Cover

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Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Prologue: Metaphors for Approaching National Culture

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pp. ix-xvi

Recent and dramatic transformations in the economies, societies, politics, and cultures of Latin America demand a response from the humanities, and particularly from literary criticism. The human sciences must contend with four sets of issues: first, the constant crisis of Latin America’s national cultures, ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-xviii

I would like to acknowledge all those who, in Minneapolis and Montevideo, contributed to the publication of this book. To Hernán Vidal, who offered nourishment, guidance, and constant criticism as both an adviser to my postgraduate projects and a friend. ...

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1. The Interpretation of National Culture from the Site of Popular Cultural Practice

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pp. 1-55

For a long time and because of the particular notion of culture in circulation,1 the national culture of Uruguay has been conceived as an accumulation of artifacts that includes only a few privileged literary works. These works were written and organized according to European forms and conventions (the essay, novel, poetry, and theater). ...

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2. To Open Up the Night: Carnival and the Struggle for a National, Democratic, and Popular Order

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pp. 56-99

Before turning to the murgas of the 1980s, I will consider their appearances during the late 1960s and early 1970s, through the gradual militarization of Uruguayan society and particularly at the moment of the coup d’état. For Carvalho Neto, the murga characterized itself by critiquing and ridiculing current themes and events.2 ...

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3. Theology of Carnival: The Religious Masks of Carnivalesque Theater

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pp. 100-127

For the murgas of Uruguay’s Carnival, Harlequin is a revered symbol and character, like Columbine or Pierrot, who remains elusive, ever changing, and eccentric. In Italian and French theater, his origin, history, and identity unfold as a spectrum of varied apparitions, signs, and associations. ...

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4. Bodies, Costumes, and Characters

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pp. 128-151

One of the greatest aspects of the murgas’ recent history is their association with the struggle for human rights. Notwithstanding some omissions and contradictions, including a few that are profound and grotesque, the murgas have become principal contributors to the affirmation, promotion, and defense of human rights in Uruguay. ...

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5. Carnival Celebrates the National Popular Epic

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pp. 152-176

Recent literary criticism has dedicated more time and energy than ever before to the themes of Carnival and the carnivalesque in literature. This focus reflects a desire to recuperate the material, sensual, corporal, physiological, erotic, scatological, and playful dimensions of human experience, all of which have been simultaneously created and repressed by history and civilization. ...

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Conclusion: From the Garden of the Comparsas

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pp. 177-180

The murgas do not advance an erratic sensibility marked by defeat, confusion, disorientation, disbelief, amnesia, the loss of historical, ethical, or political referents or the meaning of history and life, the inability to discern (to escape the seduction of appearances, the truculent character of languages, the cobwebs of television’s fantastic world), ...

Appendix: Librettos of Principal Murgas from the Montevideo Carnival, 1988

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pp. 181-268

Notes

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pp. 269-290