A study of non-mimetic modes in the short fiction of the Hispanic Southern Cone and Brazil

Michael Alexander Braden, Purdue University


The short fiction of the Rioplatense region of South America and Brazil are two vast and in many ways distinct groups of textual production. However, one trait which they share is a relative predominance of tales related in a mode other than realism, and in both cases one observes a panoply of alternative non-mimetic modes that serve as alternative routes to literary expression. It is fascinating to observe this simultaneous eschewing of mimesis that occurs in a parallel fashion in these two literatures of different languages and traditions. What this study has proposed to be is first a short survey of four such non-mimetic modes in both literatures, namely: metafiction, surrealism, fable and the fantastic. Secondly, this volume has taken up the question of whether the relative abundance of non-mimetic forms within the two literatures reflects some advantage that each possesses over realism, and if so, to conduct a detailed investigation of how this is so and by what mechanisms it comes about. The resultant findings show that insomuch that postmodernity may be associated with an ethos for dialogism and heterogeneity, each of the studied modes offers advantages over realism in terms of postmodern expression: metafiction through its mis en abyme 'peeling away' ontology, surrealism, for its trailblazing of alternate routes towards the unconscious, fable, for its capacity to model an abstract truth and to provoke reflection in the reader through a process of active didactism, and the fantastic, by means of its cartographic exploration of and transgressions upon the limits of alterity.^




Paul B. Dixon, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Literature, Comparative|Literature, Latin American

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