The Representation of Nazism and World War II in the Literature of Argentina and Mexico
University of Kansas
Spanish & Portuguese
Copyright held by the author.
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Since the 1960s Nazism, the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler, the atomic bomb, and World War II have been recurring tropes in Argentine and Mexican literature, demanding to be studied as an overarching phenomenon that has existed for decades in these two countries. These works have mostly been studied as indirect references to the Argentine dictatorship or to the current wave of narco-violence in Mexico. Most analyses reinforce traditional notions of allegory in which the allegorical text is mirroring its referent in a parallel relationship. To some extent, this parallel relationship is encouraged by the literary texts themselves, as they often introduce explicit references to local historical events alongside the representations of Nazism or World War II, most notably the dictatorial periods in Argentina, or the gruesome violence in Mexico’s narco-war. I find, however, that some of these critical interpretations leave no room for readings that go beyond analyzing representations of Nazism as metaphors. My main objective is to show that in each region the literary representations of World War II events can be read beyond these canonical and often pre-established interpretations. Instead, I argue that these literary texts represent (and sometimes challenge) other unexplored situations and conflicts in these nations such as xenophobia, racism, the naturalization of violence, and the need for a new intellectual ethic. To reveal these other, latent possibilities, I rely on the concept of dialectical or interlocking allegories to analyze how the texts’ referents and signs are constantly building on each other instead of simply mirroring each other.
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