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During the twentieth century, US interventions in the hemispheric American South introduced a reemergence of empire that expanded the inter-imperial nexus already constituted by the remaining influence of French, Spanish, and British metropoles in the region. This context, which established the geopolitical preconditions of the Latin American boom period, motivated Alejo Carpentier to think hemispherically through experimental narrative form and, in doing so, pose a timely historical problem for which an alternative, "untimely" temporality was needed. This peripheral modernism, which ultimately inspired the experimentation of magical realism, lays bare a little-discussed problematic about the overlapping and recurring imperial formations that are intimately linked to an equally under-studied relation between literary form and the perceived form of history. Carpentier asks us to rethink modernism through the global register of the hemispheric American South, if only to reconsider how modernity itself might be reconstituted for and from the periphery.