment which finally contributes to recreate the gloomy atmosphere; it could be said that the union of each chapter functions as a polyptych, where every panel generates the final and complete image of the whole narration. Hence, thanks to the omnipotent power of fiction, real life becomes even darker: two twin brothers—both football players, Tim and Jem, the first of them is Amanda’s boyfriend— each killed in car crashes; three Madison High cheerleaders, Hannah, Yandira, and Christine, and the coach, Christine’s father, murdered by two sexually obsessed men, Neil Webb and Colin, alias “el Enterrador” [the gravedigger], both of whom commit suicide; one girl, Rhonda, who dies in another car accident, the arrest of Peter Woodruff, a pedophile; and several sexual assaults are the thematic axes on a novel which bluntly shows how “Gothic signifies a writing of excess” (Botting, Gothic 1). Accordingly, focusing on the living alone is not enough to comprehend Paz Soldán’s text, as it is riddled with obscurity inside of which resides a clarifying revelation. So, the ending returns to the beginning: there is an extensive latent layer of meaning which is buried alongside the dead.

250  Sergio Fernández Martínez Thus, this chapter aims to illuminate the overarching characteristics of contemporary post-Gothic fiction by reflecting on the strange and powerful force which make the dead manifest themselves as if they were alive. In an innovative way of approaching Gothic fiction, Los vivos y los muertos reveals how a Latin American author hints at a postmodern conception of the Gothic mode. The initial paratexts point out some of the key reading ideas. The first one, connected with postnational literature, is an extract of Snow, by Orhan Pamuk: “Si hubiera sido el principio de un poema, habría llamado a lo que sentía en su interior el silencio de la nieve” [If this were the beginning of a poem, he would have called the thing he felt inside him the silence of snow] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 9), anticipating the importance of the snow in the story. The snow represents the omnipresent sign of that evil which proliferates in Madison, that phenomenon that breaks “las caderas de los viejos … igual que los cuellos de los adolescentes cuando chocan con estrépito” [the hips of the elderly … the same as the teenagers’ necks when they noisily crash together] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 21), which is, concurrently, Amanda’s prediction of her boyfriend’s death. It is an oppressive snow that mutates, towards the end of the novel, into one of the most recognizable Gothic ambient figures, the spiderweb: “Al llegar a mi cuadra, ya podía sentir finos copos de nieve en mi rostro, la caricia de una telaraña” [When I arrived to my block, I could already feel thin snowflakes on my face, the caress of a spiderweb] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 152).2 The second paratext is a sentence from Joyce Carol Oates’ Zombie: “EYE CONTACT was my downfall” (Paz Soldán, Vivos 9; emphasis in the original), which becomes a leitmotiv in the novel. This epigraphic emphasis on the Anglo American tradition suggests that there might be no connections between the novel and Latin American literary legacy.3 Moreover, Paz Soldán creates and develops a narrative locus, Madison, which displaces and disseminates the geographical referent of Upstate New York. On this narratological level, the author also accelerates the pace of events, synthesizing facts and occurrences that, in the novel, appear to happen during one, everlasting winter: “El frío llegó hace un par de días a Madison y no se irá hasta dentro de seis meses” [The cold came to Madison a couple of days ago and will not leave for at least six months] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 11). Thus, Madison raises as “a point of reference of geometric projectivity only to the extent that it is a gap or lack, an absence of dimension, a black hole” (Virilio 103–104), turning into a locus horridus, which reminds of a last vestige of a Rulfian Comala under the snow.4 Although Los vivos y los muertos refers to the epiphany that the postGothic simulacrum produces—to the transgressive light which allows for the grasping of the human fragility—the novel becomes a locus of dissolution, where all meanings collapse and evaporate. Steven Bruhm notes: “the Gothic provides … a guarantee of life even in the face of so

Towards a Darker Reality  251 much death” (274). This claim, however, turns out to be a double-edged sword because, paradoxically, the post-Gothic novel blurs the boundaries by establishing a state of limitlessness, in which the horizon is absent; that is, the ultimate horror. Gothic has always given shape to contemporary fears of modern consciousnesses, but post-Gothic plays with the simulation of those Gothic figures which once gave form to various states of anguish by unraveling them. This reflects the ways in which Gothic fiction has developed: it is a rhizomatic mode interbred with many other cultural fields which allows a wider sprawling of darker meaningful nodes, one of them being the post-Gothic narratives. Los vivos y los muertos leverages this premise as a starting point, and, taking a step further, harbors its post-Gothic fiction under the simulacrum theories. The concept of simulacrum is, as the simulacrum itself, quite volatile. For Jean Baudrillard, the phantasmization of reality is an irreversible process: Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory—­precession of simulacra—that engenders the territory. (Simulacra 1) That is, the original entity is dissolved by its simulacrum, and its conception gets dispersed. Therefore, the simulacrum, as an autonomous force capable of subverting the real representations, provokes the dissolution of the reality. And this same nihilistic perception re-evaluates in Paz Soldán’s post-Gothic narrative, where the ultimate destruction takes place: all the distinctions between space and time, between the real and the imaginary, and, of course, between the living and the dead, fall apart. This semiotic construction moves to the literary level in several ways. Some critics (Benmiloud 125) have argued the importance that the progressive omnipresence of evil takes on, and the frequency and intensity with which evil signs manifest themselves in the novel. There are a series of annotations along the storyline that may seem completely innocent and insignificant at first sight, but which finally reveal a dark path towards death. Others (Rivero 171) praise how the author dares to disclose the North American society’s profound romantic-kitsch vocation, its eagerness to plasticize everything, that willingness to cover artifice with artifice, virtuality with virtuality, whether the issue be emotional, political, or economic. This position coincides very much with Fred Botting and Justin D. Edwards’ vision of Globalgothic. Citing Arjun Appadurai, they explain: “Globalisation is … a cannibalising force: sameness and difference, East and West, begin to consume each other in a ‘cultural flux’ which destabilizes

252  Sergio Fernández Martínez identities, disturbing migrant communities from within” (Botting and Edwards 22; Appadurai 43–44). Also, various reviewers (Fisbach 85; Ortiz Canseco 184) have underscored Amanda’s significance: her power, as the final narrator of the incidents, leads one to think she is the origin of this evil; she transforms herself in the articulatory axis of the narration—and, moreover, she is the only character who emerges unscathed—: “Sí, sólo eso quieres, escribir sobre los vivos y los muertos” [Yes, that’s all you want, to write about the living and the dead] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 204), confirms to herself in the last sentence of the novel.5 The first chapter of the novel begins with Tim driving towards Amanda’s home. The twins Tim and Jem continually exchange their identities while on their dates. In this regard, they eventually metamorphose into a Doppelgänger, one of the classical motifs in Gothic fiction: “A veces me miraba en el espejo y me decía, yo soy él, ¿o él es yo? ¿O somos uno los dos?” [Sometimes I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself, I am him, or is he me? Or are the two of us one?] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 14). Even more, when Tim dies, Jem depicts Baudrillard’s conception about the double: …the double is precisely not a prosthesis: it is an imaginary figure, which, just like the soul, the shadow, the mirror image, haunts the subject like his other, which makes it so that the subject is simultaneously itself and never resembles itself again, which haunts the subject like a subtle and always averted death. (Simulacra 95) In this context, the song playing on the radio takes a terrible turn— since, as aforementioned, the twins exchange their dates—: “Please, don’t go crazy if I tell you the truth” (Paz Soldán, Vivos 15; emphasis in the original), one verse of “How to Be Dead” by Snow Patrol. Nevertheless, Tim’s narration suddenly stops because he is killed in a car accident: “Amanda: la vez que estábamos en la ducha de su casa y ella se arrodilló y” [Amanda: the time we were at her house in the shower and she kneeled and] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 18). In this episode, the postGothic simulacrum strategies merge to appear alongside the storyline: after Tim’s death, Jem will act as his substitute, embodying once again the Baudrillardian idea of the double: What we have in virtuality is no longer a hinterworld: the substitution of the world is total; this is the identical doubling of the world, its perfect mirroring, and the matter is settled by the pure and simple annihilation of symbolic substance. (Baudrillard, Intelligence 27)6 He thus represents the unimaginable in imagination itself.

