Publication details [#2776]

Bouzaglou, Nathalie. 2007. Pasiones ilícitas: Nación y adulteración en novela venezolana del 'fin de siècle'. New York, N.Y.. 200 pp.
Publication type
Ph.D dissertation
Publication language


In my dissertation I address the function of adultery---understood both as a violation of the family structure, and more generally as the adulteration of any homogeneous and closed system---in nation-building. My research focuses on fin-de-siècle novels, in which I trace representations of adulterous women. I envision adultery and adulteration, in the broad sense of change, mixture or hybridization, as the very anxiety that constitutes nationalism. My exploration of this constitutive anxiety allows me to rethink the so-called "national project" as a dynamic process of fictionalization and essentialization that seeks to "normalize" the very alterations and adulterations on which it is based. My study considers the dialectics at play in (1) the unproblematic reduction of texts to an explicit and intentional commitment to construct the nation through essentializing discourses on nation-building; and (2) the excess to which the performance of language submits the apparent agenda of each text, subverting it. My goal is neither to read novels qua national allegories nor to adopt adultery as a metaphor of the nation. Rather, I attempt to trace social symptoms that destabilize the national narratives contributing to the process of modernization. Furthermore, I propose that the same adulterations that may appear to threaten the family and the nation in effect reaffirm them. (Dissertation Abstracts)