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Carlos Aguirre: The Inner History of the Latin American Boom – Literature, Politics, and Friendship

February 27 @ 4:30 pm 6:00 pm

Shriver Hall 104

The Program in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies is pleased to welcome Carlos Aguirre, Professor of History at the University of Oregon, for the lecture:

The Inner History of the Latin American Boom: Literature, Politics, and Friendship

In the 1960s, a group of Latin American writers, mostly male novelists, gained world-wide acclaim thanks to the publication and translation of path-breaking novels and their intervention in political and social debates. That literary and political phenomenon, known as the Boom, had four main protagonists, namely Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, and Mario Vargas Llosa, who were not only close friends, but also shared, for most of the 1960s, a close identification with socialism and the Cuban Revolution.

The recent publication of a volume with the correspondence exchanged among them allows a privileged window into the origins, development, and decline of the Boom. In this presentation, historian Carlos Aguirre, one of the coeditors of Las cartas del Boom (Alfaguara, 2023), will discuss the literary and personal bonds among those writers, their close but complicated relationship with the Cuban Revolution, the friendship and political networks they were part of, their connections with other writers, readers, publishers, and translators, and the reasons that explain the decline and fall of the Boom.

Carlos Aguirre is a Professor of History at the University of Oregon and currently a Fellow in the Program in Latin American Studies at Princeton University. He is the author and editor of several books on the history of slavery, prisons, print culture, and intellectuals. Most recently, he coedited Las cartas del Boom (Barcelona, 2023), a volume that compiles the letters exchanged among Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, and Mario Vargas Llosa, and coauthored, with Kristina Buynova, Cinco días en Moscú. Mario Vargas Llosa y el socialismo soviético (1968) (Lima, 2024).