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250Rocky Mountain Review With respect to Pasado en claro and Vuelta, Fein provides an accurate study of their textual structure. Pasado en cZaro, once the relationship between the selfand the world is verified, "turns constantly inward in its quest for values, order, and significance'' (120). Vuelta not only implies Paz's struggle to define himself, love, and the world, but a profound quest for identity, common to all men. Fein's highly interesting conclusion convincingly demonstrates that, in spite of the eclectic diversity, the poetry of Octavio Paz shares the objective of arousing individual reactions to the text. Toward Octavio Paz is a welcome addition to Paz scholarship, valuable to students and critics working in the domain of contemporary Mexican poetry. JUAN MANUEL MARCOS Oklahoma State University GUSTAVO PEREZ FIRMAT. Literature and Liminality: Festive Readings in the Hispanic Tradition. Durham: Duke University Press, 1986. 182 p. Literature andLiminality is proofofa movement in recent criticism from craft to art. The quest for the definitive reading seems to have ended, replaced by a new critical imagination and often daringjuxtapositions. The texts brought together by Pérez Firmat "are all alike in that they inscribe an unstable, aggressive, treacherous liminality, one that consistently threatens to collapse the center-periphery distinction. In these texts liminality is a structure that subverts structure, an 'antistructural' structure" (xvii). This is marginality with a twist, a writerly tour de force, the ultimate in gamesmanship. The discourse is not so much explanatory as inflammatory, at the threshold of indecorousness. It aims to squeeze rather than to please; it oozes, and it abuses the conventional (discourse of criticism. The book is divided into three sections: Carnival, Choteo, and Tumors and Twins. The point ofdeparture is José Zorrilla's Don Juan Tenorio, which Pérez Firmat analyzes in terms of structure (the recourse to letters, wagers, and intermediaries; doubling; triangular conflicts; metalepsis) and as a metaliterary document, an allegory of authorship. A companion text is Valle-Inclán's Las galas del difunto, essentially an imitation of an imitation, esperpento as festive mimesis. Part II examines Jorge Mañach's Indagación del choteo as a paradoxical work that seeks to filter out the baseness of a scatological form: "Choteo is a tropical tropism that unmasks the culo behind every cara, that bares the other cheek; it is this anatomical downturn that Mañach's essay attempts, but does not quite manage, to arrest" (74). Carlos Loveira's Juan Criollo ("that bastard, butchered American version of the play, written in a creóle jargon that the author of Don Juan would find unrecognizable," [88]) and Fernando Ortiz's Un catauro de cubanismos ("the Waste Land of modern dictionaries," [108] ) are the complementary readings in this section. The primary text of part III is Luis Martín-Santos' Tiempo de silencio, as seen against the same author's treatise, Libertad, temporalidad y transferencia en el psicoanálisis existencial. For Pérez Firmat, the key concept of the novel is magma, "the new name, the neo-expression, with which Martin-Santos baptizes this expansive and converging marginality. ... in Tiempo de silencio etymology and etiology coalesce and writing is imagined as the spilling of a cancer" (127). In the final analogy, the critic links the analyst's office to Book Reviews251 Buttarelli's tavern: "the neurotic who acts out his infantile dramas is no less a performer than Juan and Luis" (150). The conclusion makes a plea for repugnant bodily acts as part of the critical act: "the house of fiction could use an outhouse of criticism" (162). Pérez Firmat's study gloats in its own liminality, in its sense of difference from mainstream — and not-so-mainstream — criticism. The reader must scrape away the magma, as it were, of discursive preciosity to reach the conceptual core. The process is, appropriately perhaps, somewhat draining. Two additional examples: "Writing is blending and mending. Writing is mixing and fixing. Writing is smashing and patching: an ounce of this, a pinch of that; a stitch here, a loop there. The carnival principle ofmotley, rather than the geometrical principle of concavity, generated the esperpento's tangled, intricate design" (48-49). "Literature and Liminality is an exercise in...


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