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Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Historical novel, Colonialism, Myth, Dehistorization, Postcolonial
Humorous and sarcastic on every page, the historical novel Los perros del paraíso (1983) by Abel Posse, presents itself as an iconoclast and subversive response to the historical account of the so-called discovery of the New World and the role played in it by Christopher Columbus. In this post-Boom narrative, linear time collapses and events conflate to depict a fantastic world where anachronism makes almost anything possible. Comic and grotesque in their attributes, characters appear performing a colonial play in which the absurd is apparently the sole stable rule. However, underneath this joyful surface, a colonial reason flows to confirm European Self and Indigenous Other in their classical division of ideological labor: master and slave, superior and inferior. A mystic Columbus, convinced he has finally found the Earthly Paradise and naïve Caribbeans, who believe conquerors are their returned gods reshape the myths of Latin American history not only as a total non-sense, but even worse, as an eternal condemnation of continuing its present condition of subordination. This process of mythification of history implies what I call its dehistorization, which means its epistemological cancellation as an explanatory discourse of human events. The ontological degradation of Columbus to an ape self-exiled from social life, and of indigenous as both cannibals and the perros del paraíso deprived from having a voice and having the will to rebell is the most eloquent proof that debasement of history is a consequence of the survival of a colonial point of view, which structures this novel as a whole.
Luis A. Marentes