‘Chiste Apocalyptus’: Prospero in the Caribbean and the Art of Power

Chapter from Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination, ed. Monica Hanna, Jennifer Harford Vargas & José David Saldívar. Duke UP 2016: 377-89.

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Going beyond the defamiliarizing strategies of avant-garde literature, works like Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao attempt to articulate an imaginary fantasy to the second and third degrees that might, paradoxically, serve as the real basis for understanding our bewilderingly complex post contemporary history. In this chapter, Saldivar argues that, far from a mere parody or a sign of the exhaustion of the avant-garde, Díaz’s use of the comedic ‘Chiste Apocalpytus,’ the joke at the end of the world, is a formal attempt to counter the reduction of the reality of horror under the sheer weight of the commonplace.

Copyright Ramón Saldivar 2016 ©️