Towards a Darker Reality  253 The idea of the post-Gothic simulacrum becomes a reality since the initial narrations. It is the case of Neil Webb, the most violent deuteragonist, who flirts with Hannah via her MySpace profile: “¿Debería decirle que ese VampireFreak que coquetea con ella enviándole al menos dos mensajes al día soy yo?” [Should I tell her that the VampireFreak who flirts with her sending at least two messages a day is me?] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 28). All the characters in Los vivos y los muertos enact to a greater or lesser degree volition and an autonomous crisis; Paz Soldán crystallizes in them the anxiety occasioned by the loss of a real identity by means of the post-Gothic simulacrum. Therefore, the characters become zombies in the sense that they have lost their essence; their oneness is now broken up, fragmented or split. The post-Gothic simulacrum, mirroring this zombie alienation, becomes the figure to express the human condition and, as a last resort, the Latin American identity. It functions as a kind of fatal metaphor. In this way, the notions relative to the Latin American identity are subverted by means of what Ulrich Beck denominates “zombie categories” (63). These categories denote conceptual frames which are, at the same time, alive and dead: the ones which were effective in the past persist, in the same way zombies do not rise up as humans, but coexist. The zombie, therefore, is the very articulation of change. Through the metaphorical zombie horde, Paz Soldán firmly points at how post-Gothic, just as postmodernism, tackles stable cores of signification and conceptual constructions underpinned by the tradition, as nation, globality, or class. Not in vain, Amanda’s spectrality, Hannah’s ghostly appearance, together with her and Yandira’s persistent post-mortem simulacra, interact with the Gothic chronotope. That is to say, the most horrific mechanism in the novel is the constant invasion of elements related to loss.7 Since everything is displaced, humans become fused with the Other, and in a very special manner: classical otherness is configured in such a way that female characters do not represent it but reflect it. Besides, there is a kind of scopic regime which recreates a labyrinthine space, leading to physical degradation, a perverse styling of corporeal female images. This enacts an absolutely suggestive contrast: the one between the feminine body, with its beauty and youth attributes, and the divided feminine corporeality in Gothic fiction, bringing to light the complexity and fragility of corporeal representations. While in the cultural imaginary women are a mere surface, in Paz Soldán’s post-Gothic fiction they overcome that role and (re)present both the abject—in Julia Kristeva’s terminology—­and the obscene.8 In this sense, Donna J. Haraway’s conception of alienation is completely enriching: “a woman is not simply alienated … but in a deep sense does not exist as a subject, or even potential subject, since she owes her existence as a woman to sexual appropriation” (159; emphasis added). It is the critique of this sexual objectification which draws once again on the post-Gothic simulacrum.

254  Sergio Fernández Martínez In consequence, the murderers prefigure their victims as ethereal beings. Webb says Hannah’s steps “dejan un rastro leve en el barro … como si no tuviera sustancia” [leave a light trail in the mud … as if she had no substance] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 25), a spectral view in the same way el Enterrador describes Christine as “una muñeca real y yo un ser irreal a su lado” [a real doll and me an unreal being at her side] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 142). This vision intensifies with fetishism and the sadomasochistic practices that Webb carries out: “alguien a quien le gustara sentir la mano de un hombre fuerte en su cuello, un poco de dolor mezclado con su placer. Le debían interesar los juegos con máscaras y disfraces” [someone who liked to feel the hand of a strong man on her neck, a bit of pain mixed with pleasure. She must like games with masks and costumes] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 65–66). Carnivalization in Gothic fiction serves as a symbol to represent inner ghosts (Fernández Gonzalo 21), but also answers to the fear that manages to dismember the typology of reactions when facing horror. The carnivalesque, the masks, and the costumes reach their highest Rabelaisian peak with several allegorical possessions. That is the case of Jem, who wakes up in the middle of the night, invaded by his twin Tim, or Amanda, who experiences apparitions of Tim and both her sister Christine and her father: “Recostado en la cama, Tim se ríe … es una presencia constante … se las ingeniará para sobrevivir en mí, al igual que papá y Christine” [Lying on the bed, Tim laughs … he is a constant presence … he will find a way to survive in me, just as dad and Christine did] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 202–203). However, it is Rhonda who endures the most extreme encounters. She practices self-harm since she is closely linked to the emo subculture: …me encerré en el baño de mi casa y me corté las venas de las muñecas con una hoja de afeitar. No quería suicidarme, sólo buscaba dañarme. Sentí alivio al ver los hilillos de sangre escurrirse por entre mis dedos … Cuando me curé, volví a cortarme las muñecas. También me corté en el pecho, en los muslos, en lugares cubiertos por mis ropas. Llevaba hojas de afeitar en mi mochila, en mis carteras. […I locked myself in the bathroom and I cut my veins with a razor blade. I did not want to commit suicide, I just wanted to hurt myself. I felt relief when I saw the trickles of blood running between my fingers …When I healed, I slit my wrists again. I also made cuts in my breasts, in my thighs, in places hidden by my clothes. I carried razor blades in my school bag, in my handbags.] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 146–47) In her case, the identitarian loss becomes again bonded to the necessity of appropriating other bodies. Even though necrophagy is not literal, Rhonda becomes obsessed with vampirizing the missing bodies of her

