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Reconexiones con el Consumo Masivo: Las Novelas Peruanas sobre los Medios

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This dissertation shows how a group of novels–written by Peruvian born authors and published in the 20th and 21st centuries–have opened new perspectives about the impact of mass media in the Latin American literary system. I argue that XYZ (1935) by Clemente Palma, La tía Julia y el escribidor (1977) by Mario Vargas Llosa, Morirás mañana (2010-2012) by Jaime Bayly and Óscar y las mujeres (2013) by Santiago Roncagliolo depart from a deep criticism of mass media products to shape new narrative models that aim to reconnect the novel as a genre with mass consumption. In doing so, they challenge traditional critical approaches that oppose the novelistic genre–an art manifestation– to the mass media products–a market expression. Further, these Peruvian novels show that a critical appropriation in literature of narrative codes from mass media products like movies, radio dramas and soap operas can result in a renovation of the novel as a genre. I begin with the analysis of XYZ showing how in this novel the appropriation of narrative codes from early Hollywood movies is used both to discuss the potential dangers of modernization and to configure an appealing narrative for mass consumption. I then examine how satiric parody of radio dramas (radioteatros) from the 1950s in La tía Julia y el escribidor gives shape in the text to a new figure of professional writer. This fictional model of a literary author also regards a mass media narrative code as an effective vehicle to transmit social criticism to a broader readership. I argue in Chapter 3 that an intense critic of both the literary and the broadcasting system in the trilogy of novels Morirás mañana results in a redefinition of the notion of art. As I demonstrate, this new notion incorporates both traditional art and show business values as key components. This conceptual change aims to place the novel as a genre in large consumer networks. In the final chapter, I show how Óscar y las mujeres approaches the artificiality of the Latin American soap operas (telenovelas) through ironic parody, but also how it highlights that despite this artificiality it can give meaning to modern romantic dilemmas. I specifically focus on the way this novel reworks melodrama's appealing narrative codes to attract a large readership.

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  • 04/01/2019
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