Literature, Testimony and Cinema in Contemporary Colombian Culture

Literature, Testimony and Cinema in Contemporary Colombian Culture

Spectres of La Violencia

Rory O'Bryen


Tamesis Books



Memory and mourning in Colombia.
This book provides the first in-depth examination of a representative range of contemporary Colombian cultural engagements with the conflicts known simply as La Violencia that began in Colombia in the late 1940s. These include Gustavo Alvarez Gardeazábal's now classic revision of the 'novela de la Violencia', the autobiographical cycle of acclaimed author Fernando Vallejo, versions of the testimonio by Alfredo Molano and internationally renowned novelist Laura Restrepo, as well as cinematic works by Carlos Mayolo and Luis Ospina. These cultural icons, many of whom are remarkably understudied, show how the heterogeneity of social and cultural processes condensed in La Violencia demands a deconstruction of 'violence' in Colombian culture. This argument is developed in dialogue with European and Latin American cultural theory and contributes to theoretical debates surrounding issues of memory and mourning developed in other Latin American contexts. The narratives explored in this book provide alternatives to abstract historicism and show us how to imagine ways out of deeply rooted cycles of violence. Yet their insistence on haunting and spectres signals the problems besetting the task of mourning in Colombia, positing history rather than psychology as a remainder that troubles efforts to forge collective memories and enact social reconciliation.

RORY O'BRYEN lectures in Latin American literature and culture at the University of Cambridge.


November 2008
25 black and white illustrations
222 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Monografias A
ISBN: 9781855661783
Format: Hardback
Tamesis Books
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Table of Contents

Towards a "Hauntology" of la Violencia: Gustavo Alvarez Gardeazábal
Writing with Ghosts: Fernando Vallejo's Spectrology
Testimonio and the Politics of Truth: Alfredo Molano
Post-modern Testimony: Laura Restrepo and la Violencia
Rural Perspectives: Postponed Burials and Uncanny Displacements
Urban Perspectives: Earthquakes and Landslides
Conclusion: Mourning and Counter-mourning


El logro fundamental de O'Bryen consiste en mostrar que en la aproximación a La Violencia que lleva a cabo cada una de las diferentes producciones culturales, se va construyendo una narrativa nacional necesaria y urgente. REVISTA DE ESTUDIOS HISPANICOS
Se trata de un libro cuya novedosa perspectiva será de interés para quines trabajan sobre cone y literatura hispanoamericana de los últimos cincuenta años, o investigadores del tema de testimonio en Latinoaméricana, pero será especialmente útil para quienes trabajan temas culturales colombianos en su inevitable relación con la Violencia. REVISTA IBEROAMERICANO

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