The Logic of Fetishism: Alejo Carpentier and the Cuban Tradition

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Cuban author Alejo Carpentier (1904-1980) was a key figure in the foundation of contemporary Latin American fiction. By taking a critical position vis-a-vis the restitutionary current in Latin American studies (e.g., to focus on the myths of the noble savage, lost paradises, black legends, and good revolutionaries), James Pancrazio provides a highly innovative re-reading of Carpentier's work. Borrowing theories of psychoanalysis, gender, performance, and Cuban literature and historiography, The Logic of Fetishism argues that the structure of disavowal functions as a creative alternative to the all-encompassing meta-narratives of exile and insularity. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that transgression is written into the Cuban code: border crossings form the matrix of Cuban literature and culture. Pancrazio thus focuses on the oft-neglected transvestite, a figure who marks the entrance to the symbolic order and makes culture possible by representing representation.