martes, 16 de enero de 2018

Book: The Latin American short-story in the 20th Century

The Latin American short-story in the 20th Century

Fernando Chelle



Translation by Jesús Daniel Ovallos

  • Editorial: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (January 8, 2018)
  • ISBN-10: 1983680001
  •  ISBN-13: 978-1983680007 

Paper edition (US $): here 
Kindle Edition (US $): here 



Paper edition (EUR): here 
Kindle Edition (EUR): here 



Prologue by the author
The diversity of the Latin American short stories

In the month of June in 2015, after publishing El cuento fantástico en el Río de laPlata (The fantastic short-story in Río de la Plata), I committed myself to keep working on literary essays, about short-story writers who had ventured into the fantasy genre, but this time, not only in the region of Río de la Plata; I was interested in extending those examinations in order to study different authors, starting with the Latin American ones. About the writers from my country, I had already worked on El almohadón de plumas (The feather pillow) by Horacio Quiroga, a short story about the unexplainable death of a woman after being attacked by a strange animal that lives in a pillow; I also had published two studies about Felisberto Hernández: one about the upholders and the detractors of his works, and another which approaches a literary analysis of the short storyMuebles: el canario (The canary: Furniture shop), a wonderful narration in which, in a very fantastic way, makes a ruthless critic to the media in service to the commercial advertising. I also had already worked on some writers who had approached the fantastic genre in Argentina. I had published a study about “El Aleph”, by Jorge Luis Borges, a story which main topic is the clash between one single person and the infinite, represented in an object; and, at last, with occasion of the Julio Cortazar’s one hundredth’s birthday, I published a study about La continuidad de los parques (Continuity of the parks), his terrific story in which the writer moves around the different levels of fiction with incommensurable mastery. One of the fantastic short stories I have always liked, which has had a great impact on me since the first time I read it was El guardagujas (The switchman), by Mexican writer Juan José Arreola, so I continued my essay journey about LatinAmerican short-story writers with that text. The switchman is a story that allows a multiplicity of interpretations, some more evident than others, but there we can appreciate a satire about the Mexican railroad system; a critic to dehumanizing mercantilism; an allegory about the fate of mankind; an absurd look to some political systems and social institutions; a great work indeed. After working in the story of Arreola, I decided to change my primary plans, I would no longer continue to look for stories with fantastic characteristics throughout the American continent, but I would choose the stories that I considered the best or more representative of each country. I realized that I would have chosen the foretold stories and put them in a selection of the best Latin American short stories of the past century. If I reduced my search specter only to those stories which held fantastic characteristics, I would be taking the risk of choosing stories of a minor quality because, as I expressed in the prologue of The fantastic short story in the Río de la Plata, that characteristic was more intense in the Río de la Plata than in the rest of Latin America. Thus, I decided to change the main project, which was writing a big essay about the fantastic short stories in Latin America (a job very unlikely to be finished, if you ask me), to a more ambitious and subjective one, writing a work about the best short stories and short story writers in Latin America in the 20thcentury.

Now that the work is complete, I see that it can be divided into four thematic blocks, something that wasn’t initially planned.  We have the block concerning the aforementioned five stories. A second block consisting in short stories about the teenager world. These tales are: Clandestine happiness by Clarice Lispector, a story about evil, moral suffering and the humiliation of a young girl in the hands of a girl from her same school; Día domingo (On Sunday) by Mario Vargas Llosa, a short story about the clash between two young boys for the love of a girl; in the end, we’ll approach Un regalo para Julia (A gift for Julia) by Francisco Massiani, which shares the teenager thematic with the other stories, but focuses in the insecurities and uncertainties of the aforementioned period of the life. The third block consists in only two short stories which axis is the Guerra del Chaco (Chaco War), a war that faced Bolivians and Paraguayans between 1932 and 1935. One of this tales is La excavación (The excavation) by Augusto Roa Bastos, a tale that narrates the agonic struggle of a man trying to achieve his freedom, in which he references both the internal Paraguayan wars and the mentioned Chaco War. The other short story in this block approaches the other side of the war, from the Bolivian side. I am talking about a story named El pozo (The well), a short story about the despair and hope of a group of bolivian soldiers who protect a barren well in which they try to get water from, uselessly, but for which they are willing to give their lives if necessary, in a totally useless war, like the Chaco War itself. Finally, in the fourth and last block of studied short stories, we will take a look into the works of three authors with an own characteristic voice that makes them different from the rest of the other writers. Here we will see Sensini, probably the most recognized and representative story by Roberto Bolaño about literary creation and literary contests. It is a text which unveils the struggling reality that exiled non consecrated writers have to coup in the small towns’ literary contests, which is not glory and recognizement, but just an economical relief that allows them to ease their daily needs. Another author with an own voice, that we can appreciate in this block of arbitrary classifying I decided to establish, is Gabriel García Márquez. From the Colombian author, I chose to analyze a tale titled Un día de estos (One of these days), included in his first short stories book Los funerales de la Mamá Grande (Big Mama’s funeral). It is a tale that shows a truce established in the ideological conflict between the people (represented by a dentist) and the Government (represented by a Mayor) and the reversion of roles in which the people, at least for a short moment, impose their rules. The last text in this block isUn hombre muerto a puntapiés (A man dead by kicks), written by the best Ecuadorian short story writer ever, Pablo Palacio. It is a story in which the main topic is the aggression, the violent behavior and the social problems deriving from the reluctance to accept different sexual preferences in the city of Quito by the times in which the author lived.

