The Real Thing

Testimonial Discourse and Latin America

The Real Thing
Book Pages: 328 Illustrations: Published: December 1996

Subjects
History > Latin American History, Latin American Studies

Presented as the authentic testimony of the disenfranchised, the colonized, and the oppressed, testimonio has in the last two decades emerged as one of the most significant genres of Latin America’s post-boom literature. In the political battles that have taken place around the formation of the canon, the testimonio holds a special place: no other single genre of literature has taken up such a large part of current debate. Initially hailed in the 1970s as a genuine form of resistance literature, testimonio has since undergone a significant change in its critical reception. The essays in The Real Thing analyze the testimonio, its history, and its place in contemporary consciousness.
Although the literature of testimony arose on the margins of institutional power and its ends were in large part political change, the canonization of testimonio by the academic Left has moved it from margin to center, ironically bringing about the institutionalization of its transgressive and counter-hegemonic qualities. Discussing Latin American works ranging from Salvadorian writer Roque Dalton’s Miguel Marmol to I . . . Rigoberta Menchu, a work that earned its author a Nobel Prize, this collection explores how critical writing about testimonio has turned into discourse about the institution of academia, the canon, postmodernism and postcolonialism, and the status of Latin American studies generally.

Contributors. John Beverley, Santiago Colás, Georg M. Gugelberger, Barbara Harlow, Fredric Jameson, Alberto Moreiras, Margaret Randall, Javier Sanjines, Elzbieta Sklodowska, Doris Sommer, Gareth Williams, George Yúdice, Marc Zimmerman

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Georg M. Gugelberger is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Riverside and Director of the University of California’s Education Abroad Program at U.N.A.M. in Mexico City.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Institutionalization of Transgression: Testimonial Discourse and Beyond (1995) / Georg M. Gugelberger 1

Part I

The Margin at the Center: On Testimonio (1989) / John Beverley 23

Testimonio and Postmodernism (1991) / George Yudice 42

Reclaiming Voices: Notes on a New Female Practice in Journalism (1991) / Margaret Randall 58

Testimonio and Survival: Roque Dalton's Miguel Marmol (1991) / Barbara Harlow 70

Spanish American Testimonial Novel: Some Afterthoughts (1994) / Elzbieta Sklodowska 84

Testimonio in Guatemala: Payeras, Rigoberta, and Beyond (1991) / Marc Zimmerman 101

No Secrets (1995) / Doris Sommer 130

Part II

What's Wrong with Representation? Testimonio and Democratic Culture (1995) / Santiago Colas 161

On Literary and Cultural Import-Substitution in the Third World: The Case of the Testimonio (1992/93) / Fredric Jameson 172

The Aura of Testimonio (1995) / Alberto Moreiras 192

The Fantasies of Cultural Exchange in Latin American Subaltern Studies (1995) / Gareth Williams 225

Beyond Testimonial Discourse: New Popular Trends in Bolivia (1995) / Javier Sanjines C 254

The Real Thing (1995) / John Beverley 266

Bibliography 287

Index 305

Contributors 315

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Paper: 978-0-8223-1844-6 / Cloth: 978-0-8223-1851-4
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