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The Key to Our Century and the Mystery at Port-Vendres

  • Fabian MuniesaEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The surrealist movement, understood as a broad, multifaceted network of ideals and situations, has offered productive and intriguing—though still largely unexploited—connections to sociological critique. Yet, it has also carried, in its multiple versions, the traces of its inherent tactical syndrome: a group of ‘young poets’ calling resoundingly for a novel political disposition and providing a set of instructions for an ensuing provocation of reality, almost always in reaction to some other (reactionary) provocation. The Infrarrealistas (‘Infrarealists’), a group formed in 1975 (and arguably disbanded in 1977) around poets Roberto Bolaño and Mario Santiago Papasquiaro in México D.F., provide an interesting case in this respect, despite its rather marginal impact. In a sense, most of Bolaño’s literary work can be read as an anthropological exegesis of the Infrarealist project. This is quite patent in Los Detectives Salvajes, where the fate of the ‘young poets’ and of their inquiry on the foundations of the surrealist movement serves as a vehicle for the interpretation of violence. In La Literatura Nazi en América and Estrella Distante, though, the project of examining the poetic, performative condition of the political violence of the twentieth century was already spelled out quite clearly. That project was indeed the one that found in 2666 its most conclusive formulation, with the entire meaning of our century pending from a fragile (and never spelled out) intuition: that of ‘young poets’ being the only ones capable of discovering the exhilarating hidden poets that wrote the century with blood.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I owe Bolaño to Damian O’Doherty, who in the summer of 2015, during a pause at a conference in Athens, asked: ‘Are you a Bolaño person?’—a question that was met with puzzlement and curiosity, and prompted me to find out.

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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mines ParisTechParisFrance

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