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Figurative Inquisitions: Conversion, Torture, and Truth in the Luso-Hispanic Atlantic
by Erin Graff Zivin
Northwestern University Press, 2014
eISBN: 978-0-8101-6743-8 | Paper: 978-0-8101-2945-0
Library of Congress Classification PQ7081.G684 2014
Dewey Decimal Classification 860.9358

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ABOUT THIS BOOK

Winner, 2015 LAJSA Best Book in Latin American Jewish Studies

The practices of interrogation, torture, and confession have resurfaced in public debates since the early 2000s following human rights abuses around the globe. Yet discussion of torture has remained restricted to three principal fields: the legal, the pragmatic, and the moral, eclipsing the less immediate but vital question of what torture does.Figurative Inquisitions seeks to correct this lacuna by approaching the question of torture from a literary vantage point.

This book investigates the uncanny presence of the Inquisition and marranismo (crypto-Judaism) in modern literature, theater, and film from Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal. Through a critique of fictional scenes of interrogation, it underscores the vital role of the literary in deconstructing the relation between torture and truth. Figurative Inquisitions traces the contours of a relationship among aesthetics, ethics, and politics in an account of the "Inquisitional logic" that continues to haunt contemporary political forms. In so doing, the book offers a unique humanistic perspective on current torture debates.

 

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