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Emotional Violence in Mexico: Portraits of Psychological Trauma in Fernando Del Paso’s Noticias del Imperio / Lloyd Davies
Confluencia: Revista Hispánica de Cultura y Literatura, Volume: 33, Issue: 2, Pages: 54 - 70
Swansea University Author: Lloyd Davies
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Emotional Violence in Mexico: Portraits of Psychological Trauma in Fernando Del Paso’s Noticias del Imperio.This article will treat emotional violence from an outsider’s perspective by focusing on the European rather than the Mexican victim. By reference to Noticias del Imperio (1986) by the leading...
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Emotional Violence in Mexico: Portraits of Psychological Trauma in Fernando Del Paso’s Noticias del Imperio.This article will treat emotional violence from an outsider’s perspective by focusing on the European rather than the Mexican victim. By reference to Noticias del Imperio (1986) by the leading Mexican writer, Fernando del Paso (1935 -), it will explore the failed Mexican adventure of the imperial couple, Maximilian and Carlota, placing particular emphasis on the way in which Carlota’s life underwent a prolonged period of emotional turmoil that was closely linked to the process of her ‘Mexicanization’.The essay will consider both her dysfunctional relationship with her husband, the Emperor Maximilian, and her status as intruder – both in a foreign country and in an age increasingly alien to her because of her longevity. It will also show how these intrusive aspects are mitigated by her strong identification with Mexico – ‘México y yo somos la misma cosa’ (Del Paso, 1990: 903) and by the projection of her ‘residual’ presence into the modern age. The destructive force of her adopted country, the stereotypical land of hatred and violence for many Europeans, is counterbalanced by her idealistic sense of personal affinity with Mexico. Her Mexicanization comes about through sheer willpower, imagination and madness. Carlota is violently drawn into the indigenous Mexican tradition of sacrifice: the concept of love was, for the Aztecs, bound up with cruelty and bloodshed. Carlota’s fate, however, relates to the twentieth century as well as to pre-Columbian history: her death in life, her seemingly endless delirium, have strong associations with the Latin American tradition of magical realism. She becomes Mamá Carlota, the mother of the Mexican people, incarnating the legendary figure of La Llorona. The essay will emphasize how the story of Carlota is founded on multiple levels of physical and emotional violence, not least that associated with acculturation by her host country, a concept which may be extended figuratively to include her literary treatment which, in the case of Del Paso’s portrait, accords with one of the most widely-acknowledged hallmarks of Mexican and Latin American literature: the focus on old age and death (González Echevarría, 1990: 183).
Acculturation, Emotional Violence, Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, Empress Carlota of Mexico, Fernando del Paso, Incorporation, Introjection, Madness, Magical Realism, Mexico, Mexicanization, Neo-baroque, Noticias del Imperio, Old Age.
College of Arts and Humanities