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    Writing the state: "I the Supreme" by Augusto Roa Bastos

    Kraniauskas, John (2018) Writing the state: "I the Supreme" by Augusto Roa Bastos. In: Pous, F. and Quin, A. and Viera, M. (eds.) Authoritarianism, Cultural History, and Political Resistance in Latin America: Exposing Paraguay. Memory Politics and Transitional Justice. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 57-79. ISBN 9783319851808.

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    This chapter analyzes the political and philosophical dimension of Augusto Roa Bastos’s most famous novel, I the Supreme. Kraniauskas concentrates on the transformation of sovereign power from the moment in which El Supremo—as sovereign—dictates history, to another in which history overtakes him to dictate-write the dictator’s sovereign passing. He reads this tension through the lens of Rousseau’s The Social Contract focusing on the relationship between the sovereign and the people, constitution and revolution. In Rousseau’s text this theoretical tension is resolved through the creation of a fictional figure, the Jacobin “Lawgiver.” The author argues that the novel occupies this dramatic fictional site at a moment when in Argentina, where Roa Bastos wrote the novel in the early 1970s, Revolution was again on the horizon. In that political context, Kraniauskas sustains that the novel narrates a redistribution of sovereignty that reflects upon, and suggests, a critique of representation.


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