Intimacy, Extimacy and Subjectivation in Living l’Havana, by Ferran Torrent

Montserrat Roser i Puig



Living l’Havana (1999) is one of Ferran Torrent’s lesser-known works. It has been classified as travel literature and described as ‘un manual habanero para “el turista que lleva dólares”’. However, in this article I shall offer a different reading by analysing it as an exploration of intimacy, extimacy and subjectivation. As explained by David Pavón Cuéllar in the Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology, “extimacy indicates the non-distinction and essential identity between the dual terms of the outside and the deepest inside, the exterior and the most interior of the psyche, the outer world and the inner world of the subject, culture and the core of personality, the social and the mental, surface and depth, behavior and thoughts or feelings”. In this respect, Torrent’s account of the two Valencian peasants who travel regularly to Havana to fulfil their sexual and emotional needs, will be proven to transcend the entertainingly anecdotal to become a study in the ways in which modern narrative can contribute to the commodification of intimacy. That is, I will show how, as the account unfolds, the relation of the intimate and the exterior ceases to be a duality and becomes a new reality. The discussion will be additionally informed by Dominique Mehl’s investigations into the television of intimacy, Sanja Bahun and V.G. Julie Rajan’s study of the intimate and the extimate, violence and gender in the globalized world, and Samuel Mateus’ work on public intimacy.

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