Américanas, Autocracy, and Autobiographical Innovation : Overwriting the Dictator book cover
1st Edition

Américanas, Autocracy, and Autobiographical Innovation
Overwriting the Dictator

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ISBN 9780367893477
November 4, 2020 Forthcoming by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

Overwriting the Dictator is literary study of life writing and dictatorship in Americas. Its focus is women who have attempted to rewrite, or overwrite, discourses of womanhood and nationalism in the dictatorships of their nations of origin. The project covers five 20th century autocratic governments: the totalitarianism of Rafael Trujillo’s regime in the Dominican Republic, the dynasty of the Somoza family in Nicaragua, the charismatic, yet polemical impact of Juan and Eva Perón on the proletariat of Argentina, the controversial rule of Fidel Castro following Cuba’s 1959 revolution, and Augusto Pinochet’s coup d'état that transformed Chile into a police state. Each chapter traces emerging patterns of experimentation with autobiographical form and determines how specific autocratic methods of control suppress certain methods of self-representation and enable others. The book foregrounds ways in which women’s self-representation produces a counter-narrative that critiques and undermines dictatorial power with the depiction of women as self-aware, resisting subjects engaged in repositioning their gendered narratives of national identity.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "Impossible Autobiography: Women’s Life Writing and Twentieth Century Latin American Dictatorships"

Chapter 1: "I Remember Trujillo: Trujillo en Mis Memorias Denial, Shame, Martyrdom, and Nostalgia in Dominican Women’s Memoir"

Remembering Trujillo: The Memoir Boom

Dictator as Tragic Hero: Aída Trujillo and the Shadow of Third-Person Memoir

The Daughter and the Demi-God: Fugitive Acts in Flor de Oro Trujillo’s Memoir Exposé

Memoir as "Casa-Museo": Dédé Mirabal’s Ritual Memorial and the Transmission of Memory

Patremoir as Post-Dictatorial Counter-tour: Angelita Trujillo’s Publicly Private Nostalgia

¿Seguiré a Caballo?: Trujillo in the Twenty-first Century Imagination

Chapter 2: "Dueña y Señora de Su Canto": Autobiographical Depictions of the New Nicaraguan Woman

Poetic Interiorismo and "The Six": Why This Is Not Testimonio

Milk Poems and Blood Poems: Womanhood, Embodiment, and the New Nicaraguan Woman

The Mirror Poems: Refractory and Reciprocal Recognition

Chapter 3: "‘Distinguished Ladies’ and the Doctrine of Chilean Womanhood: The ‘Anti-manuals’ of Diamela Eltit, Isabel Allende and Marjorie Agosín"

The Distinguished Woman

Auto-surveillance and Auto-performance in Diamela Eltit’s E. Luminata

"Only a Woman Could Imagine a Story Like This": Desire and Patriotism in Isabel Allende’s Aphrodite and My Invented Country

Marjorie Agosín’s Filial Narrative: Producing Genres of Liberation in the Next Generation

Matremoir: A Cross and A Star

Patremoir: Always from Somewhere Else

Chapter 4: "Exile Memory and The Paradigmatic Before-and-After in Post-1959 Cuban Women’s Life Writing"

Overwriting Fidel: Zoe Valdés on How a Leftist Dictator is Still a Dictator

Revisionary Exile Memory

"Salida Definitiva / Definitive Departure": Ruth Behar’s Autoethnographic Memory and the Impossibility of Return

Reconciling the Irreconcilable

Chapter 5: "‘There is No Need for Us to Speak of Eva Perón’: Evita’s Caudillagrafia"

Caudillagrafia: Autobiography as Perónist Manifesto

Doctrinary Overwriting: How to Hide a Dictator

Shadow and Light

The Condor and the Sparrow

El Simulacro: Not Even the Peróns were the Peróns

Old Eva / New Evita

The "Benefactress"

La Presidenta / La Resentida

The Heart and the Womb of Argentina

Conclusion: Self-less Self-representation

Conclusion: "Common Denominators: Impossible Autobiographies"

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Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle (Ph.D., English, Wayne State University, 2000) is Associate Professor of English at The College of New Jersey. Her essays appear in European Journal of Life Writing, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, Life Writing Annual, and are under review at Life Writing. Her work also appears in critical collections and anthologies, including Inhabiting La Patria: Identity, Agency, and Antojo in the Work of Julia Alvarez, edited by Emily Hipchen and Rebecca Harrison (2014). She was recently awarded the annual Hogan Prize (2018) by the editors of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies for recognition of an outstanding essay published in the journal. The prize includes a monetary award supported by Routledge Journals. She has also been a summer fellow at the Cornell School of Criticism and Theory (1998) and will be a Visiting Scholar in the Center for Biographical Research at the University of Hawai’i, at Manoa (Summer 2018).