By Israel Reyes
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Additional info for Humor and the Eccentric Text in Puerto Rican Literature
The avenue down which Miguel walks also marks the text’s attention to exteriority and the open space in which the subject loses his singularity, becoming indistinguishable from the masses surrounding him.
Susan Kirkpatrick, in Las Románticas: Women Writers and Subjectivity in Spain, 1835–1850, argues that Larra’s objective distance comes to the surface of his text in the form of a painful feeling of isolation (100). Larra’s romanticism situates the individual in a state of constant conflict with society. He exposes the ridiculous in others but takes his position as an aloof, inviolable satirist very seriously. This satirical objectivity contrasts with a self-deprecating humor. The eminent Spanish scholar Julio Casares argues that humor does not regard society from a distance, and when the satirist stops to think that he is of the same ilk (“de la misma carne”) as his victims, that he too could one day succumb to the very circumstances he ridicules, only then will he loosen the whip of his wit (“el látigo se le afloja”) and see himself as the possible object of someone else’s ridicule (45).
Nemesio Canales’s success as a satirical journalist in Puerto Rico began with a series of articles he wrote for the Ponce newspaper El Día from 1911 to 1914 (Romeu 1985, 111). Collected and published as Paliques in 1915, these essays were the first indication that Canales’s self-deprecating humor distinguished him from his Puerto Rican compatriots and Spanish predecessors. 5 Canales elaborates a comic metaphor in which his own duty to write this column is compared to the trials of Cain, the sinful and murderous son of humanity’s first father.