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Childhood in the Works of Silvina Ocampo and Alejandra Pizarnik

Childhood in the Works of Silvina Ocampo and Alejandra Pizarnik

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 207
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  • Book Info
    Childhood in the Works of Silvina Ocampo and Alejandra Pizarnik
    Book Description:

    This volume explores the theme of childhood in the cuentista and poet Silvina Ocampo (1903-1993) and the poet Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972). It draws revealing comparisons between these key Argentine writers through their shared obsession with childhood, arguing that an understanding of their attitudes to childhood is fundamental to an appreciation of their work. Close reading of various Ocampo texts, including some for children, allows an exploration of her vision of childhood through nostalgia, adult-child power relationships, ageing and rejuvenation, and moments of initiation or imitation. Pizarnik is considered in relation to the myth of the child-poet, and her child personae are analysed through Breton's Surrealism, Cocteau and Paz; through her borrowings from Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Breton's Nadja; and through her obsession with madness, death, orphanhood, violation and transgression. In the final analysis, Ocampo's works achieve equilibrium between childhood and age, whereas Pizarnik's poetic crisis of exile from language parallels her deep sense of anxiety at being exiled from the world of childhood. FIONA MACKINTOSH lectures in Hispanic Studies at the University of Edinburgh. a href="5060sp.htm" target=_blank>Click here for a Spanish translation/A>

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-038-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-vii)
    (pp. viii-viii)
    (pp. 1-11)

    With Adolfo Bioy Casares and Jorge Luis Borges, Silvina Ocampo compiled the landmarkAntología de la literatura fantástica;³ owing in part to the lasting impact and importance of this anthology, critical reception of her work has often situated her within, or differentiated her from, the genre of fantastic literature.⁴ Whilst there are aspects in common between her narrative and that of Borges, Bioy Casares and other later exponents of the fantastic such as Julio Cortázar, my intention here is to investigate further the striking originalities of her style in order to uncover less obvious links between her and the poet,...

    (pp. 12-65)

    if onereadsthe writer’s life as another text […], as a social narrative whose acts, conducts, attitudes are observed, interpreted, and judged by the community of social readers, then one may find, in the life, grounds for profitable reflection on the text.¹

    Alejandra Pizarnik was a friend and admirer of Silvina Ocampo. Her acquaintance with the older writer, on paper at least, dates from 1967 when her article on Ocampo’s anthologyEl pecado mortalwas published inSur. From Pizarnik’s letters to Ocampo covering the three years from 1969 to Pizarnik’s death in 1972, we can see that both...

    (pp. 66-118)

    Ocampo’s fascination with childhood is wide-reaching and permeates both her fiction and poetry; the idiosyncratic use of a child’s narrative perspective, apparent in such early stories as ‘Cielo de claraboyas’, is also a feature of her first published poetic work,Enumeración de la patria. This representation of ‘la patria’, a kind of poetic marking-out of her territory, appears to set itself up as quirky – even prosaic – subverting more conventionally laudatory and lyrical works of this type. The title poem describes the national territory as ‘violentísimo y párvulo’ (p. 9), thus highlighting a juxtaposition of traits (the violent and...

    (pp. 119-164)

    The troubling structure of the born somnambule, who lives in two worlds – meet of child and desperado (Djuna Barnes,Nightwood, p. 56)

    Like all the new young his sole provision for old age is hope of an early death (Nightwood, p. 180)

    In reading the poetry of Alejandra Pizarnik from the point of view of childhood as a link between poetic persona and self-image, I have to begin by acknowledging the elevation of Pizarnik’s work and image to something approaching cult status in Argentina and beyond. There have been a significant number of recent publications which reflect this high...

    (pp. 165-171)

    Both Ocampo and Pizarnik create a space for themselves within the framework of childhood. Both have been mythologized, Ocampo because of her popularity yet obscurity, Pizarnik because of thepoète mauditaura around her. My aim has been to draw together these mythologized figures of Argentine literature and examine in detail one aspect of the myth which surrounds them, that is, the fascination with childhood. Ocampo fits quirkily into the highly intellectual society of which she was part, returning frequently to children or childlike characters and making their world her world; she scrutinizes the workings of nostalgia, demythifying childhood innocence,...

    (pp. 172-190)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 191-199)