Stephen Hart

Vallejo’s “Other”: Versions of Otherness in the Work of César Vallejo

The Modern Language Review

Vol. 93, No. 3 (Jul., 1998), pp. 710-723

César Vallejo (1892-1938) is, without doubt, one of the most enigmatic figures of Contemporary Spanish-American literature; there are a number of unsolved mysteries with regard to his work and life that this essay sets out to review. Several themes have been proposed as central to Vallejo’s work (“pain,” “religiosity,” “the absurd,” and “politics”), but I suggest that these be seen as subplots in the narrative of a life and work shot through with “Otherness.” Some previous studies have touched on the issue of the double, but to date there has been no substantive treatment of this issue as a methodological tool to assess Vallejo’s work. The essay focuses in particular on four aspects of this Otherness: the Otherness of Vallejo the man, Vallejo as the critic’s Other, the Self as Other in his poetry, and Vallejo as cultural Other.

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