Archives: March 2005
Thu Mar 31, 2005
Puentes sobre el mundo: Cultura, traducción y forma literaria en las narrativas de transculturación de José María Arguedas y Vikram Chandra
The aim of this research is to propose a theoretical perspective on the phenomenon of transcultural narratives, as exemplified in the literary projects of José María Arguedas (Peru) and Vikram Chandra (India), considered from the viewpoint of the new paradigm of comparative literature. It has as its objectives: to analyse the interstitial, plural and dialogic orientation of the narratives of transculturation; and to consider modes of reflecting on them from a theoretical-critical perspective and of reading them on a basis of respect for the diversity which underlies their form and meaning. The starting hypothesis is that, writing from a decolonised space, bilingual and bicultural authors such as Arguedas and Chandra operate their literary creation in a language (Spanish and English respectively) and in a genre (the novel) which require of them a complex effort of rearticulation and appropriation. It is further postulated that this narrative process is an act of translation, and that, in this process of transit between culture and novel, the oral substratum of the authors’ matricial cultures acts as a support, in terms of both identity and poetics, for their fictional work and the symbolic universe which it brings into being.
The first part of the work offers a revaluation of the concept of transculturation, and reflects on the characteristics of what we have called narratives of transculturation, as typified by the work of Arguedas and Chandra. Next, in an argument grounded in transversal documentary research, an interdisciplinary theoretical-critical framework is proposed with a view to aiding the conceptualisation of these narratives. With this in mind, recourse is had to the contributions of: literary theory and comparative literature; anthropology; translation studies; and the crucial source of the authors’ background within non-Western cultural systems. Following this theoretical part, the analysis shifts to the in-between space in which these narratives arise and out of which they reshape both the writing language and the literary genre employed, within an overall context of cultural translation. Lastly, and on the basis of the above conceptual apparatus, a close reading is offered of two representative novels of narrative transculturation, Los ríos profundos (1958) by Arguedas, and Red Earth and Pouring Rain (1995) by Chandra. The conclusions summarise the ways in which transcultural narrative favours the possibility of intercultural communication, the overcoming of dichotomies, and the celebration of fruitful interchange in the global republic of letters.