Lavery, Jane Elizabeth
Ana Clavel’s Las Violetas son flores del deseo and Peritextuality
Hispanic Research Journal, 14, (2), . (doi:10.1179/1468273712Z.00000000044).
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Taking my cue from a number of theories on paratextuality and specifically peritextuality, this essay argues that the hitherto unaddressed peritextual features of Ana Clavel’s Las Violetas son flores del deseo (2007), including illustration, title, jacket copy, and epigraph are central in understanding the strong reactions which the image on the front cover provoked. I argue that the peritextual dimension, which ambiguously anchors but also disrupts meaning(s), works to underpin the novella’s central themes of paedophilia, rape, and questions of reader-viewer collusion. Even as we are forced into the position of accomplice, our awareness of the constructedness of the peritextual devices functions to relinquish us from becoming mixed up directly in the brutality which the image suggests. Nevertheless, the peritextual also alerts us to the view that the implied crime is not merely the product of artfulness but also the result of our own imagination and longing for that violence. It will also be argued that the erotic content of the image, which implies both a knowing and an unknowing, perturbs the viewer-reader’s comfort zone. Indeed, the image ambiguously plays upon a perceptible incongruity between innocent childhood and sexualized child-teenager and thus disturbs any possibility of offering a safe interpretation.
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