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Tres lecturas de las novelas de Mario Vargas Llosa

by Jonsson, Petter, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
This doctoral thesis is a psychoanalytic interpretation of the novels of the Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, and it explores these novels from three different perspectives, here called readings. The first perspective focuses on the literary techniques and the importance these may have for the interpretation of the content of the novels. This first reading includes a summary of the reception of the works and reveals many aspects that have not been discovered in earlier studies. The second reading is a Freudian interpretation of the novels. It explores to what extent these novels reproduces the Oedipus complex understood as a conflict between father and son, normally attributed to Freud. According to this reading it seems as if the author have been using the so called Freudian conception of the Oedipus complex as a literary technique, and it seems likely that he has done so deliberately. The implication of this strategy is explored in the third reading. In this reading the novels are interpreted from a Lacanian perspective, which means that the Oedipus complex is understood as the false interpretation that the subject has of his or her own history. The Lacanian interpretation reveals a subjacent structure that repeats itself in every novel. This structure has the following form: an initial paradise-like situation is disturbed by the arrival of an intruder, which functions as a latent representation of the father. The intruder’s death or expulsion is followed by a frustrated attempt of return to the lost paradise. What prevents a return to the initial situation is the representation of the mother’s betrayal. This structure reveals a whish to kill the father, as in the second reading, but it also reveals hate towards the mother that is being held responsible for the disgrace of her son. It is her betrayal that expels the son from paradise and makes his return impossible. This structure reveals a profound whish to not have been born. The last step of the Lacanian interpretation explores the relationship between the different contents of the novels, i.e. between the different readings. According to a psychoanalytic interpretation it seems as if the second reading constitutes a kind of defence which complicates a penetration of the profounder aspects of the novels. If the critics attribute aspects of the novel that are deliberate to the unconscious content of the novels it is plausible that they unconsciously serve as part of the author’s mechanisms of defence. If this is the case it seems as if the critics have followed the path marked by the author and that he controls them. Freud and Lacan separate between latent and manifest content but in the psychoanalytic interpretation of the novels of Vargas Llosa it is necessary to separate the manifest content in apparent and deliberate content. If not, it is likely that one falls in the trap that possibly has been construed by the author and explores the deliberate content of the novels as if it was part of the unconscious content. From this perspective even the apparent content constitutes an obstacle for the penetration in the deeper aspects of the works. Authors from the same generation as Vargas Llosa, such as Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes and Julio Cortázar, uses different strategies to conceal one content beneath another, it is likely to think that Vargas Llosa uses a similar strategy and that he deliberately conceals what he understands as a Oedipal conflict in all of his novels. At the same time this strategy can be seen as an eloquent example of the lacanian conception of the Oedipal complex, that is as the misinterpretation of the own history. According to the Lacanian interpretation Vargas Llosa writes to not have to confront himself with the really painful aspects of his own life, and he uses the novels to create an almost impenetrable defence.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Lunds universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; literary analysis; meta reading.; different readings; Structural psychoanalysis; Latin-American literature; hermeneutics; psychoanalytic literary criticism; transference; Mario Vargas Llosa; Sigmund Freud; Jacques Lacan; Lacanian study; literary psychoanalysis; applied psychoanalysis; Psychoanalysis; literary interpretation

ISBN:978-91-978017-1-3

Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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