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The Pequeñas Maniobras of Sebastian in Virgilio Piñera’s Short Stories

Fabiola Cecere    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



This article analyzes the perspective of everyday life in a society that greatly influences behavior and thinking of the main character and narrator of the novel Pequeñas Maniobras (1963), by Cuban writer Virgilio Piñera. Due to the difficulties introduced by censorship, reception of his work encountered obstacles during the author’s life and very few criticism is now available about this text. The novel offers a particular reading of life and reality that the main character, Sebastián, proposes in the first person. The elements of everyday life I will examine are those connected to the ‘no-actions’ and the ‘no-dialogues’ of the protagonist in a corrupted society, in which he feels alienated; but, at the same time and just through these behaviors, he ‘contributes’ to its development. Moreover, I will study possible parallelisms between the protagonist and the author, involved in this paradoxical social game. From a reflection on the literary genre used, including the diary, memoirs and confessions, I will show how this ‘daily exercise’ is well suited to the intentions of the writer. In addition, based on the reflections by Maurice Blanchot and Guy Debord, along with scholars who have analyzed the literary universe of Virgilio Piñera, I will examine remarkable behavioral and linguistic aspects of the protagonist in this story.

Sept. 1, 2015

Keywords: Virgilio PiñeraCuban literatureEveryday lifeAlienation

Copyright: © 2015 Fabiola Cecere. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.