October 19, 2021
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Collection: INTERAMER
Number: 34
Author: Isabel Rodríguez Vergara, Ed.
Title: Colombia: Literatura y Cultura del Siglo XX


From the middle of the 1960s, Latin American narrative showed an unprecedented growth with the arrival of such writers as Alejo Carpentier, Miguel Angel Asturias, Jorge Luis Borges, João Guimarães Rosa, Juan Carlos Onetti, Julio Cortázar, Guillermo Meneses, Ernesto Sábato, Juan Rulfo, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa, all of whom have attracted the attention of the general public as well as literary critics.

Over the years, we have been able to pinpoint several common characteristics in their work, some of the most important being: i) the sustained generational and regional literary presence of these writers, as well as new ones; ii) the examination of critical Latin American problems, including those of a political, social, cultural and economic nature; and iii) the mastery of exceptional narrative styles different from those of the prestigious European or indigenous models that have dominated since the beginning of the century.

Within this panaroma, the influence of Gabriel García Márquez’s work has continued to grow due to his unique narrative language and his mastery of a symbolism that contains a profound axiological message for humanity on the brink of the new millenium. The validity of his narrative presence is due, perhaps, to the fact that it embodies the memory, image and presentiment of the profound transformations that have rebuilt the foundation of our society. His powerful literary creations are based not only on the social reality but also on his life experiences. They offer the reader insight into the essence of those experiences in a very intimate yet universal language that knows no boundaries.

The media has recently celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the first edition of One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), a milestone in literary history, and the fiftieth anniversary of Gabriel García Márquez as a journalist, as well his seventieth birthday. For the Office of Cultural Affairs of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, it is a great pleasure to acknowledge a figure such as Gabriel García Márquez, whose works have achieved international prominence. We believe that it is the ultimate compliment to revisit an author’s works and enrich his vision through a new analysis of his texts, their meanings and resonance, thereby giving them new life.

In an earlier study, Isabel Rodríguez Vergara examined the Nobel-prize winning Colombian’s works through the perspective of literary critics Mikhail Bakhtin and Gilbert Highet (El Mundo Satírico de Gabriel García Márquez, Madrid: Pliegos, 1991). In this study, she expands on their perspectives in her analysis of Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Love in the Time of Cholera, The General in his Labyrinth, Strange Pilgrims: Stories, Of Love and Other Demons, and News of a Kidnapping by applying the critical perspectives of Mikhail Bakhtin, Jacques Derrida, Michael Foucault, Clifford Geerts, Umberto Eco and Hayden White. Using these different perspectives, Vergara focuses her analysis on dismantling the metaphors of culture and violence that are woven throughout the texts.

I would like to give special thanks to the reknowned Venezuelan artist Pedro León Zapata for giving the Office of Cultural Affairs exclusive rights to a drawing from his personal collection for use on the cover of this publication. This work, which is as unique as its author, reflects Zapata’s vision of Aureliano Buendía and was painted directly on the cover of his copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Sara Meneses
Office of Cultural Affairs