The politics of solitude: Alienation in the literatures of the Americas

Nericcio, William Anthony.  Cornell University. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1989. 8924602.

Abstract (summary)

This dissertation investigates alienation as elaborated by literature and criticism in the Americas. Note that the term "Americas" includes both Latin America and the United States of America and represents an attempt to forestall the implicit ethnocentrism disclosed by the use of "America" as the United States' nickname. While most contemporary explorations of alienation in the Arts and Sciences focus on either the existential condition or economic process of alienation, this study considers the complex interaction of the two. While alienation as condition describes the situation of being "outside of oneself," alienation as process describes the transfer of property from one owner to another. Given these assumptions, it is appropriate to ask whether these two ostensibly disparate arenas are related--at least within the history of the West? Answering in the affirmative, this study represents more than an analysis of alienation as theme within Literature; it is also, in addition, a primer on how one may use alienation to change components of that Literature. Paradoxically, as one studies alienation within the cannon one discovers the means of alienating that very canon.

The first section of the thesis analyzes the exploitative logic of alienation as elaborated in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and the violence of culture alienation as developed by Octavio Paz in The Labyrinth of Solitude and more recent texts. The second section follows the thematic of alienation into the writings of contemporary Mexican-American writers identifying as most salient their reluctance to countenance stereotyped renditions of alienation. Rather than merely depict "minority" alienation in their writing, Chicanos access the logic of alienation, supplementing narrative in a fashion which signals the metamorphosis of American Literature. The final section moves to the theoretical implications of a refitted alienation for critical inquiry--in other words, just how do Derrida's, Hernandez's, Baudrillard's, Spivak's, and Virilio's Post-Structural and Postmodern positions elaborate the logic of alienation? To conclude, this study reads beyond the boundaries of the Americas in order to understand how groups within the U.S. academy disseminate descriptions which help constitute our literary and national identity and, as such, represents a critique of our domestic interpretive disciplines.

Indexing (details)

Comparative literature;
Cultural anthropology;
American literature;
Latin American literature
0295: Comparative literature
0326: Cultural anthropology
0591: American literature
0312: Latin American literature
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics
The politics of solitude: Alienation in the literatures of the Americas
Nericcio, William Anthony
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 50/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Cornell University
University location
United States -- New York
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
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