Sacred eroticism : Georges Bataille and Pierre Klossowski in Latin American literature
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The purpose of this study is to analyze the theoretical and fictional dialogue between four 20th century Latin American authors and the French writers Georges Bataille and Pierre Klossowski. I will explore how Julio Cortázar, Salvador Elizondo, Mario Vargas Llosa and Juan García Ponce adopt and subvert in their short stories and novels the Bataillean and Klossowsian models of mystic eroticism. In the introduction, I offer a broad outline of the different ways in which Bataille and Klossowski have influenced the thought and writing of Latin American authors as varied as Alejo Carpentier and Severo Sarduy. In Chapter One, I provide an overview of Bataille and Klossowski’s theories and fiction, rearticulating them through Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic terminology to establish an analytical model for the dissertation. Chapter two exhibits the tension between André Breton’s benign and Bataille’s dark surrealism inherent in Cortázar’s poetics and Rayuela. Chapter Three elucidates the osmotic inter-textual relation between Bataille’s eroticism and the I Ching in Elizondo’s Farabeuf. Chapter Four explores the containment of Bataille’s thematic and formal excess in Vargas Llosa’s Parnassian Elogio de la madrastra. Chapter Five describes the voyeuristic “progression” of García Ponce’s oeuvre as it moves from Robert Musil’s erotic mysticism to that of Klossowski. Chapter Six discusses how, in Los cuadernos de don Rigoberto, Vargas Llosa holds a sterilizing inter-textual relation with the erotic ethics and aesthetics of Klossowski and the painter Egon Schiele. Besides establishing the common trends in the adoption/subversion of these French erotic models by Latin American writers, the conclusion brings to the fore the relation between eroticism and politics that often broached in the chapters. To offer visual support to my arguments, I include in Appendix 1 a series of paintings and photographs discussed in the main body of my dissertation. Also, in Appendix 2, I discuss in detail how Cortázar’s short stories structured about the theme of the search for alterity offer a solution to the existential impasse depicted in the stories structured about the theme of History as a barrier to the encounter between man and woman.