En breve: modos de la novela corta en el Cono Sur
Iglesias, Jorge 1982-
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Autonomous from both the short story and the novel, the short novel (nouvelle) is a genre with a significant tradition in Latin American narratives. The literature of the Southern Cone nations—Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay—exhibits a distinct tendency to brief narrative forms, including the short novel. This dissertation provides an original theoretical framework for the analysis of the short novel, and explores three modes of this genre that find particular expression in Southern Cone literature: the neo-avant-garde, the fantastic, and the psychological. Complementing criticism on the short novel with authors’ views on the poetics of this genre, this study establishes the structural parameters that differentiate the short novel from its neighboring narrative forms: the short story and the novel. This framework makes possible the exploration of canonical works in a new light. Neo-avant-garde short novels studied in this work include Ricardo Piglia’s Nombre falso and Osvaldo Lamborghini’s Sebregondi retrocede. Works such as Adolfo Bioy Casares’ La invención de Morel and Felisberto Hernández’s Las Hortensias are analyzed as examples of the fantastic mode. The psychological mode, finally, is addressed through the exploration of María Luisa Bombal’s La última niebla and Ernesto Sábato’s El túnel, among others. This dissertation also pays close attention, within all three categories, to the work of César Aira, an author dedicated almost exclusively to the writing of short novels. Concepts such as discursive experimentation, metafiction and intertextuality guide the approach to the neo-avant-garde, a mode which emphasizes writing itself. Fantastic fiction, in turn, includes Tzvetan Todorov’s concepts of the uncanny and the marvelous, as well as Jaime Alazraki’s notion of the neo-fantastic, which allows for an allegorical reading of the texts considered. Finally, the psychological mode is explored as a representation of the alienation, abjection, and melancholia that result from individuals’ inability to cope with the infrastructure of capitalist society. The approach favored in this study is comparative in nature, as the theoretical framework provided is applicable to the genre in other countries and authors. This dissertation defines the territory of a narrative form often neglected as such by literary criticism, making it possible for the short novel to be recognized as the independent genre that it is.