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Aspects of power and history in the dictator novels by Alejo Carpentier, Augusto Roa Bastos and Gabriel García Márquez

Navarro, Márcia Hoppe; (1985) Aspects of power and history in the dictator novels by Alejo Carpentier, Augusto Roa Bastos and Gabriel García Márquez. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

The thesis constitutes a study of aspects of power and history in the novels Yo el Supremo by Augusto Roa Bastos, El Recurso del Metodo by Alejo Carpentier and El Otono del Patriarca by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The first part (chapters 1 and 2) presents an analysis of how the idea of power appears in the narrative, by comparing the three works. The second part (chapters 3, 4 and 5) examines the notion of history in the novels, yet each chapter deals mainly with one of the books mentioned. Chapter 1 investigates the relation between the structure of power and patterns of dependency experienced by the countries described in the novels. It gives evidence of contrasts in the dictators' actions. While the Primer Magistrado and the Patriarca merely want to retain their personal power, even if this results in the growing dependency of their nations on foreign powers, El Supremo uses his power precisely to avoid the economic subordination of Paraguay, whose sovereignty suffered continuous menace. Chapter 2 examines three aspects of power. The first is a study of the dictators' solitude and shows that it represents the immediate consequence of despotism, being the price of power. The second is about the role of the double, revealing that he serves to intensify the accumulation of power. And the third aspect is the analysis of how the dictators maintain their power through persistent violence. Chapter 3 analyses Carpentier's use of history in his works, particularly in El Recurso del Metodo. His worldview is revealed in the development of his works through failed revolutions. However, this fact does not indicate pessimism, as hope of effective change appears through the character of the Student. The other section compares the transformations occurring in the historical epoch and their fictional correlation. Yet, the author presents history in a literary way through the use of humour. Chapter 4 discusses history in El Otono del Patriarca. The study focuses upon the lack of historical consciousness in Garcia Márquez’s characters, and also in some of Carpentier's. In both is established the failure to understand history as a process, due especially to the repression of past memories and the false perspective of circular time. The chapter stresses, however, that this is the characters' view, not the authors'. Chapter 5 studies Yo el Supremo in a historical perspective. The novel is a counter-history of Paraguay showing that the official version of history is frequently warped by ideology. Thus, the chapter compares Roa Bastos's view on EI Supremo to the historians'. It also shows the relation between past, present and future which establishes the series of "necessary anachronisms" (according to Hegel) characterizing the narrative, and revealing the author's dialectical world vision.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Aspects of power and history in the dictator novels by Alejo Carpentier, Augusto Roa Bastos and Gabriel García Márquez
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by EThOS.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of the Americas
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1546149
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