Diamela Eltit: Reading the Motherby Mary Green
The Chilean author, Diamela Eltit, whose work spans the periods of the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) and the Transition to Democracy (1990-), is one of the most innovative and challenging writers in contemporary Latin America. This book focuses on the representation of motherhood in Eltit's first six novels and, through a chronological series of close readings, argues that the maternal body and mother-child relations are crucial for an understanding of the critical challenge posed by Eltit's narrative oeuvre, too frequently dismissed as 'hermetic'. An analysis of the novels' structure and language reveals how Eltit seeks to reconfigure the foundations of symbolic structures and so incorporate the mother as a subject. Although the study draws on a feminist psychoanalytic framework to explore Eltit's continuous disarticulation of key concepts that emanate from the West, specifically in relation to the formation of gender and sexuality, the work of the major Chilean cultural theorist, Nelly Richard, is also used to situate Eltit's work within the political and cultural context of Chile. MARY GREEN lectures in Hispanic Studies at the University of Wales, Swansea.
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