Sánchez, Luis Rafael
(b. 1936), Puerto Rican essayist, short-story writer, playwright, novelist. Born in a coastal town to a middle-class family, Sánchez took degrees at the University of PuertoRico, New York University and the University of Madrid. While he has taught Latin American and Spanish Literature at the University of Puerto Rico, he is best known as a novelist and an essayist becauseof his novels La guaracha del Macho Camacho (Macho Camacho’s Beat, 1976), La importancia de llamarse Daniel Santos (The Importance of Being Named Daniel Santos, 1988) La guagua áerea (The Air Bus,1994) and in the story ‘Jum!’ En cuerpo de camisa – (Body Show, 1966).
Sánchez’s work shows three themes: an existentialist anguish (mainly in his drama), Puerto Rican popular culture (in his novels andshort stories), and the construction of a Puerto Rican identity through ‘the other’ (the Anglo-Saxon) in essays and novels. Sánchez’s most common literary technique is the use of a polyphony ofvoices that at an allegorical level represent the voices of the different Puerto Ricans that have been juxtaposed in the island. Myths, popular music, humour, colloquial and formal language, trips,sarcasm, body language, use of one’s own body and traffic jams show the construction and the establishment of a nationalist ideology.
Sánchez presents a discourse of homosexuality in La guaracha, Laimportancia and particularly in ‘Jum’. On a literal reading Sánchez introduces the theme of homosexuality through the use of a discourse of masculinity and a rejection (homophobia) of queer practices.Through a discourse of masculinity he aims to praise and accept male chauvinism as a trait of the Puerto Rican popular culture, as can be seen in La importancia (‘the orthodoxy of living manly’ and ‘Mysemen belongs to whoever wants it’). The author also presents the discrimination against homosexuality.
On an allegorical level, Sánchez reflects on the social, political, ideological, sexual and...
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