Narrativas de confinamiento corporizantes: justicia inminente en Francisco Matos Paoli, José Revueltas y Reinaldo Arenas



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This dissertation explores the prison writings of Francisco Matos Paoli in Puerto Rico, José Revueltas in Mexico, and Reinaldo Arenas in Cuba. These works use prisons as places for reflecting, and in the case of Revueltas, even as the immediate context for his writing. My intention in grouping these authors together is to construct a paradigm that I have called “corporealizing confinement narratives”. These narratives move away from prison testimonies through particular aesthetic politics that allow authors to address visions of liberty, justice, and history that go beyond the contingent or individual. The writing emerges as an autonomous space to reorder reality, where it becomes possible to elucidate a critique on not only specific repressive contexts, but also the forms of oppression at the center of the raison d’état and the rule of law. Some of my research questions are: In each instance, how did the state construct what Foucault calls “regimes of veridiction” that criminalized the political dissidence and led to the imprisonment of the authors? How are the authors questioning and de-stabilizing the regime of veridiction and biopolitics of prisons from within confinement through specific aesthetic decisions? What are the visions of justice, liberty and history promoted in the texts through non-testimonial, autonomous rearrangements of reality that place the prison at the center of the discussion? The methodology I use to answer these questions combines literary, philosophical, and cultural theories to analyze the legal-historical context of repression in relation to Matos Paoli, Revueltas, and Arenas’ literary works. I begin with the deconstruction of the State’s rhetoric, or regime of truth, when dealing with dissidence, the kind that led to the authors’ imprisonment. I then highlight the distinctive features of each author’s aesthetic offer and how both matters are treated in the poems or novels through “close readings” and literary analysis. These aesthetics allow them to create corporealizing narratives that restore subjectivities repressed by legal discourses of criminality; produce new forms of expression vis-a-vis mandatory silences; discredit forced or official testimonies; and denounce the imposition of a police state.