Adam Buenosayres: The Translation which Nobody Noticed

AdamBuenosayresToday I opened my heavily annotated edition of Leopoldo Marechal’s great modernist epic Adán Buenosayres with a view to finally reading it and possibly writing a review later on just to find out later that this novel had recently been translated into English by Norman Cheadle as Adam Buenosayres. I’ve read quite a few previews of important fiction coming out this year and nowhere was this mentioned. You must be joking! This is the publishing event of the year that can be matched only by the forthcoming translation of Miklós Szentkuthy’s Prae. All the aficionados of the encyclopedic novel should start celebrating right now! Dubbed “the Argentine Ulysses” in Joshua Cohen’s Bloomsday article, this novel indeed carries the influence of Joyce’s masterpiece. Still, if it was just a piece of crass epigonism, as some of the early negative reviews attempted to present the novel, it would not have become an acclaimed classic of Argentine letters. This erudite exploration of Buenos Aires and its cultural and artistic milieu promises more than mere rehashing of Joyce’s themes and methods. One of the earliest champions of the novel was Julio Cortázar, whose positive review contributed to the subsequent rescue of the work from critical oblivion. Enjoy this unexpected gift from  McGill-Queen’s University Press, and I will have to think of some other novel for my next review.

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7 Responses to Adam Buenosayres: The Translation which Nobody Noticed

  1. Richard says:

    I imagine I have the same edition of Adán Buenosayres that you do (the one that weighs about 5 pounds and was published by the Fondo de Cultura Económica), and I too was unaware that an English translation of Marechal’s work had come out recently. Thanks for sharing the good news! Anyway, nice to make the acquaintance of you and your blog via Miguel’s St. Orberose. I like what you’re doing here–please keep up the good work!

  2. Blogger says:

    Actually mine is the compact Clasicos Castalia edition with an introduction by Pedro Luis Barcia. Thank you for the kind words! I wish I had more time to update this blog more frequently, but I will try my best to come up with something interesting once in a while.

  3. I was aware of the translation and had noted it on my website but, like you, I was surprised at the lack of publicity for it. I first read it many years ago and remember having a discussion with an Argentinian who was surprised that a non-Hispanophone had even heard of it, let alone read it but agreed that, with the exception of Martín Fierro (which, of course, is not a novel), it is the Great Argentinian Novel. I still think that you should review it. Breaking your own rules is essential for worthy bloggers.

  4. Blogger says:

    Actually yes, I did notice your reference to the English translation shortly after making this post. A bit of googling led to your site. Where else? As for writing reviews for works available in English, I have an idea of making a separate blog for that, time permitting, as usual.

  5. Well, thanks to you I noticed this novel. But I think I’ll buy it in Spanish.

  6. Blogger says:

    Definitely. If you managed to read “Saga/Fuga” in Spanish, there is no reason to go for the English translation of this one. “Adam” seems to be an easier read.

  7. I discovered this book via the long review in the TLS.. a review copy was on the shelves at the Strand.. as far as I know not a single newspaper in the US has reviewed it… I understand why it was not translated back then and wonder who put the knife into the possibility back then… Borges and Cortazar were very powerful and I suspect a negative word or a less than glowing sentence did it in… what else was lost because of that… the collecterd Diaries of Ernst Junger is the biggest absence in all of the world literature not to be available in English… first Sontag’s son screwed it up and them now Columbia continues to fail to produce…

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