Witthaus, Jan-Henrik: Endspiele des Caudillo
Versuch über den Diktatorenroman in Lateinamerika
The dictator novel is a central genre of political literature in Latin America. But what does the term "political literature" mean in this case? The narrative texts considered here not only criticize the machinations of criminal autocrats; they also display the procedures of political staging and the way in which the dictator is drawn into a field of political visibility. He not only observes himself, he is also observed by others. The calculations and accidents of such forms of staging refer to the person of the autocrat, in particular to his body. This can be understood as a symbolic point of reference for regimes, and its endangerment by illness, assassination or death represents an existential threat of destabilization for his regime. These connections are central themes in the dictatorial novels by Gabriel García Márquez, Alejo Carpentier and Augusto Roa Bastos, which are examined in this essay.
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