Subverting Subversion: Refiguring 1970's Revolutionary Militancy in Recent Argentine Novels and Films (1996-2012) Open Access

Pridgeon, Stephanie Michelle (2015)

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This dissertation examines recent Argentine novels and films (produced between 1996 and 2012) that take as their subject matter the revolutionary struggles of 1970's Argentina. Focusing on works that include a writer/director figure, the dissertation analyzes how the figure of the writer is depicted as engaging with and/or refuting existing stories--both historical and fictional accounts--of 1970's revolutionary militancy, so-called "subversive" movements. Specifically, the works in question dialogue with an existing storyline about 1970's militants that is predicated on heroism and martyrdom. This broadly accepted storyline serves as the discursive origin story of present-day leftist Kirchnerist leadership in Argentina, a political group that has garnered strength and political support from appealing to the heroism and circumstantial defeat of the heroic militant martyr. In contrast, the works analyzed here introduce militant figures that evince a more ambivalent stance to their presumed ideological affiliations--a stance I term here "ideologically unorthodox." My analyses of five novels and two films engage present-day and historical political thought in order to elucidate the contested versions of 1970's politics as well as of militant subjectivity that have converged in present-day cultural production dealing with recent history. Taking as a point of departure South American cultural critics Nelly Richard and Idelber Avelar's understandings of postdictatorial cultural production, which for their part take theoretical roots in Jamesonian notions of postmodernism, Freudian mourning and melancholia, and Benjaminian ruptures, "Subverting Subversion" uses ambivalent, less heroicized accounts of Argentina's recent history in order to expand our critical notions of revolutionary movements and the modalities of representing these movements within cultural production. In addition to political scholarship on recent and present-day Argentina (such as Beatriz Sarlo), the project engages Bakhtinian heteroglossia, Paul De Man and Hayden White's notions of irony, and Marianne Hirsch's writings on postmemory in order to move towards a new cultural model for considering the place of revolutionary thought within present-day political culture.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Texts of Ideological Unorthodoxy...6
The Creation of a Narrative of Ideological Orthodoxy in Politics and Literature...8
Breaking Away from Ideological Orthodoxy in Literary Aesthetics and Thematics...12
The Aesthetics of Discontinuity and Ruptures in Historicity...15
From Allegories of Rupture to Ideological and Characterological Nuance...22
Tone: Irony and Laughter...24
Toward an Ideologically Nuanced Model of National Memory and Subjectivity?...27
Chapter Outline...27

Chapter 1: What's Fair in Love and War?: Liliana Heker's El fin de la historia and Martín Kohan's Museo de la revolución...32

Liliana Heker and El fin de la historia...33
Leonora's Sexual Seduction of Her Captor...35
Hertha's Narrative Seduction...45
Writing Beyond the Revolution's Ends...57
Martín Kohan and Museo de la revolución...61
The Novel's Genesis...63
ERP and Montoneros...64
Militacy vs. Love...68
Generational Inheritance and Legacy...76
Reflections on the 1990s Publishing Industry...78
Revolution vis-à-vis Museum...82
The Current Status of the Revolution...88
Considerations of mid-1990s Argentine Political Culture...91
Mediating Past and Present through Writing...95

Chapter 2: "Resulta que soy hijo de mis padres:" Albertina Carri's Los rubios and Patricio Pron's El espíritu de mis padres sigue subiendo en la lluvia...97

Albertina Carri and Los rubios...101
Structure of Los rubios...106
Generational Inheritance in Los rubios...108
Roberto Carri and His Militant Sociologist Group...119
Carri Scrutinizes Testimony...124
Patricio Pron and El espíritu de mis padres sigue subiendo en la lluvia...129
Guardia de Hierro and "The Straight Record"...134
The Novel's Consideration of Literary Modalities...135
A Militant's Library...141
Children as Responsitory of Their Parents' Militancy...144
Public and Family Histories in Museum Spaces...151

Chapter 3: Detective Fiction as a Means of Exploring 1970s Militancy: Eduardo Sacheri's La pregunta de sus ojos, Juan José Campanella's El secreto de sus ojos, and Leopoldo Brizuela's Una misma noche...155

La pregunta de sus ojos and El secreto de sus ojos...161
Political Backdrop of the Novel and Film...165
The Genesis of La pregunta de sus ojos...166
Film Noir and Existentialism...169
Ethics, Justice, and Political Commitment...173
Affect and Passion...177
Leopoldo Brizuela and Una misma noche...186
Human Rights and Politics...187
The Creation of a New Narrative Imaginary...190
Postmemory and the Child Witness...194
The Escuela Mecánica de la Armada: Before and After Dictatorship...196
The Legacy of Armed Violence...199
The Novel's Irresolution...206


On the Revolutionary "Library"...207
Museums of Revolution...211
The Present and Present Past...214


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