THE USES OF THE FIVE SENSES IN THE LATIN-AMERICAN CHRONICLES
Asst. Prof. Dr., DePauw University, United States, firstname.lastname@example.org
Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano maintains that we are all made up of stories. These stories are as old as the world. We live submerged, entangled with stories. Through narratives, we organize our perception of the world, our biography and history as groups and societies (Falbo170).
There are multiple ways of telling the reality behind these stories. If we let ourselves dwell within the world of the Latin American crónica, in particular, we see just how much cronistas have contributed to what has been previously known as news. and how they will reformulate it so that the crónica presents its own universe. As Juan José Hoyos expresses, a crónica is always a story, and its value does not depend, as in the news, on the novelty of the issue but on its human quality. From this definition, I take the crónica to mean a rather unstructured genre combining literary aestheticism with the journalistic responsibility to inform. The crónica remains a flourishing and evolving practice. The early 21st century has seen a number of new developments in the genre. As a flexible and malleable genre, the crónica is also notoriously difficult to define.
But why deliver a talk about crónicas, and more specifically, one that is pedagogically geared towards prompting students to reflect more deeply about the meanings of the senses and how we learn to feel reality in cultural ways?
There are many reasons why one would consider the crónica a rich and responsive narrative that affords students of Latin American literature a greater understanding of the history and cultural practices of Hispanic peoples. The genre is imbued with a sense of rebelliousness, an elusiveness that refuses to be constrained by a straitjacket. The crónica, with its pendular oscillation between journalism and literature, exemplifies the erasure of borders that confine different forms of telling a story in ways that make the past and present indistinguishable (Falbo 171).
For Rossana Reguillo, the crónica is, indeed, a border text that rides between journalism, social analysis, and literature. Divisions between reality and fiction, oral and written cultures, authorized subjects and represented subjects make the crónica genre itself a transversal type of discourse that crisscrosses all other forms of discourse. Falbo maintains that every crónica supposes a pact and a double commitment between reader and author. The witness can be the interviewee, the figure portrayed in its exact context or the reader him/herself. After a complex and artful writing process, the cronista manages to capture the richness of life’s complexity in its multidimensional character (see Carrión 20).
The purpose of this presentation is to examine how the crónica represents a perfect example of how the senses are educated through literary artifices that shape and in turn are shaped by socio-political realities.
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