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"Darse la mano es como desarmar una bomba": Division by Language and Reconciliation through Touch in Los informantes by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

Baker, E; (2017) "Darse la mano es como desarmar una bomba": Division by Language and Reconciliation through Touch in Los informantes by Juan Gabriel Vásquez. Revista de Estudios Hispánicos , 51 (2) pp. 417-439. 10.1353/rvs.2017.0036. Green open access

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Abstract

Jacques Derrida, in one of his last projects, took touch as an analytical point of departure for the study of a selection of texts by Jean-Luc Nancy. He interprets the meaning of to touch in Nancy's work as a "setting-in-motion," a trope which can be observed in the novel Los informantes (2004) by Juan Gabriel Vásquez. This article observes an intertextual relationship between Los informantes and a chapter from Nancy's The Sense of the World entitled "Politics II: Subject, Citizen, Sovereignty, Community, (K)not. Tying. Seizure of Speech." The narrator and his father are read as allegorical representations of Nancy's definitions of sovereignty and democracy, respectively. When mapped onto the historic and contemporary Colombian political landscape, the flaws associated with these concepts suggest the need for a new form of community based on interdependence and being-in-common, critically explored in the novel through the character of Angelina, a physiotherapist. Set against a trend in Colombian and Latin American writing of incorporating the themes of Nazism and the Second World War, this article—contrary to previous studies—finds that therapy through language (talking or writing) is not the key to healing the divides of the past. The meaningful encounters demonstrated by Angelina and others involve physical contact and affection: these are the encounters that promote reconciliation.

Type: Article
Title: "Darse la mano es como desarmar una bomba": Division by Language and Reconciliation through Touch in Los informantes by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1353/rvs.2017.0036
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1353/rvs.2017.0036
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: sovereignty, community, being-in-common, Colombia, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Jean-Luc Nancy, touch, Second World War, soberanía, comunidad, ser-en-común, Colombia, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Jean-Luc Nancy, el tacto, Segunda Guerra Mundial
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10084048
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