Cortázar’s Cacaphonic Cacoethes



In his critical study of Joyce’s language, Joysprick, Anthony Burgess writes:

Novelists, like poets, work in the medium of human language, but some work in it more than others. There is a kind of novelist (conveniently designated as Class 1), usually popular, sometimes wealthy, in whose work language is a zero quantity, transparent, unseductive, the overtones of connotation and ambiguity totally dampened … Such work is closer to film than to poetry, and it invariably films better than it reads. The aim of the Class 1 novel can only properly be fulfilled when the narrated action is transformed into represented action: content being more important than style, the referents ache to be free of their words and to be presented directly as sense-data. To the other kind of novelist (Class 2) it is important that the opacity of language be exploited, so that ambiguities, puns and centrifugal connotations are to be enjoyed rather than regretted, and whose books, made out of words as characters and incidents, lose a great deal when adapted to a visual medium.1


LATIN AMERICAN Point Size Universal Moral Narrate Action Work Language 
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    Anthony Burgess, Joysprick (New York: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1973), p. 15.Google Scholar
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    David Foster, Currents in the Contemporary Argentine Novel, (Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1975), p. 154.Google Scholar
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    Jane P. Tompkins, Reader-Response Criticism From Formalism to Post-Structuralism (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980), pp. 54–5.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative (New York: Harper & Row, 1981), p. 100.Google Scholar
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    Luis Harss and Barbara Dohmann, Into the Mainstream: Conversations with Latin-American Writers (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), p. 233.Google Scholar
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    Wolfgang Iser, The Act of Reading (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978), p. 89.Google Scholar
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    Evelyn Picon Garfield, Julio Cortázar (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1975), p. 117.Google Scholar
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    Leo Spitzer, Linguistics and Literary History (New York: Russell and Russell, 1962), p. 11.Google Scholar
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    Doris Meyer (ed.), Lives on the Line: The Testimony of Contemporary Latin American Authors (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1988), p. 233.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© M. R. Axelrod 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chapman UniversityOrangeUSA

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