Prof. Ángel A. Rivera

Publications [Articles]:

1999 "De tradiciones o espacios alternativos en Rosa Mystica o ¿Cuándo se malogró el invento?" Accepted for publication by Hispanic Journal Volume xx.1 (Spring 1999). [REFEREED]


The objective of this essay is to analyze conservative and dissident sexual discourses (cultural and literary) present in the novel Rosa Mystica, by Carlos Varo (Spanish-Puerto Rican author of the twentieth century). The contrast of asymmetric discourses about sexuality in this novel can shed new light on how discourses that are usually considered marginal or abnormal (such as homosexuality, transsexualism, transvestism) deploy specific narrative strategies in order to achieve some form of social validation

"Silence, Voodoo, and Haiti in Mayra Montero's In the Palm of Darkness." Sent for publication consideration to Callaloo. [REFEREED]


I view Mayra Montero's novel, In the Palm of Darkness, as a critical commentary on ethnic, musical, and religious topics in Caribbean literature through the elaboration of the literary strategy denominated as rhetoric of silence. Contradictorily, this strategy gives voice to traditionally suppressed ethnic minorities in Caribbean literatures. It also acknowledges the presence and validity of other forms of knowledge production or of experiencing the Caribbean subject. Mayra Montero is a Cuban-Puerto Rican writer of the late twentieth century.

"El Caribe en posesión o el Caribe montado en Del Rojo de su sombra de Mayra Montero." Sent for publication consideration to MLN. [REFEREED]


Del rojo de su sombra [About his Red Shadow], by Mayra Montero, is a novel that departs from the literary tradition of travel narratives. I read this novel, alongside her other narratives, as part of a theoretical progression that invites the reader's increasing participation in Caribbean cultures texts. Such a reading recognizes Caribbean cultures and texts as an invitation to bring to the reading process a multiplicity of voices and experiences resembling the ritual or spiritual possession, as presented in Caribbean religious practices such as voodoo or santeria.

1998 "Puerto Rico on the Borders: Cultures of Survival or the Survival of Culture." Latin American Literary Review XXVI (1998) 31-46. [REFEREED]


Given the political status of Puerto Rico, since the nineteenth-century, the anomalous and the extreme have been recurring themes in Puerto Rican literature. In modern literature, the manipulation of the body or the presentation of different life styles in extreme states or as ambiguous spaces accompanies these themes. I study the novels Póstumo el enviginiado [Póstumo, the Envirginiated one] (1872) and Rosa Mystica (1987) and their employment of transsexual/transvestite images to refer to cultural and personal survival strategies.

"Relectura de la femme fatale en el contexto de la modernidad decimonónica: La muñeca de Carmela Eulate Sanjurjo." CHASQUI: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana. Vol 27, No. 2 (1998)54-69. [REFEREED]


In this essay, I propose Carmela Eulate Sanjurjo (nineteenth-century Puerto Rican intellectual) as one of the first Caribbean women writers to use the image of the femme fatale in her novel La muñeca [The Doll]. She used this image to explore the dark side or social negative implications of the rapid and chaotic transformations produced by the modernization process.

"El lenguaje de las flores y la extraña en La hija de las flores de Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda." Latin American Theatre Review 32/1 (1998) 5-24. [REFEREED]


This essay analyzes the nineteenth century comedy La hija de las flores [The Flower's Daughter] by the well-known Cuban writer Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda. In this essay I study how Gómez de Avellaneda uses the image of the stranger and the symbolic language of flowers to develop a literary strategy that allows her to question traditional ways of female representation within the context of nineteenth-century's Cuban and Spanish modernity.

"Intelectuales puertorriqueños a finales del siglo XIX: cambio de piel." Asturias y el '98: Sección de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico y el 98. Universidad de Oviedo, Campus de Milán. [In press] [BY INVITATION]


This is a short essay that describes the ways in which three late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Puerto Rican writers assumed the task of devising or imagining a new society, along with the individuals who could function in that society, in accordance with technological progress and new social developments. All their efforts are placed within the context of Spanish imperial and colonial policies.

"Póstumo el transmigrado o el tormento de los cuerpos." Accepted for publication by .CUA.DRI.VI.UM. [REFEREED]


By following Peter Brook's theories about the representation of the human body in literature, I analyze the novel Póstumo el transmigrado (1882) and how it uses the marks in the body in helping the main character to explore his changing identity. In this study I study how the body, in the context of nineteenth-century Caribbean and Spanish cultures, is used in the construction of an imaginary and symbolic cultural order.

1996 "Siglo XIX, Alejandro Tapia y Rivera y Mis Memorias: tecnologías del martirio y de la autoconfiguración del yo." Revista de Estudios Hispánicos (University of Puerto Rico) Año XXIII (1996) 275-294. [REFEREED]


In this essay I explore theories about subject construction, as explained by Michel Foucault, and theories about autobiographical writing, developed by Paul De Man. I view both theories as examples of technologies of the self that produce a system of knowledge that helps the subject to negotiate his or her identity in a given historical or societal context. I use this approach to study nineteenth-century diaries and memoirs by Alejandro Tapia y Rivera.

"La tela de araña de Eugenio María de Hostos: mujer, muchedumbre y modernidad." Revista de Estudios Hispánicos (Washington U., St. Louis) 30 (1996) 41-65. [REFEREED]


This essay explores the questions raised by Eugenio María de Hostos about the kind of subjectivity needed to face the challenges presented by capitalist transformations in the nineteenth century. The novel La tela de la araña (The Cobweb) analyzes the relationship between the political masses, female subjectivity, literature, and the process of democratization in the context of the carnival.

1995 "De fronteras, transexuales, y supervivencia: dos casos en la literatura puertorriqueña, siglos XIX y XX." Revista del Ateneo Puertorriqueño 13-14-15 (1995) 96-118. [REFEREED]


Using the relationships among culture, literature, and national identity, this essay explores the continuities and ruptures between nineteenth-century and twentieth-century writers in Puerto Rico.

The essay also examines he influence of sexuality and its representation on national and personal identity.

"Living on the Border: A Personal View." Published by La causa. Vol. II, No. 2 (April 8, 1995) 4. [BY INVITATION]


This short essay is a personal reaction to debates about cultural relationships between people of Latin American descent born in the U.S. A. and recent Latin American immigrants to the USA. This essay is also the author's reflection on the consequences and effects of immigration on the culture of an individual suddenly uprooted and forced to reinvent creatively his or her own identity in a new cultural frontier or border.

1993 "La peregrinación de Bayoán de Eugenio María de Hostos: viaje de retorno al caos." Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos Volumen XVII, No. 3 (Primavera 1993) 525-35. [REFEREED]


I interpret the novel La peregrinación de Bayoán [Bayoán's Peregrination] by Eugenio María de Hostos (A nineteenth-century Puerto Rican writer) as a space that explores the interaction of chaos theory with literary tropes such as the abyss. Chaos theory, coupled with the trope of the abyss, reveal an intellectual and political search that is truncated due to the anxieties produced by the main character's ways of understanding the world.