Javier Vargas de Luna was born in Mexico in 1967. He worked as a journalist in Mexico for more than a decade. He earned his PhD (summa cum laude) in literary studies from Montreal’s McGill University, with a dissertation on literary life in New Spain (17th century Mexico). Since 2004, he has been in charge of Hispano-American, Colonial and Contemporary Literature at Université Laval (Québec City), after holding a position as Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts. Dr Vargas de Luna has authored numerous articles, essays, book chapters and journalistic contributions, including notably Las dos ciudades de Juan Ruiz de Alarcón (2006), Perú en el espejo de Vargas Llosa (2008) and Avez-vous déjà lu Cervantès (2009), along with two volumes of poetry: Temporada de mangos (2001) and Besos aparte (2009). He is currently researching what he refers to as the “novels of captivity” in 20th century Latin America.
The aim and objective of this project is to study the treatment of time and space in the Latin American literature between 1940s and 1980s, historic period marked by a significant political excitement and by a vast production of narratives dealing with the theme of captivity. This type of novels seems to be particularly capable of a fictitious reconstruction of a captive memory. Indeed, in the novel, as well as in the social life of several Latin American countries of this period, the (re)construction of the memory – or the deconstruction of the oblivion – are connected to the fact of (not) having the freedom to engage in certain physical actions: going out and speaking; thinking and staying indoors; expressing oneself and losing the ability to have a social life, etc. If, as G. Bachelard maintains in The Poetics of the Space, every material reality represented in a world of fiction finds a clear correspondence in the current events among which an author creates a novel, our hypothesis suggests that this return to the theme of the captivity of the Latin American writers could represent an underlying attempt to tame or to seize a new future in which memory will no longer be a political position instead of an immaterial object freely built. Our study will concern a corpus of twelve authors and seventeen novels of seven different countries: Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay and, in spite of its specificity, Cuba, a nation which can give us a more complete vision in the context in question.