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Myths and Realities


Edited By Fernanda Peñaloza, Jason Wilson and Claudio Canaparo

This volume includes a selection of the papers given during the international conference «Patagonia: Myths and Realities», which was organised through the Centre of Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester. The essays gathered in this collection are not a direct record of the proceedings but pursue many of the themes raised by the participants. The contributors to the volume come from the fields of history, literary studies and cultural studies. From among the many sources that explore the representation of Patagonia, they have chosen to discuss a wide range of texts, dating from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century, including travelogues, diaries, maps, novels, autobiographies, letters and even a dictionary. The essays trace different experiences in order to illustrate the diversity of the region.
This book makes a significant contribution to the study of the historical circumstances around the exploration and colonisation of Patagonia, as well as the subsequent cultural, political and economic outcomes.


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Eva-Lynn Alicia Jagoe - “A través de un cristal”: The Representation of Patagonia in César Aira’s La liebre 215


Eva-Lynn Alicia Jagoe “A través de un cristal”: The Representation of Patagonia in César Aira’s La liebre In Borges’s short story, “El sur,” the main character, Juan Dahlmann, of German and Argentine descent, finds himself drawn to the side of his family that has its past not in European stock, but in the south of Argen- tina. Dahlmann’s maternal grandfather had been killed by Indians from Catriel so, by choosing to identify with the Argentine patriarch, he sees himself as the descendant of the “[linaje] de ese antepasado romántico, o de muerte romántica” (195) [“line represented by his romantic ancestor of the romantic death” (135)].1 Though he lives in Buenos Aires and is a librarian, he “contents himself ” with the image of his family’s ranch in the south and with certain relics of criollo culture that evoke the area for him. The reading of books such as Martín Fierro foment in him “ese criollismo algo voluntario, pero nunca ostentoso” (196) [that voluntary, but never ostentatious criollismo].2 In the story, Dahlmann gets hurt and ends up (almost) dying of septicemia. I put “almost” in parentheses because it is here that the story begins to play with space and time. In one reading, he is still locked up in the sanatorium where he has died or will die; in the other, 1 I use the term “Indian” because I am not discussing the indigenous peoples of South America per se, but rather the representation of...

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