Borges and the literary space of the avant-garde in Latin America

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Palmireno Couto Moreira Neto


“When I came back from Europe in 1921, I came bearing the banners of ultraism. I am still known to literary historians as ‘the father of Argentine ultraism’” (Borges 1971, 155). In his autobiographical essay, originally published in The New Yorker in 1970, the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges recalled the avant-garde project developed in Buenos Aires in the early 1920s. Although he later distanced himself from the avant-garde aesthetics, Borges was a dedicated member of the ultraist group (initially in Spain, where the movement was created, and later in Argentina) as remarked by Serge Fauchereau: “Devenu plus tarde conservateur, Borges n’aura de cesse de minimiser sa copieuse contribution aux publications ultraïstes.... Ses propres manifestes sont pourtant les plus consistant du mouvement” (Fauchereau 2016, 309). Analyzing Borges’s texts concerning ultraism published in the early 1920s and his personal correspondence from the period, the presentation will assess the cosmo­politan and national elements characteristic of his literary project (Sarlo 1993). Secondly, it will be evaluated how these elements, which according to Sarlo are combined to form a distinct literary space (“las orillas”), might define a specific center/periphery model of literary circulation.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Global South and Global North