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Film criticism and/or narrative? Horacio Quiroga's early embrace of cinema

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Raised on turn-of-the-century modernismo and spurned by the ultraist vanguard, Horacio Quiroga was the first River Plate writer to integrate cinematic elements into his narrative. He quickly embraced silent film, championing its artistic potential in four Hollywood-themed stories and in more than sixty movie columns between the years 1918 and 1931. The ‘non-real’ of cinema afforded him a twist to the formula of fever, intoxication and insanity, all used with great success in his ‘jungle’ stories. Film's inherent privileging of gestures and glances, not to mention tremendous plasticity in terms of focalization, provided a perfect foil to the Uruguayan's fiction. My article takes up several Quiroga movie reviews and one of his filmic stories, ‘Spectre’. This representative sampling elucidates a mirror relation between literature and criticism, and confirms that River Plate writer's precocious appreciation of silent film.

Keywords: Florida/Boedo; Horacio Quiroga; River Plate literature; Southern Cone literature; silent film criticism; vanguard and film

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Miami.

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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