Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Multiple Times and Distant Spaces: Thomas Hardy, Henri Atlan, and Carlos Fuentes's Instinto de Inez

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2009), 86, (3), 417–434.

Abstract

For Instinto de Inez (2000), his 22nd work of fiction, Mexico's Carlos Fuentes imagines a story that springs from a canonical nineteenth-century British novel – Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) – and unfolds in accordance with the scientific work of France's Henri Atlan, Director of the Human Biology Research Center at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital. This essay examines numerous connections between Instinto de Inez, Hardy's novel, and Atlan's Entre le crystal et la fumée (1979), and concludes that the handling of time and space by Fuentes, as well as the startling evolution of his title character, flow from a re-reading of Hardy through the lens of modern epigenetic theory and its parallels in Jewish mystical tradition. The result is an optimistic and enigmatic work that incorporates several key 'rhythms', which Fuentes himself attributes to the 'new' novel in an essay published in 2002.

En Instinto de Inez (2000), la 22a obra de ficción del mexicano Carlos Fuentes, el novelista imagina una historia que brota de un texto canónico del siglo diecinueve – The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) de Thomas Hardy – y se desarrolla de acuerdo con los estudios científicos de Henri Atlan, Director del Centro de Investigación de la Biología Humana del Hospital Hadassah de Jerusalén. El presente trabajo examina las numerosas conecciones entre Instinto de Inez, la novela de Hardy y Entre le crystal et la fumée (1979) de Atlan, y concluye que tanto el manejo del tiempo y el espacio en la novela de Fuentes como la evolución asombrosa de su protagonista constituyen una relectura de Hardy a la luz de la teoría epigenética moderna y sus paralelos en la tradición mística judía. El resultado es una obra optimista y enigmática que incorpora varios 'ritmos' claves que Fuentes mismo atribuye a la 'nueva' novela en un ensayo del año 2002.

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Hall, Nancy Abraham