The Uruguayan Ángel Rama (1926-1983) is widely recognized as a pioneer in the development of cultural studies in Latin America. This article proposes that there was a lesser-known side to the socially conscious, historicist Rama that was expressed mostly in intimate writings: a romantic, essentialist Rama. The focus is a semi-fictional work, Tierra sin mapa (1959), which recounts the stories Rama’s inmigrant mother told him in Montevideo about her childhood in rural Galicia. In retelling her reminiscences, which were triggered by the homesickness that in Galician is termed morriña, Rama relives his mother’s experiences as his own. This process is here called posmorriña, in an echo of the term ‘postmemory’, coined by Marianne Hirsch to denote the experience of children of victims of trauma. The article argues that this maternal Galicia left a mark on the young intellectual that played a key role in his understanding of Latin American cultural identity. It further suggests that Rama’s experience may be paradigmatic of those of other writers in his time and place.
- Uruguayan literature
- Twentieth century