Towards a Darker Reality  255 friends, either by talking to their tombs, by wearing their clothes, by usurping their Internet identity, or by carving the name of her friends in her arms. And she explicitly states this same idea after her exorcism: “Ya no quería ser Hannah o Yandira” [I did not want to be Hannah or Yandira any longer] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 186). This conception echoes and reinforces these zombie hermeneutics: “the subject has already bled into the object: we are already dwelling in the zombie’s interzone” (Lauro and Embry 93). These nuclear layers solidify in a wide range of Gothic examples, such as the figures of the maid, the vampire, and the ghost, events as Halloween, settings as ruins, or the archetypical haunted house, and in elements branded as terrifying: curses, suicides, premonitions, supernatural powers, apparitions, poltergeists, and covens. Moreover, in Paz Soldán’s post-Gothic simulacrum there are also several subverted scenes imported from the proto-Gothic, such as the hero fighting against death (in this case, Amanda’s), or the idea of extreme Romantic love which, in the novel, even links with the Sturm und Drang movement: “Valía más la tempestad de unos impulsos sin orden ni concierto que la armonía y el sosiego de un mundo” [The tempest of impulses without rhyme or reason is worth more than the harmony and the calm of a world] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 180). Not in vain, Gothic is, after all, “a process of cultural colonization, and … was one of the major vehicles by which Romanticism poured out to dominate literature” (Roberts 33), reaching the current sociocultural panorama. Reflecting upon the incommensurable possibilities of borders in postmodern fiction, and whether they have a beginning or an end, Paz Soldán asserts: “La penetración cultural massmediática podría … intensificar las contradicciones sociales de las sociedades latinoamericanas, siempre dependientes de lo que produce e imagina el Norte” [The mass-media cultural penetration could … intensify the social contradictions of Latin American societies, which are always on the lookout of what the North produces and imagines] (Paz Soldán, “Entre” 152). Thereby, it can be argued that the Bolivian author appropriates the Gothic mode to subvert it not from a strictly Latin American view but from a ludic perspective, with a similar objective: capturing the sublime in the contemporary world.9 In brief, as Yandira exposes: “Podrías ser muy popular si te lo propusieras, a las chicas les gusta esa onda postgótica, de gótico que sabe que lo es y juega con los elementos del estilo” [You could be very popular if you wanted to be, girls like that post-Gothic vibe, of a Goth who knows what he is and plays with the elements of the style] (Paz Soldán, Vivos 72). Paz Soldán does not just merely play with the literary construction in Los vivos y los muertos on a post-Gothic-mode level, but also mocks, parodies, and ultimately dismantles the Arendtian banality of evil, the diabolical otherness, and the horror hermeneutics by vanishing

256  Sergio Fernández Martínez and dissolving the semiotic framework upon which the novel is based. Furthermore—­and curiously—when Paz Soldán brings the reader towards the edge of unredeemable presences—namely the ultraviolent and gory scenes of murders, quartering, torture, or living burial among others—he is simultaneously bursting those bonds in an act of self-­ deconstruction. Los vivos y los muertos is a novel built in a cyclical and collapsing paradigm: it knows no integrity, and finally undermines every lasting constituent. These elements are affirmed because they are paired with their contraries, forming significant alliances: presence and absence, sameness and otherness, and wholeness and disintegration. It is a radical position which searches not for the union of opposites, but for their coexistence; a nondialectical ontology which ultimately fortifies the essence of the Gothic mode.

Notes 1 Paz Soldán states: “Las tradiciones que no se renuevan constantemente se anquilosan. No hay nada más saludable para una cultura que una actitud de reconocimiento hacia las grandes obras artísticas del pasado, y a la vez de juguetona descortesía, de parricidio constante hacia ese mismo pasado” [Traditions which do not constantly renew themselves become stagnant. There is nothing healthier for a culture than an attitude of acknowledgement towards the great artistic works of the past, and at the same time, of playful discourtesy, of constant parricide towards that same past] (“Literatura” 61). It is precisely this acknowledgement towards the Gothic tradition that Paz Soldán uses to construct his novel, utilizing both pastiche and rewriting. In his opus, there is a voluntary demarcation from the Latin American background, as he declared in an interview about the inspirations for his novel, to be influenced by William Faulkner, Truman Capote, John Fowles, Joyce Carol Oates, and Jeffrey Eugenides (Fernandes 135). 2 With respect to this, the Bolivian writer Giovanna Rivero stresses: “sobre todo, ha sido un gran acierto la nieve. Edmundo, gracias por la nieve, esa materia preciosísima que ilumina tu novela gótica y sin embargo no le quita la necesaria angustia, como si estuviéramos en una película de Stephen King. La nieve es el otro personaje fantasma, pues no sólo devora las huellas del crimen, sino que … ofrece una nueva página en blanco para que los crímenes se sigan cometiendo” [above all, the snow has been a great wise choice. Edmundo, thanks for the snow, that extremely precious substance which illuminates your Gothic novel and nevertheless does not take away the required anguish, as if we were in a Stephen King movie. Snow is the other ghost character, as it does not just devour the crime’s tracks, but … it offers a new blank page so that crimes can keep being committed] (170). 3 Paz Soldán’s work—coated with a very characteristic postmodern technique that goes from heteroglossia to intertextuality, and also including subversive parody, kitsch elements, homages, and fragmentation—serves as a unique example of how globalism concerns both hemispheres. Thus, the author evidences the necessity of switching the gaze and becoming more aware of belonging to the “gran aldea global” [big global village] (Paz Soldán, “Literatura” 66). In the case of Los vivos y los muertos, Paz Soldán employs with great mastery cultural references as constituent elements of the collective experience, projecting multiple senses of the shared ghosts and traumas

Towards a Darker Reality  257 on multiple levels of signification. Just like that, ludic literary and film references go abroad along with the plot: several mentions of Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King, the wry stream of consciousness Hannah undergoes because of her posttraumatic stress disorder, locked in the book of her murderer’s car, or the allusions to the films Saw and Scream. All the intertextual procedure forms, on the one hand, a narrow net where every element assembles, and, on the other hand, an interdialogical connection between the Gothic and the post-Gothic. 4 Comala is the narrative space where Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo takes place. There, the frontiers between life and death are non-existent. 5 According to Paz Soldán, Amanda performs the role of a moral narrator. For more information on the genesis of the novel, the imprint of Juan Rulfo, or the influences while writing the novel, see Paz Soldán (“Detrás”). 6 The annihilation of the symbolic substance is constant in the storyline: Tim jumps a light, a symbol which alerts the reader of the importance of red chromaticism in the novel; namely, the first chapter begins and ends with a red light, representing prohibition and transgression —which is furthermore illustrated by the explicit mention of “Little Red Riding Hood”. It unfolds itself several times along the story, always advising the reader of an imminent danger: it is the color of the team of Madison High, the color the victims are wearing in their clothes before being killed, the color of the traffic signals which characters ignore, causing their deaths, and the color of the bouquet of roses Colin sends Christine, among many other examples. 7 This idea is further strengthened by Steve Bruhm: “What makes the contemporary Gothic particularly contemporary in both its themes and reception, however, is that these unconscious desires center on the problem of a lost object, the most overriding basis of our need for the Gothic and almost everything else. That loss is usually material … but the materiality of that loss always has a psychological and symbolic dimension to it” (263). 8 The obscene, etymologically, means what remains left out of scene due to a series of cultural devices, emanations of the established power and discourses on moral constriction which would have taken shape and strongly encrypted the corporeality’s imaginary (Fernández Gonzalo 82), or what Teresa de Lauretis calls “the space-off”: “a movement from the space represented by/in representation, by/in a discourse, by/in a gender system, to the space not represented yet implied (unseen) in them” (26). It occurs in and through “the spaces in the margins of hegemonic discourses” (Lauretis 25). The movement, therefore, is not located in “some mythic distant past or some utopian future history: it is the elsewhere of discourse here and now, the blind spots, or the space-off, of its representations” (Lauretis 25). Thus, the space-off in Gothic fiction introduces an ulterior way of imagining something new by asking what is missing, where the fail is, and why it exists. 9 For more details on this topic, see Rivero (171–72).

