El señor presidente

I taught this novel last semester when I was falling apart. It was too difficult for the students in terms of language, and reading with them I noticed that on the one hand it was a more difficult modernist text than I remembered and on the other, it resembled a nineteenth century potboiler in a number of ways.

We were all in pain and I did not give a very good course, and I did not enjoy working with this text. Nonetheless I am interested in it and would like to think about it more another time. Here are some notes on it, that I had made, which probably come not only from myself but fr
om various critical articles.

Sociogénesis, psicogénesis; espacio íntimo y espacio público.
Violencia política: ¿quién es el prójimo? ¿qué es la especia humana?
El ser con los otros; la destrucción de la persona.
La crueldad.
La frontera entre psicoanálisis y sociedad.
El sujeto político y el sujeto del inconsciente.
El espacio analítico y el espacio del sujeto ciudadano.

The novel is about how an entire country gets forced to abjection through authoritarian rule and practices. And I had an insight on why I stopped liking to do academic writing: the position of abjection I had always been in when undertaking it became clear to me, at the same time as I as being asked to step not toward greater independence in and authority over my own work but toward a greater degree of abjection.

There is so much of interest to read and do, but I find it impossible when one is also undertaking an unrelenting and systematic dismantling of the self. I could have stopped doing that if I had left this kind of academia and this field, and that was a good reason to do so although again, I was not believed on it. Now it is too late to leave, I can perhaps read and do these things now.

(One thing I would like to read, that I could not understand when it came out, was Kristeva’s book on the abject; how many people have read Vallejo seriously with it, and how much good would it do for criticism now? And this Vallejo question is endless, and apparently there is a fascinating battle between Robert Creeley and the Partisan Review, and it is all so very interesting.)



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