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April 18 , 2008

Gregory Rabassa's Latin American Literature

A Translator's Visible Legacy


This book is a critical study of the work of Gregory Rabassa, translator of such canonical novels as Gabriel Garcìa Márquez's Cien años de soledad, José Lezama Lima's Paradiso, and Julio Cortàzar's Rayuela. During the past five decades, Rabassa has translated over fifty Latin American novels and to this day he is one of the most prominent English translators of literature from Spanish and Portuguese. Rabassa's role was pivotal in the internationalization of several Latin American writers; it led to the formation of a canon and, significantly, to the most prevalent image of Latin American literature in the world. Even though Rabassa's legacy has been widely recognized, the extent of his work's influence and the complexity of the sociocultural circumstances surrounding his practice have remained largely unexamined.

In Gregory Rabassa's Latin American Literature: A Translator's Visible Legacy, María Constanza Guzmán examines the translator's conceptions about language, contextualizes his work in terms of the structures and conditions that have surrounded his practice, and investigates the role his translations have played in constructing collective narratives of Latin American literature in the global imaginary. By revisiting and historicizing the translator's practice, this book reveals the scale of Rabassa's legacy. The translator emerges as an active subject in the inter-American literary exchange, an agent bound to history and to the forces involved in the production of culture.
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