Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

"Maestro," teacher, was the word Jorge Luis Borges used to refer to Macedonio Fernandez. Macedonio, an Argentine writer and philosopher, died in 1952 at age 77, relatively unknown to mainstream readers despite the profound mark he had left on a number of younger writers.1 When I sat in Borges's classes on English and North American literatures...

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1. An Apprenticeship in Reading: Macedonio Fernández

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pp. 1-16

In 1922 Macedonio Fernandez wrote Adriana Buenos Aires: The Last Bad Novel.1 He revised it in 1938, adding some chapters and taking out clues that might reveal its contemporary references. Thus the names of Cesar and Santiago Dabove, which appeared throughout the 1922 text, were replaced with their initials. Adolfo de Obieta conjectures...

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2. Taming the Reader: Jorge Luis Borges

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pp. 17-33

The "animal imagined by Kafka," revived by Borges in The Book of Imaginary Beings, holds a powerful grip on Borges and the reader. It is the ultimate source of confusion, which is found time and again in legend and myth: it partakes of human traits but is not human, its strength is derived from the familiarity of a first look at its face and its...

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3. Intelligence and Its Neighbors: Gabriel García Márquez

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pp. 34-52

Reading Borges leaves us with the need to look further in other books, visit libraries in pursuit of the adventure he maps out for us. Garcia Marquez holds a very different kind of grip on his readers. His is a literature that attempts to draw us into a complete world, with its own cadences and rules. Jacob's wife, the woman in the epigraph who...

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4. Literature as Risk: Julio Cortázar

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pp. 53-72

When Julio Cortazar places himself under the twofold tutelage of Borges and Roberto Arlt, he is trying to reconcile what he sees as the halves of a world. Borges and Arlt, in his view, have had only partial access to Buenos Aires; he is the one who, feeling the contamination of one half by the other, is prompted to write a literature that will render....

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5. A Poetics of Misencounters: Adolfo Bioy Casares

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pp. 73-87

The first epigraph belongs to Cortazar, who writes about his wish to be Bioy Casares as he starts writing a story that he would like to tell with the kind of detachment and precision he admires in Bioy Casares's work. The quotation from Borges is part of the preface he wrote to...

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6. Is There Style Without Gender? Manuel Puig

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pp. 88-103

The man-mad man belongs to the qualities that make men win. He only associates with winners. The contempt that Elias Canetti feels for the character he has drawn is clear; this caricature of the self-confident man who knows "every mercenary personally" and who "grabbed his plane and arrived on time . . . risked danger, concluded treaties and...

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7. The Lucidity of Inaction: María Luisa Bombal

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pp. 104-117

In One Hundred Years of Solitude Garcia Marquez offered us in the character of Remedios the hypothesis of a fatal kind of female beauty endowed with an ability to speak literally, without recourse to metaphor. Remedios was considered to be of superior intelligence by some characters because of her capacity to engage directly, to utter unadorned,...

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8. Closing the Book—Dogspeech: José Donoso

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pp. 118-131

Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera offers its French-speaking parrot as a way of parodying the continuation of francophilia with the pleasures of literature. In Jose Donoso's A House in the Country1 we also encounter the use of French to allude to the puzzles of literary convention, this time in the form of a game called "La marquesa salio a las...

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9. Overstaying My Welcome: Conclusions

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pp. 132-134

What, then, has been dreamt throughout this book as "pedagogical?" What are the constraints of this old term, revived yet eroded by the condescension of the century's consensus? They are certainly not a single body of learned truths but the production of effects of truth and lucidity through fiction. Macedonio's role as a precursor and master of...

Bibliography

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pp. 135-142

Index

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pp. 143-148