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Which way is hope? Dystopia in the (Mexican) Borgian Labyrinth

Chapter


Abstract


  • Prelude: Stories from the Borgian Labyrinth

    My homeland, Mexico, and indeed Latin America as a whole, invokes the

    delirious tasks undertaken by Ts'ui Pen in Jorge Luis Borges' celebrated

    "El Jardin de Senderos que se Bifurcan:' The story de~cribes Ts'ui Pen, a

    Chinese astrologist who devoted his final years to the composition of a

    novel more populous than the fabled Hung Lou Meng and the construction

    of a labyrinth in which all men and women would sooner or later lose

    their way. Ts'ui Pen is murdered before completing the novel-he leaves

    behind what seems to be a confusing collection of wavering drafts-and the

    labyrinth is never found. Eventually, however, the reader learns that Ts'ui

    Pen accomplished his goal in the vast, intricate, and apparently unfinished

    novel depicting a world in which all possible outcomes of an event occur

    simultaneously, each one itself leading to· further possibilities. Readers of

    the novel can make no sense of it precisely because the forking paths of

    Ts'ui Pen's labyrinth are not placed in space, but in time. And so it is with

    Latin America: a historical labyrinth erected upon antique and new stories

    of oppression and inequality thafseem to stretch from the sixteenth century

    right into the twenty-first. ·

    !e stories told in Latin America recurrently mirror the perplexing,

    chaotic, and troubled history of its dwellers. Accordingly, the evolution of

    Latin American dystopian literature cannot be adequately explained with

    just the critical elements provided by political and literary theories. More

    powerful and eloquent images are required to address the many voices

    summoned up in Latin American realities: the centennial resignation of

    the aboriginal peoples, the decaying but still animated arrogance of the

    conquerors’ inheritors, the resented discourses on the colonial past that

    con%ict the mestizo identity, and the pathologies of globalized capitalism

    overlapping a living system of Baroque mores. Above and behind these

    voices—challenging them, destabilizing them, sometimes even overcoming

    them—parallel speeches of resistance struggle to open new spaces for conceiving

    the possibility of a yet unrealized emancipated and fair society. An

    apt metaphor for understanding Latin America might be found in music:

    the cadence of its stories is itself polyphonic, beat provided by dramatic

    but paradoxically coexisting %uctuations in its historical tempo. If Ts’ui Pên

    had ever been interested in music, Latin America could have inspired his

    #nal"symphony.

Publication Date


  • 2014

Citation


  • L. Gomez Romero, 'Which way is hope? Dystopia in the (Mexican) Borgian Labyrinth' in B. Grubisic, G. M. Baxter & T. Lee(ed), Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase: Contemporary North American Dystopian Literature (2014) 373-392. http://www.wlupress.wlu.ca/press/Catalog/grubisic.shtml

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781554589890

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1712

Book Title


  • Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase: Contemporary North American Dystopian Literature

Start Page


  • 373

End Page


  • 392

Place Of Publication


  • Waterloo

Abstract


  • Prelude: Stories from the Borgian Labyrinth

    My homeland, Mexico, and indeed Latin America as a whole, invokes the

    delirious tasks undertaken by Ts'ui Pen in Jorge Luis Borges' celebrated

    "El Jardin de Senderos que se Bifurcan:' The story de~cribes Ts'ui Pen, a

    Chinese astrologist who devoted his final years to the composition of a

    novel more populous than the fabled Hung Lou Meng and the construction

    of a labyrinth in which all men and women would sooner or later lose

    their way. Ts'ui Pen is murdered before completing the novel-he leaves

    behind what seems to be a confusing collection of wavering drafts-and the

    labyrinth is never found. Eventually, however, the reader learns that Ts'ui

    Pen accomplished his goal in the vast, intricate, and apparently unfinished

    novel depicting a world in which all possible outcomes of an event occur

    simultaneously, each one itself leading to· further possibilities. Readers of

    the novel can make no sense of it precisely because the forking paths of

    Ts'ui Pen's labyrinth are not placed in space, but in time. And so it is with

    Latin America: a historical labyrinth erected upon antique and new stories

    of oppression and inequality thafseem to stretch from the sixteenth century

    right into the twenty-first. ·

    !e stories told in Latin America recurrently mirror the perplexing,

    chaotic, and troubled history of its dwellers. Accordingly, the evolution of

    Latin American dystopian literature cannot be adequately explained with

    just the critical elements provided by political and literary theories. More

    powerful and eloquent images are required to address the many voices

    summoned up in Latin American realities: the centennial resignation of

    the aboriginal peoples, the decaying but still animated arrogance of the

    conquerors’ inheritors, the resented discourses on the colonial past that

    con%ict the mestizo identity, and the pathologies of globalized capitalism

    overlapping a living system of Baroque mores. Above and behind these

    voices—challenging them, destabilizing them, sometimes even overcoming

    them—parallel speeches of resistance struggle to open new spaces for conceiving

    the possibility of a yet unrealized emancipated and fair society. An

    apt metaphor for understanding Latin America might be found in music:

    the cadence of its stories is itself polyphonic, beat provided by dramatic

    but paradoxically coexisting %uctuations in its historical tempo. If Ts’ui Pên

    had ever been interested in music, Latin America could have inspired his

    #nal"symphony.

Publication Date


  • 2014

Citation


  • L. Gomez Romero, 'Which way is hope? Dystopia in the (Mexican) Borgian Labyrinth' in B. Grubisic, G. M. Baxter & T. Lee(ed), Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase: Contemporary North American Dystopian Literature (2014) 373-392. http://www.wlupress.wlu.ca/press/Catalog/grubisic.shtml

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781554589890

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1712

Book Title


  • Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase: Contemporary North American Dystopian Literature

Start Page


  • 373

End Page


  • 392

Place Of Publication


  • Waterloo