Camilla Fojas, in her paper "Literary Cosmotopia and Nationalism in Ariel," argues that turn-of-the-century cosmopolitan literary texts encoded political interests and that they were concerned with the proper way of being cosmopolitan and national at the same time, of forging literary and diplomatic parity between national and international interests. Unfortunately, this search for balance was beset by rhetorical and ideological prejudices manifest in phobic language about the corrupting forces of cosmopolitan effeminacy on national character. The conflict of cosmopolitanism with nationalism was played out as a kind of war between the sexes, as a gendered battle for dominance. This tension is born out in the critical responses to José Enrique Rodó's Ariel (1900), a text that seeks to reroute the course of national identity through a turn to cosmopolitanism. Although women are excluded from the discursive scene of Ariel, its generic form is transgendered and inclusive, its rhetoric contains the possibility of breaking the masculinist coda of nationalism. Also, the parable of the hospitable king restores cosmopolitanism to its fundamental basis in hospitality where the outcast figures of speculation and imagination, of the strange and queer, might find refuge. The rhetoric of Ariel is insufferable and its classical boys-only model is tiresomely narrow, yet the refusal of North American materialism is admirable and it ventures onto terrain untraversed by many other modernists. In the end, it retains the most useful model of cosmopolitanism, one forgotten in the relentless drive to be modern.
"Literary Cosmotopia and Nationalism in Ariel."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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