Dysfunctional Machines. The Presence of the Avant-Garde in Four Latin American Writers
Sánchez, Aníbal M.
MetadataShow full item record
In this work I study the narratives of four Latin American writers (Adolfo Bioy Casares, Felisberto Hernández, Alejandra Pizarnik, and Julio Cortázar) from the perspective of the dysfunctional machine. The concept of dysfunctional machine opens a new perspective of reading, from which I can re-evaluate how the literature of the River Plate–written between the 1940s and the 1970s–dealt with the inheritance of the historical avant-gardes. The artistic avant-gardes of the beginning of the 20th century can be defined as a radical critique to the artistic institutions. In this work, I suggest that this critique is developed, mainly, through two kinds of machines, each one of them dysfunctional: the bachelor machine and the writing machine. Because they are dysfunctional, these machines do not give an outcome in pragmatico-utilitarian terms, they do not “work,” they do not accomplish a useful task. I take The Large Glass, by Marcel Duchamp, as the paradigm of the concept of bachelor machine, because it is the work that best synthesizes the definitive avant-gardist critique to the artistic institutions through the reception of technology in the terrain of arts. If the bachelor machine is my first perspective for reading the works of the four writers mentioned above, my second perspective for reading these works is given by the notion of what I call writing machine. I find the paradigm of this concept in the work The Museum of Eterna’s Novel, written by the Argentine author Macedonio Fernández. Taking the bachelor machine and the writing machine as my perspective of reading, I analyze how the narratives of Bioy Casares, Felisberto Hernández, Alejandra Pizarnik and Julio Cortázar deal with the avant-gardist agenda. Consequently, this work unfolds in four chapters. Each chapter explores the question of the dysfunctional machine in the work of the author considered. Throughout my work I demonstrate how the four writers mentioned above operated a domestication of the avant-gardist agenda. They took some elements from the avant-garde authors (Duchamp and Macedonio Fernández), but they softened them, in order to become part of the literary institution (a literary institution that the avant-gardists wanted to destroy).
Avant-Gardes. Latin America