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Doctoral Defense

July 31, 2020 - Jorge Llaca Buznego Obtains Doctorate in Philosophy Degree in Spanish

Jorge Llaca Buznego successfully defended his thesis "Ficción e Historia en Alejo Carpentier: Entre la Desfiguración Autobiográfica y las Derivas de la Crítica."

"Fiction and History in Alejo Carpentier"

This dissertation examines the historical fiction of Alejo Carpentier through the epistemological perspectives of modernity and postmodernity on history and historiography. The corpus of this research focuses on El reino de este mundo, El siglo de las luces, El arpa y la sombra and “Los advertidos”. These works identify and represent different novelistic cycles of the author and are studied through a textual analysis involving the theory of narrative, discourse analysis, the genre of the historical novel, the baroque and the marvelous real as cultural theories, and the philosophy of history.

This dissertation posits that the carpenterian historical novel, through circles, recurrences and repetitions of history, questions modernity and its way of interpreting the past, that is, the modern historiography influenced by Hegel’s dialectical view of progress. In the first Chapter, Buznego argues that Carpentier, after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, constructs a communist past in his autobiographical writings, masking his personal trajectory as a right-wing activist. Chapters II, III and IV interrogate the author’s historical fiction in relation to the philosophies of Oswald Spengler, Giambattista Vico and Friedrich Nietzsche, as well as the baroque, and the genre of the historical novel.

Chapter II analyzes El reino de este mundo in relation to Spengler’s philosophy, the circularity of history and the Greco-Roman notion of cultural organic cycles. Chapter III evaluates El siglo de las luces in correspondence to Vico’s philosophy, the idea of the historical regression and its spiral laws of eternal return. Chapter IV examines El arpa y la sombra in connection with Nietzsche’s philosophy and the values of postmodernism such as skepticism, parody and historiographic revisionism. Finally, this chapter explores “Los advertidos” in relation to Spengler’s cosmic cycles. This research is the first to explore Carpentier’s political identity and to show how the official discourse surrounding his image in Cuba, which portrays the writer as a left-wing and revolutionary intellectual, impacts on his critical reception. In addition, this research is also the first to address the author’s works through the prism of the evolution of the genre of the historical fiction. This investigation concludes that the rebellious attitude of the carpenterian novel towards modernity also reveals the evolution of the traditional historical novel towards a postmodern aesthetics, and to Latin America’s new historical novel. In other words, the carpenterian novel is the starting point that explains how the historical novel of the Latin American Boom reaches the so-called Post-boom.

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