Vol. 5 No. 2 Dec. 2021

The Psychosis of Power: A Lacanian Reading of Augusto Roa Bastos’s I, the Supreme
Author:William Egginton    Time:2022-01-10    Click:

The Psychosis of Power: A Lacanian Reading of Augusto Roa Bastos’s I, the Supreme

William Egginton

Page 004-011

Abstract: In the mid-seventies, Paraguay was two decades into what would ultimately be the second longest dictatorship in its history, second only to the reign of its “founding father,” Doctor José Rodríguez Gaspar de Francia. The regime of Alfredo Stroessner justified its existence and articulated its continued role in Paraguayan politics on a genealogy of national identity that had its supposed roots in the Francia government, Francia’s political ideology and, in fact, in the historical person of Francia himself. In this essay I show how the great Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos’s 1974 novel, I, the Supreme, takes aim at the “kernel of the real” in the Stroessner regime’s political genealogy, using fiction to make evident its anamorphic manipulation of national and nationalist identity. By taking at its word the regime’s historical discourse, I, the Supreme reveals the psychotic logic animating its version of political power.

Keywords: Augusto Roa Bastos, Paraguayan politics, power and psychosis, Lacan, Žižek, psychoanalysis, authoritarianism

Doi: 10.53397/hunnu.jflc.202102001

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