Roberto Bolaño’s Urban Labyrinths: The City as Metaphor for the Silent Universe

  • Juan Pablo Melo
Part of the Hispanic Urban Studies book series (HUS)


Melo focuses on Roberto Bolaño’s cartography of the urban in the short stories, “El policia de las ratas” and “El hijo del coronel”. Highlighting the Aleph-like logic of Bolaño’s writing, Melo argues that the Chilean’s method stages the contradictory relationship between flows of globalized cultures, the stabilizing intents of power, and the production of urban space. Melo argues that in Bolaño’s formal representations of the urban, the modern project of capitalist globalization is seen as trending towards an entropic state of ruin. This dynamic becomes perceptible to a global oppositional public that in its marginalized positionality comes to recognize itself in cultural texts and images that feature increasingly homogeneous and therefore familiar urban wastelands. Out of this recognition, representation for Bolaño takes on ethical characteristics: the heroic artist lucidly surveys the silent universe of technical precision, refusing the false comforts of sublime art and resisting madness.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Pablo Melo
    • 1
  1. 1.Modern Thought and LiteratureStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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