Schizophrenia and the End of Literature: Juan Carlos Flores

Literature of Disaster: Antihumanism—The Parting of History in Literature

The end of literature as a project of social emancipation announces both the birth of postmodernity and the death of representational and allegorical writing. Under this new paradigm, literature reaches its limit once it can no longer fulfill the social function assigned to it by the ideological project of the 1960s governments of national liberation. Thus emerges a literature marked by defeat and by the historical experience of the utopian promise’s failure. And yet this writing is not about this defeat but engendered by it. In this sense, literature has become what Maurice Blanchot has called a “writing of disaster” (Blanchot 1980, 25), that is, a literature that is no longer emancipatory, that has no goal and leads to no future. According to Blanchot, the writing of disaster occurs when words are no longer either weapons or means of action and the act of writing has thus lost its urgency and necessity. In this context, the nature of a writing until now marked by its imitation (mimesis) of reality begins to change. When the act of writing loses its relevance and its importance, one’s relationship to writing begins to be transformed. This is the moment in which language ceases to be sacred. When language is no longer sacred, it is also no longer an offering and no longer a sacrifice in the common interest, as it is in allegorical representations. An antihumanist and antiheroic writing emerges that is no longer one with history. This writing, far from glorifying life and postulating itself as a triumph over death, tells us of the violence inflicted on the writing. But does this violence that gives birth and form to the writing come purely from an outside force to which the writing must submit or is it manipulated from the margins of what it is intended to be a resistance strategy?

This question highlights the main paradox that these poetics must confront. On the one hand, this writing appears to be a demystification of the project of a concluded modernity, representing furthermore an opening toward a deterritorialized space. On the other hand, it is a project constitutionally marked by the experience of an ideological defeat and finds itself facing the void left by that failure. If this project is so deeply marked by the experience of defeat, does this also mean that it also is condemned to this failure? Is there any chance that this writing is not in turn limited by the experience of defeat that engendered it? The poetry published in Cuba during the nineties by an entire generation of young writers raised by the revolution as the New Men imagined by Guevara was created under the ideological and aesthetic conditions that we have been discussing. Specifically, the work of the poet Juan Carlos Flores is a writing of disaster built on a deconstructed syntax in which conventional notions of poetry as an aesthetic and ethical act have disappeared.

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