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Abstract

In his article "Barthelme's 'Paraguay,' the Postmodern, and Neocolonialism," Daniel Chaskes explores the analytic opportunities afforded by conjoining globalizing critical approaches with a story by an author who has often been circumscribed by the postmodern rubric. Donald Barthelme's "Paraguay," written the summer after Nelson Rockefeller's fact-finding mission to South America in 1969, provides a chance to consider modes of anti-colonial critique in Barthelme's work. It also offers examples of a more self-reflective criticism aimed at the U.S. counterculture and the indeterminacies of postmodernism. Chaskes reads "Paraguay" with the aim of understanding Barthelme's hemispheric interest and he investigates the multiple cultural touchstones Barthelme draws on in a text that suggests troubling parallels between the New Left, the avant-garde, and the neocolonial political project. "Paraguay" offers a uniquely postmodern take on social commentary in which the text's form enacts the very tendencies being scrutinized: habits of seeing non-U.S. peoples as subjectless and placeless.