This article proposes an initial reading of Severo Sarduy's family archive. Acquired by Princeton University in 2014, the archive contains approximately 1000 letters addressed to his family from 1959, the year the author leaves Cuba. I begin with what I term the somatic spectacle, in which the author narrates the changes his body experiences abroad. In this discourse both photography and the objects the author sends to his family play a decisive role, and I understand this correspondence and its prostheses as a corporeal essay. Sarduy requires a material transformation to overcome corporeal, national, and heteronormative limits, while also overcoming the very limits of life. The future of the body acquires meaning in a material tautology capable of transcending the temporality of the biological machine. Thus, I propose to read the archive as a skin awaiting a reader who will activate its material membrane.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language
- Literature and Literary Theory
- Family correspondence
- Princeton University
- Severo Sarduy