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La Argentina como narración: 21 former IWP authors in 1 anthology

Another guest post from Lisa Gardinier, Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian at the University of Iowa.

Librarian Lisa Gardinier, always on the look-out for IWP alumni in print.
Librarian Lisa Gardinier, always on the look-out for IWP alumni in print.

Earlier this spring, I stopped in to the acquisitions department in the University of Iowa Main Library to review some recently arrived books for the collection. Among other things, I keep an eye out for new publications from IWP participants, including scanning the table of contents of anthologies, to make sure they are set aside for a special extra step in cataloging in which they receive an extra subject heading that notes the writer's local connection. This particular shipment included a giant 919-page anthology, La Argentina como narración, edited by Jorge Monteleone (Fondo Nacional de las Artes, 2011, a section of the Argentine Secretariat of Culture). The table of contents alone is nine pages long and a quick glance at the first two pages – in which I spotted three familiar names – told me I had to take this back to my desk for a closer comparison with our historical list of IWP participants. The final list just kept growing:

A total of 21 former IWP participants in one anthology. Argentina has been the best-represented Latin American country over IWP's long history and this only represents half of the 42 Argentine writers who have come to Iowa as IWP residents. There are probably over 200 entries in the anthology – I'm not about to go through and count that many! – but by this count, that's give or take 10% of the anthology with an Iowa connection.

The anthology itself was edited by Jorge Monteleone, a literary critic and researcher at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, and includes a 95-page introduction by the editor. Monteleone does not aim to reflect an Argentine literary canon (indeed, the estates of writers such as Jorge Luis Borges and Ernesto Sábato declined to be included), but rather to show Argentine identity and culture in a broad representation of its literary narrative. He divides the selections in ten themes, both concrete and conceptual, and interpreted literally and figuratively, as follows: foundations, the desert, dichotomies, violence, exile, anarchy and order, friendship and conspiracy, paranoia and delirium, the exceptional being, and the other, the self. Each section is concluded by a substantial critical essay contributed by a writer or literary critic.

Read Lisa's January 2013 guest post, "Best Field Trip Ever" on her visit to the Guadalajara International Book Fair.

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