This essay is an investigation of dictatorship in three novels: George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s The Autumn of the Patriarch and Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Feast of the Goat. I initially review the intellectual relation among these authors, their more or less adherence to, or renunciation of, socialist ideology, and their depiction of the horrors of life under dictatorial regimes. To analyse dictatorship, I draw upon Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of faciality as the processes that engender the machine of face. Faciality, as a theory, explains how specific faces emerge as mixed semiotic regimes with despotic and authoritarian traits. I demonstrate that despite their cultural differences, these novels are analogous in their emphasis on the thematic significance of face and the numerous techniques and apparatuses that are deployed within each authoritarian regime for the proliferation of the leader’s face. The novels delineate, in more or less comparable ways, how the State tends to suppress the Church or appropriate its functions, how people succumb to a sanctioned version of reality, and how they typically learn to revere a despotic authority that imposes on them the most atrocious rules and practices. The novelists portray not only the suppression of individual freedoms, but also the precariousness of existence under despotic regimes.
dictatorship, faciality, politics, reality, religion, subjectification