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ADSactly Literature: *The place of the writer* of Victoria de Stefano or the self-consciousness of the novel (Part I) by adsactly

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ADSactly Literature: *The place of the writer* of Victoria de Stefano or the self-consciousness of the novel (Part I)
<h3>
<center>*The place of the writer* of Victoria de Stefano 
or the self-consciousness of the novel (Part I)</center>
</h3>

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<center>https://i.imgur.com/qIyN3yH.jpg</center><center><sub>The writer Victoria de Stefano [Source](https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1241419429303797&set=t.100001412902104&type=3&theater)</sub></center>

<br>

Friends of @ADSactly, I share with you a literary study article on the short novel ***The place of the writer*** of [Victoria de Stefano](https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_De_Stefano), whom I consider one of the most lucid and dense Venezuelan novelists of the last four decades. Grateful in advance for her reading.

<center>![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmf8ousNrUaPak7FfVj9goiEGG9nM4ewFfu8ax7Jgz8MnY/image.png)</center>

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The theorist Mikhail Bajtin has insisted on the open character of the novel, in its condition of gender in process of formation. These features are explained, as this author explains, because it is "the only genre produced and nurtured by the modern era of universal history, and therefore deeply related to it".

Indeed, modernity inaugurates a time and a culture marked by change, plurality and instability; even in its paradoxical expression, the so-called "postmodernity", this oscillation and mutability is manifested if we conceive this stage as the rebellion of the modern against itself, as Compagnon maintains. Since Descartes, modern man is understood as a thinking existence, he constitutes himself as an object of knowledge and reflection. The critical consciousness about his being and the world he has built, as Octavio Paz maintains, will be the constitutive mark of man in modern times.

This self-criticism achieves a singular revelation in art and, above all, in literature. It is what has been called **autoreflexivity** which, according to Breuer (in Watzlawick), "has its true home in contemporary narrative literature". Self-reflexivity supposes a phenomenon in which literature becomes an object of itself, which will make it possible to speak of **selfreferentiality**: literature constitutes its matter in its own referent; literary work speaks of its nature as fictitious creation; it analyzes itself, looks at itself in the mirror.

The condition of self-reflection will be one of the fundamental characteristics of the novel, especially of the novel production of the present century. In its self-reflective capacity, the novel will show the lucidity and criticality characteristic of modern man, through which it is looked at and, many times, unknown. For this reason, contemporary novels will increasingly incorporate commentary, explicit reflection and essays into their discourse, as Genette warns. Narrative entities will be defined by an insightful thought, until they are reasoned as creatures of fiction. In this operation of unfolding, the novel is fictionalised, transformed into [**metafiction**](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metafiction) - fiction that speaks of itself, its nature and its artifices.

#
<center>https://steemitimages.com/640x0/https://i.imgur.com/trr16GI.jpg?1</center><center><sub>Cubist portrait of a writer, by Diego Rivera (1916) [Source](https://ast.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficheru:Ram%C3%B3nG%C3%B3mezdelaSerna.JPG)</sub></center>

#

In Victoria de Stefano's work ***The place of the writer*** (1992), we have an important example of how the Venezuelan novelism of the late 20th century assumes a self-reflexive and self-referential nature, that is, a relevant sample of the phenomenon of narrative metafictionality. This novel thematizes its own textual condition; it deals reflexively with the poetics of scriptural creation and reveals itself as a poetics. This will be manifested not only in the explicit discourse, but also in its paratextual marks (title, subtitles, epigraphs), in the configuration of its nuclear images and in the composition of its external and internal structure. Let's see.

The title of the novel opens up two initial, non-exclusive interpretative possibilities, which may emerge as hypotheses to be confirmed: the writer's place may allude to the physical space inhabited by the creator, but also to the textual space, read novel, which is the essential dwelling place of the writer. In this preliminary textual mark, the self-reflective dimension of the work will function germinally.

In the first instance, the novel is shown to us as the narration of Claudia, the main character of the story, who will embody the voice and the fundamental perspective of the story. Claudia is a writer, and tells the story of what happens to her one weekend: one Saturday night, at her friend Julio's birthday party; and the next day, in her apartment, when she wakes up trying to write, and while walking down the street. The actions narrated are elementary: meeting and dialogue with friends at the July party; returning home; waking up and getting out of bed; tidying up the apartment and sitting at the desk to start work.

Here we extract two elements to highlight. On the one hand, the identity of the narrator-protagonist: a writer. The knowledge of this capital factor places us before a complex consideration: first, the writer is an inventor of realities, a being with faculties to transpose - through the word - the established order and regularities; second, a literary production, or better, a novel, has as its enunciating subject a writer, which already introduces a sense of duplication and reflection. It should be noted that the narrative voice will generally be delivered as an immediate discourse, in which reflection on the act of writing will occupy a central place.

On the other side, the scarce preponderance of the action will allow to emphasize the substantivity of the word as the founder of reality in literature (we are in front of a "story of words", to say it with Genette's classification), aspect that corresponds with the fact that the narrator-protagonist of this novel is a writer. Both considerations contribute to the matafictional sense of the novel.

