Sexuality and Desire in Spanish, Mexican and Argentinean Working-Class Narratives
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My dissertation, Sexuality and Desire in Spanish, Mexican and Argentinean Working Class Narratives: Ramón Sender, José Mancisidor, and Elías Castelnuovo, focuses on the conflict between working class solidarity and personal desire in three highly influential authors of the working-class novel in the early decades of the 20th century. Although the working-class novels I discuss have been studied in terms of their ideological content, the sexual politics espoused by their well-known authors in their best known works has been largely ignored. My dissertation seeks to correct this gap by examining the way in which three of the best known proletarian authors of the early 20th century negotiate the seemingly inevitable tension between ideological commitment, political activity and personal sexual desire. Additionally, my chapters explore the role of women in these novels –another aspect of early working-class literature that has been mostly ignored in the available scholarship on this genre. This investigation is a transatlantic comparative study that specifically examines in context three novels: Siete domingos rojos by Ramón J. Sender, Larvas by Elías Castelnuovo, and La ciudad roja by José Mancisidor in Spain, Argentina and Mexico respectively. I argue that what has usually been considered the unliterary nature of their work (in terms of aesthetics) constitutes its very literary value. Their lack of formal innovation (especially at a time when the avant-garde’s influence is peaking) becomes an effort to gain artistic significance through other means; that is by way of creating a political added value. These writers establish then an ethical code for their art, which in turn seek to generate an artistic creed: the belief that the pain of the working man is at the heart of class emancipation. In this sense, any pleasurable experience is ultimately marked as undesirable.