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Ojáncano: revista de literatura española

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In the 1990s Luis Goytisolo explores the possibilities of popular fiction, adapting various genres (travel, mystery, erotic, historical) to accomodate his long-term project of unpacking Western Values. Indeed, Goytisolo’s flirtation with the best-selling genre fiction constitutes a postmodern gesture of “complicitous critique.”For example, in Escalera hacia el cielo (1999) Goytisolo exploits the erotic genre to challenge the traditional paradigm of the dominant male gaze and the objectified female body and to offer instead expressions of mutuality. In Mzungo (1996), Goytisolo engages the travel novel to undermine the culturally dominant position of the white European male who “discovers” an unknown culture/geography and explains it in terms of his own, which parades as universal. However, as opposed to the hopeful theme of mutuality we see in Escalera hacia el cielo, Mzungo offers a much darker vision of humanity and our potential for peaceful coexistence.


This article was originally published in Ojáncano: revista de literatura española.