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ERIC Number: EJ919715
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2133
The Epistemology of Olfaction: Eduardo Lopez Bago's "La prostituta"
Knight, Alrick Clauson, Jr.
Hispania, v92 n3 p430-438 Sep 2009
This article argues that Eduardo Lopez Bago's "La prostituta" evidences a deprivileging of a "visual" approach to narration and of the sensorial predominance of sight. Rather, Lopez Bago harnesses odors and deploys them as an important structuring device and a central generator of meaning, permitting his novel to be judged on its ability to evoke strong emotional responses in the reader by regularly encouraging a sensorial--an olfactory--identification. Lopez Bago holds scent to be a fertile source for the imagination, something that can be aimed, diverted or eliminated and, more broadly, serve as a potential response to the time-honored question of how to most effectively mediate experience. I attempt to show that his aesthetics relies on a perceptible, conscious shift of emphasis that underscores the olfactory as a creator of meaning, and not simply a supplement to that meaning. The effectiveness of scent as mediator of experience is also closely linked to his artistic and epistemological aims: "to emphasize life's most sordid aspects and, crucially, to find a crude "expression" of that same sordidness," as one critic remarks. The broader context of this article suggests that so-called Naturalist works might best be understood through a consideration of the presence and function of odors. Another general though implicit query that underpins such issues is how the question of "Who smells?" (in both the active and passive verbal sense) has been thematized or embodied in literature.
American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Inc. 900 Ladd Road, Walled Lake, MI 48390. Tel: 248-960-2180; Fax: 248-960-9570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A