EL LUGAR DEL LECTOR: UN RECORRIDO A PARTIR DE TEXTOS DE OSVALDO LAMBORGHINI, MANUEL PUIG Y WASHINGTON CUCURTO
Quintero-Herencia, Juan Carlos
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This dissertation stems from a challenge posed by Argentine writer and poet Osvaldo Lamborghini in a 1980 interview. He affirmed that instead of denouncing or lamenting oppressive practices and discourses, his job was to showcase the ways we are involved intrinsically in those practices, not as victims but as accomplices or tormentors. As readers we are accustomed to fictional representations of injustice and oppression; they scandalize or hurt while also comforting us with the idea that we’re fair and stand on the right side. What Lamborghini’s narrative cancels is the position of the reader as a witness who would learn about injustice to eventually amend it. With this in mind, this dissertation traces an arch spanning the 1920s and the five following decades, allowing us to read under a different light narratives on work, family, and state in Argentine writers Roberto Mariani, Leonidas Barletta, Horacio Quiroga and Roberto Arlt. Lamborghini’s texts are not alone in affirming that violence is not outside the law but rather at its core. The dissertation compares how the novels of Manuel Puig, one of Lamborghini’s contemporaries, also insist on the same ethical task. Both Lamborghini and Puig present the desolation that arises from realizing that the violence present in our laws and discourses is experienced at the same time as absurdities, confusion, and ineludible fatalities. In the final section, the dissertation examines writer Washington Cucurto’s strategy to subvert the mainstream narrative about marginalization in Buenos Aires during the 1990’s. Expanding on Lamborghini’s ethical task, Cucurto subverts the middle-class reader's expectations with his novels. His works operate as a productive deviation both from the pathologization of the marginals and their depiction as defenseless doomed beings. Furthermore, they contest the symbolic and spatial demarcation between the center and the margins to show the centrality of those groups and spaces labeled as marginal.