Posts tagged Roberto Arlt
No one reads Roberto Arlt (1900-1942), an Argentine author of novels, short stories, articles, and plays—he even fancied himself an inventor: in 1932 he registered a patent on a method to prevent runs in pantyhose.
Borges praised Arlt’s prose; Cortázar read him passionately in his youth, and Juan Carlos Onetti (another writer no one reads) had this to say:
If ever anyone from these shores could be called a literary genius, his name was Roberto Arlt. … I am talking about art and of a great and strange artist. … I am talking about a writer who understood better than anyone else the city in which he was born. More deeply, perhaps, than those who wrote the immortal tangos. I am talking about a novelist who will be famous in time … and who, unbelievably, is almost unknown in the world today. [Translated by Michele Aynesworth; her notes from Mad Toy are the source for the above praises.]
Sources in English (Amazon US links):
Of the two works available in English, my favourite is The Seven Madmen (pictured above): ingeniously captured and articulated spasms of madness are littered throughout the book, one gem after another—reminiscent of Céline. Humorous tics of the psyche, eccentric characters, anarchistic undercurrents, and a portrait of living in the urban rain shadow are just some of the features that make this short novel worth a read—even if its sequel (The Flame-Throwers) is never translated into English.
(Image: designed by Oscar Zarate)