Journal of Romance Studies

Daniel Alarcón’s Lost City Radio and the work of translation

Between the local and the global

Journal of Romance Studies (2022), 22, (2), 217–235.

Abstract

The subject of Alarcón’s English language novels is identified without difficulty in publicity materials as deeply Peruvian and yet the marketing also presents him as a ‘World’ writer. I explore how naming where Alarcón’s writing is ‘from’ and where it is going relates to the place of Latin American culture globally. Working with the idea that literature should have a ‘place’, I examine the politics of (self)translation in Alarcón with reference to the period of armed internal conflict in Peru (1980-2000) to argue that an understanding of (self)translation as a process can contribute to our idea of what World Literature is and what national literatures are from a specifically Latin American perspective. In an interplay between foreign and domestic that differs from the more familiar strategies of codeswitching in Latinx writing, Alarcón both enables and resists the translation of other parts of the world onto Peru/Latin America.

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Tudela, Elisa Sampson Vera