This essay was written in 1987 in French by the late Polish theorist and critic Marie-Pierrette Malcuzynski and translated by Wendy B. Faris. Malcuzynski explores the theories of the New World Baroque and Neobaroque developed by the Cuban writers Alejo Carpentier and Severo Sarduy and the Brazilian poet and essayist Haroldo de Campos from the 1960s through the 1980s. Together, they represent a specifically Latin American combination of postmodernism and postcolonialism, a combination that is based in the historical and literary realities of the region. The author moves from a definition of the European Baroque, including a detailed discussion of its various possible etymologies, to the American Baroque and places Carpentier, Sarduy, and de Campos in the company of a number of European theorists to test their American arguments and applications. Mikhail Bakhtin is primary among the European theorists, but Saussure and Kristeva are also central to her evaluation of Sarduy. While Malcuzynski remains critical of certain aspects of these theories, she also implies that their historical rootedness in Latin America and the Caribbean make them more useful analytical tools than, say, Foucault, Lyotard, Bhabha, or Spivak—postmodernist and postcolonial theorists all too eagerly adopted in Latin America after passing through the “gate” of U.S.-American and European academia.
The (Neo)Baroque Effect: A Critical Inquiry into the Transformation and Application of a Conceptual Field to Comparative American Studies
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MARIE-PIERRETTE MALCUZYNSKI; The (Neo)Baroque Effect: A Critical Inquiry into the Transformation and Application of a Conceptual Field to Comparative American Studies. Comparative Literature 1 June 2009; 61 (3): 295–315. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-2009-017
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