Maternal Jouissance: Elena Garro’s Recuerdos

  • Benigno Trigo
Part of the New Directions in Latino American Cultures book series (NDLAC)


In a letter to Emmanuel Carballo, Elena Garro reveals an intense ambivalence toward her first novel, Recollections of Things to Come (originally published in 1963). After she finished writing it in 1953, she first tried to burn it, and then hid it in a trunk for many years. The letter suggests that even after the novel was recovered and published, Garro still invested it with negative associations. Garro claims that others were responsible for its rescue. She writes that the novel was published only after the intervention of Octavio Paz, who also gets credit for finding it (Muncy 1990, 23–37). She resists remembering the prize awarded to the novel, as if denying any involvement in its recognition by its readers, and she insists that “nobody wanted it” (Carballo 1986, 505).1 And yet, the fact that she hid the three hundred pages of abject text also contradicts her apparent wish to destroy the novel. Her ambivalence is further evidenced by her admission that she was not only responsible for burning parts of it, but also for rewriting it. “The novel was half burnt. I put it in a stove in Mexico and Helenita Paz and my nephew Paco rescued it from the fire. So I had to mend it” (Carballo 1986, 504).


Maternal Body Indian Servant Maternal Experience Troubling Desire Mexican Revolution 
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© Benigno Trigo 2006

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  • Benigno Trigo

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