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Excess baggage: A modern theory and the conscious amnesia of Latin Americanist literary criticism

Pitcher, Jonathan Michael; (2004) Excess baggage: A modern theory and the conscious amnesia of Latin Americanist literary criticism. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Excess Baggage is a study of modernity's supersessive, paradoxical attempts to out-think thought. This methodology, never autochthonous to any context despite its claims, is traced through one of its more extreme moments, the Enlightenment, and then through the work of Freud, Nietzsche, and Marx (and their miore recent postmodern acolytes) to the Reformation. Although these thinkers are self- differentiating, the divisions are artificial, for each, even in present formats, references a preternatural origin that is subsequently projected into the future, disavowing history's ability to perceive itself as anything other than revolutionary. If this theory is dangerous in Europe, never equal to either reality or culture, never explaining its own past or exceptions to its hegemony, it is at least as dangerous in Latin America. Latin American literature, however, perhaps because it came of age internationally in the Paris of the 1960s, has become almost uniformly susceptible to the same discourse's single approach. Visit any conference, read almost any secondary / tertiary text, and discover that a disillusioned Latin America is engaged in a paradoxical quest for an origin, an outside to thought, that its culture is at its best when it exemplifies the latest in philosophy. In contrast, I trace Latin Americanism, post-1960, through readings by its critics-cum-theorists, as dictatorially assigning a univocal reading to a continent's cultural production, regardless of how ethical the theory may seem to itself. Though a predominantly metacritical work, a reading of philosophy and its Latin Americanist manifestations, there is also much comparative reading of European, North and Latin American literature. Meaning has always existed in all such contexts, but is either eradicated or misread by the premises of our critical equipment. In reality or fiction, I am for an admission of contextualised mnemotechny, inevitable in thought regardless, and the real danger in the present milieu.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Excess baggage: A modern theory and the conscious amnesia of Latin Americanist literary criticism
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Latin Americanism
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106099
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