Title

The Politics of Literature: Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges

Lead Author Major

Political Science & English

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Jeffrey Becker

Faculty Mentor Department

Political Science

Abstract/Artist Statement

In this essay I analyze the way revolutionary violence affects the political communities depicted in the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges. I argue that revolutions create a pre-political state of chaos and violence that makes the development of democratic rule almost impossible. By working through Hannah Arendt's On Revolution I argue that the revolutionary history in both Garcia Marquez's and Borges's short stories create insurmountable obstacles to developing democratic rule. I use Garcia Marquez's “Big Mama's Funeral” and “Montiel's Widow” and Borges's “The House of Asterion” and “The Immortal” to show how revolutionary violence negates the possibility of democratic rule because such violence prevents the recognition of people as equals necessary for creating democratic rule. I show how revolutions in Garcia Marquez's short stories end with political communities torn apart by poverty and political persecution, conditions that create a political space where tyrannical figures rise to power and rule on the basis of tradition and oppression. I theorize that the pre-political nature of revolution inhibits the emergence of democracy as it exacerbates weariness and distrust between people, causing them to view each other as antagonists instead of equals - even after the conflict ends. This hostility becomes an isolating force that gives rise to fierce competition, rather than cooperation, as people struggle over limited resources. A struggle that keeps the political community unstable and incapable of reestablishing relationships of cooperation that Arendt sees as necessary for the creation of democratic government.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

26-4-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

26-4-2014 4:40 PM

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Apr 26th, 1:00 PM Apr 26th, 4:40 PM

The Politics of Literature: Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

In this essay I analyze the way revolutionary violence affects the political communities depicted in the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges. I argue that revolutions create a pre-political state of chaos and violence that makes the development of democratic rule almost impossible. By working through Hannah Arendt's On Revolution I argue that the revolutionary history in both Garcia Marquez's and Borges's short stories create insurmountable obstacles to developing democratic rule. I use Garcia Marquez's “Big Mama's Funeral” and “Montiel's Widow” and Borges's “The House of Asterion” and “The Immortal” to show how revolutionary violence negates the possibility of democratic rule because such violence prevents the recognition of people as equals necessary for creating democratic rule. I show how revolutions in Garcia Marquez's short stories end with political communities torn apart by poverty and political persecution, conditions that create a political space where tyrannical figures rise to power and rule on the basis of tradition and oppression. I theorize that the pre-political nature of revolution inhibits the emergence of democracy as it exacerbates weariness and distrust between people, causing them to view each other as antagonists instead of equals - even after the conflict ends. This hostility becomes an isolating force that gives rise to fierce competition, rather than cooperation, as people struggle over limited resources. A struggle that keeps the political community unstable and incapable of reestablishing relationships of cooperation that Arendt sees as necessary for the creation of democratic government.