ACLA possibility

Who is speaking? Sense and self in Vallejo

César Vallejo is considered one of the most important Latin American writers of the twentieth century. Yet with the complexity of his texts, his doubled, branching voices, and the controversies over his editions and manuscript traditions, he became both myth and interpretive battleground before most of his work was available to read. Vallejo’s transformation into a cultural artifact began in the 1920s, when critic José Carlos Mariátegui sought a prototypical Peruvianness in his work. The marketing of Vallejo after his death presents a mysterious, but also unchanging figure: the shadowy voice of a body speaking of orphanhood, poverty and the pain of being. The early critics’ attachment to this dark image promoted reductive readings. The postmodernist corrective, to see Vallejo as a writer of fractured subjectivity, has value but more useful are the ideas of cultural layering and a subjectivity that is neither unitary nor “fragmented,” but plural, distributed, mobile. This presentation would consider Vallejo in light of Foucault’s “What is an author?” Angamben’s “The author as gesture,” and some contemporary Vallejo criticism (Clayton, Granados, Hart, González Viaña). Key texts are the prose poem “Las ventanas se han estremecido” [The windows have shuddered, 1924], the novella “Fabla salvaje” [Savage Fable/Wild Speech, 1923], the novel El tungsteno [Tungsten, 1931] and the post-epic poetry of España, aparta de mí este cáliz [Spain, take this cup from me, 1938].


10 thoughts on “ACLA possibility

  1. I guess it does mean I have an abstract to work on more for the next conference I try to get into, and/or the beginning of an article to just write.

  2. This was the panel, so I will study these ideas and write the article, anyway.

    To be more than Oneself: Literary Challenges to Figurations of Self
    «Back To Seminars

    Organizer: James Harker
    Co-Organizer: Laura Scuriatti

    In approaches to literature ranging from Russian Formalism to structuralism to some recent cognitive narratology, character is treated as pure element in the creation of a narrative. Support for the indissolubility of character has come from such varied senses of self as the Cartesian cogito, the Freudian ego, Chomskyan linguistics, or recent neuroscience.

    In this seminar we are interested in mapping the ways in which literary forms have dealt with the intuitive or intentional challenges to established figurations of self – at the level of structure, language and content – and in the mutations of the relationships among characters, utterances and narratives in a paradigm which seems to take for granted that mimesis and coherence are the intention, meaning and basis of their interdependence.

    Rather than examining practices that reject the paradigm of the coherent, representable self, whether in form of a rehearsal of the postmodern “fragmentation” of self or as a catalogue of antimimetic practices, this seminar focuses on literary forms that both rely on and challenge the existence of a single, unified self and that generate an expansive, distributed, or plural sense of self. Adriana Cavarero has theorized a reversal of the supposed relationship between narrative and self, positing that the “narratable self” is given coherence by narrative, not that the coherent self is the precondition for narrativity; in this paradigm, a paradoxically unique self is a product of more than one speaker, involving a situation of dialogue and collaboration between individuals both within and outside literature. Autofiction, on the other hand, expressly acknowledges both the referentiality of autobiographical writing and the constructedness or artificiality of the self in discourse. Collaborative autobiography disobeys intuitive referential rules while operating within a fundamentally referential paradigm.

    We welcome papers which investigate modernist and contemporary literature, ideally with a focus on narratives and whole genres that complicate the paradigm of representation and characterological coherence, including autobiography, collaborative autobiography, autofiction, metafiction, and transmedial narrative. We also welcome papers on formal structures such as “we” narration or new approaches to free indirect discourse.

  3. And, the reason I could so concentrate while working on this, and felt as though I had really advanced by thinking about it, is that it is something I actually believe and it is the closest representation of my intutions about this poet so far; but most importantly I was saying something I actually believed.

    1. I’ll write the piece. It having been turned down for ACLA doesn’t entirely matter….

    2. There is also my 2015 LASA paper, and my most recent LCHLL paper. All of these have got to get developed and sent out, the current situation of not getting to do this is ridiculous, they are all too good.

  4. Here is part of the LASA abstract. All of this really needs to get finished, get full attention.
    Cecilia Valdés in New Orleans

    This paper considers some New Orleans sources, parallels and intertexts of Cirilo Villaverde’s Cecilia Valdés o la loma del Ángel: novela de costumbres cubanas (Havana, 1839-New York, 1882) and the fact that Cuba’s national novel — also the best Spanish American novel of the 19th century according to some critics — was written over thirty years’ residence in the United States. Rodrigo Lazo (2002) has mapped some of the transnational dimensions of Cecilia Valdés, pointing out that the places of this novel’s composition and publication call into question the boundaries of “American” literature. He does not discuss its New Orleans connections, which confound such boundaries yet further. When one becomes more aware of the novel’s New Orleans and also Haitian roots and and references, the contours of the Caribbean cultural world in which Cecilia Valdés situates itself begin to take shape. . . .

    How these politics work, and the implications of the fact that Villaverde’s discussion of Cuban cultural processes is so strongly informed by Anglo-American misunderstandings of New Orleans life, are the issues investigated in this piece. Villaverde’s narrative of national identity is constructed through a kind of double or triple vision, where practices from New Orleans, Havana, and Haiti, together with interpretations of these from the English-speaking United States, are all presented as “Cuban customs.”

  5. On Vallejo and subjectivity, think about the Marisol de la Cadena talk on indigenous subjectivity (and seres-tierra), relate to Granados views.

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