Sex, lies and politics : the psychoanalytic transition of the ideological word in Mario Vargas Llosa's Peruvian novels
Using psychoanalytic literary criticism based around the theories of Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva, this thesis will show how the politico-literary drive of Mario Vargas Llosa’s Peruvian novels mirrors the power of the evolving ideological word—the internationalisation of a political agenda in language—that has influenced a transition in his writing over the decades. For sure, Vargas Llosa’s political trajectory is visible in the novels under discussion, from the passion of his social realism to his neo-liberal desire for a modernised Peruvian society. However, I intend to show how Vargas Llosa has never really changed his socio-political identity, given his deep-rooted, privileged position in Peruvian and Western society. To emphasise this, the novels under discussion do not appear in chronological order. Moreover, it is my intention to show how the resonance of ideology in the subtext unveils an illusory approach to writing, revealing an Imaginary Order of changeable political identification, which leads to the novelist’s deep disillusionment with the Symbolic Order of the Peruvian political scene. This dismay subsequently imbues Vargas Llosa’s Peruvian narrative with neo-liberal desire, only for this desire to be purged once and for all in the final novel under analysis. In short, Vargas Llosa’s one-time socialist desire for Peru, la patria, or the metaphorical (m)otherland, as I choose to call it, is re-examined as a politico-literary obsession, and is shown to transform itself into a neo-liberal desire that becomes temporarily trapped, then re-trapped, in the late-capitalist web of literary phallogocentrism, most apparent in the socio-political power struggles symbolised in his erotic fiction. I use a broad spectrum of psychoanalytic theory throughout, centred around Lacanian notions, to re-examine the depiction of the patriarchal social order in those novels set in Vargas Llosa’s homeland. However, the idea of this other land, bearing in mind the feminine gender of the Spanish noun la patria, also involves a deeper interpretation of the Peruvian novels based on psychoanalytic concepts with respect to the mother.