Works Cited Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. U of Minnesota P, 1996. Baudrillard, Jean. The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact. Translated by Chris Turner, Berg, 2005. ———. Simulacra and Simulation. Translated by Sheila Faria Glaser, U of Michigan P, 2006.

258  Sergio Fernández Martínez Beck, Ulrich. Power in the Global Age. A New Global Political Economy. Translated by Kathleen Cross, Polity, 2005. Benmiloud, Karim. “Los signos del mal y la cultura popular en Los vivos y los muertos de Edmundo Paz Soldán.” Literatura más allá de la nación. De lo centrípeto y lo centrífugo en la narrativa hispanoamericana del siglo XXI, edited by Francisca Noguerol Jiménez, María Ángeles Pérez López, Ángel Esteban, and Jesús Montoya Juárez, Iberoamericana-Vervuert, 2001, pp. 125–37. Botting, Fred. “Aftergothic: Consumption, Machines, and Black Holes.” The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, edited by Jerrold E. Hogle, Cambridge UP, 2011, pp. 277–300. ———. Gothic. Routledge, 1996. Botting, Fred and Justin D. Edwards. “Theorising Globalgothic.” Globalgothic, edited by Glennis Byron, Manchester UP, 2013, pp. 11–24. Bruhm, Steven. “The Contemporary Gothic: Why We Need It.” The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, edited by Jerrold E. Hogle, Cambridge UP, 2011, pp. 259–76. Fernandes, Carla. Écritures du mal, la boîte de Pandore. Ernesto Sábato, Augusto Roa Bastos, Edmundo Paz Soldán. El túnel, Cuentos completos, Los vivos y los muertos. Presses Universitaires de France, 2010. Fernández Gonzalo, Jorge. Filosofía zombi. Anagrama, 2011. Fisbach, Erich. “Les modalités narratives de l’écriture du mal dans Los vivos y los muertos.” Autour des écritures du mal, edited by Eduardo Ramos-­ Izquierdo, Association pour le Développement des Études Hispaniques en Limousin, 2011, pp. 79–87. Haraway, Donna Jeanne. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. The Reinvention of Nature. Routledge, 1991. Lauretis, Teresa de. Technologies of Gender. Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction. Indiana UP, 1987. Lauro, Sarah Juliet and Karen Embry. “A Zombie Manifesto: The Nonhuman Condition in the Era of Advanced Capitalism.” Boundary 2. An International Journal of Literature and Culture, vol. 35, no. 1, 2008, pp. 85–108. Lyotard, Jean-François. The Inhuman. Reflections on Time. Translated by Geoffrey Bennington and Rachel Bowlby, Polity Press, 1991. ———. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Translated by Geoffrey Bennington and Brian Massumi, Manchester UP, 1984. Montoya Juárez, Jesús. “Arqueologías del presente: cuerpos y escritura en Los vivos y los muertos.” Autour des écritures du mal, edited by Eduardo Ramos-­ Izquierdo, Association pour le Développement des Études Hispaniques en Limousin, 2011, pp. 61–77. Ortiz Canseco, Marta. “Review of Los vivos y los muertos, by Edmundo Paz Soldán.” Letral. Revista Electrónica de Estudios Transatlánticos de Literatura, vol. 2, no. 2, 2009, pp. 134–36. Paz Soldán, Edmundo. “Entre la tradición y la innovación: globalismos locales y realidades virtuales en la nueva narrativa latinoamericana.” Desafíos de la ficción, edited by Eduardo Becerra, special issue of Cuadernos de América sin nombre, vol. 7, 2002, pp. 57–66. ———. “La literatura latinoamericana en la era de la saturación mediática”. Palabra de América. Seix Barral, 2004, pp. 148–66.

Towards a Darker Reality  259 ———. Los vivos y los muertos. Alfaguara, 2009. ———. “Los vivos y los muertos: detrás de la escritura.” Littératures d’Amérique Latine, Écriture du mal, January 21, 2011, html?id=260. Rivero, Giovanna. “El crimen kitsch.” Traditión et Modernité dans l’œuvre d’Edmundo Paz Soldán, edited by Erich Fisbach, Presses Universitaires d’Angers, 2010, pp. 169–74. Roberts, Adam. “Gothic and Horror Fiction.” The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, edited by Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn, Cambridge UP, 2012, pp. 21–35. Virilio, Paul. Lost Dimension. Translated by Daniel Moshenberg, MIT Press, 2012.

This page intentionally left blank


abject and abjection (Kristeva) 17, 22–3, 105, 150n5, 236–7, 244; as bodily function 148, 237; of a group of people 245; and humor 232; and liminality 22; as unspeakable 96; women as abject 253 abuse 8, 115, 119, 145–8; of power 22, 87; sexual abuse 146, 249; of women 134 Adivinanzas (Délano) 36–7 Agarrando pueblo (film) 97–8 Alexis, Jacques Stephen 123, 129–30, 135n6; see also “Chronique d’un faux amour” (Alexis) amazons 240 Amour (Vieux Chauvet) 9, 142–37; see also Vieux Chauvet, Marie Anglo literary tradition: AngloAmerican 270; Anglo-Saxon 106, 89, 112, 199n2, 206 Antología de literatura la fantástica (Borges, Bioy Casares, and Ocampo) 1–2 Antropofagia (Brazil) 223–6 apocalypse 112; eco-apocalypse 127 apocalyptic 111–12; post-apocalyptic space 116 A Província de São Paulo 67 As Sete Vampiras (film) 228, 230 atavic regression 165 Aura (Fuentes) 9, 172, 175–6, 178–83, 185n18 Ávalos Blacha, Leandro 15, 22–3, 25n12 Aymara 33 “Bajo el agua negra” (Enríquez) 22 baroque 172–6, 178, 183–4, 184n3 Barthes, Roland 177, 180, 182, 195

bats see vampire Baudrillard, Jean 251–2 Benjamin, Walter 175–6, 178–9, 182–3, 184n3 Berazachussetts (Ávalos Blacha) 22–3 Beville, Maria 207 Bioy Casares, Adolfo 1, 5, 11n6 body 10, 21, 37, 128, 236; as cage 239; body politic 58; as corpse 36, 47, 49, 92, 160, 191, 196, 219n15, 229; female body 85, 92, 129, 131, 236, 238, 239, 241; feminine 253; invasion of 115; social body 119; without a soul 129; see also abject and abjection Borges, Jorge Luis 1–2 Botting, Fred 4, 22, 74, 124, 190, 196, 248, 251; see also Globalgothic boundaries 4, 158; between normality and abnormality 68; between reality and fiction 216; discursive 217; dissolution/blurring of 10, 17–18, 251; national 75; of time and space 44 Brazilian cinema 224–5, 231 Brunet, Marta 8, 27, 32–3, 38 Busó-García, Roberto 9, 110, 115, 119 Byron, Glennis 2–4, 7, 174, 208, 232n3 “Cabecita negra” (Rozenmacher) 18–19 Cabiya, Pedro 10, 235–7, 242, 244–6; see also La cabeza (Cabiya); María V. El clásico romance latinoamericano del siglo XIX ahora con brutalidad caníbal (Cabiya) Caicedo, Andrés 8, 96, 98, 104–5 Calderón Fajardo, Carlos 211–17

