Spanish and Portuguese ETDs

Publication Date



This dissertation analyzes Mario Benedetti's novel Primavera con una esquina rota (A Spring with a Broken Corner) with special attention to the subject of the political prisoner and the representation of the crisis that unfolded in Uruguay after the 1973 coup d'état. Up until now, criticism on Primavera has focused, almost exclusively, on the topic of exile, limiting with this the text's multidimensional quality. This dissertation postulates that the subject of the political prisoner is as central to the novel as that of exile. As a consequence, if we try to interpret the work paying attention only to one of the two topics, leaving the other aside, the resulting interpretation will be necessarily a partial one. The analysis developed here acknowledges that the place, from which the character of Benedetti speaks in the autobiographical chapters, as well as that of most of the characters in the novelistic sections, is exile. However, the centrality of the subject of the political prisoner is justified by the fact that the protagonist's place of enunciation is his inner exile and the political prison. Exile and inner exile inside the political prison conform, then, the two symptoms and main consequences of the crisis generated by Uruguayan dictatorship. This is why both symptoms make the concept of crisis their crucial complement. It is in this sense that this dissertation incorporates three critical perspectives that allow the reader to see the internal trauma as well as the dislocation the prison experience inflicts on the political prisoner, the exiles, and the family as a synecdoche of a fragmented nation. The analysis here presented uses René Girard's theory of the plague, Michel Foucault's concept of prison discipline, and the ideas about textual fragmentation proposed by Carol Clarck D'Lugo, Mieke Bal, and Luis Díaz Márquez, as well as Mikhail Bahktin's concept of heteroglossia. The methodology developed for the present research thus combines literary, historical, theoretical, and sociological sources.

Degree Name

Spanish & Portuguese (PhD)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Rebolledo, Tey Diana

Second Committee Member

Rodriguez, Ilia

Third Committee Member

Lopez, Miguel




Benedetti, Mario, 1920-2009--Primavera con una esquina rota--Criticism and interpretation, Political prisoners in literature, Exiles in literature

Document Type