Anxieties of Experience: The Literatures of the Americas from Whitman to Bolano

ISBN : 9780190077785

Jeffrey Lawrence
312 ページ
156 x 156 mm
Oxford Studies in American Literary History

Anxieties of Experience: The Literatures of the Americas from Whitman to Bolano offers a new interpretation of US and Latin American literature from the nineteenth century to the present. Revisiting longstanding debates in the hemisphere about whether the source of authority for New World literature derives from an author's first-hand contact with American places and peoples or from a creative (mis)reading of existing traditions, the book charts a widening gap in how modern US and Latin American writers defined their literary authority. In the process, it traces the development of two distinct literary strains in the Americas: the "US literature of experience" and the "Latin American literature of the reader." Reinterpreting a range of canonical works from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass to Roberto Bolano's 2666, Anxieties of Experience shows how this hemispheric literary divide fueled a series of anxieties, misunderstandings, and "misencounters" between US and Latin American authors. In the wake of recent calls to rethink the "common grounds" approach to literature across the Americas, the book advocates a comparative approach that highlights the distinct logics of production and legitimation in the US and Latin American literary fields. Anxieties of Experience closes by exploring the convergence of the literature of experience and the literature of the reader in the first decades of the twenty-first century, arguing that the post-Bolano moment has produced the strongest signs of a truly reciprocal literature of the Americas in more than a hundred years.


Part I: Hemispheric Literary Divides
Chapter 1: Cultural Divergence: The US Literature of Experience and the Latin American Literature of the Reader
Chapter 2: An Inter-American Episode: Jorge Luis Borges, Waldo Frank, and the Battle for Whitman's America
Chapter 3 Uncommon Grounds: The Representation of History in Absalom, Absalom!, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Song of Solomon
Part II: The Literary Fields of the Americas
Chapter 4: Full Immersion: Modernist Aesthetics and the US Literature of Experience
Chapter 5 Voracious Readers: The Latin American Lettered City and the US Literature of Experience

Epilogue: After Bolano: Toward a Literature of the Americas


Jeffrey Lawrence is Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers-New Brunswick.