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Title: Based on true stories : representing the self and the other in Latin American documentary narratives
Author: Chávez Díaz, Liliana Guadalupe
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 2797
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2017
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This doctoral thesis studies the relationship between journalism and literature in contexts in which freedom of speech is at risk. It takes as primary sources a variety of nonfiction, crónicas, literary journalism and testimonial novels published by Latin American authors in Spanish, from the 1950s to the 2000s. I propose the concept ‘documentary narratives’ to refer to all literary modes of discourse which are related, in diverse degrees, to a journalistic representation of reality. My corpus covers a wide range of topics such as social protests, dictatorships, civil wars, natural disaster, crime and migration. While scholars have focused on the rhetoric and history of this kind of narratives, my reading considers the real, face-to-face encounter between the journalist and others. I argue that the representation of these encounters influences the pact with the reader and challenges the notion of truthfulness. I contend that documentary narratives can serve as a tool for the transmission of knowledge and the production of public debate in societies marked by political and social instability. In a world overwhelmed by data production and immersed in violent acts against those to be considered ‘Others’, I argue that storytelling is still an essential form of communication among individuals, classes and cultures. Contrary to the authors’s intentions of documenting others’ lives, I conclude that these stories offer an (interrupted) account of oneself, that is, the account of a contemporary storyteller pursuing a rarely fulfilled desire of getting to know the Other truly. The thesis has two appendices. Appendix 1 showcases archival material that support some of my arguments. Appendix 2 includes the transcripts of the interviews that I conducted with eight Latin American authors: Elena Poniatowska, Leila Guerriero, Cristian Alarcón, Arturo Fontaine, Santiago Roncagliolo, Francisco Goldman, Martín Caparrós, and Juan Villoro.
Supervisor: Boldy, Steven Sponsor: Cambridge Trust ; Conacyt
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Latin American Literature ; Documentary narratives ; Testimonio ; Literary Journalism ; Latin American Journalism ; Chronicle ; Crónica ; Latin American nonfiction ; Metajournalism ; Testimonial novel ; The Other ; Narratives of the Self ; True Stories ; Periodismo narrativo ; Periodismo literario ; Literature and Journalism ; Investigative Journalism ; Contemporary Latin American literature ; Narrativas documentales ; Contemporary Spanish American literature ; Contemporary Mexican literature ; Argentinean literature ; Gabriel García Márquez ; Rodolfo Walsh ; Tomás Eloy Martínez ; Elena Poniatowska ; Carlos Monsiváis ; Santiago Roncagliolo ; Journalistic interview ; Dialogue ; Otredad ; Martín Caparrós ; Leila Guerriero ; Arturo Fontaine ; Cristian Alarcón ; Storytelling ; Hispanic media