The Ethical Question In Postwar Central America And The Mutilated Good In Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s "El Cojo Bueno"

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Journal Of Latin American Cultural Studies


This article examines how the novel El cojo bueno (1996) by Guatemalan writer Rodrigo Rey Rosa posits an ethics that reconstellates the motifs and assumptions that have informed the revolutionary and transition-to-peace efforts of Central America. Through a careful reading of the text, I demonstrate how the novel pushes against the limits of the neoliberal ‘culture of peace’ and gives expression to an ethics that is attuned to the complex sociopolitical conditions of the postwar period. More specifically, I show how the novel develops a moral vision that registers but also resists the impunity, violence, and social disaffection that have devastated the region. The novel dramatizes what the moral life has come to mean in postwar Central America, namely, that it is a matter of grappling with the antinomies of freedom and unfreedom, of compassion and cold survivalism, and refusing to rest easy with either option. Ultimately, El cojo bueno marks a key moment when a new conception of ethics begins to take shape in postwar Central American literature.


Central American literature, postwar Guatemala, ethics and morality, social disaffection, violence, Rodrigo Rey Rosa


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