Determinations:Essays on Theory, Narrative and Nation in the Americas

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A critical reading of postcolonial theory and narratives

Determinations is both an uncompromising Marxian engagement with an erstwhile ‘postcolonial theory’ and a set of new critical readings of a body of ‘postcolonial’ narratives, mainly Latin American. Its central propositions are twofold: first, that the national question, however its terms have changed, is the still under-theorized and unresolved problem that haunts the hyper-abstractions and mystifications of postcolonial theory and other ideological flights into ‘globalization’; second, that the important insight into the close cultural link between ‘nation’ and ‘narration’ must be carried further so as to disclose their concretely historical, fully determinate relationship.
In essays that first engage the current theoretical parlances of ‘ambivalence’, ‘hybridity’ and the ‘subaltern’, and that go on to flesh out an alternative ‘political narratology’ through readings of Cortazar, Carpentier, Garcia Marquez, Rulfo and Vargas Llosa, Larsen concludes with a critical reassessment of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities. In place of the cultural essentializing of third-worldisms and of the indeterminacies of Bhabhaite or Spivakian textualism, Determinations develops a dialectical, radically historicized account of the national and the colonial as literary and cultural mediations.