The Credible Voice in Pedro Lemebel’s Oeuvre: Identity, Gender and Censorship

Alejandro Urrutia


Abstract. The oeuvre of the recently deceased Chilean writer Pedro Lemebel (1952–2014) can be described as an expression for systematically persecuted, repressed, censored minoritarian voices, both during the Chile of the dictatorship, that is during the 1970s and 1980s, as well as afterwards, in democratic Chile, that is from the 1990s onwards. These voices build discourses where gender, class or ethnic identity become the narrative axis in Lemebel’s work. His novels, chronicles, performances and short stories have been extensively distributed by alternative media such as independent community- and Internet-based television and radio channels starting in the 1990s under the democratization period post-Pinochet. In this paper, I will analyze the construction of an idea of the author throughout the Lemebelian oeuvre. This author/narrator construction is related to Jon Helt Haarder’s concept of “performative biographism” to identify the set of interventions made by the author/creator in the reading process, i.e. those interferences created by the writer as a public persona and channeled through mass media that orient the reading process (Haarder 2007: 72–82). I am particularly interested in exploring how this figure of the author achieves credibility. I build the analysis mainly upon the concepts from cultural narratology, queer theory and postcolonial studies.


modern Chilean literature; literature and performances; the idea of the author; gender; minority; narrative credibility

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ISSN 1406-0701 (print)
ISSN 2228-4729 (online)