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Seeing the insane in Cristina Rivera Garza's Nadie me verá llorar (1999)

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Article of journalVázquez-Medina, Olivia. Seeing the insane in Cristina Rivera Garza's Nadie me verá llorar (1999).  / Viendo los locos en "Nadie me verá llorar" (1999), de Cristina Rivera Garza Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 2014 vol. 20 no. 2 p. 185-209. Keywords:
Mexico
Literature
Cristina Rivera Garza / Nadie me verá llorar / La Castañeda / Narrativas dolientes desde el Manicomio General / México 1910–1930 / La enfermedad mental en la literatura / Literatura mexicana del siglo XX
20th century | 21st century

Abstract:

This article centres on the representation of mental illness in Cristina Rivera Garza's Nadie me verá llorar (1999). The discussion is informed by a simultaneous reading of the author's historiographic texts, in particular of La Castañeda. Narrativas dolientes desde el Manicomio General. México 1910–1930 (2010). The article explores the novel's engagement with the theories of hygiene and degeneration; its interrogation of photography as a medium of classification in the asylum and other disciplinary institutions; and the way in which the medical case histories and the narratives produced by the asylum's doctors and inmates are evoked in the novel's textuality. It is argued here that, through its consideration of the discourses, technologies, institutions, narratives, and subjects that configure the tapestry of mental illness in early twentieth-century Mexico, Rivera Garza's novel puts forward a meditation on the ethical and political implications of “seeing the insane” against the background of a critical period in Mexican history. Departing from the discourses and traditions of representation that objectify the mentally ill, the novel's poetics – centred on that which is undecidable, fragmentary, and marginal – give visibility to absence, loss, and suffering, challenging the idea of progress concomitant with that of Mexican modernity.

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