 Fernando Chelle 

Book: The fantastic short story in Río de la Plata

The fantastic short story in Río de la Plata

Fernando Chelle



Translation by Jesús Daniel Ovallos

  • Editorial: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (January 10, 2018)
  • ISBN-10: 1983757489
  •  ISBN-13: 978-1983757488

Paper edition (US $): here 
Kindle Edition (US $): here  



Paper edition (EUR): here 
Kindle Edition (EUR): here   



Prologue by the author
The fantastic storytelling mania

Among the different literary manifestations that have proliferated in both strands of Río de la Plata, the fantastic short story has been one of the most outstanding. Uruguay and Argentina have been the birthplace of many excellent novelists, poets and playwrights whose names will live forever in the history of Latin American and world literature, but the most studied and most relevant authors of this region have been those who devoted their words to short stories, and within them, those who dabbled in the fantastic genre.
It is not easy to establish a reason why this kind of literature was more intense in the Río de la Plata than in the rest of Latin America, perhaps there is no definitive explanation to clarify this fact. Julio Cortázar said once that, possibly, this proliferation was due to the fact that the surrounding reality of the countries of the Río de la Plata is much poorer than the rich tropical environment surroundings of the countries that are located in the northern side of the continent. It is a possibility to which we must add at least another reason, more relevant in my opinion: the literary influences that the authors of the early and mid-20th century from Río de la Plata had. Among the most notorious influences, some of them openly recognized by different authors from that region, we can highlight the North Americans Edgar Allan Poe and Henry James (though James, almost in the end of his life, got the British nationality); we can also highlight the influence of German writer Theodor Amadeus Hoffman; Czech Republic’s Franz Kafka; France’s Jules Verne; Ireland’s Charles Maturin; Great Britain’s Thomas de Quincey, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, Herbert George Wells and Keith Chesterton, among many other influential but less noted authors.
The fantastic vein within literature is as ancient as literature itself. If we wanted to establish the origin and development of this literary line, we would have to go back to classical myths, go through some medieval literary manifestations, then follow the path of chivalric novels, and also take a look at some romantic and gothic stories. But if we wanted to theorize about that literary line, which has been present in all periods of time and has been present in many diverse literary manifestations, we would have to find out what they have in common; how, for example, a classic myth and a gothic novel are related, or how those manifestations are related to a story by Leopoldo Lugones. The answer to this question would be: the disturbing strangeness. The works in the Fantastic genre try to show a different reality than the historically recognizable reality. The facts and phenomena considered fantastic literature oppose to the natural laws, they do not imitate the reality, but they create other alternative realities that overcome or surpass what is credible or recognized as real. Of course, these supernatural elements are way different in a mythological story than in a modern civilization’s story, where the explanation of that "other reality" does not have an answer linked to divinities, but to rationality and science, as long as it can be explained by them. This has led some theorists to delimitate the fantastic, to establish a more precise definition of a term that, as I mentioned before, has been used to put works with different styles and characteristics in the same bag. As the intention of this book is not to theorize about the concept of the fantastic, but to show a series of analytical comments of some stories with similar characteristics written by authors from the Río de la Plata zone, I will present a brief description of its characteristics, and then I will just refer some concepts mentioned by Tzvetan Todorov in his 1980’s The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre, so the non-experienced reader can have an idea of the concept.
The fantastic short stories in Río de la Plata in the 20th century are characterized for being brief narrations that have supernatural elements in believable environments. We can see this particular characteristic (with some differences between each story) in every story studied in this book. All of them have an average character that lives normal, daily life situations, but somehow suffer strange phenomena that cannot be explained from a realistic point of view. These stories cause an impression to the reader who, ultimately, ends up being an accomplice to this fiction, and ends up accepting the facts shown in the story as true.
In the aforementioned book, Tzvetan Todorov characterized and classified the stories with fantastic features in three categories:
First, he refers to “the marvelous”, which is when something supernatural is explained by establishing new rules for the nature. Later he refers to “the uncanny”, which happens when the supernatural event is explained through rationality. The uncanny, the author explains, happens when something familiar to us becomes something unknown, but in the end of the uncanny stories, the rupture of reality is explained. Finally “the fantastic” is linked by Todorov with a rupture in the daily life matrix. Normality is broken because there is an extraordinary event, a conflict between believable happenings and others considered unreal. At the end of the fantastic story, we do not know exactly what is going on or if the conflict is solved. and we end up perceiving the phenomenon as unexplainable.
While reading the commentaries on this book, the reader will be able to notice some of the characteristics and typical topics of the fantastic literature from Río de la Plata in the twentieth century.
One of the most characteristic features of the fantastic storytellers, even though this is not seen in all of the stories, is the use of a first person narrator; this is a resource that tries to make the reader believe something that otherwise would be unconceivable. This kind of narrator can be seen in two of the short stories I approach in this book: The Canary, furniture shop by Felisberto Hernández andThe Aleph, by Jorge Luis Borges.
As for the topics, they are so many and so diverse that I will refer only to those which are present in the stories worked on in this book.
First, the treatment of the mental deviations and the psychological problems is a recurrent topic in many of Horacio Quiroga’s short stories (The feather pillow, the lone man, The decapitated chicken, among others), but it is also typical in Felisberto Hernández works: he even studied some pathologies of mental patients. Love is not a recurrent topic in fantastic literature, but coincidentally, two of the stories approached in this book revolves around it; but in them, love is always linked to the impossible, the difficulty, (this can be seen in The feather pillow by Horacio Quiroga and in Continuity of the parks by Julio Cortázar). In fantastic literature, independently of the topic approached, it is frequent to see the writers playing with the concepts of time and space inside their narration, and it can be clearly seen in Continuity of the parks by Julio Cortázar and in The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges.
This book consists in five articles that have been previously released on three magazines: Revista Digital VADENUEVO (Uruguay), Realidades y Ficciones – literary magazine – (Argentina) and Revista Cronopio (Colombia). There are many representatives of the fantastic short story in Río de la Plata. I could have worked on stories by Macedonio Fernández, Leopoldo Lugones, Silvina Ocampo, Enrique Anderson Imbert, Adolfo Bioy Casares, MaRío Arregui, among others, but I decided to choose those which, in my opinion, are the most representative ones: Horacio Quiroga (Uruguay), Felisberto Hernández (Uruguay), Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina) and Julio Cortázar (Argentina).

