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Channeling the Cinematic in Manuel Puig’s Betrayed by Rita Hayworth

Joyce L. Arriola


The relationship between literature and cinema has grown more extensive in recent decades, not only due to the immense popularity of book-movie tie-ins and their intertextual relationship with other narrative genres like online games and literary adaptations on Netflix, but also because of developments in adaptation studies itself. However, there had been a concentration of studies on novel-to-film adaptations or the wholesale transpositions of literary works onto another medium. Still in the developing stage is the academic analysis of adaptations as a site for literary liquidity. Not only do novels, for instance, become source texts for films, there are occasions when novelists appropriate the cinematic into their characters, themes, narrative techniques, and plot structure. Beyond the adaptation discourse, how do contexts like the prevailing media culture, the realities of the author’s literary environment, and the character of the literary and film industries affecting the text being investigated inform an interpretation of a particular novel and its eventual place in the literary world? In view of the above, this study seeks to answer the following questions: 1. How does Manuel Puig’s Betrayed by Rita Hayworth appropriate cinematic devices in its themes, characters, plot structure, narrative devices, and narrative voice? 2. How does the novel represent Puig’s worldview both as a film artist and a novelist? 3. How does the modern Latin American literary landscape inform the novel’s composition? 4. How does cinema culture become a novelistic trope in Betrayed by Rita Hayworth? 5. How does the novel constitute an occasion for literary liquidity through a new sense of Latin American reality and linguistic play?


Manuel Puig; Betrayed by Rita Hayworth; moviegoing culture; cinematic tropes; literary liquidity; new Argentine reality; linguistic play

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2020.03509