Mediating Andean Modernity: The Literary Oracular in Muerte por el tacto by Jaime Saenz
Keywords:Mediation, modernism, nationalism, regionalism, tellurism
Upon his return from Berlin in 1939, Jaime Saenz started working in La Paz for intelligence agencies and public relations offices of Bolivia and the United States, which led to correspondent positions with Reuters and McGraw-Hill World News. His trajectory into Cold War Bolivian state nobility seemed all but guaranteed. However, on the brink of this breakout moment, he renounced his job —and professionalism altogether— committing himself to a life of literature and alcoholism as his marriage unraveled. In response to repeated interventions, he justified his every loss with a further indictment of the precautious, which was an outgrowth of his belief in the existence of a higher truth that was both accessible and impervious to analytical reason. In this article, I ask how Saenz’s poetry from the 1950s metabolized the rhetoric of indictment which it had inherited from the Tellurism of the Chaco generation. How might Muerte por el tacto (1957) be symptomatic of a broader aim of restoring to modern poetry its oracular legitimacy? On what grounds did Saenz indict precautious defenders of historical culture? And how did such an indictment mediate “national energy” (Tamayo) as it came into language through the nativist discourse of the land? Paying focal attention to regimes of revelation in Saenz’s early poetry and the historical conditions of its production, this article updates a discussion among Transatlanticists about the legitimization of irrationalism in 20th-century poetics and politics by assessing the socio-symbolic value of the oracular in the regionalist discourse of modernism.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.