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Colección: INTERAMER
Número: 64
Año: 1998
Autor: Isabel Rodríguez Vergara
Título: Haunting Demons: Critical Essays on the Works of Gabriel García Márquez


1. Originally published as Crónica de una muerte anunciada (Bogotá: Oveja Negra, 1981). The translation (New York: Ballantine, 1982), from which I shall be quoting, is by Gregory Rabassa.

2. See the review by Adelaida López Martínez, Chasqui 10 (1981): 72.

3. This opinion of Rosario Ferré’s is cited by Carmen Rabell in “Periodismo y acción en Crónica de una muerte anunciada,” Santiago, Monografías del Maitén, 1985, 13; the term “fraud” takes on negative connotations, even though Ferré is right in principle.

4. In Mikhail Bakhtin’s terms, discussed mainly in Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, 1929, translated by R.W. Rotsel (Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1973), and L’oeuvre de François Rabelais et la culture populaire au Moyen Age et sous la Renaissance, 1955.  See also Julia Kristeva, “Bakhtin, le mot, le dialogue et le roman,” in Semeiotike: Récherches pour un sémanalyse (Paris: Gallimard, 1969) 143-172, and Tzevetan Todorov, Mikhail Bakhtin, the Dialogical Principle (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984).

5. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1973, vol. II,  909.

6. Louis O. Mink, “Narrative Form as a Cognitive Instrument,” The Writing of History: Literary Form and Historical Understanding (eds.) Robert A. Canary and Henry Kozicki (Madison: U. of Wisconsin Press, 1978) 129-149.

7. Ibid,  142.  

8. Ibid.,  143.

9. Ibid.,  144..

10. Hayden White, “The Historical Text as a Literary Artifact,” in Canary and Kozicki, op. cit.,  44..

11. I have taken the definition of journalism from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. V,  617.

12. On this aspect, see Gonzalo Díaz-Migoyo, “Sub-rosa: La verdad fingida de Crónica de una muerte anunciada,” Hispanic Review 55. 4 (Autumn 1987): 425-440.  It contains a quite useful bibliography.29.

13. Interview with Jesús Ceberio, “Gabriel García Márquez: Crónica de una muerte anunciada es mi mejor novela,” El País [Madrid], 1 de mayo de 1981, 29.

14. In Díaz-Migoyo the events are summarized as follows:  “The event occurred on January 22, 1951, in Sucre (Colombia): When he discovered on their wedding night that his wife, Margarita Chica Salas, was not a virgin, Miguel Reyes Palencia returned her to her mother.  The next morning,  Cayetano Gentile Chimento died at the hands of Victor, Margarita’s brother, as responsible for his sister’s dishonor.  It was a crime with no mystery or complications, common in its motives, circumstances, and execution.”  Later, Díaz-Migoyo compares the opinions of the characters interviewed on the occasion of the publication of the novel, highlighting their differences; for example, the fact that the author did not witness the death of the protagonist, as he claims

15. “Entrevista a García Márquez,”  Diario [Madrid] 28 abril, 1981,  71-73.  In another interview, with Rosa E. Peláez and Cino Colina, reprinted in Excelsior, México, D.F., 31 diciembre 1977, García Márquez also stresses that the genre of Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a problem of definition, since he sees little difference between being a reporter and a chronicler.  He adds that one of his goals is to combine journalism and fiction in such a way that when the news becomes boring, he can improve and embellish it with his own inventions.

16. Interview with Marlise Simons, “García Márquez on Love, Plague and Politics,” New York Times Book Review, February 21, 1988, 3, 23-25.

17. In Gabriel García Márquez, Textos costeños I  (comp.) Jacques Gilard (Bogotá: Oveja Negra 1981) 26.  Gilard critiques García Márquez´s reportage from his earliest days on.

18. On chronicles, see Orlando Gómez-Gil, Historia de la literatura hispanoamericana desde los orígenes hasta el momento actual (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968) 23-54.

19. García Márquez, Textos costeños I, op.cit.,  18.

20. Jorge Ruffinelli, “La crónica como práctica narrativa en México,” Hispanic Journal, 8. 2 (Spring 1987): 66-77.

21. John Benson expresses this opinion in his review of Chronicle of a Death Foretold in Latin American Literary Review, XI. 21 (Fall-Winter 1982): 63-77.  See  64.

22. Gregory Rabassa, “Gabriel García Márquez’s New Book: Literature or Journalism?” World Literature Today,.56.1 (1982): 49.

