Searching for Recognition: The Promotion of Latin American Literature in the United States

By Irene Rostagno | Go to book overview

lengua inglesa, sin florituras." [within the spirit of the English language, without floweriness.]105

Frank's fiction left a deep imprint on the work of Eduardo Mallea. The novelist's ponderings about the nature of the self and national identity were akin to Frank's preoccupations. In 1934 Mallea collaborated with writer María Rosa Oliver in the translation of Frank City Block. For Mallea, Frank became a spiritual and literary mentor: "I think a lot about you while I'm writing. . . . You are in a way my confessor."106 Elsewhere, he admitted that he had written Nocturno Europeo ( 1935) with the master in mind.107 Despite his admiration of Mallea, Frank never tried to have him published in this country. After 1945, Frank's influence in Latin America lessened considerably. Only the old generation of realists bothered to keep up their friendship with him. Rómulo Gallegos, then president of Venezuela, commissioned Frank to write a biography of Simón Bolívar, which Frank entitled Birth of a World: Bolívar in Terms of his People ( 1951). Like the younger generation of writers in the 1960s, he became an enthusiastic admirer of the Cuban revolution and published Cuba: Prophetic Island ( 1961). This sympathetic account of Castro's socialist experiment elicited scant interest. More concerned with Joyce and Faulkner, the new generation had lost all interest in regionalism and considered Frank's ideas obsolete.

Yet, with all its flaws, Frank's endeavor is important because he broke the ice between the two literatures. Though reluctant to consider anything that deviated from his Americanist ideology, he provided publishers with the first incentive to put out Latin American literature in this country. In Latin America, he was more successful because he managed to arouse interest in U.S. culture among important authors and critics.


NOTES
1.
For a study of the culture and intellectual debates of the early decades of the twentieth century, see Edward Abrahams, The Lyrical Left ( Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1986); and Peter Conn, The Divided Mind: Ideology and Imagination in América, 1898-1917 ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981).
2.
For a discussion of Waldo Frank's interest in the Hispanic mind, see Michael Ogorzaly, "Waldo Frank: Prophet of Hispanic Regeneration" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago, 1982).

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Searching for Recognition: The Promotion of Latin American Literature in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Notes xvi
  • 1- Waldo Frank's Crusade for Latin American Literature 1
  • Notes 26
  • 2- Blanche and Alfred Knopf's Literary Roundup 31
  • Notes 55
  • 3- The Plumed Horn/ El Corno Emplumado: The Spell of Cuba in the 1960s 59
  • IV 84
  • 4- Casa De Las Américas and The Center for Inter-American Relations: Competing for Latin American Literature 89
  • Notes 138
  • Conclusion 145
  • Notes 150
  • Selected Bibliography 151
  • Index 155
  • About the Author 160
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