Spaces of Madness: Insane Asylums in Argentine Narrative

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Spaces of Madness examines the role of madness and irrationality in the works of four key Argentine novelists: Julio Cortazar, Ricardo Piglia, Juan Jose Saer, and Luisa Valenzuela. Situating these works within the deconstructivist framework provided by Michel Foucault's History of Madness, Spaces of Madness demonstrates the ways in which the perceived superiority of reason to madness is called into question in light of the challenges posed by the atrocities of Argentina's Dirty War (1976-83). The works of the authors studied in Spaces of Madness reflect at times a wave of glorification of the irrational as a consequence of a growing distrust of rationalism, and often use the concept of madness as a metaphorical representation of an artistic type of irrationality as a means of resistance against supposedly rational forces of violence and repression. The works of the four authors studied here seek to dislodge reason, sanity and rationality from their pedestal by proposing madness as a metaphor for the often artistic efforts of resistance against the violent and repressive consequences of purported rationality taken to irrational extremes.