ISBN 10: 1846314674 / ISBN 13: 9781846314674
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Rezension: This is a challenging, compelling, and very well written book which builds on the author's brilliant Hindsight and the Real in the double sense of taking further a highly significant exploration of representations of (roughly) the self in Spanish culture and of honing already startling skills of exposition of complex philosophical and cultural critical ideas. -- Professor Chris Perriam, University of Manchester Queer Events, David Vilaseca's third book, was published posthumously, after the tragic and untimely death of the author in a traffic accident in London on February 9, 2010. It is in part indebted to Paul Julian Smith, who graciously corrected the proofs. The volume contains an introduction and conclusion that frame the study theoretically and five chapters on the autobiographical writings of Antonio Roig and Terenci Moix, the films of the Escola de Barcelona, and the fictional and non-fictional writings of Alberto Cardin. Vilaseca contends that these works challenge established knowledge and that in the context of the Spanish transition to democracy they are all in some way revolutionary. Although the subject matter is dense and difficult to summarize in the short space of a review, Vilaseca's command of theory and his ability to probe and illuminate the texts he analyzes is impressive. With this book Vilaseca achieved the summit of his scholarly vocation, and he would certainly have continued to produce equally important works in the future. His loss to the fields of lesbian and gay studies, queer theory, and Hispanism will thus be great. Chapter one, "Of Rats and Men: The Homosexual's 'Becoming-Animal' in Antonio Roig's Autobiographical Trilogy," focuses on Roig's three autobiographical volumes: Todos los parques no son un paraiso (Memorias de un sacerdote), Variaciones sobre un tema de Orestes (Diario, 1975-1977), and Vidente en rebeldia: Un proceso en la Iglesia. Vilaseca departs from previous studies to argue that Roig does not replicate dominant Judeo-Christian perceptions of homosexuality but instead is deeply anti-homophobic and, as Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari propose in their study of Franz Kafka, manages to subvert the structures of Oedipalization despite the abundance of Oedipal motifs in his writing. According to Vilaseca, Roig undermines the Oedipal paradigm not through his relationships with his mother or sisters but rather his exaggerated libidinal attachment to his father and in particular the parodic excess with which he depicts one particular lover, whom he regards as a father-figure. Vilaseca suggests that Roig seeks precisely to free himself from the Oedipal yoke and, by extension, the patriarchal power from which homophobia derives its authority. Vilaseca describes chapter two, "Antigone in Hyde Park: Homosexuality and the Ethics of the Event in Antonio Roig's Autobiographical Trilogy," as the theoretical centerpiece of his book. Drawing on Alain Badiou's conception of the "event," he argues that Roig's coming-out, as recounted in his autobiographical volumes, marks a foundational break with the established order incommensurable with the situation in which it occurred. As an event it undoes existing systems of knowledge, and through it what was unthinkable suddenly becomes possible. Significant in the context of autobiography is the assertion that the subject of the event does not precede it but rather is induced by the logic or truth (here understood as a subjective truth) of the event itself. What is more, the event changes the situation in which it occurs at the site of what Badiou calls the "central void," the socio-symbolic location of the most marginalized, whose lack of value vis-a-vis the larger group allows them to become the locus of the principle of universality. Vilaseca highlights a passage in Roig's autobiographical writing when he is confronted by a potential blackmailer. In responding to his tormentor, he begins to redefine the coordinates of his situation and ultimately emerges as a champion of anti-homophobia. According to Vilaseca, his action reveals the "eventual" nature of his autobiographical project not only with regard to his oppressor but also the Catholic Church and Spanish society as a whole. Despite the negative reception of Roig's writing by many in the Spanish gay community, Vilaseca thus concludes that its effect on Spanish society has been positive and lasting. In chapter three, "How Does One Escape One's Own Simulacrum? Time, Repetition and the 'Asceticism' of Being in Terenci Moix's Autobiography," Vilaseca examines Moix's three-volume autobiographical narrative, El peso de la paja. Whereas most critics highlight what they regard as the postmodernist and camp aspects of Moix's writing, Vilaseca discerns in it classic and ascetic dimensions. Based on Deleuze, he argues that despite the emphasis on simulacra in Moix's writing, Moix is also concerned with being. But for Moix the being of the simulacrum (or phenomenal reality) is in fact difference, so that the return to the self traced through the autobiographical gesture