Thursday, October 19, 2006

ALTA conference - Translating the Southern Cone

I came in a bit late, just in time for the end of Cindy Schuster's paper. Stephen Kessler talked about how geography is not destiny, and how he grew to respect the New Criticism technique of close reading; a lot of the context can be deduced or learned from the text itself. Kessler mentioned Julio Cortazar's stories in which he speaks very satirically of the provincialness of life in Buenos Aires.

Suzanne Jill Levine answers some of the things Stephen said about Cortazar: actually he left because of Perón and not because of feelings about Buenos Aires being provincial. Levine went on to talk about Borges, the Boom, the Cuban revolution; mentioning the 40s and Victoria Ocampo - then spinning off to talk about publishers and Latin American lit - Klaf, Patterson, EP Dutton, Grove, New Directions - Then back to Borges and the ways his English- and French-inflected Spanish influenced other writers in Latin America. A digression into Uruguay; the journal Marcha; Benedetti, Onetti, and other amazing writers. Tomas Eloy Martinez. ( "Argentine necrophilia at its most sublime").

Questions and ideas from the audience: Carolyn Tipton brought up alberti and exile. Andrea Labinger also spoke about exile, and Carlos Cerda's time spent in East Germany, which influenced his style to where you go 5 pages until you get a verb. Marian Schwartz commented on the way that Spanish speakers can be in exile in completely different countries and yet still speak their own language. Levine added some thoughts on Puig's feeling of alienation as an Argentine in Mexico. Joan Lindgren: more on exile and nationality. Levine: Hugo Mujica, who spent 7 years in silence like Thomas Merton.

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