In orbit: Roberto Bolaño

Adnan Mahmutovic, Friðrik Sólnes Jónsson


Chilean author Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) has achieved considerable critical and commercial success among a global English readership. Breaking into the US market, which has an important mediating role for the international circulation of texts, is a rare feat for a non-Anglophone author and requires some explanation. This paper looks at the rise of Bolaño in terms of major theories on world literature. We find that his success fits into a combination of explanatory models (Casanova, Moretti, Thomsen), but it also reveals interesting mismatches and problematic aspects that show a need to update existing theories. Our analysis, which focuses on the treatment of Bolaño in the American market, shows a great need for transnational forms of analysis across linguistic barriers.

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ISSN: 0044-8060
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