Entre el terror y la irrealidad: La narrativa poetica postmoderna de Reinaldo Arenas

Ileana C Zendegui, Florida International University


This study focuses on the works of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, one of the most prolific and controversial Latin American authors in the second half of the twentieth century. First, I propose Arenas as the creator of the Cuban revolutionary novel (a term coined by critics when referring to the narrative written after the revolution), within the scope of postmodern historiographic metafiction and against the trend of the official revolutionary novel promoted by the political establishment. Through the analysis of the five novels of the pentagony and other texts, my study follows the tragic journey of the antihero protagonist, from adolescence into adulthood, registering the correlation between his existential crisis and the narrative historical discourse. Contemporary Cuba from 1959 onwards—the historical-political circumstances that afflicted and overwhelmed him the most—becomes the point of reference to deconstruct reality and reaffirm the existence of a “self” threatened by the violence of a totalitarian discourse. Out of the fragments of this reality, Arenas undertook a radical reconstruction in which he inverted and questioned every inherited cultural value, as well as the power structures. Within this context, Arenas projects what I call “the Cuban hideous unreal”, an ontological and literary vision antagonistic to the carpentirean concept of the American “marvelous real”. ^ Despite the ostracism Reinaldo Arenas suffered for ten years, this study shows how he established through his work a meditative dialogue with himself and the common man. This perspective formulates a permanent literary and philosophic reflection with thinkers and writers of his country and the West, as the basis for a rejection of the Cuban reality. The resultant interdisciplinary and postmodern dialogue constitutes one of the most significant and distinctive contributions of his work. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Latin American|Literature, Caribbean

Recommended Citation

Zendegui, Ileana C, "Entre el terror y la irrealidad: La narrativa poetica postmoderna de Reinaldo Arenas" (2003). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3085826.