262 Index caleño 96–8, 104–5, 105n1 Cali (Colombia) 8, 96–8, 102–5, 105n1 camera 189–90, 198–9; angle 102, 116; as mechanical eye 197; as soul-stealing device 179, 185n15; surveillance camera 141, 144, 149; as visual recognition 197 cannibal 6, 15, 225, 228, 236, 244, 246; see also zombie; vampire cannibalism/cannibalization 2, 6, 19, 223–8, 231, 241; cultural cannibalism 222–3, 226, 228; see also cannibal capitalism 20, 24, 124; global capitalism 5, 22, 124; industrial capitalism 130; and repression of women 128; as vampirism 124; as world-system 9, 122–4, 128 Caras y Caretas (magazine) 165 Cardoso, Ivan 10, 222–34 Caribbean Gothic 9–10, 116, 135, 235–6, 241–2 “Carmilla” (Le Fanu) 100, 105n5, 208 Carne de tu carne (film) 96, 98–9, 101, 103–4 carnivalesque 145, 150n4, 254 carnivalization 225, 254 Carpentier, Alejo 3, 184n3; see also El reino de este mundo Casanova-Vizcaíno, Sandra 9, 159 castle: decaying 1, 66; as fortification 142; as Gothic trope 2, 5, 30, 102, 116, 168, 192; haunted 157, 162; vampire castle 97, 102, 211 chanchadas 222, 225, 231, 232n1; pornochanchadas 230 “Chronique d’un faux amour” (Alexis) 129–31 Cinema Marginal 222, 225 Circe 178–9 civilization/barbarism: in Argentina 7, 15–16, 18–24; in Latin America 240; in Puerto Rico 118 claustrophobia 87–8; claustrophobic space 2, 9, 141; see also home; imprisonment; security Coleridge, Samuel Taylor 219n14, 235–7 Coloane, Francisco 27, 35, 38 coloniality 8 colonialism 6, 10, 119, 124–5, 131, 235

“Constancia” (Fuentes) 9, 172, 176, 178–80, 182–3, 185n12; see also Fuentes, Carlos Cortázar, Julio 1, 5, 11n6, 15, 17, 24n2, 24n8, 158, 167 Covadlo, Lázaro 18, 22 crime fiction or novel 5, 28, 249 criollismo 38 Cuentos de extremo occidente (Hinostroza) 211, 219n12 Cuentos malévolos (Palma) 209, 219n10 dantesque 143 Darío, Rubén 72–3, 82n9, 156 Derrida, Jacques 106n10, 177–9, 185n11 “Destinitos fatales” (Caicedo) 96; see also Caicedo, Andrés Díaz Garcés, Joaquín 27, 29, 31–2, 38 dictatorship: in Argentina 15–17, 19–20; in Brazil 230–1, 233n10; in Chile 38; in Latin American fiction 248; post-dictatorship 20, 228 displacement 72, 229; of Gothic themes 57–70; structural 196; temporal 118 Doble de vampiro (Donayre Hoefken) 208; see also Donayre Hoefken, José Doble llave y cadena (film) 141 Donayre Hoefken, José 205–6, 208, 212, 217n3, 218n4 döppelganger 78, 118, 120n9, 158, 227, 252; see also double double 71–81, 118, 157, 165, 176; according to Baudrillard 252; according to Freud 165; animal doubles 79, 81; astral double 157; doubleness 197–8; in fantastic literature 71; female double 134; as Gothic trope 2, 168; spectral double 167, 190 Dracula (character) 79, 89, 99, 102, 104, 210–13; as archetype 97, 101, 208, 218n 4; brides of Dracula 227; female Dracula 230; real-life Dracula 105n6; see also vampire Dracula (Stoker) 71, 101, 210, 213; see also Dracula (character) Drucaroff, Elsa 18, 20, 23

Index  263 dystopia 110, 112–13, 115 dystopic fiction 111; dystopic present 112; dystopic reality 116–17; dystopic space 116; see also postapocalyptic space economic crisis in Argentina 15, 20, 23 Echeverría, Esteban see “El matadero” (Echeverría) Edwards, Justin D. 4, 6, 124; see also Globalgothic; Tropical Gothic “El almohadón de plumas” (Quiroga) 106n8, 157, 165–7 El bandido del sur (Ulloa) see Ulloa, Francisco El colocolo (Rojas) 33–4; see also Rojas, Manuel “El hambre” (Mujica Láinez) 18–19 “El matadero” (Echeverría) 16–18 El reino de este mundo (Carpentier) 3 El Sombrerón (legend) 80–1, 82n12 “El Terminator boricua” (Santos) 9, 110, 114, 118, 119n3 El terror argentino (Gandolfo and Hojman) 16, 18, 20 “El vampiro” (Turcios) see Turcios, Froylán El viaje que nunca termina (La verdadera historia de Sarah Ellen) (Calderón Fajardo) 211–12, 215, 219n13; see also Calderón Fajardo, Carlos empiricism 9, 163, 167 En el séptimo círculo (Gallegos) 9, 138, 140–2, 149 Enríquez, Mariana 15–16, 20, 22 environmental degradation, devastation or disaster 123, 125–7 Espinoza Bardi, Pablo 27, 37–8 evil 8, 78–81, 102, 209, 219n 8, 250–2; as banal 255; vs. good 17, 169n 8, 172; woman as evil 209 existentialist 8, 84, 86–7, 93 Facundo: Civilización y barbarie (Sarmiento) 16, 20 family 72, 99–103, 131, 162, 180; family life 9, 66, 111, 139, 141; family man 139; family-oriented culture 149; as hermetic structure 149; as metaphor 120n5; mythical family 168, 180–1; as site of horror 59, 99; as social status

100, 123, 235; as structure of oppression 61, 66; women’s position within the family 66; see also incest fantastic horror 206–8, 218n4 fantastic literature 1–3, 15, 57, 163–8, 169n3, 216; vs. Gothic 158–9, 168 205; in Latin America 1, 156, 10n1; and modernista prose 71; in nineteenth century Argentina 155; and other modes 6, 24n3, 57–8; see also fantasy fantasy 76, 120n3, 161, 197, 228; as literary mode or genre 5–6, 24, 156, 162, 169n3, 206–7, 210, 214, 218; in Peru 215, 217n2, 219n9; in Río de la Plata 15–16 Faris, Wendy B. 4 Federales (Argentina) 16, 19–20, 24 Feiling, C. E. 15–16 female zombification 123, 128–9, 131 feuilletons 65 folklore: Chilean 28, 33, 36; Guatemalan 81 foundational fictions 241 Frankenstein’s monster 89, 218n4, 240; as archetype 97 Frankenstein (Shelley) 238, 240; see also Frankenstein’s monster Freud, Sigmund 31, 35, 63, 165, 208; see also uncanny/unheimlich Fuentes, Carlos 1, 5, 9, 11n6, 41, 172–86, 198, 199n2 Galería fantástica (Negroni) 1, 158 Galope de esqueletos (Coloane) see Coloane, Francisco galvanism 238 Gallegos, Daniel 138–43, 150n3 Gandolfo, Elvio E. 16 gaucho 16, 18, 24n5 Generación del 50 (Peru) 210 Generación del crack (Mexico) 4 ghost 22, 31, 42–51, 61–4, 93, 98, 101, 162, 165, 169n8, 179–80, 183, 193; in Derrida 178; and film 167, 191; ghosts of children 117; “ghost effect” 196; ghost story 4, 193; ghost town 46–7; ghost-world 197; ghost-zombies 117, 120n10; as Gothic trope 2, 4, 8, 17, 35, 158, 172, 190, 206, 229, 255; and history 45, 186; as horror trope

