Presentation Title

Together Defeated, Together Alone: How James Joyce and Carlos Fuentes Rewrite National Identity to Bridge Irish and Mexican Literary Traditions

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

MSE 011

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

Mexican and Irish nationalism are tied to one another not only through a history of religion, immigration, heritage, and colonialism, but also through a history that is characterized by defeat and solitude. These themes are especially evident in the literature of the twentieth-century Irish revival, as well as in the literature that emerged from the late-twentieth-century Latin American Boom. The Latin American Boom was led by authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Carlos Fuentes. These authors were heavily influenced by modernist writers such as T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce. Latin American critics argue that Spanish language and literature were enriched during the Boom, precisely because Latin authors drew from English-language modernist works; the same can be said of European and American modernists who themselves drew from other languages, like French, in order to improve English language and literature. Carlos Fuentes himself cites James Joyce as profoundly influential to his writing. Fuentes’ seminal novels Terra Nostra and Where the Air is Clean echo both Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake. Like Joyce, Fuentes uses his work to question both loyalty to the state and loyalty to literary traditions. Fuentes employs the Joycean writing techniques of stream-of-consciousness and language experimentation; moreover, Fuentes brings Mexico City to life as a character, similar to Joyce’s characterization of Dublin. Both authors present works that are bleak in tone and cynical of religion, authority, and the state. In my essay, I will make a comparative analysis of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Carlos Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz, connecting negative national identity to the protagonist’s coming-of-age in each novel.

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Nov 12th, 10:45 AM Nov 12th, 11:00 AM

Together Defeated, Together Alone: How James Joyce and Carlos Fuentes Rewrite National Identity to Bridge Irish and Mexican Literary Traditions

MSE 011

Mexican and Irish nationalism are tied to one another not only through a history of religion, immigration, heritage, and colonialism, but also through a history that is characterized by defeat and solitude. These themes are especially evident in the literature of the twentieth-century Irish revival, as well as in the literature that emerged from the late-twentieth-century Latin American Boom. The Latin American Boom was led by authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Carlos Fuentes. These authors were heavily influenced by modernist writers such as T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce. Latin American critics argue that Spanish language and literature were enriched during the Boom, precisely because Latin authors drew from English-language modernist works; the same can be said of European and American modernists who themselves drew from other languages, like French, in order to improve English language and literature. Carlos Fuentes himself cites James Joyce as profoundly influential to his writing. Fuentes’ seminal novels Terra Nostra and Where the Air is Clean echo both Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake. Like Joyce, Fuentes uses his work to question both loyalty to the state and loyalty to literary traditions. Fuentes employs the Joycean writing techniques of stream-of-consciousness and language experimentation; moreover, Fuentes brings Mexico City to life as a character, similar to Joyce’s characterization of Dublin. Both authors present works that are bleak in tone and cynical of religion, authority, and the state. In my essay, I will make a comparative analysis of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Carlos Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz, connecting negative national identity to the protagonist’s coming-of-age in each novel.