Abstract

Abstract:

Juan José Saer and his champions have long resisted labeling his novels regionalist literature. I contend, however, that recognizing Saer's intervention in this tradition is essential to appreciating the political stakes of the radical formal experiments for which the author is known. This paper argues that in El limonero real (1974), Saer disrupts codes of representation that have long imagined Argentina's rural interior as an ahistorical landscape. Instead, the narrative foregrounds the shared time of experience as that which allows the reader to know (conocer) regional life. By weaving movement into the past and future into the act of looking, Saer's narrative gaze insists that time is integral to vision: it is only by gathering fragmentary visions from disparate moments that one is able to see and make sense of the whole. Saer's temporally protracted narration ultimately demands a deeper form of ethical engagement from the reader. Instead of simply looking at the region and taking in its local color, the reader is asked to inhabit the space and time of the world represented. In this way, Saer's avant-garde poetics challenge nationalistic progress narratives invested in displacing regional spaces into archaic time and invite critical reflection on how such spaces are viewed and consumed by a cosmopolitan readership.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2164-9308
Print ISSN
0034-818X
Pages
pp. 27-49
Launched on MUSE
2018-05-05
Open Access
No
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