Neurosis and Perversion: the Unpublished and the Forbidden. Analytical Digression on the Case of Pablo de Olavide and a Reading Guide for "Historia del Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición en Chile" by José Toribio Medina

Juan Esteban Plaza Parrochia


This research addresses the mechanisms of censorship of the Holy Office in the narrative and historical works of Pablo de Olavide and in José Toribio Medina’s Historia del Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición en Chile. The essay is divided into two sections: the first seeks to go beyond a perspective in which censorship is an impersonal operation and, through the categories of perversion and neurosis, explores the role of libidinal structures within the ensemble of writing, prohibition and self-imposed prohibition inscribed in the late work of Olavide. This analysis indicates in what sense the inquisitor qualifies as perverse, and two different organizations of desire in the enunciation of the Olavide’s posthumous texts are tested: separation and perversion. A third attempt considers that the fact that these novels were not published responds to a neurotic repression of the subversive strategic potentials of the (perverse) between-lines writing/reading. On the other hand, the second section shows how the analysis of the work of Olavide in the aforementioned terms provides a typology that allows an ordering of the case register that José Toribio Medina records in his history of the Holy Office. If it is the case that censorship continues to be suffered or creatively incorporated in Olavide’s writing, the latter may demonstrate some constants in Medina’s description of the Chilean Inquisition, subsidiary of the Peruvian tribunal. Such a reading becomes relevant for the history of Chilean culture insofar as the administration of the colonial social sphere will be projected in an inverted or reflexive way into the organization of repression designed within the newborn national state.


Hispanic American Enlightenment, Tribunal of the Holy Office, Censorship

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