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Open Cultural Studies


In the scant scholarship relative to Alberto Blest Gana’s Mariluán, several critics have underscored the unfeasibility or superfluidity of the protagonist’s aspired project for restitution, indigenous assimilation, and fraternity in the Araucanía during the novel’s context of enunciation. Under the theoretical framework of Athena Athanasiou and Judith Butler on dispossession, and in dialogue with the concept of “sediments of time” by Reinhart Koselleck, this study argues that an analysis of the overlapping chronologies in “play” in Mariluán serves to revise the statements seemingly offered for advancement nearly 160 years ago. Mariluán’s pseudo-revival of a Lautaro and the manner in which he makes himself “present” or “becoming,” and remains “present” after his beheading, can be re-signified as a means to challenge the terms imposed from structures that inhibit, subjugate, and seek to fully exterminate or nullify the “other” – insomuch in the 1860s, as in future temporalities involving repetitions of historical events and their related, yet distinguishable, singularities. Through a reconsideration of the protagonist’s aims that refute his call for cultural assimilation as a necessary means of integration, today’s status quo on indigenous issues can be re-problematised, to contest the pervasive logic of dispossession and advocate for more practical and politically inclusive structures that celebrate Chile’s plurality.


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Open Access. © 2021 Angela N. DeLutis-Eichenberger, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License