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Beatriz Sarlo


Foto: Alejandra López

Latin America has developed, from the 19th century, an interest in reading and translating texts from other languages into our own tone and nuance of Spanish. Borges and Victoria Ocampo were most eminent translators. Mariátegui “translated” Surrealism and Marxism into Peruvian politics and culture. Translation is a founding gesture of independence.


Why did Borges and Victoria Ocampo translate? Why did Ocampo sustain a publishing house where Virginia Woolf, Nabokov, Huxley and Lawrence became stars of an elite reading public? The argument of Beatriz Sarlo will try to depict the weight translation has had and still has on Argentine culture, an influence that can also be traced in Mexico and Chile. Translation embodies the responsibility of a cultural mission.

Buenos Aires is also a case in translation. In the past, commonplace perspectives on Buenos Aires insisted that the city, in many aspects, looked like Paris. Beatriz Sarlo will argue that, in fact, Buenos Aires does not look like Paris, because the city's successful projects from the last third of the 19th century and the first of the 20th combined different models of European origin. It was a creative translation from different sources.

Her argument aims to prove that original traits of Argentine culture are linked with translation as a strategy to build a model of local and, at the same time, cosmopolitan culture.



Beatriz Sarlo graduated in literature from the Facultad de Filosofía y Letras (Universidad de Buenos Aires). Editor of the cultural journal Punto de Vista from 1978 to 2008. Professor in the Universidad de Buenos Aires from 1984 to 2003; taught extensively in the United States (Columbia, Berkeley, Minnesota, Maryland, Chicago and Harvard). Simón Bolívar Professor of Latin American Studies in Cambridge; Woodrow Wilson and Guggenheim fellow: Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin fellow.


Selected Publications

Siete ensayos sobre Walter Benjamin, Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI, several editions / translation: Sept Essais sur Walter Benjamin, Paris 2017; Zona Saer, Santiago de Chile 2016; Borges, A Writer on the Edge, London 1993.



Organisiert zusammen mit dem Lateinamerikanisch-Österreichischen Literaturforum.

Ort: IFK