Narcoepics Unbound foregrounds the controversial yet mostly untheorized phenomenon of contemporary Latin American 'narcoepics.' Dealing with literary works and films whose characteristics are linked to illicit global exchange, informal labor, violence, 'bare life,' drug consumption, and ritualistic patterns of identity, it argues for a new theoretical approach to better understand these 'narratives of intoxication.'
Foregrounding the art that has arisen from or seeks to describe drug culture, Herlinghaus' comparative study looks at writers such as Gutiérrez, J. J. Rodríguez, Reverte, films such as City of God, and the narratives surrounding cultural villains/heroes such as Pablo Escobar. Narcoepics shows that that in order to grasp the aesthetic and ethical core of these narratives it is pivotal, first, to develop an 'aesthetics of sobriety.'
The aim is to establish a criteria for a new kind of literary studies, in which cultural hermeneutics plays as much a part as political philosophy, analysis of religion, and neurophysiological inquiry.