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Colonial Tropes and Postcolonial TricksRewriting the Tropics in the novela de la selva$
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Lesley Wylie

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781846311956

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315220

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Tropical Nature and Landscape Aesthetics

Tropical Nature and Landscape Aesthetics

Chapter:
(p.40) Chapter Two Tropical Nature and Landscape Aesthetics
Source:
Colonial Tropes and Postcolonial Tricks
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846315220.003

Chapter 1 showed how narrative irony was used by postcolonial writers to distance themselves from colonial narratives. This chapter discusses a particular strand of this irony, directed against imperial stereotypes of the jungle as a space of the sublime, of horror and of unknowability. Through parody, the novela de la selva transforms these colonial tropes into empowering concepts, presenting a vision of the jungle as an enormous heart of voracious vegetation and lurking evil, ready to engulf the unwary traveller. The chapter also examines the dystopian representation of the rainforest throughout the novela de la selva, with reference to Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The latter anticipates the South American authors' efforts to forge a new aesthetics of nature — a descriptive vocabulary which, far from attempting to humanize the telluric, emphasizes the radical disjunction between man and tropical nature, and holds up the mysterious and often terrifying jungle flora as a direct challenge to European landscape aesthetics.

Keywords:   narrative irony, parody, novela de la selva, colonial tropes, jungle, rainforest, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

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