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Beyond innocence: Mexican guerrilla groups, state terrorism, and emergent civil society in three novels by Carlos Montemayor, Élmer Mendoza, and Fritz Glockner

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>A Contracorriente
Issue number3
Volume11
Number of pages31
Pages (from-to)164-194
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article compares three novels on the Mexican guerrilla movements of the 1970s, with a focus on how writers intervene to establish a critical and solidary dialogue between the legacy of the guerrillas and politically mobilized civil society. The comparison of Carlos Montemayor’s Guerra en el paraíso (1991), Élmer Mendoza’s El amante de Janis Joplin (2001), and Fritz Glockner’s Veinte de Cobre: Memorias de la clandestinidad (2005) is organized around three recurring motives: the subjectivities of the guerrilleros as formed by the futility of civic activism, the denunciation of a treacherous government that espouses terrorist methods against guerrillas and civilian population, and the co-existence of a façade of legality with a state of exception. On the basis of this comparison I argue that all three writers use literary language, and appeal to the literary imagination, in order to expand the notion of political struggle to include the contributions of those who did not take up arms, or directly supported the guerrilla. In the three novels, those who took up arms and those who struggle by other means are united by their commitment to the inseparability of ethics and politics; here exemplified by the refusal to claim innocence, or to accept guilt, on the terms of a terrorist government.