The Politics and Limits of Representation in Modern Brazil and Argentina
Shellhorse, Adam Joseph
Anti-Literature articulates a rethinking of what is meant today by “literature.” Examining key Latin American forms of experimental writing from the 1920s to the present, Shellhorse reveals literature’s power as a site for radical reflection and reaction to contemporary political and cultural conditions.
Adam Joseph Shellhorse is assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Temple University.
“Shellhorse proposes a new reading method that attends to the marginal, subaltern qualities of the literary text, qualities that exceed our attempts to name or fix them. De-emphasizing identity without sacrificing the political potency of literature and literary criticism, Shellhorse addresses literary as well as filmic production, placing them in urgent conversation with the most cutting-edge concepts coming out of critical theory and philosophy today. Anti-Literature is surely among the most original, theoretically sophisticated, yet accessible books published in a very long time. It promises to be one of the most important and widely-read new books in Latin American literary studies.”—Erin Graff Zivin, University of Southern California
“This study is absolutely needed. It adds a lot to the important discussion on the nature of Latin American literature. Shellhorse’s argument is exceedingly well-supported and expands the standard frontiers of this subject. A major contribution.”—Earl E. Fitz, Vanderbilt University
Anti-Literature articulates a rethinking of what is meant today by “literature.” Examining key Latin American forms of experimental writing from the 1920s to the present, Adam Joseph Shellhorse reveals literature’s power as a site for radical reflection and reaction to contemporary political and cultural conditions. His analysis engages the work of writers such as Clarice Lispector, Oswald de Andrade, the Brazilian concrete poets, Osman Lins, and David Viñas, to develop a theory of anti-literature that posits the feminine, multimedial, and subaltern as central to the undoing of what is meant by “literature.”
By placing Brazilian and Argentine anti-literature at the crux of a new way of thinking about the field, Shellhorse challenges prevailing discussions about the historical projection and critical force of Latin American literature. Examining a diverse array of texts and media that include the visual arts, concrete poetry, film scripts, pop culture, neo-baroque narrative, and others that defy genre, Shellhorse delineates the subversive potential of anti-literary modes of writing while also engaging current debates in Latin American studies on subalternity, feminine writing, posthegemony, concretism, affect, marranismo, and the politics of aesthetics.