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Raiding the "Anales" of the Empire: Sarduy's Subversions of the Latin American Boom

From: Hispanic Review
Volume 81, Number 3, Summer 2013
pp. 331-352 | 10.1353/hir.2013.0029



In his novel Maitreya, Severo Sarduy sends up Gabriel García Márquez's trope of archival origins in Cien años de soledad and, in so doing, subverts the phallogocentric discourse on which the Boom relies for legitimacy. This essay analyzes the use of anal fisting in Sarduy's work as an alternative metaphor for accessing the archive and for writing, which subverts Latin American literature's reliance on archival origins. Through an examination of theories by Derrida, Foucault, and González Echevarría, I clarify the significance of the archive and its place in Latin American literature. I also analyze Sarduy's Neobaroque sonnet, "Omítemela más, que lo omitido," to elucidate archival notions implicit in fisting. Lastly, I demonstrate that Lady Tremenda's anal baby ("hijo caudal") in Maitreya is a parody of the inbred birth of "el caudal," the pig-tailed fulfillment of Úrsula's much-feared prediction—and a symbol of archival texts and phallic writing in Cien años de soledad.

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