Current Issue Article Abstracts

Volume 88, Number 3, Summer 2020 

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"Yo no soy un hombre": Masculinity, Monstrosity, and Gothic Conventions in Galdós's La sombra (1871)
Wan Sonya Tang

This article examines how the Gothic elements of Galdós's novel La sombra (1871) facilitate the exploration of a late nineteenth-century crisis of masculinity as embodied in the protagonist, Anselmo. It proposes that La sombra depicts the impossibility of the bourgeois male ideal by casting this figure in a spectral form while simultaneously characterizing Anselmo, who fails to meet hegemonic masculine standards, as a monster. In this reading, the novel acknowledges the negative effects of unrealistic gender expectations by portraying the protagonist's progressive monstrosity as a consequence of his growing awareness of the shortcomings in his gender performance. The dual processes of spectralization and demonization at work in the text suggest that, beyond censuring an individual male's bad behavior, Galdós's novel problematizes the social pressures surrounding bourgeois masculinity that can potentially drive men to violence.

Death's Heads and Death Masks: History as Absence in Juan de la Cueva's Tragedia de los siete infantes de Lara
Sofie Kluge

Whereas modern critics have considered Juan de la Cueva's Tragedia de los siete infantes de Lara (1579) unappealing compared to Lope's 1612 version of the story and discussed the Sevillian playwright's misguided use of classical tragic genre conventions, the present essay proposes a framework for understanding the play that is neither Lopean nor classicist. Arguing that the heart of Infantes is a pervading sense of metaphysical absence, it suggests that the play can be meaningfully construed as an early example of the "mourning play," or that mixture of history play and tragedy which the German philosopher-critic Walter Benjamin presented as the central late-Renaissance aesthetic form of historical contemplation in his Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (1925; The Origin of German Tragic Drama). Cueva's history of the House of Lara can be construed, that is, as a play which is concerned not so much with this or that historical person or event as with—unideal, broken, amputated—history itself.

Queering the Paternal Archive: Photography, Hybridity and Embodiment in Pilar Monsell's África 815
Sarah Thomas

This essay analyzes Spanish filmmaker Pilar Monsell's 2014 documentary África 815, an account of her father's complex history, including professional and personal failures. It shows how the film creates proximity within distance, constructing a nuanced account of Manuel Monsell's life, which, without explicitly condemning its thorniest elements (and in particular his Orientalist fetishizing of younger Maghrebi men), nonetheless refuses to gloss over them. Rather, the filmmaker lays bare her father's vulnerabilities and faults so the spectator may come to his or her own conclusions about Manuel's actions and experiences. This process is achieved through several key filmic tactics, explored here: hybridity, tactility, silence, slowness, and voice. Analyzing these strategies, the essay traces how the filmmaker's gaze on the narrative of her father's past uncovers meaning by engaging in an embodied and attentive reading of a life history that resists both binary identities and easy narrative legibility.

A vida é sonho: Mundos imaginados e "comunidade latina" em O hipnotizador – El hipnotizador
Ada Cristina Machado da Silveira

The article presents an analysis of the TV series The Hypnotist, a drama produced and aired by HBO Latin American Group's cable TV channel in its sixth original production and first bilingual series. The notion of semiotic diacritics of cultural (dis)continuities, such as heteroglossia, chronotopes, and spatiotemporal hybridity, is key to my examination of the series. I apply procedures of inversion, discontinuity, specificity, and discursive exteriority throughout the text. My analysis proposes the concept of mediascape as appropriate to the audiovisual product, given the purpose of exploring the cross-border condition of the "Latin community," converting aspects of mobility and fluidity into media capital that the various production teams can leverage. From the perspective of the audience, the mediascape that is engendered leads to migratory, mobile, and resettled communities, setting up implications and encouraging agendas to change the future and general expectations.

Humans in Bestiaries: The Case of 200 años de monstruos y maravillas argentinas
Ailén Cruz

The resurgence of the medieval bestiary in contemporary Hispanic literature has resulted in increasingly creative interpretations of the genre. Among these interpretations is 200 años de monstruos y maravillas argentinas (2015) compiled by Gabo Ferro, illustrated by Christian Montenegro, and designed by Laura Varsky. This article explores the ontological debate that ensues from 200 años's choice to place humans in literary spaces traditionally reserved for animals. 200 años compiles documentation denoting Argentine history's dark underbelly, brandishing the word bestia to blur the line between "appropriate" and "marginalized" historical subjects. In this work, images check historical documentation through sardonic interpretation, creating a space between text and image in which the reader/viewer may reconsider the veracity and underpinnings of official Argentine historical narratives and hegemony.

Orientaciones transpacíficas: la modernidad mexicana y el espectro de Asia by Laura J. Torres-Rodríguez (review)
Rafael Acosta Morales

Mourning El Dorado: Literature and Extractivism in the Contemporary American Tropics by Charlotte Rogers (review)
Mark Anderson

Carmen Martín Gaite: el juego de la vida y la literatura by José Jurado Morales (review)
María Luisa Guardiola Tey

Books Received