Moving Beyond Parody: How Carmen Boullosa Takes Violence Seriously in El complot de los Románticos (2009)

By Ana Kothe.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 26, 2015 $US5.00

The prolific Mexican writer, Carmen Boullosa, typically uses an abundance of carnavalesque stereotypes to destabilize these very stereotypes. Using her recent novel, “El complot de los Románticos” (The Romantic Conspiracy), I both note the problematic nature of using stereotypes within a parodic novel and argue that Boullosa moves beyond a carnavalesque use of parody to condemn historical and current violence against women in Latin America. I use Linda Hutcheon’s notions that the instability of postmodern parody makes serious criticism difficult, using Mikhael Bakhtin’s work on parody to demonstrate this problem, but also treat the possibility of effecting critique despite parody’s destabilizing tendency. Carmen Boullosa’s work has generated numerous scholarly articles and books. However, none to date takes into account my focus on her use of parody and her relevance in terms of violence against women, violence that both novels situate within a colonial tradition that repeats itself well beyond the end of colonial rule. Geographically, Boullosa locates this violence in Latin America with a focus on Mexico. Of particular relevance is its relation to “las muertas de Juárez” (inaccurately translated as “the Virgins of Juárez”)—women who are brutally murdered and displayed in this troubled Mexican City near the US border.

Keywords: Literature, Parody, Gender Studies

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 13, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.13-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 26, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 397.627KB)).

Dr. Ana Kothe

Professor, Department of Humanities, Comparative Literature Program, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico