Mysterium tremendum - human sacrifice as a liter ary motif in contemporary Latin-American prose fiction
The aim of this article is twofold: firstly, it examines the meaning and the role of the frightening Aztec ritual of human sacrifice in its original religious and political context. Human sacrifice was an integral part of the Aztec world view. It facilitated the communication between the supernatural forces and the human world through the interchange of vital energy. Human sacrifice also had a political meaning, as over time it intensified and was transformed into a formidable display of state power. Secondly, the article investigates the use of human sacrifice as a literary motif in modern Latin-American prose fiction. The selected examples illustrate how the Aztec ritual has acquired different connotative values, distant from its original denotation. It has been transformed into a symbol of historical violence, existential fears and irrational reality.