The permeability of history and literature in Santa Evita and La fiesta del Chivo

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Ruiz, María Regina

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The present study provides an analysis of two New Historical Novels: Santa Evita (1995) by Tomás Eloy Martínez and La Fiesta del Chivo (2000) by Mario Vargas Llosa. I will approach these novels from the perspective of Postmodernism. Both works deal with the topic of history and literature. How history and literature relate is a focal component of this project. The “writing” and “rewriting” of history are essential topics. Therefore, a revision of the historical reading and writing processes requires more than a unilateral vision of past events. In fact, numerous points of view are essential in order to understand how those in power have influenced the recording of history. The power of knowledge then introduces the idea of the legitimization of history. This project also reviews the differences between Modernism and Postmodernism. Several critical views are covered. Tomás Eloy Martínez’s novel Santa Evita illustrates a variety of postmodern characteristics. Since Postmodernism allows the artist to revise and question conventional and dogmatic structures, then parody and myth are explored. At the same time, examples of myth show how Martínez constructs his narrative and how history portrayed Eva Perón. Fiction and history therefore open the discussion of the use of the documents in Martinez’s novel. On the other hand, an explanation of simulacra and simulation shed light on the different ways in which Eva created herself and the ways in which others recreated her. In contrast, La Fiesta del Chivo is a novel about a dictatorship, it is important then to understand how dictatorships have controlled and molded societies for years in Latin America. I approach this novel from the perspective of the postmodern text. The way in which reality and fiction come together will introduce the topic of metafiction. Vargas Llosa´s novel shows how memory and myth play an important role in literature. In the case of the Dominican Republic, it is clear how history has perpetuated myths. The author also includes a variety of voices, which do not fall in the category of the official history. These voices shed light onto previous ideas about the past and our understanding of it.