264 Index 168; inner ghost 154; in magical realism 4; as metaphor for the past 174, 198; and photography 191; as return 184; and snow 256n2; as verifiable phenomenon 157–8, 163; of a woman 190, 194–5; see also haunting globalgothic 4–7, 10, 124, 207, 215, 217, 251; see also Globalgothic (Byron) Globalgothic (Byron) 4 Gothic: as atmosphere 43, 215; canon 78; vs. classical 240; as colonizing discourse 3; comic Gothic 227–8, 232; contemporary Gothic 18, 43; and domestic space 65–6; and ecology 122–3, 125–6, 129, 134; European or American Gothic 15, 30, 71, 74, 79, 86–8, 92, 98, 104, 155, 206, 217, 235; and excess 66, 249; in folktales and indigenous myths 74, 79; and framed narratives or framing devices 65–6; Gothic bandits 30; Gothic chronotope 253; Gothic hero or heroine 93, 122, 235; home-grown Gothic 10, 208, 235; as marginalized fiction 1–2, 15, 71, 205–6; as metaphorical subject 118; Modern Gothic 223; in the nineteenth century 67; and politics 30; plantation Gothic 241; postGothic 10, 87, 248–53, 255, 257n3; vs. reason 17; revival 173; rural Gothic 33, 38; secrets 131, 190, 192; and social justice/criticism 22, 216; traditional Gothic 8, 114, 162, 198; tropicalization of the Gothic 98, 100, 103, 105; in the turn-ofthe-century 164; tyrant 66; and undoing/blurring of dichotomies 17, 22, 251; vampire Gothic 212; villain 85; see also fantastic literature; fantasy; horror; horror fiction; horror film Gothic Postmodernism (Belville) 10, 207, 215 Gothic Postmodernism 207, 215, 217 Gothic science fiction 9, 110, 112–14, 118 Gothic theatre or performance 84, 87–8, 90, 93 Goths 17, 240

Gouverneurs de la rosée (Roumain) see Roumain, Jacques grotesque 7, 10, 17, 22–3, 25n12, 145, 148; Caribbean grotesque 235–46 Güich Rodríguez, José 206, 208, 211–12 Gutiérrez Mouat, Ricardo 1, 172 hacienda 28–32, 37, 42, 192 haunting 22, 36, 41–52, 59, 98, 110, 172, 183, 191–6; for Derrida 185n11; haunting effect 61; hauntology 174; see also ghost; specter hell 41, 81, 143–4, 150n3 Hinostroza, Rodolfo 210, 219n12; see also Cuentos de extremo occidente (Hinostroza) Historietas malignas (Palma) 209, 218n5 history 7, 43, 68n3, 105, 116–19, 120n12, 159, 169n3, 172–86, 194; African 241; alteration of history 110, 112, 114; appropriation of 215; Argentinean 15–23; Brazilian 67, 223–4, 230, 232, 233n10; Chilean 7–8, 27, 36, 38, 39n3; Colombian 97, 99, 104; of colonialism/colonial 6, 266; cultural history 88; fictionalization of 176; and ghosts 45; of the Hispanic-speaking world 174; Latin American 175; literary history 3, 5; Mexican 52, 190–3, 198; and photography 176; Puerto Rican 113, 118; as a revenant 183; Spanish 21, 99; see also haunting Hoffmann, E. T. A. 58, 61, 63, 68n2 Hogle, Jerrold E. 18, 44, 63, 82n5, 86 Hojman, Eduardo 16, 19 Holmberg, Eduardo L. 9, 156–7, 159, 162, 164, 167–8 home 31–2; bourgeois home 66; incarcerating 138–51; intelligent 139; invasion 19, 36, 138, 140; as labyrinth 139; as site of oppression 59 homeless 23, 29, 103 Honores, Elton 205–12; 217n2; 217n3, 218n7 Horrendos y fascinantes (Antología de cuentos peruanos sobre monstruos) (Donayre Hoefken) 206

Index  265 horror (feeling) 35–6, 103, 110, 117, 119, 148, 159, 254; horror effect 167; and laughter 227, 231–2; psychological horror 31; rural 34; vs. terror 194 horror fiction 5, 15, 19, 61, 97, 99, 101, 168, 181, 218n6, 236; and the Gothic 6, 158, 205, 214; supernatural 101, 159, 168; Peruvian 206, 209; slapstick horror 222; see fantastic horror; horror film horror film 35, 97, 99, 115, 223, 238; Brazilian 225, 233n9; Mexican 191–3 humor 57–8, 210, 217, 224, 233n5; black humor 103 Hutcheon, Linda 212, 215 hybridity 79, 174–5, 190–1, 195, 197, 227, 229 hyperlinks 249; hyperreal 251 hysteria 9, 141, 163–4, 169n8 identity: Argentinean 15–18, 20, 21, 24, 25n12; Brazilian 222, 224–5, 229, 232; Chilean 27, 29, 38; Costa Rican 140; Dominican 241; Latin American 253; Latin American literary identity 3; Mayan 86; Mexican 41, 191, 193; Puerto Rican 113, 241 ideologeme (Jameson) 163, 169n8 imprisonment 129, 142, 147, 229, 233n10 incest 96, 99–101, 162 independence: of Argentina 16, 162; of Chile 8, 27; in the context of Puerto Rico 111–14, 118–19, 119n1–3; in Cuba 119n7; cultural independence 89; of Haiti 245; of Mexico 42; independence wars in Latin America 7; post-independence in Chile 28–9, 33, 38 invasion 253; of the body 115; and colonial journey 109; invasion fiction 111–12; by the United States 110, 112, 114, 118, 120n6; see also home; mestizaje Isaacs, Jorge 241–5 Jiménez, Hernán 141 Jornal das Famílias 59, 66, 68, 68n5 Jrade, Cathy 72, 79

Kristeva, Julia 150n5, 253; see also abject and abjection La cabeza (Cabiya) 236, 239, 241, 246 La civilización del horror. El relato de terror en Perú (Honores) 206, 217n2 La machi de Hualqui (Brunet) 32 La Prensa (newspaper) 162 “La primera noche en el cementerio” (Wilde) 157, 160 La violencia (Colombia) 99 “Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego” (Enríquez) 21 Las manos de Dios (Solórzano) see Solórzano, Carlos “Las memorias de Drácula” (Hinostroza) 210, 219n12 Latin American Gothic 1, 5, 7, 79, 81, 106n8 Latin America as a Gothic space 6 Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan 100 “Ligeia” (Poe) 77, 163 “Llovían cuerpos desnudos” (Covadlo) 19, 22 lo real maravilloso 3, 10n2 locus horridus 250 Los condenados (film) 9, 110, 115–16, 118, 120n8 Lugones, Leopoldo 9, 72–3, 156–7, 159, 164–5, 167–8 Llorona (legend) 37, 100, 105n4 McOndo (literary group) 4 Machado de Assis, Joaquim Maria 8, 57–69 machi (Chile) 32–3 madness 33, 61, 65, 68, 131–2, 235; contagious 64; murderous 36 Madremonte (Colombian folktale) 100, 105n 4 madwoman 21, 122, 135; see also monstrous feminine magical realism 3–4, 6, 10, 10n2, 15, 27, 248 mansion 115–17, 186n20; colonial 75; isolated 182; old 74, 181, 192 Mapuche 32–3 Mapuche territories 29, 32, 39n1 María (Isaacs) 241–5 María V. El clásico romance latinoamericano del siglo XIX

