The endless writing exercise. Multiplied characters and wishes of immortality in the short story production of Carlos Liscano

  • Giuseppe Gatti Riccardi Guglielmo Marconi University
Keywords: Carlos Liscano, uruguayan contemporary short narrative, Oficio de ventriloquia I, immortality by writing, creation of creative instances

Abstract

The aim of our analysis is to study a section of the narrative production of the Uruguayan writer Carlos Liscano (Montevideo, 1949), focusing on the short story La historia interminable in the collection of the author’s stories Oficio de ventriloquia I, published between 1981 and 2011. We seek to understand, on the one hand, how the writer conceives an intratextual conection between his own narrative work and “La historia interminable” and, on the other hand, how he establishes an intertextual dialogue with Borges’ La biblioteca de Babel.
La historia interminable maintains a thematic continuity with Liscano’s entire narrative production with the leitmotiv of how to match life with writing and does so in two ways. First it creates a series of characters who in turn multiply infinitely, which can be read as reflecting a human need to create a potentially infinite literary corpus as means of attaining “immortality through writing”. Second, the short story offers a reflection on the human obsession with absolute knowledge and the desire to know everything and to narrate everything and indeed seems to present a critical re-elaboration of this obsession; in the story, the identity of the writer dissipates after his death, precisely because nobody can cover all his work. Writing, in this case, becomes merely a “store of experiences” that no one can use.

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Published
2017-12-08
How to Cite
Gatti Riccardi, G. (2017). The endless writing exercise. Multiplied characters and wishes of immortality in the short story production of Carlos Liscano. Verba Hispanica, 25(1), 197-216. https://doi.org/10.4312/vh.25.1.197-216
Section
Literature