On its publication, Garcia Marquez' fictionalized biography of the Latin American hero of independence, Simon Bolivar, brought about strong controversies. In fact, the novel depicts a rather unusual 'liberator' as compared to his official image in Latin American history. It is a manifestation of the author's scepticism concerning the romantic conception of the 'hero' as well as towards the 'world-historic individual' of Hegelian philosophy of history. "El general en su laberinto" being a historical novel, explicitely based on exact historical investigation, it holds an exceptional place within the work of Garcia Marquez; on the other hand intertextual relations are recognizable between "El general en su laberinto" and the author's early novel "El coronel no tiene quien le escriba". Thus, "El general en su laberinto" allows to draw conclusions with respect to the author's position in present-day debates on aesthetical and historiographical theories as well as to his political standpoint. Ambivalent and tragical aspects dominate in the description of the liberator's life and deeds, nonetheless, this 'human touch' far from diminishing his importance in Latin American history even contributes in underscoring it. The symbolic infrastructure of the biographical novel correlates with the political impact which the author conveys to the protagonist. Subtle allusions to the Cuban president Fidel Castro as well as reiterated references to the beginning of the now fatal financial indebtedness of Latin America to foreign states suggest that with this fictional biography the author also pursues political aims.
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