Journal of Romance Studies

Hero, lover, demon, fool: fictional appropriations of Che Guevara

Journal of Romance Studies (2011), 11, (2), 61–74.

Abstract

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, visiting Cuba in 1960, met Ernesto Guevara and were struck by his personal and political presence. Sartre praised Guevara as the embodiment of existential freedom, referring to his ability to be led by his own assertive will, and not by the will of others, and allegedly described him as ‘the most complete human being of our age’ (Anderson 1997a: 468). From the time of his death until the present, Guevara has been cast in a wide array of historical reconstructions with varying degrees of fictional distance from biographical historicity. In particular, he has repeatedly appeared as a fictional character in novels, sometimes showing an alarming degree of poetic licence, betraying strong ideological motivations behind the fiction. This article analyses the ironic relationship between Jean-Paul Sartre’s praise of Guevara as someone who has fully embraced the freedom of being and the fictionalization or categorization of Guevara as a novelistic character.

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Arenas, Reinaldo (1999) El color del verano (Barcelona: Tusquets Editores) El color del verano Google Scholar

Aronson, Ronald (1980) Jean-Paul Sartre: Philosophy in the World (London: Verso). Jean-Paul Sartre: Philosophy in the World Google Scholar

Beauvoir, Simone de (1968) Force of Circumstance, trans. Richard Howard (London: Penguin). Force of Circumstance Google Scholar

Blackthorn, John (2000) I, Che Guevara (New York: William Morrow). I, Che Guevara Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis (1982) Borges at Eighty, ed. Willis Barnstone (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). Borges at Eighty Google Scholar

Brown, Dan (2004) The da Vinci Code (London: Corgi). The da Vinci Code Google Scholar

Cabrera Infante, Guillermo (1972) ‘Interview with Rita Guibert’, Seven Voices: Seven Latin American Writers talk to Rita Guibert, trans Frances Partridge (New York: Alfred A Knopf) 341–436. Interview with Rita Guibert Seven Voices: Seven Latin American Writers talk to Rita Guibert 341 436 Google Scholar

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Castañeda, Jorge G. (1998) Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara, trans. Marina Castañeda (London: Bloomsbury). Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara Google Scholar

Churchwell, Sarah (2005) The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe (London: Granta Books). The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe Google Scholar

Debray, Régis (1967) Révolution dans la révolution? et autres essais (Paris: Maspero). Révolution dans la révolution? et autres essais Google Scholar

Dorfman, Ariel (1999) The Nanny and the Iceberg (London: Sceptre). The Nanny and the Iceberg Google Scholar

Doval, Teresa de la Caridad (2004) A Girl like Che Guevara (New York: Soho Press). A Girl like Che Guevara Google Scholar

Fontova, Humberto (2005) Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant (Washington DC: Regnery). Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant Google Scholar

Fountain, Ben (2007) Brief Encounters with Che Guevara (New York: Ecco). Brief Encounters with Che Guevara Google Scholar

Gavin, William F. (2006) The Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara School for Wayward Girls (New York: Thomas Dunne Books). The Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara School for Wayward Girls Google Scholar

Gonzalez, Mike (2004) Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution (London: Bookmarks). Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution Google Scholar

Harrison, Malcolm (1999) The Man Who Shot Che Guevara (London: Citron Press). The Man Who Shot Che Guevara Google Scholar

Kerouac, Jack (1959) Dharma Bums (London: Deutsch). Dharma Bums Google Scholar

Labreveux, Philippe (1968) Bolivia bajo el Che (Buenos Aires: Colección Replanteo). Bolivia bajo el Che Google Scholar

Loviny, Christophe (ed.) (2006) Cuba: By Korda (New York: Ocean Press). Cuba: By Korda Google Scholar

Menendez, Ana (2004) Loving Che (London: Review). Loving Che Google Scholar

Posse, Abel (1998) Los cuadernos de Praga (Barcelona: Random House Mondadori). Los cuadernos de Praga Google Scholar

Posse, Abel (1999) ‘La verdadera vida del Che es un largo diálogo con su propia muerte’, interview with Beatriz Iacoviello, http://www.ucm.es/info/especulo/numero10/a_posse.html [accessed May 2011]. Google Scholar

Pfarrer, Chuck (2007) Killing Che (New York: Random House). Killing Che Google Scholar

Rowlandson, William (2010) ‘“Un mito es una imagen participada”: Che Guevara in Lezama Lima’s La expresión americana’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 87.1, 71–88. “Un mito es una imagen participada”: Che Guevara in Lezama Lima’s La expresión americana Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 87.1 71 88 Google Scholar

Sartre, Jean-Paul (1946) ‘Existentialism is a Humanism’, trans. Philip Mairet, Marxists Internet Archive, http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/works/exist/sartre.htm [accessed May 2011]. Google Scholar

Sartre, Jean-Paul (1960) Critique of Dialectical Reason (London: Verso). Critique of Dialectical Reason Google Scholar

Sartre, Jean-Paul (1974) Sartre on Cuba (Westport CT: Greenwood Press). Sartre on Cuba Google Scholar

Sartre, Jean-Paul (1999) [1944] Huis Clos (Paris: Flammarion). Huis Clos Google Scholar

Taibo II, Paco Ignacio (1997) Guevara, Also Known as Che (New York: St Martin’s Press). Guevara, Also Known as Che Google Scholar

Webb, Jason (2006) The Ghost of Che Guevara (London: Macmillan). The Ghost of Che Guevara Google Scholar

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Details

Author details

Rowlandson, William