266 Index ahora con brutalidad caníbal (Cabiya) 236, 241, 244–6 mass culture 205, 211, 249 matriarch 190, 196, 198; matriarchal law 193 Mayolo, Carlos 8, 96–9, 101–2, 104–5 media 161, 196; globalized media 22; haunted media 10, 192; hypermedia 249; mass-media 255; mediation 195, 198; spectral media 196; technological media 191, 196–7, 199; uncanny media 195, 199 Medusa 63, 66 memory 50, 90, 103–4, 190; collective memory 28, 186, 199; of a dictatorship 16, 20; of a loved one 180, 183; memory studies 174; and ruin 179; social memory 193, 206 mestizaje 190, 199; see also hybridity mestizo in Argentina 19–20, 24; in Chile 34, 38; in Mexico 10, 176, 190, 199 metamorphosis 4, 215 Mexican Revolution 41–2, 45, 51, 193 Modernismo 71–2, 120n7, 168 modernistas 8, 72–5, 77, 79, 82n2 modernity 3, 5, 74, 76, 82n4, 135n7; capitalist 246; colonial concept of modernity 9, 110; damaging 72, 81; “Enlightenment modernity” 7; fear of modernity 198–9; globalized modernity 113; Latin American modernity 174; Mexican modernity 191, 198; passage of time in modernity 118; postmodernity 248; vs. tradition/the past 199, 211 monster 20, 22, 34, 76, 88–9, 93, 167; chthonic monster 29, 240; in Colombia 98, 100; demonic monster 88; female monster 105n4, 127, 131, 241; as Gothic trope 4–5, 10, 75, 96, 168, 214, 218, 246; human monster 78, 92; in Latin America 6, 109; in Mexico 192; monster movie 223; national monster 28; non-Western 92; reallife monster 8, 167; vs. reason 73, 117; and technological media 196; see also Frankenstein’s monster; monstrous-feminine; vampire; zombie

monstrosity 6, 99; African 131; female 135; in ourselves 18, 22; see also monster monstrous-feminine 9, 122–3, 126, 131–5, 135n1, 239 Mora, Gabriela 82n 3, 206, 209, 219n8–9 Mujica Lainez, Manuel see “El hambre” (Mujica Láinez) murder 36–7, 78, 102, 104, 180, 190, 249, 256; serial murder 102, 131; of a woman 92, 100, 190, 196 Murnau, F.W. 102, 226, 233n8 Mutis, Álvaro 96–7, 105n2 “Nada de carne sobre nosotras” (Enríquez) 21 nahual/nagual 79–81 Nay and Sinar 242–3 Negroni, María see Galería fantástica (Negroni) “Nelly” (Holmberg) 157, 162–5; see also Eduardo L. Holmberg Neo-Concretismo 222, 225 Nosferato no Brasil (film) 226–7 Nosferatu 104, 210, 214, 228; see also vampire Nosferatu (Murnau) 102, 233n8; see also vampire “Notas sobre lo gótico en el Río de la Plata” (Cortázar) 15, 158; see also Cortázar, Julio O Escorpião Escarlate (film) 228, 230 O Segredo da Múmia (film) 228, 233n10 Oates, Joyce Carol 250, 256n1 Ocampo, Silvina 1, 16, 167 occultism 157, 164, 168 Olmedo, Nadina Estefanía 5, 158 Ordiz Alonso-Collada, Inés 6–7, 11n6, 158, 198, 199n2 Ospina, Luis 28, 96–8, 101–5, 106n8 Othello 64–5 Other: body of the Other 103; in a colonized setting 109–10, 118; and horrors 96; fear and/or extermination of the Other 148–9, 246; foreign Other 189, 225; white Other 199; fusion of humans with the Other 253; othering 194, 229; self within the Other 176–9; see also Otherness

Index  267 Otherness: in Argentinean fiction 17–18, 24; classical 253; in the Colombian hotlands 98; and colonization 109, 118; in Paz Soldán 255–6; racial 190; and vampires 208 Palma, Clemente 73, 207, 209–10, 217, 219n8–9 Pamuk, Orhan 250 Parkinson Zamora, Lois 4 parody 23, 210, 212, 224, 229, 232; in Gothic fiction 223, 228; and postmodernity 10, 256n3; see also Hutcheon, Linda Patagonia (Chile) 35 patriarchal: dichotomies 127; dynamics 134; figure 198; order 57, 66, 129; paradigms 129; power and tyranny 59; prerogative 65; society 21, 128; structures 123; suppression 235; system 236; see also patriarchy patriarchy 235 Paz Soldán, Edmundo 10, 11n5, 248–51, 253, 255–6, 256n1, 256n3, 257n5 Pedro Páramo (Rulfo) 8, 41–52, 176, 257n4 Peronism (Argentina) 19 phantasmagoria 63, 101, 116, 160, 167 pharmakon 103, 106n10 Philadelphia (magazine) 164 photography 9, 159, 194–5; in Carlos Fuentes 172–184; as death 180; and doubleness 197; see also media Piñera, Virgilio 2 Pisco (Peru) 212, 215–16 Poe, Edgar Allan 10n 1, 58, 71, 77, 157, 163, 206, 257n3 pornomiseria 98 Portals, Gonzalo 205, 209, 217n2–3, 218n7 porteño (Argentina) 18, 21, 24n6 Portuguese Circulating Library (Rio de Janeiro) 58 postmodernism 248, 253 pre-modern 71–2, 74, 80–1 “Present State of Fiction in Latin America, The” (Cortázar) 15; see also Cortázar, Julio Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Seth Grahame-Smith) 241, 245

Proceso (Argentina) 16, 19 pseudoscience 157, 159 Punter, David 5, 110, 115, 174, 193–4, 200n4, 205, 208, 232n3 Pura sangre (film) 96–8, 101–4 Quetzalcóatl 89 Quintrala, La (Chile) 28, 30, 32, 38 Quiroga, Horacio 1, 9, 16, 156; see also “El almohadón de plumas” (Quiroga) Radcliffe, Ann 29, 60, 78, 155, 168n2 Ramos, Julio 156 reincarnation 28, 161 religion 86–7, 103, 235 revenant 74, 175, 178, 180, 182–4 Revue des Deux Mondes 58 rhizomatic mode 251 Rito terminal (film) 10, 189–91, 193–8 ritual 138, 195; and entrapment 197; indigenous 33, 192; magic rituals 33; and photography 180; ritual murder 209; traditional 189–90, 196; in Santería 215; supernatural 191 Roas, David 205–6 Rojas, Manuel 8, 27, 33–4, 38 Rosas, Juan Manuel de 16–17, 20, 240 roto 29, 32, 37 Roumain, Jacques 123, 127, 133 Rozenmacher, Germán see “Cabecita negra” (Rozenmacher) ruin 9, 112, 115, 185n17; as Gothic trope 5, 30, 35, 255; and photography 172, 175–6, 179, 183; pre-Columbian 74, 77 Rulfo, Juan see Pedro Páramo (Rulfo) Santería 215 Santos, José E. see “El ‘Terminator’ boricua” (Santos) Sarah Ellen (Peru) 211–12, 214–17, 219n13 Sarmiento, Domingo Faustino 16–18, 20, 240 science fiction see Gothic science fiction Seabrook, William 125 “Sem Olhos” (Machado de Assis) see Machado de Assis, Joaquim Maria

