• "'Let Me Enter the Heaven of Her Consciousness.' Cosmopolitan Ghosts in Adolfo Bioy Casares' The Invention of Morel."

    Antonio Cordoba (see profile)
    Latin American Literature, Speculative and Science Fiction
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    My purpose in this article is to analyze Bioy’s novel in terms of two concepts from two well-known studies on specters and haunting, and to connect this spectral dimension of the novel to current discussions of the concept of cosmopolitanism. The first idea I will use is Derrida’s njunction that one needs “to learn to live with ghosts” (Specters xviii). The second is Avery Gordon’s belief that ghosts are a sign that “haunting is taking place,” where haunting is a special affective cognitive structure in which we get to know about the present or the past in a way that leads to “a transformative recognition” (8). I believe that Bioy’s tale, in which the Narrator is forced to learn how to live with ghosts that are unavailable for interaction or dialog, is a parable about the cosmopolitan desires of those Latin American intellectuals that feel drawn to and excluded from metropolitan centers and must look for innovative ways to maintain alive what Laurent Berlant and Lee Edelman call “the cosmopolitan fantasy of merging and knowing and dissolving hierarchy into a confident equality” (27).3 Bioy offers a Latin American misencounter with European modernity in which the Narrator’s love for Faustine leads to the appropriation of Morel’s metropolitan invention for his own peripheral ends. This successful appropriation results in his self-immolation in order to create a new “fine week” in which the Narrator and Faustine appear to be lovers. Therefore, The Invention of Morel could be considered an example of what Alexa Weik von Mossner calls “the emplotment of cosmopolitanism,” the emotional science fiction plot being the way Bioy explores the desire to stand on par with the metropolis (Cosmopolitan Minds 6). The Narrator’s love for the French-speaking Faustine and his need to have this love acknowledged (and returned) by his beloved transfers cosmopolitan desire to the codified field of heterosexual relationships.
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