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(Hi)stories in Displacement: The Poetics and Politics of Errancia in Post-1960s Latin American Literature

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Vargas Ortiz, Angelica Tatiana 


This thesis engages with errancia as a literary phenomenon within post-1960s Latin American literature. The author analyses errancia in its poetic and political dimensions and takes the work of Reinaldo Arenas, Adelaida Fernández Ochoa, Roberto Bolaño and César Aira as cardinal points in a contemporary mapping out of errancia. Figurations of errancia are analysed in the interplay between autobiographical traits, imaginary biographies of errant subjects and alternative historical discourses. Errancia features mechanisms of transgression that challenge territorial boundaries, contest rooted conceptions of Being, and destabilise the aesthetic, racial, gendered and disciplinary regimes that inform the laws of literary representation. In chapter one, Arenas’ El mundo alucinante (1965) is read as a site of intersecting authorial projections between outlaw biographies from the present and the past and foregrounds errancia’s transgression of orthodox political views and conventional discourses of history. In chapter two, Fernández Ochoa’s Afuera crece un mundo (2015) is read in its engagement with alternative narratives of independence anchored in historical forms of marronage and as a cartography of human survival that ties errancia-as-marronage to radical flight from the bounds of the national. In chapter three, Bolaño’s short stories in Putas asesinas (2001), Llamadas telefónicas (1997) and El gaucho insufrible (2003) are explored in their capacity to open up lines of flight through spatial and identitarian mobilities of errant subjects. In this errant and global cartography of intemperie, origins are revoked and normative paths of being are contested. In the final chapter, core elements of Aira’s poetics, such as geographical and symbolic displacements and procedures of simulacra and miniaturization, are examined in Cómo me hice monja (1993), La mendiga (1994) and El congreso de literatura (1997). In their vertiginous simulations of reality, these elements are tied to his view of novels as errant fictional machines.





O'Bryen, Rory


errancia, Latin American literature, errantry, errant, displacement, poetics, Reinaldo Arenas, Adelaida Fernández Ochoa, César Aira, Roberto Bolaño


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge