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The Ironic Apocalypse in the Novels of Leopoldo Marechal

The Ironic Apocalypse in the Novels of Leopoldo Marechal

NORMAN CHEADLE
Series: Monografías A
Volume: 183
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 180
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt81p61
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  • Book Info
    The Ironic Apocalypse in the Novels of Leopoldo Marechal
    Book Description:

    Leopoldo Marechal has become a chosen precursor of many contemporary Argentine writers, cineastes, and intellectuals, and so his novels - universally recognized but rarely studied - demand treatment from a contemporary critical sensibility. This study dep

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-008-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. 1 INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-17)

    Leopoldo Marechal’s lyric poetry is known for its religious and metaphysical tenor. Marechal the novelist, however, in emulation of his master Rabelais, writes in irreverent carnivalesque mode and parodies the great texts of the Western canon. One of the principal targets of his parody is the Revelation to John, the final book of the Christian scriptural canon, as well as the grand apocalyptic narrative in which it is inscribed. It is the working hypothesis of this study that John’s Revelation is the principal intertext of an (ironically) apocalyptic cycle of novels. These include Marechal’s masterpiece Adán Buenosayres (1948), its eccentric...

  5. 2 ADÁN BUENOSAYRES: PARODIC REVELATION
    (pp. 18-40)

    The story told in Adán Buenosayres parodies the Christian narrative of redemption, brought to a close in The Book of Revelation. As a story-type, this narrative is a romance. In Genesis, the serpent or Satan tricks Adam and Eve into a fall from grace. The Edenic unity of God, man, and nature is spoiled. At the end of time, the Divine Word banishes Satan and invites Adam to enter the New Jerusalem, a new version of the paradise he was forced to leave. The original cosmic unity is thus restored, the creature reunited with his/her Creator, Christ the Logos. Adam,...

  6. 3 METAHISTORY AND THE CYCLE OF LANGUAGE
    (pp. 41-73)

    The Christian Apocalypse is subsumed under a larger ideological construct present in Marechal’s novels. The doctrine of “metahistory” as Marechal receives it from René Guénon is parodied in such a way that it suggests on another level an analogous cycle of language modes or phases, which can be outlined with the help of Giambattista Vico, Northrop Frye, and Hayden White. In Book One of Adán Buenosayres, this “metalinguistic” cycle can be clearly traced in the interior monologue of his protagonist. Thence it will be possible to undertake a discussion of Adán’s poetics, both in theory and practice.

    The structure of...

  7. 4 LIGHT AGAINST DARKNESS: POETRY VERSUS SCIENCE
    (pp. 74-83)

    Marechal parodies not only the specific text of Revelation but the apocalyptic genre in general, playing especially on its good/evil dichotomy. Apocalyptic admits of no shades of gray: absolute good must triumph over absolute evil as surely as light dispels darkness.¹ In Adán Buenosayres, Marechal resignifies this Manichean dualism in carnival mode through the lively dialogues that take place during the Amundsen tertulia (Book Two) and the mock-heroic adventures in Saavedra (Book Three).

    In terms of cyclical “metahistory,” the polarity between light and darkness is figured in the opposition between the Golden and Iron Ages. The intermediate Silver and Bronze...

  8. 5 SCHULTZE AND “EL VIAJE A LA OSCURA CIUDAD DE CACODELPHIA”
    (pp. 84-121)

    Schultze plays an enormously important role in the novel. For one thing, he is Adán’s friend and mentor, and his function is to help the naïve young poet understand more clearly the relation between language and reality. Both characters move in the avant-garde milieu of which the organ of expression was the revue Martín Fierro.¹ Adán, however, has not truly absorbed the spirit of the avant-garde, which seeks to create heterocosms divorced from reality, making grand gestures in a metaphysical void. Adán is still stubbornly realist in the philosophical sense. Although he does reject the wishful doctrine of progress based...

  9. 6 TEXTUAL APOCALYPSE: EL BANQUETE DE SEVERO ARCÁNGELO
    (pp. 122-146)

    Leopoldo Marechal’s second novel, published 17 years after Adán Buenosayres, opens with a one-page “Dedicatoria prólogo a Elbiamor,” in which Marechal states that in writing Banquete,

    di con una manera de reparar una injusticia que me atormentaba: en Adán Buenosayres dejé a mi héroe como inmovilizado en el último círculo de un Infierno sin salida . . . El Banquete de Severo Arcángelo propone una “salida”; y a mi entender no fue otro el intento del Metalúrgico de Avellaneda. (B 9)

    Marechal has decided to ignore Adán’s “funeral” and any kind of symbolic rebirth it may imply. For Marechal, Adán...

  10. 7 CODA AND CONCLUSION: SAMUEL TESLER’S LAST WORD IN MEGAFÓN, O LA GUERRA
    (pp. 147-156)

    Having written El Banquete de Severo Arcángelo, Leopoldo Marechal seems to have got his obsession with apocalypse out of his system. His third novel, Megafón, o la guerra (1970), can be read with fruition only in the context of Argentina’s recent history. Although there are apocalyptic motifs in the text, the Book of Revelation is no longer an omnipresent intertext. Megafón is concerned with historical transformation, but Marechal opts to express this change with a metaphor likening the Argentine Republic to a snake about to shed its old skin.¹ It is true, on the other hand, that the novel is...

  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 157-166)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 167-170)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 171-171)