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By David Vilaseca

Hindsight and the genuine: Subjectivity in homosexual Hispanic Autobiography reviews the representations of self and the discursive structure of id within the autobiographical works by way of a number of (mostly) gay-identified authors in smooth Spanish, Catalan and Latin American literature. those contain, between others, Reinaldo Arenas’s Antes que anochezca (1992), Juan Goytisolo’s Coto vedado (1985) and En los reinos de taifa (1986), Jaime Gil de Biedma’s Retrato del artista en 1956 (1994) and Salvador Dalí’s Un diari: 1919–1920 (1994). The booklet includes a sequence of case reports associated with a habitual critical argument. Drawing on a variety of modern critics and philosophers (including, between others, Slavoj Žižek, Ernesto Laclau, Homi Bhabha and Emmanuel Lévinas), it proposes a proposal of identification and (homo)sexuality that is neither essentialist nor in basic terms ‘positional’ (discursive). hence, whereas trying to express (in post-structuralist style) that homosexual Spanish and Latin American self-representations are retroactive constructs continuously inflected through political and discursive elements resembling nationality, ‘race’ and sophistication, the publication additionally stresses the position of the ‘Real’ – the kernel of pre-discursive substance which, in keeping with Lacan and his fans, either precedes and exceeds the symbolic order.

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12 It is a point of excess which falls out of the symbolic order and which, as such, functions as the ‘embodiment of a pure negativity’ (Žižek 1989, 170). To borrow Lacan’s expression, the Real is ‘what is in you more than you’ (Lacan 1979, 263): the materialisation of a terrifying ‘surplus enjoyment’ ( jouissance) which exposes the subject to its own implication in indeterminacy and lack of being. 13 A well-known passage from Dalí’s autobiography will I hope help me to clarify this concept. The episode, which Dalí qualifies as ‘one of the most fearful of its kind that people my memories’ (1949, 93), takes place on a country holiday during the artist’s childhood, a period in which he devoted much time to catching lizards and other small animals 12 13 In the words of Renata Salecl, the kernel of the real ‘is not simply something prior to symbolisation; it is also what remains: the leftover, or better, the failure of symbolisation’ (Salecl 1998, 177).

Siguen aquests els que orientin amb més fermesa el meu camí. Continuo no preocupant-me del dibuix, del que prescindeixo totalment. El color i el sentiment és en lo que dirigeixo els meus esforços. No em preocupa ni poc ni molt que una casa sigui més alta o més baixa que una altra. Es el color i la gamma lo que dóna la vida i l’harmonia. (Dalí 1994, 57) (I continue to admire the great French Impressionists: Manet, Degas, Renoir. Let them be the ones who most firmly direct my path. I keep on disregarding the drawing element, which I avoid entirely.

Jo l’espero amb ansia i desig. L’espero amb els braços oberts, ben oberts, i amb el crit a la flor dels llavis de: Visca la república dels sòviets! (Dalí 1994, 27) (The approaching worldwide revolution becomes more tangible and accentuated each day. I am anxiously looking forward to it. ) Additionally, he points out: Russia ha triomfat de sos enemics. La revolució enarbola la sagnant senyera i el món la mira aterrat i comença a admirar-la. Visca el comunisme! Visca Rússia! A tot el món augmenta l’agitació revolucionària.

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