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Abstract

In his paper, "Latin American and Comparative Literature," Roberto González Echevarría asks whether comparative literature, a literary discipline dedicated to the proposition that linguistic boundaries must be transcended, can overcome the "cultural arrogance" of the "Eurocentrism" that he believes pervades it currently. González Echevarría argues that if it is to endure, comparative literature will have to undergo "a truly pitiless redefinition," one that effectively displaces "the hegemonic powers of nineteenth-century Europe" and that Latin American literature, by the nature of its historical development on the margins of these "hegemonic" texts and traditions, could -- and should -- play a central role in this rehabilitation. González Echevarría's paper includes a discussion of how Carpentier's The Lost Steps can serve as an example of how Latin American literature reads the canon and how reading those readings can lead to new insights into both canonical works and those presently excluded. González Echevarría argues that Carpentier's text, for example, ought to be considered required reading for both Latin Americanists and students of comparative literature -- especially those seeking to make Spanish and Portuguese their primary languages -- and he makes a clear and convincing case for using the literatures of Brazil and Spanish America as the mechanisms by which comparative literature can be both redefined and revitalized.

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