Fernando Chelle

jueves, 11 de enero de 2018

CONCURSO LITERARIO "MARINA CAPRIZ" 2017

Tercer premio CONCURSO LITERARIO "MARINA CAPRIZ" 2017 (categoría cuento), organizado por la Biblioteca Popular Rafael Obligado de Villa Gesell, Buenos Aires, Argentina (diciembre de 2017).


Resultados del premio en la página oficial de Facebook de la Biblioteca Popular Rafael Obligado de Villa Gesell:


Fernando Chelle



VIII PREMIO INTERNACIONAL DE POESÍA CAÑOS DORADOS

Ganador del VIII PREMIO INTERNACIONAL DE POESÍA CAÑOS DORADOS, organizado por el Ayuntamiento de la Villa de Fernán Núñez y la Asociación Cultural Los Caños Dorados, de la ciudad de Córdoba, España (agosto de 2017)


Resultados del concurso, en la página oficial de la Asociación Cultural Los Caños Dorados:


Fernando Chelle

PREMIO REGIONAL DE PERIODISMO

Ganador del PREMIO REGIONAL DE PERIODISMO, organizado por el Círculo de Periodistas y Comunicadores de Norte de Santander, Colombia (agosto, 2017). 


Información sobre la obtención de este premio en la página oficial de la Universidad Francisco de Paula Santander:


Referencia al premio en la página del Círculo de Periodistas de Bogotá:


Fernando Chelle

PREMIO NACIONAL DE ENSAYO LITERARIO

Ganador del PREMIO NACIONAL DE ENSAYO LITERARIO, organizado por Lit. Asociación de literatura, Colombia (julio, 2017).


Publicación del resultado por parte de Lit. Asociación de literatura, en su página oficial de Facebook:


Fernando Chelle

V CONCURSO LITERARIO DE POESÍA Y NARRATIVA

Primera mención en narrativa, V CONCURSO LITERARIO DE POESÍA Y NARRATIVA, organizado por el ESPACIO MIXTURA, de la ciudad de Montevideo, Uruguay (agosto, 2016).


ESPACIO MIXTURA


Fernando Chelle