Through the Grapevine: Rulfo, Garro, and National Allegory

  • Enrico Mario Santí
Part of the New Directions in Latino American Cultures book series (NDLAC)


My meditation on restitution as a critical practice evokes obvious conceptual corollaries, such as the twin issues with which it is associated most frequently in contemporary theoretical discussions. The first of these, nation studies, is historical, and concerns the ways in which cultural evidence is marshaled to describe the contents of a national imaginary, often buried or at least unattended. The role of the critic in such practice is to restitute cultural contents that play a role in discourses that either construct or undermine collective identities, such as those encompassed by the concept of nation. Yet clearly the gap between the original nature of those contents and its eventual critical restitution, its retrospective rendering, ought to be mediated by, or at least checked against, the primary evidence of the national archive. And, needless to say, such practice does not always work neatly in favor of encompassing all the identities that are in need of articulation. The other issue, allegory, which is rhetorical rather than historical, would seem to go to the heart of the restitutive will, in the sense that every allegorical interpretation, by its very definition and structure (allegory being literally the discourse of the other, albs agoueirein), attempts to translate one code or set of ciphers onto another, perhaps more accessible, set of signs. Thus allegorical reading would appear to be a primary restituting activity, as decipherment, subject to speculation or correct reading, remains a matter of constant slippage.


Master Narrative Woman Character Past Error Magical Realism Mexican Revolution 
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© Enrico Mario Santí 2005

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  • Enrico Mario Santí

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