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Madness and Irrationality in Spanish and Latin American Literature and Culture

Lloyd Davies

Swansea University Author: Lloyd Davies

Abstract

This theme has received very limited recent treatment, certainly in the context of Spanish America, apart from an international colloquium, held in Poitiers, France, whose proceedings were published in two volumes, Locos, excéntricos, y marginales en las literaturas latinoamericanas’ (1999). While t...

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ISBN: 978-1-78683-575-8 978-1-78683-576-5
Published: Cardiff University of Wales Press 2020
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa23816
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Abstract: This theme has received very limited recent treatment, certainly in the context of Spanish America, apart from an international colloquium, held in Poitiers, France, whose proceedings were published in two volumes, Locos, excéntricos, y marginales en las literaturas latinoamericanas’ (1999). While these volumes are valuable in offering an overview of scores of writers, they do not present sustained analysis of individual texts, the main purpose of this monograph. Madness is of particular importance in the context of Latin America which may be seen as a marginalized territory of the ‘other’ whose writers and thinkers frequently call into question Western logic and reason. It can be linked to violence as a distinctive feature of the continent but while violence has been treated exhaustively, madness is yet to be subjected to detailed examination. It is associated with excess, hyperbole and the neo-baroque, all commonplaces of Latin American reality and expression. Madness in this context transcends the individual level to take its place as a national characteristic, as noted by the Argentine writer, Tomás Eloy Martínez, who identifies the suppression of reality – and, by extension, the assumption of a kind of madness – as an Argentine national phenomenon. Madness is a broad and fascinating theme that embraces other spheres of human experience such as old age, also covered in the monograph which aims to fill a discernible gap in the critical literature.
Keywords: Madness, Irrationality, Spain, Latin America
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences