FL 380: An Archaeology of the "Boom": Modern Latin American Prose Fiction

    Reading Guide to Carpentier #2

    The Lost Steps

  1. 77 Discovery: connotations?
  2. 78 Rosario: "as though she was returning from a great distance"
  3. 80-81 Don Quijote de la Mancha: Why this quote (intertext)?
  4. 83 Rosario's attire: "of no period, no time"
  5. 84 "I could not have said why this woman suddenly seemed to me so beautiful...": Can we?
  6. 85-88 The narrator's father
  7. 88 The narrator's 1st trip to Europe in the 1930s: motivated by the "spell" of his father vision of civilization.
  8. 89 "I took refuge . . . in the museums"
  9. 90 "This age was tiring me...": The narrator returns to America just prior to World War II.
  10. 94 The new horrors of war in the time of the Holocaust.
  11. 95 Civilization v. Barbarism?
    a. Who was more "civilized"; the nearly Romantic Pancho Villa or the very European Adolf Hitler?
  12. 95-96 The "Ode to Joy" in a new context.
  13. 97-98 Mouche: the lover's decay.
  14. 99 The narrator, sex, and pornography:
    a. Are not animals known for their openness in copulating?
    b. Is sex to be understood as "a man's finding compensation for his failures in the affirmation of his virility"?
  15. 100 Rosario as a reader: "These books tell the truth."
    a. Now: Do they?
  16. 102 The itinerant prostitutes according to the narrator: "Their presence in that slime-filled back yard...seemed to me nothing short of magic."
  17. 103 The itinerant prostitutes according to Mouche (via the narrator): "According to her now, these prostitutes were formidables, unique, the like of which no longer existed, and she moved closer to them."
  18. 104 Male bonding: "The worst of it..."
    a. "Deep chested, slender-waisted, with something of the look of a bird of prey, the miner had... energy and vigor of its profile".
    b. What to make of this?
  19. 105 "This attitude was so literary..."
    a. Is this a "fair" criticism?
  20. 106 Mouche: alien
  21. 107 Rosario: "I felt myself more and more drawn to Rosario..."
  22. 112 "I regretted more and more having brought Mouche..."
  23. 113 Time: The Lands of the Horse
  24. 114 "A mysterious solidarity...": Myth?
  25. 118 Time: "Those two black jongleurs were singing ballads telling of Charlemagne, of Roland..."
  26. 118-119 Mouche's acute remark: "Mouche's observations were not stupid... a man who has tired of a woman is bored even when she says intelligent things"
  27. 120 Time: The Lands of the Dog
  28. 122: Mouche's decay and the narrator's surprise.
  29. 124 "But now her wishes..." Now?
  30. 124 "bourgeois" as an insult...
    a. Can the insult be related to what he says next about Mouche's intellectual militancy and sexual indulgences?
  31. 125 "As a start, I began to insult the painter..."
    a. What can we make of this?
  32. 126 Drinking with the Greek and the other boys.
  33. 129 Rosario at the wake
  34. 132 "You go in there and don't be afraid"
  35. 133 Sex and Death revisited: "that abominable impulse"
  36. 136 Mouche: "expression ... of malicious, defiant satisfaction"
  37. 137 "Whatever the reason, I was delighted at the thought of Rosario coming with us." Whatever???
  38. 139 "I felt buoyant, relieved, released by the knowledge of her infamy..."
    a. Will one buy this?
  39. 147 Mouche attacked!
  40. 148 "I would never have believed..." How come it is not as difficult for us to believe?
  41. 149 "Mouche in this environment..." Is she the only "absurd being" in that environment?
  42. 150 "the one person whose opinion was precious to me" ???
  43. 151 "Mouche, without dreaming it, had been guilty..."
  44. 151-152 Sex and Death revisited: "And Mouche's head was hanging over us..."
  45. 153 "We got rid of Mouche..." Who is "we"?
  46. 154 The Narrator offers further thoughts on womanhood
  47. 158-159 Reader Beware!!!
    a. "I entertained myself with a childish game..."
    b. "this gave an air of reality to the setting of the novel I was forging."
         i. What novel?
         ii. What does it mean "to forge"?
  48. 162 "I was dazed, frightened, feverish..." ?!?!?!
  49. 165-166 Mimesis: in nature and in literature...
    a. "The jungle is the world of deceit..."
  50. 169-170 "My reason gone, unable to control my fear..." !?!?!
  51. 170 The Second Trial
  52. Rosario's mystery
  53. 174-175 Epiphany: The instruments
  54. 176-178 Time Shift: forward in space; backwards in time.
  55. 180-181 Rosario: timeless, mythical, a woman of the earth
    a. What can we make of this?
  56. 185 Out of Death: The birth of music
  57. 186 Time Shift: Space prior to time, that is, prior to man
    a. "the world of Genesis, at the end of the Fourth Day of Creation"