is a return not to an essential sameness but to repetition, differentiation, and becoming. For Moix the "ground" of the simulacrum (and his being) is cinema, the paradigmatic simulacrum as "shadow reality." According to Vilaseca this does not imply the existence of a being superior to the simulacrum but rather that the simulacrum is always a copy of a copy. Vilaseca, following Deleuze (and in particular his reading of Marcel Proust) and Henri Bergson, similarly theorizes Moix's treatment of temporality. Like the Proustian narrator, Moix undergoes an apprenticeship as an artist that leads to a new understanding of the nature of time. Moix's autobiography aims to recover not the chronological moments of the past but a pure time, which, as he discovers, is not independent of the actual moment but is instead the very dynamic of differentiation. The eternal or essential past of the autobiographer exists (or rather insists) only in the present moment, just as any inherent self for Moix is ultimately always and only a simulacrum of a simulacrum. Vilaseca turns his critical lens to cinema in chapter four, "Deleuze no es unicamente severo: Time and Memory in the Films of the Escola de Barcelona." Taking as his point of departure Deleuze's studies of movement and time in film, Vilaseca examines three films, Noche de vino tinto (Jose Maria Nunes), Fata Morgana (Vicente Aranda), and Dante no es unicamente severo (Jacinto Esteva-Grewe and Joaquin Jorda). He argues that although the experimentalist works of the Escola de Barcelona have often been regarded as politically unengaged, these films are in fact revolutionary in their representation of temporal movement. In his analysis of Noche de vino tinto he invokes Deleuze's notion of "any-space-whatever" (a space that is undetermined and non-situational) to show how the film deterritorializes identity and thereby, despite its ostensibly closed ending, affirms human freedom. In his discussion of Fata Morgana he draws on Deleuze's notion of "time crystals" or "hyalosigns"-"mirrors of time" often rendered in cinema through mirror reflections-that function, in keeping with Bergson's understanding of temporality, to express the indiscernability of the virtual and the actual. In his reading of Dante no es unicamente severo, the most well known film of the Escola de Barcelona, Vilaseca cites the Nietzschean concept of "the power of the false" (which Deleuze relates to the manipulation of time in postmodern cinema) to show how the film engages in the production of an alternative present that shatters the illusion of a commonsense world. In chapter five, "Saint Cardin: Sacredness, 'Sinthomosexuality' and the (Non-) Place of the Queer in the Spain of the Transition," Vilaseca begins by relating Giorgio Agamben's theory of statehood in Homo Sacer to Lee Edelman's theory of queer sexuality in No Future. He then elucidates Edelman's reading of Jacques Lacan's concept of the "sinthome" (as opposed to "symptom"), through which the subject experiences an irreducible and meaningless jouissance. By rejecting heteronormativity the homosexual, or in Edelman's neologism, the "sinthomosexual," experiences a similar jouissance and undoing of meaning. According to Edelman, although this pleasure is connected to the death drive, it also entails an ethical embrace of the negativity associated with non-reproductive sexuality, which in a political culture dedicated to procreation and futurity functions to dislodge the epistemological foundations of language and identity. For Vilaseca both the life and writings of Cardin exemplify "sinthomosexuality" (194-212). Cardin refused assimilation within the ostensibly liberal intellectual milieu of the early years of the Transition, and in his short stories and one novel, Sin mas ni mas, he depicts characters whose erotic and violent actions destroy conventional notions of humanity and whose lives, like the "diabolical saint" described by Jean-Paul Sartre in his analysis of Jean Genet, pose a continuous and uncontainable challenge to contemporary Spanish society. Throughout Queer Events Vilaseca highlights texts, including those of Roig, Cardin, and the Escola de Barcelona, that have received little critical attention from Hispanists. Although he might occasionally overstate the societal repercussions of some of these texts, readers will gain from his rigorous theoretical analyses an enriched and nuanced understanding of post-Francoist writing and film, and Spanish queer aesthetics and praxis. The book will surely be cited by scholars of these subjects for a long time to come, and will stand as a testament to the brilliant but all-too-short intellectual career of the author. Revista de Estudios Hispanicos 45.1 2011 ... readers will gain from his rigorous theoretical analyses an enriched and nuanced understanding of post-Francoist writing and film, and Spanish queer aesthetics and praxis. The book will surely be cited by scholars of these subjects for a long time to come, and will stand as a testament to the brilliant but all-too-short intellectual career of the author. Revista de Estudios Hispanicos 45.1 2011

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