Current Issue Article Abstracts
Volume 75.1 June 2022
Aqupampa (Desert Sands, 2016) by Pablo Landeo Muñoz is the first novel published in Quechua and the first novel in a Latin American Indigenous language published monolingually––and the author insists on in never to be translated into Spanish. This article focuses primarily on two its aspects: literary genre and multilingualism. It posits Aqupampa as an opening of a field of intertextuality and comparison, inviting a transformation of current comparative frameworks. This analysis builds on the reflection on how translation has played a central role in theories of postcolonial, decolonial, and world literature. Since translation is an asymmetric practice, its asymmetry seeps into literary categorizations and analysis. This study proposes to rethink these frameworks through the lens of multilingualism constructed from the perspective of an Indigenous language. It is an impulse to rethink literary circulation, putting in question the centrality of impact within the literary and cultural sphere, and insisting on values other than vast readership. Aqupampa allows us to conceptualize the participation in world literature of texts that do not travel easily but have different (dis)locations inscribed in their linguistic and genre structures.
This article studies the poetry by the Venezuelan neo-avant-garde collective, El Techo de la Ballena (1961-1969). Inspired by the Cuban Revolution and in opposition to local social-political conditions, the balleneros developed a radical aesthetic project meant to transfigure the avant-garde into an actual weapon for revolutionary struggle. While most scholarship focuses on the group's visual arts, the predominant theory linking El Techo's poetics and politics remains Ángel Rama's "el terrorismo en las artes" (1966), which highlights provocation, aggressivity, and reader ambush. In this essay, I offer a new approach to ballenero poetry. In considering two key works, Juan Calzadilla's Dictado por la jauría (1962) and Caupolicán Ovalles's En uso de razón (1963), I examine what I call "abjection poetics"—the deliberate cultivation of slippage between imposed social limits through abject imagery and expression and the resulting political ramifications. I argue that abjection serves as the primary means through which the poets endeavor to destabilize the matrices of power that characterized early 1960s Venezuela, a moment of "macrocephalic" modernity—the physical and rhetorical execution of rapid, uneven modernization and the strategic ordering of the body politic. Calzadilla's and Ovalles's poetry drive the abject into the innerworkings of the developmentalist agenda in order to disrupt its visual, performative, and discursive execution and, in turn, demystify its claims to reason.
This article analyzes the travel account of Clorinda Matto in Italy in 1908, which is part of her posthumous publication, Viaje de recreo. The analysis of her stay in Italy focuses on Matto's combination of text and image, since the narration of her travel experience is accompanied by numerous engravings acquired as postcards by the author. This combination will be analyzed in two basic dimensions. First, in the use and consumption of photographs and postcards as a practice of modern tourism. Second, the essay investigates Viaje de recreo's practices of looking that replicate the aesthetics of both the museum's gallery and the photographic albums and scrapbooks. Finally, the article discusses the ideological dimension of the images' reproduction and selection, what I call here a "pocket modernity." Clorinda Matto reconstructs, from the engravings and from her reflections on them, an image of the Roman empire that not only refers to the foundations of Western civilization but also traces direct ties with the American empires, that of the Incas specifically. Just as at the intersection of text and image offers a new approach to women's travel writing in Latin America, in the parallels established between two civilizations, the Inca and the Roman, we can also read Clorinda Matto's views of modernity, between Europe and America.
This essay discusses the relationship between anger, boredom, and exile in Caribbean literature published in the wake of the nineties, a decade profoundly marked by a change in sensibility, by analyzing Ena Lucía Portela's El pájaro: pincel y tinta china (1999) and Rafael Franco Steeves's El peor de mis amigos (2007). Specifically, in both texts, I detect a fluidity between the concepts of time, water, and a need to disappear. Disappearance as a heterotopic state seems to be connected to a need to destabilize single-authored discourses, functioning as mandates on how to live. This essay, then, argues that disappearance is the most radical effect of subjectivities that operate as, what I call, "angrily bored exiles," a political imagination that challenges the boundaries between subject and object as well as between body, space, and time. If neoliberalism imposes an anxiety about being bored, the exiled position inhabits boredom angrily to enunciate alternate ways of existing. The essay turns this literature into an evaluation of this emotional literary position within a broader context. I propose that the angrily bored mood from the nineties tempered the blind fervor of the sixties and has given contemporary Caribbean subjects a more complicated perspective on their options when imagining utopic representations.
Estilo: lo sublime y la violencia neoliberal en la poesía de Dolores Dorantes
Estilo is a collection of prose poems written in exile by poet, journalist and activist Dolores Dorantes, after the author suffered an attack by organized crime for her work with Documentación y Estudios de Mujeres A.C., a grassroots organization that collected testimonies of women affected by the so-called "war on drugs". This paper analyzes Dorantes' critical appropriation of an average Mexican style (Luis Felipe Fabre), which under the ahistorical guise of the sublime reproduces sexism, elitism and corporatism. I argue that this appropriation of the sublime, both in its rhetorical (Pseudo-Longinus) and aesthetic (Burke, Kant and his followers, etc.) meanings, aims to visibilize the intertwining between the public discourse on drug trafficking and the diffuse violence of the narco-machine (Rosanna Reguillo), especially against women.
Things with a History: Transcultural Materialism and the Literatures of Extraction in Contemporary Latin America by Héctor Hoyos; Mourning El Dorado: Literature and Extractivism in the Contemporary American Tropics by Charlotte Rogers