Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

'En un país como éste': Contesting the Nation, Resisting Modernity in Demasiado amor by Sara Sefchovich

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2006), 83, (4), 367–384.

Abstract

It is now widely accepted that the oil scare followed by the devaluation of the peso in 1982 triggered an unprecedented political, economic and social crisis that had ramifications across civil society in Mexico. This led, as Roger Bartra asserts, to serious splits and shifts within the unity of the 'revolutionary family'. It is out of these splits and shifts that women's voices begin to emerge in the cultural arena in Mexico. Clearly this is not the first instance of cultural production by women in Mexico but it is the first time that they are positioned as both substantive producers and consumers of culture. They are, therefore, deeply implicated in the modernization project of that decade which in turn leads to an ambivalence in the nature of their voice, a new freedom that is enabled and empowered through forces that were also in many cases, deeply repressive. It is this ambivalence that haunts the pages of Sara Sefchovich's best-selling novel, Demasiado amor (1990), and it is the nature of the ambivalent relationship to the nation in particular that I would like to explore in this article. In my view, the text constitutes what Homi Bhabha terms a 'counter-narrative of the nation', staging an attack on the totalising narrative of modernity and thus contesting the limits of the modernizing project.

Debido a la escasez petrolera y la devaluación del peso en México durante la década de los ochenta, se precipitó una crisis económica política y social sin precedencia que afectó gravemente la sociedad civil. Esto llevó, como afirma Roger Bartra, a una fragmentación en la unidad de la 'familia revolucionaria'. De esta fragmentación surge una nueva voz, la voz femenina, que se establece con fuerza dentro del terreno cultural. No es, por supuesto, la primera vez que aparece esta voz femenina pero es claramente la primera vez que la mujer se sitúa como productora y tambien como consumidora de la cultura. Esta voz está implicada entonces en el projecto modernizador que tanto ocupó a los gobiernos mexicanos de la década de los ochenta y por lo tanto es una voz llena de ambivalencia. Por un lado constituye una libertad pero una libertad concedida y a veces definida por fuerzas a veces muy represivas. En este artículo examino la novela Demasiado amor por Sara Sefchovich, publicada en 1990. Quiero enfocar mi estudio sobre esta ambivalencia que tanto afecta a la conceptualización de la nación en la novela. En mi opinión Demasiado amor constituye lo que Homi Bhabha denomina 'una contra-narrativa de la nación', desenmarascando la narrativa totalizadora de la nación e interrogando los límites del proyecto modernizador.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Aguilar Camín, Héctor and Lorenzo Meyer, 1993. In the Shadow of the Mexican Revolution: Contemporary Mexican History, 1910–1989, tr. Luis Alberto Fierro (Austin: U of Texas P). tr. Luis Alberto Fierro In the Shadow of the Mexican Revolution: Contemporary Mexican History, 1910–1989 Google Scholar

Bartra, Roger, 2002. Blood, Ink and Culture: Miseries and Spendors of the Post-Mexican Condition (Durham NC / London: Duke UP). Blood, Ink and Culture: Miseries and Spendors of the Post-Mexican Condition Google Scholar

Baudrillard, Jean, 1981. Cool Memories, tr. Chris Turner (London: Verso). tr. Chris Turner Cool Memories Google Scholar

Beer, Gabriella de, 1996. Contemporary Mexican Women Writers: Five Voices (Austin: U of Texas P). Contemporary Mexican Women Writers: Five Voices Google Scholar

Bhabha, Homi, 1990. Nation and Narration (London / New York: Routledge). Nation and Narration Google Scholar

Campo, Alicia del, 1995. 'Reterritorializando lo mexicano desde lo feminino en el contexto neoliberal: Demasiado amor de Sara Sefchovich', New Novel Review, 2. 2: 61–75. Reterritorializando lo mexicano desde lo feminino en el contexto neoliberal: Demasiado amor de Sara Sefchovich New Novel Review 2 61 75 Google Scholar

García, Kay, 1994. Broken Bars: New Perspectives from Mexican Women Writers (Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P). Broken Bars: New Perspectives from Mexican Women Writers Google Scholar

Ghose, Indira, 1998. Women Travellers in Colonial India: The Power of Female Gaze (Oxford: OUP). Women Travellers in Colonial India: The Power of Female Gaze Google Scholar

Glantz, Margo, 1994. 'Las hijas de la Malinche' in El esguince de la literatura (Mexico: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes). Las hijas de la Malinche El esguince de la literatura Google Scholar

Ibsen, Kristine, 1997. The Other Mirror: Women's Narrative in Mexico, 1980–1995 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood). The Other Mirror: Women's Narrative in Mexico, 1980–1995 Google Scholar

Kaplan, Caren, 1996. Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement (Durham NC / London: Duke UP). Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement Google Scholar

Knight, Alan, 1986. The Mexican Revolution: Porfirians, Liberals and Peasants, I (Cambridge: CUP). The Mexican Revolution: Porfirians, Liberals and Peasants, I Google Scholar

Lindsay, Claire, 2003. 'Wish you Weren't Here: The Politics of Travel in Albalucía Angel's ¡Oh Gloria inmarcesible!', Studies in Travel Writing, 7: 83–98. Wish you Weren't Here: The Politics of Travel in Albalucía Angel's ¡Oh Gloria inmarcesible! Studies in Travel Writing 7 83 98 Google Scholar

Lindsay, Claire, 2003. Locating Latin American Women Writers (New York: Peter Lang). Locating Latin American Women Writers Google Scholar

McClintock, Anne, 1994. Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Context (New York: Routledge). Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Context Google Scholar

Merithew, Charlene, 2001. Re-Presenting the Nation: Contemporary Mexican Women Writers (New Orleans: UP of the South). Re-Presenting the Nation: Contemporary Mexican Women Writers Google Scholar

Mills, Sara, 1991. Discourses of Difference: An Analysis of Women's Travel Writing and Colonialism (London: Routledge). Discourses of Difference: An Analysis of Women's Travel Writing and Colonialism Google Scholar

Monsiváis, Carlos, 1987. 'San Juanico: los hechos, las interpretaciones, las mitologías', in Entrada libre: crónicas de la sociedad que se organiza (Mexico: Ediciones Era), pp. 123–50. San Juanico: los hechos, las interpretaciones, las mitologías Entrada libre: crónicas de la sociedad que se organiza 123 50 Google Scholar

Nash, Dennison, 1981. 'Tourism as an Anthropological Subject', Current Anthropology, 22, l5 October: 461–81. Google Scholar

Nesselroth, Peter, 1969. Lautréamont's Imagery: A Stylistic Approach (Geneva), Droz. Google Scholar

Pratt, Mary Louise, 1992. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London: Routledge). Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation Google Scholar

Sefchovich, Sara, 1990. Demasiado amor (Mexico: Planeta). Demasiado amor Google Scholar

Smith, Sidonie, 2001. Moving Lives: Twentieth Century Women's Travel Writing (U of Minnesota P). Moving Lives: Twentieth Century Women's Travel Writing Google Scholar

Teichman, Ron, 1987. 'Angeles Mastretta: con la precisión del arrebato', Nexos, abril: 5–8. Angeles Mastretta: con la precisión del arrebato Nexos 5 8 Google Scholar

Yuval-Davis, Nira, 1997. Gender and Nation (London: Sage). Gender and Nation Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Finnegan, Nuala