UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Literatura testimonial en Chile, Uruguay y Argentina, 1970-1990 Strejilevich, Nora


The vast corpus of testimonial literature that has been produced in Latin America since the 1960s, reaches a peak in the 1970s and continues to the present day. The dissertation investigates this phenomenon in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, through the examination of a group of literary works that range from personal testimonies to documentary novels. This genre is defined by a pact of truth established with the reader in relation to the experience that is being narrated. The first chapter describes testimony as a collective discourse that responds to a counter-hegemonic cultural project which opposes the doctrine of “National Security” that prevailed in the region during that period. Chapter II presents the guidelines that will frame the dissertation, preparing a synthesis of several existing models based upon diverse criteria: social, semantic, syntactic and functional. In establishing the relationship between narration, history and testimony, the thesis emphasizes that narrative techniques are needed in order to tell any story, even those which were not developed with a literary purpose. Testimony is not an exception, because it transforms experience into stories, applying to remembrances the structure of a plot. The texts are organized accordingly, taking into account the types of narrativization employed, and this taxonomy is connected with the reception theory and the contributions of the social criticism, in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the genre. Chapters III, IV and V examine various works from the three countries mentioned above, establishing a connection between the historic-social situation, the collective symbols, the artistic production of that period, and testimonies. The conclusion suggests that the return of Latin American literature to its hybrid origins implies transformations such as the democratization of writing and the disappearance of the author as the centre of the literary production. It also claims that this corpus provokes a change in the direction of contemporary writing in those countries, generating a necessary catharsis and a new elaboration of a fragmented collective identity.

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