The Noé Jitrik Reader

Selected Essays on Latin American Literature

The Noé Jitrik Reader

Latin America in Translation/En Traducción/Em Tradução

More about this series

Book Pages: 328 Illustrations: Published: May 2005

Author: Noe Jitrik

Editor: Daniel Balderston

Translator: Susan E. Benner

Latin American Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

The Argentine scholar Noé Jitrik has long been one of the foremost literary critics in Latin America, noted not only for his groundbreaking scholarship but also for his wit. This volume is the first to make available in English a selection of his most influential writings. These sparkling translations of essays first published between 1969 and the late 1990s reveal the extraordinary scope of Jitrik’s work, his sharp insights into the interrelations between history and literature, and his keen awareness of the specificities of Latin American literature and its relationship to European writing. Together they signal the variety of critical approaches and vocabularies Jitrik has embraced over the course of his long career, including French structuralist thought, psychoanalysis, semiotics, and Marxism.

The Noé Jitrik Reader showcases Jitrik’s reflections on marginality and the canon, exile and return, lack and excess, autobiography, Argentine nationalism, the state of literary criticism, the avant-garde, and the so-called Boom in Latin American literature. Among the writers whose work he analyzes in the essays collected here are Jorge Luis Borges, Esteban Echeverría, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, José Martí, César Vallejo, José Bianco, Juan Carlos Onetti, José María Arguedas, Julio Cortázar, and Augusto Roa Bastos. The Noé Jitrik Reader offers English-language readers a unique opportunity to appreciate the rigor and thoughtfulness of one of Latin America’s most informed and persuasive literary critics.


“[A] testimony to [Jitrik’s] extraordinary ability to reflect on a wide range of topics in an original and insightful way. . . . This book will be indispensable to Hispanists and of great interest to those involved in comparative studies.” — Forum for Modern Language Studies

“This translated collection is a valuable opportunity for English-speaking academics to engage with one of Latin America’s truly original critical minds.” — British Bulletin of Publications

"Jitrik, long acknowledged the doyen of the Argentine intelligentsia, displays wit, verve, and encyclopedic knowledge of both cutting-edge criticism and Latin American writing. . . . Never dull, often wildly provocative, Jitrik . . . offers insight, intelligence, and inspiration to a fresh English-speaking audience who, aided by Susan Benner's clear, fluid translations, may now take part in the creative debate Jitrik has assiduously fostered. Essential reading for everyone, in the academy and outside, who is interested in the sociology of Latin American literature and aspires to intelligent readership and excellence as literary critics. Highly recommended." — K.M. Sibbald, Choice

“Reading these essays, I was struck by how much all of us owe to Noé Jitrik and by his role in the formation of a Latin American intelligentsia. Jitrik’s is a voice of wisdom and passion, and this volume reveals the extraordinary scope and weight of his intellectual presence.” — Gwen Kirkpatrick, Georgetown University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Noé Jitrik was born in 1928 in Rivera, Argentina. He is the Director of the Instituto de Literatura Latinoamericana at the University of Buenos Aires. He has taught at universities in Argentina, Mexico, the United States, Puerto Rico, France, and Venezuela. Jitrik is the author of many works of literary criticism and more than a dozen books of fiction and poetry. He is currently editing a twelve-volume history of Argentine literature.

Daniel Balderston is Professor of Spanish at the University of Iowa. He is the author of books including El deseo, enorme cicatriz luminosa: ensayos sobre homosexualidades latinoamericanas; Borges, realidades y simulacros; and Out of Context: Historical Reference and the Representation of Reality in Borges (also published by Duke University Press).

Susan Benner is a lecturer in the Department of English at Iowa State University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Editor’s Preface: Suspending Belief vii

Complex Feelings about Borges 1

Between Being and Becoming: Identity, Latinity, Discourse 27

Form and Signification in Esteban Echeverria’s “The Slaughter House” 35

Canon and Margin in Latin American Literature 64

From History to Writing: Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Tendencies in the Latin American Historical Novel 79

Notes on the Latin American Avant-garde: Working Papers 96

Beneath the Sign of the Baroque 114

The Rise and Fall of Argentine Nationalism 122

Autobiography, Biography, Narrative: Sarmiento and the Origins of Argentine Literature 154

Autobiography, Memoir, Diary 169

Marti in the Latin American Library 180

Lack and Excess in Jose Bianco’s Shadow Play 193

The Suffering Narrator 208

Arguedas: Reflections and Approaches 216

Notes on the “Holy Place” and “Otherness” in Cortazar’s Bestiary 232

I, the Supreme as Historical Novel 247

Thirty Years Later 263

Notes 271

Works Cited 291

Index 305
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3545-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3533-7
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