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The End of the World as They Knew It

Writing experiences of the Argentine South

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The End of the World as They Knew It book cover

The End of the World as They Knew It

The End of the World as They Knew It maps the shifting constructions of the space of the South in Argentine discourses of identity, nation, and self-fashioning. In works by Domingo F. Sarmiento, Lucio V. Mansilla, Francisco P. Moreno, Jorge Luis Borges, Ricardo Piglia, and César Aira, Eva-Lynn Alicia Jagoe examines how representations of the South – as primitive, empty, violent, or a place of potential – inform Argentine liberal ideology. Part of this process entails the reception of travel narratives by Francis Bond Head, Charles Darwin, and W.H. Hudson, which served the purpose of ratifying the gaze of the crioloo, and of appropriating the South through civilized discourses. Focusing on crucial moments in Argentine cultural history, such as the 1871 Conquest of the Desert and the military dictatorship of the 1970s, Jagoe compellingly argues that these intensely experiential narrations of the South are inextricably linked to questions of collective memory and the construction of an Argentine history and tradition.

Praise for The End of the World as They Knew It

In reading her book, we get a very strong impression of the thickness of textual commentary constituting the Argentine literary and cultural history of the South and by extension of the nation itself.

— Juan Poblete, Revista canadiense de estudios hispánicos

The South, then, rather than a literal place, is more a state of mind, a topic in the Argentine imaginary, an idea of uncertain boundaries that changes over time. Jagoe’s goal is to explicate how key writers, scientists, and thinkers describe the South and in so doing create an image of themselves and the generational concerns they represent.

— Nicholas Shumway, University of Toronto Quarterly

Space, nation, rhythm, time. These are perhaps the four notions at the core of Jagoe’s first book. Throughout its pages, she examines how different writers – native and foreign – understood and re-signified what she calls the Argentinian ‘South.’

— Javier Uriarte, Studies in Travel Writing

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