23. Several reviews and articles mention these points.   See Angel Rama, “García Márquez entre la tragedia y la policial o crónica y pesquisa de Crónica de una muerte anunciada,”  Sin Nombre, 13 (1982): 1-27; Arnold M. Peñuel, “ The Sleep of Vital Reason in García Márquez’s Crónica de una muerte anunciada,” Hispania, 68 (December 1985): 753-766; Richard Predmore, “El mundo moral de Crónica de una muerte anunciada,Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, 390 (1982): 703-712; Jonathan Yardley, “García Márquez and the Broken Mirror of Memory,” Washington Post Book World (March 27, 1983): 3.

24. Rabassa translates this sentence as “provided they were told her before eating.”  This is somewhat ambiguous since the phrase in the Spanish text contains the word ayuno—”fasting.”  “Fasting” suggests, within the context of the novel, a connection between the ability to interpret dreams as superstition and the purgation or cleansing of the body and soul required to foretell the future.

25. Rabassa’s translation, “I was recovering from the wedding revels in the apostolic lap of María Alejandrina Cervantes, and I only awakened with the clamor of the alarm bells, thinking they had turned them loose in honor of the bishop,” lacks the notion that the chronicler would have remained asleep with María Alejandrina Cervantes had it not been for the loud noise that the bells were making in the bishop’s honor.

26. Rabassa, op. cit.,  49.   

27. On the symbology of sacrifice, see René Girard, La violencia y lo sagrado, translated by Joaquín Jorda,  Barcelona, Anagrama, 1983 (originally published as La violence et le sacre, Paris, 1972).   I quote from page 16.   See also, by the same author, Violent Origins (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987) and Des chases cachées depuis la fondation du monde (Paris: B. Grasset, 1978).   

28. Girard, La violencia y lo sagrado, op. cit.,  265.

29. On the ritual character of parties, see bid.,  127-144.  Girard’s study complements Bakhtin’s analysis of carnival perfectly.

30. Ibid.,  265.

31. See Graciela Maturo, Claves simbólicas de Gabriel García Márquez, 2nd ed. (Buenos Aires: Fernando García Cambeiro, 1977).

32. Arnold M. Peñuel, “The Sleep of Vital Reason in García Márquez’s Crónica de una muerte anunciada,” Hispania, 68 (December 1985): 753-766.

33. Américo Castro, España en su historia: Cristianos, moros y judíos (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1948) 107-153, deals with “La creencia de Santiago de Galicia.”

34. On Christ’s crucifixion in the midst of the yelling populace, see Matthew 27:11-50.

35. On the denial of Peter, see John 18:15-27.

36. On Christ’s resurrection on a Saturday, see Matthew 28:1-10.

37. See Peñuel, op. cit.  Also Isabel Alvarez-Borland, “From Mystery to Parody: (Re)Reading García Márquez’s Crónica de una muerte anunciada,” Symposium, 38 (1984-85) especially  278-286.  This topic is the center of discussion in Richard Predmore, “El mundo moral de Crónica de una muerte anunciada,” Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, 390 (1982): 703-212, and Peter S. Prescott, “Murder and Machismo,” Newsweek (November 1, 1982):  82.

38. Girard, La violencia y lo sagrado, op. cit.,  2.

39. The concern over “what people will say” is studied by Peñuel,  762.

40. Ibid.,  761.

41. Jorge Olivares, “Gabriel García Márquez’s Crónica de una muerte anunciada as Metafiction,” Contemporary Literature, 28 (1987): 483-492.

42. Peñuel also analyzes the symbology of names in his article.  On Pilate, see Matthew 27:1-2.

43. Girard, op. cit.,  64.

44. Ibid.,  64, 65.

45. See Apostles, 13:1-15.

46. On the dialectic between Dionysians and Apollonians in culture, see Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and the Case of Wagner, translated  by Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage, 1967).  Although this topic is discussed thoughout this book, see  1-41.  Also from the same author, Beyond Good and Evil  translated by Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage, 1966) 233-236.

47. Peñuel, op. cit.,  761.

48. The metafictional aspect of the novel is well studied in Olivares, op. cit.

49. See Robert Scholes, Fabulation and Metafiction (Urbana: U. of Illinois Press, 1979); Robert Spires, Beyond the Metafictional Mode: Directions in the Modern Spanish Novel (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1984); Patricia Waugh, Metafiction:  The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction (New York: Methuen, 1984).

50. Waugh, op. cit.,  2.

51. Olivares, op. cit.,  484.