‘El todo-amor’: Philosophy, Literature, and Love in Macedonio Fernández’s Museo de la novela de la Eterna

Andrés Mesa Guarín

Abstract


This dissertation analyses the aspects of Macedonio Fernández’s reflections on love, pointing to similarities and differences between his theory and his novel Museo de la Novela de la Eterna. Love is a marker of personal identity construction and destruction that mediates private relationships between individuals. Macedonio’s love is a mystical, non-erotic, and misogynist affection that is supposed to unite the lovers and triumph over death. It is divided into three stages: sympathy, fission, and chiasmus. His work and narrative are generally regarded as philosophical literature. Museo speaks of love moving from monologue to dialogue, yet no romantic action is truly represented. In this dissertation, it is argued that the movement of the narrative from monologue to dialogue can correspond with the stages identified in Macedonio’s philosophy. The lack of an erotic nature in the novel and philosophy translates into a lack of performativity, which results in the failure of the theory and of love in the story. Macedonio’s goal to triumph over death drives him to present a relationship where the beloved’s body is not necessary, yet the novel takes on many characteristics of maternal and physical beauty to represent the beloved. The tensions and contradictions, the omission of the erotic nature of love, as well as his demonstration of misogynist attitudes in the Museo, generate paradoxes and incoherence that doom his theory of ‘todo-amor’ to fail both as a love story and as a philosophy.


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