Impersonification: the Poetic Ecology of Esteban Echeverria's Buenos Aires

Thursday, March 23, 2017, 12:00 p.m.
Venue: Erik Jonsson Academic Center (JO)
Season: 2016-2017

The Literary Studies track invites you to attend a guest lecture: Dr. Justin Read, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) will be giving a lecture titled Impersonification: the Poetic Ecology of Esteban Echeverría’s Buenos Aires. Although not necessarily known outside the field of Latin American letters, Esteban Echeverría is a central figure of Argentinean literature after indepedence. In addition to penning Argentina’s Romantic epic poem, La cautiva, Echeverría also wrote the platform for the liberal Unitarian Party (Partido Unitario), a stunning political treatise entitled Dogma Socialista. This talk, however, deals with Echeverría’s most radical work, the short story “El Matadero.” More specifically, it develops a concept of poetic ecology, a means to understand how otherwise abstract human discourses (political, cultural, literary, etc.) are translated into and out of the non-human environment. “El Matadero” is a rather raucous satire that takes place in the slaughterhouse of La Convalescencia, after a catastrophic flood leads to starvation, madness, and mob rule. The flood, while never personified by the story, presents as an “impersonified” force translating its power into the social realm. This talk suggests that translation is a critical aspect of how humans interact with the non-human ecology, and the precariousness in which humans place themselves by doing so.
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