Disrupted Realisms in the Dictator Novel of the South Atlantic
This essay shows how the idea of the South Atlantic as a space of dictatorships and banana republics was contested on the ground by literary experimentation and transoceanic influence. Armillas- Tiseyra uses Sony Labou Tansi’s La vie et demie (Life and a Half 1979) as an example of a dictator novel, a genre that spans the Global South. Armillas-Tiseyra argues for the term “constellation” to be used in place of “magical realism” to classify the genre. “Constellation” here serves as a figure both for the relationship of individual texts or textual features to each other (a loose configuration or grouping) and for a mode of comparison that proceeds by juxtaposition and collage rather than more rigid hierarchical systematization. The allows Armillas-Tiseyra to approach and grapple with the difficult relationship between critique and narrative form.
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