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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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Paradise Lost: Wilderness and the Limits of Western Escapism

Paradise Lost: Wilderness and the Limits of Western Escapism

Chapter:
(p.95) Chapter Four Paradise Lost: Wilderness and the Limits of Western Escapism
Source:
Colonial Tropes and Postcolonial Tricks
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846315220.005

This chapter discusses how the idealization of primitive life in the novela de la selva lightly veils a consciousness of the Hobbesian reality of the jungle as a milieu where life is ‘nasty, brutish, and short’ — a fact which becomes self-evident when the narrators finally succumb to the horrors of the wilderness. The thwarting of the urban travellers' aspirations for immersion in spiritual truths and adventure in the South American tropics destabilizes European narratives of primitivism and presents the tropical forest not as a commodity for urban self-actualization, but as a menacing and potentially deadly, postcolonial space.

Keywords:   primitive life, novela de la selva, urban travellers, primitivism, tropical forest, jungle

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