Lezama Lima's Historiographies: Teleology, Revolution, and Chance
Tue, April 3, 2012 • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM • BAT 2.104
Lecture by Dr. Juan Pablo Lupi (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Historicist narratives abound in twentieth-century Cuban historiography: Martí as a messianic idea, the socialist utopia, "teleología insular." Not surprisingly, it is often assumed that the work of José Lezama Lima is another component of this historicist matrix. However, a closer inspection of Lezama's mature thought, especially his theory of the "eras imaginarias," reveals a more complicated picture. The "eras imaginarias" corresponds to an order of discourse in which literary imagination and more specifically, Lezama's own conception of poetry is what shapes historiography, the nation, and the political. This perspective ultimately subverts the idea of historical necessity and gives way to a radical affirmation of chance, uncertainty and the improbable. History is then viewed as a 'stochastic' process, and it needs to be interpreted as such. But how does one make sense of this amid the times of Revolution or later, in the time of its arguable twilight?
Juan Pablo Lupi is assistant professor and graduate adviser in the Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He teaches twentieth-century courses and Spanish-American and Hispanic Caribbean literature; Venezuelan literature, history and society; and literature and science, among other topics. A native of Venezuela, Prof. Lupi received a Master's degree in physics before going to Harvard University to pursue a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature under the mentorship of Barbara Johnson. His scholarly work includes essays on José Lezama Lima and the Orígenes group, the Venezuelan poets Rafael Cadenas and Eugenio Montejo, and contemporary Venezuelan history. His book on Lezama Lima is forthcoming this year from Iberoamericana/Vervuert. His presentation is part of the "Orígenes in Context" graduate seminar, cross-listed in the Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese and the Program in Comparative Literature.