268 Index sex 99, 231, 236–7, 241; transexual 231; and vampires 101–2, 227, 230; see also incest; sexism; sexuality sexism 21; sexual objectification 253 sexuality 145, 221, 223, 233n10; as construction 230; in Brazil 228; female sexuality 135n1, 147, 230 240; as stigma 245; transgressive sexuality 231 Shelley, Mary 112, 238, 240 simulacrum 10, 248, 250–3, 255 slavery 67, 124, 235, 240, 243 “Sleeping Beauty” (Fuentes) 9, 172, 178–9, 181–3, 185n12; see also Fuentes, Carlos Solórzano, Carlos 8, 84–94 Sommer, Doris see foundational fictions specter 35–6, 46, 179, 191, 194–5; ancestral specter 101; metaphorical specter 178; and technological media 196; slavery as specter 67; spectral apparition 193; spectral double 67, 190; spectral experience 193; spectral film 97; spectrality 196, 231, 253; spectral media 196; spectral return 158; spectral revelation 199; spectral woman 190, 198; see also ghost; haunting spirit see ghost; specter spiritualism 156–7, 160, 164, 168, 199 Spooner, Catherine 17, 43, 196–7 sublime 38, 248–9, 255 supernatural: beings 117; beliefs 209; event 15, 71, 73, 117; horror 102, 168; in the ordinary 3; phenomenon/phenomena 9, 158–9, 162; ritual 191; see also fantastic literature; fantasy technology see media “Tela de araña” (Enríquez) 21 telepathy 157, 163, 169n8 Témpano de Kanasaka (Coloane) 35 see also Coloane, Francisco terrir 222, 228, 231–2 The Monk (Lewis) 71, 78 Theosophical Society 159, 164 Tierra caliente (hot lands) 96, 98, 100 time travel 2, 9, 109–10, 113 trauma 183, 256n3; in Argentinean literature, 15, 19–20; in Chile 38; trauma studies 174 travel writing 109, 118

Tricofobia (Bardi) see Bardi, Espinoza Tropical Gothic (Edwards and Vasconcelos) 6 Tropical Gothic (Colombia) 96–7 Tropicália 223, 225–6 Turcios, Froylán 8, 71–81, 82n4, 82n9 Ulloa, Francisco 27–33, 38, 39n3 “Um Esqueleto” (Machado de Assis) see Machado de Assis, Joaquim Maria “Un fenómeno inexplicable” (Lugones) 157, 164; see also Lugones, Leopoldo Un siglo en una noche (Díaz Garcés) see Díaz Garcés uncanny: in Argentinean literature 155, 157, 161–4, 166–7; in Carlos Fuentes’s work 172, 174, 176, 180; in Chilean fiction 29–33, 35–6; and the Gothic 2; home as uncanny 59, 139; in Machado de Assis’s work 57–8, in Mexican film 10, 192, 195–9, 199n2, 200n4; and science fiction 110 unitarios (Argentina) 16 utopia 110, 113–14, 116, 187n17; museum and laboratory as modern utopia 117; positivist utopia 117; scientific utopia 110 “Vampiras” (Palma) 209–10, 219n 10 vampire: in baroque aesthetics 174, in Brazilian film 226–8, 230; in Carlos Fuentes 172, 181; in Colombia 96–8, 101–5; Countess Batory 105n11; Creole vampires 166; female vampires 73, 209, 230, 82n3; as Gothic trope or motif 1, 4, 17, 246, 255; in Mexican Gothic and horror film 192; in modernista prose 71, 73, 75, 78; in Peruvian literature 10, 206–13, 215–17, 217n2, 217n7; and popular folklore 81; in post-Gothic 253, 255; and pre-Columbian myths 8, 72; tropicalized vampire 104; vampire bat 74, 79, 103; vampire cannibalism/vampire-cannibal 241, 244; vampire-mashup novel 236; see also El vampiro (Turcios); María V. (Cabiya); Sarah Ellen (Peru) vampirism 99, 102–3, 157, 166–7, 209–10, 212, 215

Index  269 Vicuña Mackenna, Benjamín 8, 27–8, 38 Vieux Chauvet, Marie 9, 122, 124, 129 violence 7, 17, 22, 31, 41, 58, 138–40, 143–9; against nature 9; in Argentina 19–20, 24; in Buenos Aires 17; in Brazil 8, 59, 67, 228; in the Caribbean Gothic 236; in the Chilean countryside 37; and classism 104; in Colombia 8, 99, 102–4; of colonization 110; domestic violence 65; gendered violence 122–3, 128, 135; as Gothic trope 2, 96, 127, 235; hidden violence 78; graphic violence 29, 61; militarized violence 133, 233n10; past violence 68; and sex 102; sexual violence 123, 125, 132; of the slave trade 242; Spanish feudal violence 99; structural violence 128; and trauma 15, 19 White Zombie (Halperin) 125 Wilde, Eduardo 9, 155–7, 159–61, 164, 167–8 witch 4, 21, 32–3, 172, 181, 206; benevolent witch 21; European 33, indigenous 32; witch burnings 21; witchcraft 33; witch tale 38 women 57, 62, 65–6, 80, 86, 90, 119, 120n5, 245; alienation of women 131; burned alive 21; in danger 84–5, 91, 93; enclosure of women 127, 129, 229; indigenous 32, 88;

marginalization of women 123; oppression against women 21, 59, 67; protector of women 85; as slaves/enslaved women 243–4; and social inequality 123, 128, 131, 135; violence against women 9, 21, 67, 88, 122, 134, 182, 193, 235, 243; warrior women 240; women and nature 127–9; women’s position in society 66; women’s role in Gothic fiction 100; women writers 236; see also madwoman; vampires; witch; zombies world-ecology 124–5, 135 world-gothic 123–4, 134 world-literature 123 Yaghan 36 zombie 4, 6, 10, 15, 18, 25n12–13, 129, 241, 246, 253; as change 53; children as zombies 117; female zombie 23, 123, 125, 126, 128, 129–31; in film 24n11, 124; ghosts-zombies 117–18, 120n10; laboring zombie 125–6, 129–30; metaphorical zombie 131, 253; and race 125, 128; zombie alienation 253; zombie-housewife 130; zombie as Other 22; zombie tales 129, 131; zombies are us 22, 25n11; US zombie 126; see also female zombification; Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Seth GrahameSmith), White Zombie (Halperin)