Malady and Genius

Self-Sacrifice in Puerto Rican Literature

By Benigno Trigo

Subjects: Literary Criticism, Psychoanalysis, Postcolonial Studies, Latin American Studies, Hispanic Studies
Series: SUNY series, Insinuations: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Literature
Paperback : 9781438461588, 240 pages, July 2017
Hardcover : 9781438461571, 240 pages, July 2016

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Scenes of Self-Undoing: Malady and Genius of the Puerto Rican Soul

1. Psyche, History, Language, and Body in Antigona Pérez by Luis Rafael Sánchez

2. The Gift of Abjection: The Look of Love in René Marqués

3. Vicissitudes of Perversion: From “El puertorriqueño dócil” to El capitán de los dormidos

4. Zona. Carga y Descarga: Minor Literature in a Penal Colony

5. Colonial Sublimations of a Noir Eros in “El Josco” and Two Detective Novels

6. Shame, Repetition, and Forgiveness in Queer Latino Testimonio: Impossible Motherhood and Diario de una puta humilde

The Scene of Self-Sacrifice in Literary Discourse: Between Perversion and Sublimation

Works Cited

Analyzes the theme of self-sacrifice in Puerto Rican literature through psychoanalytic theory.


Malady and Genius examines the recurring theme of self-sacrifice in Puerto Rican literature during the second half of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries. Interpreting these scenes through the works of Frantz Fanon, Kelly Oliver, and Julia Kristeva, Benigno Trigo focuses on the context of colonialism and explains the meaning of this recurring theme as a mode of survival under a colonial condition that has lasted more than five hundred years in the oldest colony in the world. Trigo engages a number of works in Latino and Puerto Rican studies that have of late reconsidered the value of a psychoanalytic approach to texts and cultural material, and also different methodologies including post-colonial theory, cultural studies, and queer studies.

Benigno Trigo is Professor of Spanish at Vanderbilt University. He is the author and editor of several books, including Kristeva's Fiction, also published by SUNY Press.