IN T ROD U C T ION Allegory and Mourning in Postdictatorship
The possible, which enters into reality as that reality itself dissolves, is operative and
effects the sense of dissolution as well as the remembrance of that which has
been dissolved .... In the perspective of ideal recollection, then, dissolution
as a necessity becomes as such the ideal object of the newly developed life, a
glance back on the path that had to be taken, from the beginning of dissolu-
tion up to that moment when, in the new life, there can occur a recollection
of the dissolved. -r
L [) F R LIN,
Essays and Letters
At the most basic level a book on postdictatorial fiction is expected to
deal with the theme of memory, and this will indeed be the case here.
The literature produced in the aftermath of the recent Latin American
dictatorships, however, confronts not only the need to come to terms
with the past but also to define its position in the new present ushered in
by the military regimes: a global market in which every corner of social
life has been commodified. This book thus proceeds with two parallel
goals in mind, on the one hand attempting to assess how and under what
conditions of possibility contemporary postdictatorialliterature and cul-
ture engage the past, and on the other interrogating the status of the lit-
erary in a time when literature no longer occupies the privileged position
it once did. In fact, my effort is to think both questions simultaneously.
the dictatorships' raison d'etre was the physical and symbolic elimina-
tion of all resistance to the implementation of market logic, how has the
triumph of such a project informed Latin America's cultural and literary
memory? How can one pose the task of mourning-which is always, in
a sense, the task of actively forgetting-when all is immersed in passive for-
getting, that brand of oblivion that ignores itself as such, not suspecting
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