Pedro Lemebel’s Mi Amiga Gladys: The Role of Emotions in the Reconstruction of Fragmented Memories

  • Julio Uribe Ugalde School of Languages and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne
Keywords: Pedro Lemebel, Gladys Marín, Chilean literature, memory, affect

Abstract

The last book by the Chilean writer Pedro Lemebel (1952–2015) is entitled Mi Amiga Gladys (2016), a production entirely dedicated to his friend Gladys Marín (1938–2005). To date, this work has attracted little attention from academia, perhaps due to its apparently less confrontational discourse, one of the common characteristics of Lemebel’s previous works. However, this essay proposes that Lemebel’s last book in fact reveals a political statement, yet disguised as an intimate/sensitive declaration. This element would reflect a literary strategy employed by the writer, possibly aiming at eliciting a sympathetic response from the reader, by appealing to his/her emotions. By drawing on Affect theory, this essay argues that Lemebel’s personal/emotional stories with Gladys aim at recuperating her legacy, highlighting his friend’s social commitment and spirit of resistance. His contribution is indeed relevant to Chilean culture, as Lemebel views Chile’s recent past, so arguably conflicted and fragmented in its post-dictatorship period (from 1990 onwards). This study aims at being an innovative contribution to Lemebel’s studies, as it approaches his political discourse from an affective perspective, possibly establishing an original model for future analyses of his work.

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Published
2020-01-15