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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Las Inquisiciones de Jorge Edwards Schulz, Bernhardt R.


This work studies the extent to which the novels written by Jorge Edwards between 1973 and 1987 respond to the historical Chilean context that they seem to address, openly in some instances and evasively in others. It examines the way in which the novelist represents the Chilean situation under the dictatorship of Pinochet. In the novels, Los convidados de piedra (1978), Elmuseo de cera (1981), La muier imaginaria (1985) and Elanfitri On (1987), not only is the apparent decadence of asocial class revealed, but also the regenerative capacity of this class to perpetuate its dominance in society. The analysis of Edwards' works written during the dictatorship allows the possibility of comprehending the historical reality within the fiction through some themes: Chileanhistory, its culmination in the 1973 military coup and its aftermath, the decline of the bourgeois way of life, the status of women in Chile, and the problems of exile. To study the dialogue between the novel and society, and to reflect on the writer's role in facing the conflicts of his time, an eclectic methodology has been used which incorporates elements of narratology, Bakhtin's dialogism, sociology and history. These elements lead to further questioning rather than offering categorical answers; Edwards' own voice is used frequently to contrast or to clarify some aspects of his works. With the study of Edwards as an intellectual and with the review of his novels, this dissertation concludes that the Chilean writer shows a constant preoccupation with Chilean society. Moreover, his writings suggest that the causes of the dictatorship are anchored in an unresolved distant past. This explains the ironic gaze that questions the upper class and its origins from within. The voices of the novels are also ironic and reveal a rejection of the self-bestowed historical importance of the upper class. Finally, this study underlines the role the author has assigned to himself by converting the act of writing into an authentic personal mission.

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