<center>https://steemitimages.com/640x0/https://i.imgur.com/KNAWOEh.jpg?1</center><center><sub>[Source](https://pxhere.com/es/photo/60064)</sub></center>

#


The external structure of ***The place of the writer*** seems to respond basically to the above. Three parts titled in the following order: "Today I will do nothing but listen", "The next day" and "At night, working". Such a linear and traditional structure is consistent with the regularity of the story we are told: a writer attends a party where - naturally - everyone talks, returns home at dawn, and, once recovered, begins her work. The process of formation and production of creation is put into play in this order. The writer opens up to the world, tries to apprehend it, confronts it, and listens. Thus we restore the self-reflective sense of the first part, initialled in its title and highlighted in its development. In this respect we read in the discourse of the narrator-protagonist: "(...) I become a victim of myself, a victim of my mania, **passion to see, listen, record, preserve and then write**" (my underlining).

The whole first part will be nourished by constant references to the scriptural process and its conditioning factors: the dialectic of speaking and keeping silent ("We are made of two halves: half that speaks and hides, half that keeps silent and reveals, among them the blade of a knife that separates between edge and edge"), the need for solitude and a place of one's own ("To separate oneself from the world, the perfect one, the never quite desired solitude!"My room is my life, everything is in there"), the fatigue of living and writing ("My novels in the background, if they deal with anything, it is all those works with which life erodes us: the worst of all, the work of being happy. All my characters are exhausted..."), creative unproductivity and discouragement ("Let's suppose I succeed in overcoming empty white, inertia, paralysis, discouragement. Let us suppose all this. Then I will type a line...").

#### (Continued in next post)

#### Bibliographic references

Bajtin, M. (1989). *Theory and aesthetics of the novel*. Spain: Edit. Taurus.
Compagnon, A. (1991). *The Five Paradoxes of Modernity*. Venezuela: Monte Ávila Editores.
Genette, G. (1989). *Figures III*. Spain: Edit. Lumen.
Lumen. Paz, O. (1985). *The sons of the limo. Return*. Colombia: Edit. The Black Sheep.
Stefano, Victoria de (1992). *The place of the writer*. Venezuela: Grupo Editor Alter Ego.
Watzlawick, P. and others (1993). *The invented reality*. Spain: Edit. Gedisa.

#
### Written by @josemalavem

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@shinersfamily ·
She is very amazing

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@josemalavem ·
Thank you, @shinersfamily.
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@cryptorg ·
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Never thought that a community and blockchain platform could evolve like it did so far and that more serious projects are coming to life. Writers should be treasured as they open new worlds and this is the right place to do it. An omage from myself, really beautifull work!
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@josemalavem ·
Thank you, @cryptorg, in what as author of the post corresponds to me. The @ADSactly blog tries to offer quality posts. Greetings.
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@hlezama ·
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Very powerful work (judging by the quotes you have provided). I did not know about this writer. Thank you so much for bringing her to our attention.
I think that even those who have not tried to write can identify with the drama of the writer's block
>Let's suppose I succeed in overcoming empty white, inertia, paralysis, discouragement. Let us suppose all this. Then I will type a line...

or with the existentialist debate of being and existing, sharply expressed in this cutting metaphor
>We are made of two halves: half that speaks and hides, half that keeps silent and reveals, among them the blade of a knife that separates between edge and edge

It is definitely a work worth reading
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@josemalavem ·
Once again, I thank you for your attentive and commented reading, @hlezama. As I say in the post, Victoria de Stefano is one of our most solid living novelists (and essayists). 
As she has a very thorough philosophical and literary background, not only because she was a teacher (for example, she wrote an essay and criticism book about Sartre and another about Baudelaire), her reflections on the subject are present in her novels.
I wish you could read some of his novels. Greetings.
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@nancybriti ·
As you well point out, Victoria de Stefano is one of the most prestigious Venezuelan writers with a solid voice within the Latin American intellectual panorama. Also, as you well point out, the last century and modernity gave way to a specular characteristic in literature and the arts in general, which I find particularly interesting. Self-referentiality or self-reflectivity allows us to know not only history but also what lies behind its construction, the mechanisms of artifice that sustain the narrative work. Although this type of story can take some magic away from it because it breaks some fictional codes, it gains in other elements related to the creative process of any work. It is an excellent work, as always, @josemalavem
πŸ‘  
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@josemalavem ·
Your lucid reading is very well received, @nancybriti. Certainly, Victoria de Stefano brings into play that character that postmodern aesthetics rediscovered, as it was already in some writers of the late nineteenth century (especially in poetry) and early twentieth century. The uncovering of the "artefact" character of the literary text (in this case, the novel) is something that our author does with mastery. Thank you y greetings.
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@owasco ·
Very interesting premise for a book, one that would leave my head spinning. You reminded me of a child I recently read about on steem who said "I have one eye on myself and my other eye on everyone else." It seems child's play for a writer to write a book about a writer, but the problems with self-awareness immediately come into play. I think this book must have been very difficult to write and get what you have taken from it across. Oh my head is spinning just trying to talk about it, I have not read any of it except what you have provided. The best evidence of this is this line: *Let's suppose I succeed in overcoming empty white, inertia, paralysis, discouragement. Let us suppose all this. Then I will type a line...* So she typed many lines - does that mean we all supposed she overcame her inertia? Cryptic stuff. Meta-cognition can be a b**ch. 
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