Twenty Years after 'The Savage Detectives': On the Legacy of Roberto Bolaño (NeMLA 2018)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the publication of Roberto Bolaño's novel, The Savage Detectives, we want to address the legacy of this Latin American author. We intend to discuss Bolaño's status in world literature today, as a "local" voice that was never very local, to begin with (he was a Chilean who produced most of his work in Mexico and Spain, and who included cosmopolitan references in all of his stories), but has certainly become "global" in the 21st century. Papers in English and Spanish will be considered. 

When Roberto Bolaño's much lauded novel, Los detectives salvajes (for which the author won the prestigious Rómulo Gallegos Prize), was published in 1998, it heralded the advent of one of the great literary voices, if not the greatest, from Latin America since the days of Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Julio Cortázar and other writers who conformed what came to be known as the "Boom." From then on and up until his untimely death in 2003, Bolaño began to be increasingly read and studied both in academia and outside of it, becoming a shooting star of sorts in the Spanish-speaking world. He became also, in the process, the personification of everything a "Post-Boom" could offer to Latin American letters. The posthumous publication of Bolaño's magnus opus, 2666, in 2004, practically canonized him overnight. Moreover, it opened the gates for a flood of translations of his oeuvre (including English translations), and made him the favorite author of a whole generation of amateur and professional readers of Latin American narrative. From a shooting star, then, Bolaño turned into the most respected novelist of his age and cultural sphere, as well as one of the most respected authors worldwide. The 20th anniversary of The Savage Detectives seems like a fitting moment to celebrate and reassess Bolaño's legacy. 

Please submit a 300-word abstract and brief biographical statement by September 30, 2017 directly through NeMLA's system:

The 49th Annual NeMLA Convention will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 12-15, 2018.