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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Hedy Habra
Doctor of Philosophy
Title: La Creación de Submundos: Lo Visual en la Narrativa de Mario Vargas Llosa
Dr. Benjamín Torres, Chair
Dr. Irma López
Dr. Frances Ramos
Dr. Jorge Febles
Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Sprau Tower, 10th Floor
This dissertation examines the increasing ontological tendencies characteristic of Mario Vargas Llosa’s narrative in the light of Brian McHale’s theory of the ontological dominant in postmodernist fiction. My project consists of the exploration of the function of the visual linked to the concept of “small worlds” which stem from characters’ interiority. My study highlights the way the Peruvian writer uses the linguistic sign to create images or to reproduce visual art (paintings, photographs) by means of the character’s fantasies or musings, which in turn, convert them into fictional authors. According to Umberto Eco, characters can conceive imaginary worlds, or “subworlds,” which are embedded within the fictional universe. I contend that in Vargas Llosa’s fiction, these subworlds are produced in a highly visual and animated fashion as if they were projected on a stage or a cinematic screen. I examine the way Vargas Llosa transforms his characters into producers of short films, which multiplies the levels of interpretation and sheds light on the fictional plot—either revealing its ambiguity or destabilizing it by foregrounding the creative process—but consistently inducing readers’ involvement in the interpretation and recreation of the text. An (over) analysis of the modes of construction and diversity of these embedded worlds leads the reader to reflect on the structural coherence of the fictional world and the mutual confrontation of the fictional world of reference with the subworlds also forces the reader to question the nature of the “real” world.
In order to underline the evolution of character’s interiority, I have chosen to study novels presenting recurrent characters or those that manifest an increased complexity of their inner worlds. My exploration encompasses Conversación en La Catedral; Elogio de la madrastra; Los cuadernos de don Rigoberto; El hablador; La fiesta del Chivo y El Paraíso en la otra esquina. Lituma’s recurrent and fragmented image is examined in several texts but mainly in La casa verde; La tía Julia y el escribidor; La Chunga; ¿Quién mató a Palomino Molero? y Lituma en los Andes.