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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Meaning and Bourgeois Culpability in Sergio Ramírez's 'Castigo Divino' (Research Seminar Series in Iberian and Latin American Studies)

1 October 2019

Time: 5:00pm
Speaker: Professor Stephen Henighan (University of Guelph)
Venue: ArtsOne 1.36

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Abstract: Castigo Divino (1988), the most highly critically regarded novel by the Nicaraguan writer and politician Sergio Ramírez, winner of the 2017 Premio Cervantes, is often portrayed as a post-modern extravaganza which persistently undermines meaning or interpretation through parody, pastiche and wordplay. This presentation will argue that, contrary to these readings, the novel insists on the decipherability of texts and actions. It will illustrate how the apparent plot ambiguities of this long, complicated novel in fact concentrate on the ability to create meaning, and in particular to analyse the role of the bourgeoisie in collaborating with the U.S. military occupation of Nicaragua (1926-33) and the establishment of the dictatorship of the Somoza family (1934-79).

Speaker: Stephen Henighan is Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. He has published widely on the literatures of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, Cuba and Lusophone Africa. His most recent book, co-edited with Candace Johnson, is Human and Environmental Justice in Guatemala (University of Toronto Press, 2018).