Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Comparative Literature (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



In my dissertation, I argue that the human body and physical sensations are not only objects or metaphors that appear in cultural artifacts, but also means of political representation. There are cultural artifacts with a corporeal dimension in which human bodily sensations and states, such as sexual arousal, disease, and pain, are represented. The body becomes a dimension integrated in the discursive form of the artwork. The (literary or cinematic) text evokes a texture, a sensitive skin. This corporeal means is politically engaged with the context in which the artwork has been produced: The body becomes a space of political inscription and struggle, and a device to discursively/corporeally “fight” back. Particularly, I explore a selection of the contemporary cinematic and literary productions in Argentina, Cuba, and Ireland that present political, social, and cultural transformations that took place from the end of the twentieth century to the beginning of the twenty-first. In order to explain my ideas, I refer to E. K. Sedgwick’s Touching Feeling, and I expand on one of the concepts that she presents: texture. As I describe it in my dissertation, texture is the artwork’s corporeal dimension that appeals to the internal dimension of the body (i.e., pain, sickness, sexual arousal) through a discursive materiality (a particular artistic language —in this case, the cinematographic and the literary) that entails a political postulate. Unlike Sedgwick, I consider texture in this dissertation as a plausible analytical notion, a sort of magnifying glass with which to observe the dynamics of corporeality and artistic discourse in literature and cinema. The writers studied include Irish novelist and journalist Colm Tóibín, the Argentine poet and essayist Néstor Perlongher, and the Cuban novelist Reinaldo Arenas. In terms of the filmmakers, I analyze some films directed by Santiago Loza, Iván Fund, Fernando Pérez, Peter Sheridan, Marco Berger, Paula Markovitch, Peter Mullan, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Lucrecia Martel, Deborah Warner, and Carlos Quintela.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Martins, Laura