Masquerade and Social Justice in Contemporary Latin American Fiction

By Helene Carol Weldt-Basson



Contemporary Latin American fiction establishes a unique connection between masquerade, frequently motivated by stigma or trauma, and social justice. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines philosophy, history, psychology, literature, and social justice theory, this study delineates the synergistic connection between these two themes. Weldt-Basson examines fourteen novels by twelve different Latin American authors: Mario Vargas Llosa, Sergio Galindo, Augusto Roa Bastos, Fernando del Paso, Mayra Santos-Febres, Isabel Allende, Carmen Boullosa, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, Marcela Serrano, Sara Sefchovich, Luisa Valenzuela, and Ariel Dorfman. She elucidates the varieties of social justice operating in the plots of contemporary Latin American novels: distributive, postmodern/feminist, postcolonial, transitional, and historical justices. The author further examines how masquerade and disguise aid in articulating the theme of social justice, why this is important, and how it relates to Latin American history and the historical novel.

Contributor Bios
Helene Carol Weldt-Basson is currently a professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature at the University of North Dakota. She is the author of Subversive Silences: Nonverbal Expression and Implicit Narrative Strategies in the Works of Latin American Women Writers and Augusto Roa Bastos’s I The Supreme: A Dialogic Perspective. She received an honorary doctorate for her work on Paraguay from the Universidad del Norte in 2012.