Cosmopolitan Desires

Paper Text – $45.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-2990-0
Publication Date
April 2014
Page Count
328 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Cosmopolitan Desires

Global Modernity and World Literature in Latin America
Mariano Siskind

Mariano Siskind’s groundbreaking debut book redefines the scope of world literature, particularly regarding the place of Latin America in its imaginaries and mappings. In Siskind’s formulation, world literature is a modernizing discursive strategy, a way in which cultures negotiate their aspirations to participate in global networks of cultural exchange, and an original tool to reorganize literary history. Working with novels, poems, essays, travel narratives, and historical documents, Siskind reads the way Latin American literary modernity was produced as a global relation, from the rise of planetary novels in the 1870s and the cosmopolitan imaginaries of modernism at the turn of the twentieth century, to the global spread of magical realism. With its unusual breadth of reference and firm but unobtrusive grounding in philosophy, literary theory, and psychoanalysis, Cosmopolitan Desires will have a major impact in the fields of Latin American studies and comparative literature.

About the Author

MARIANO SISKIND is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.


“In this probing and highly original study, Mariano Siskind stages a fascinating confrontation between peripheral cosmopolitanism and the discourse of world literature, both in modernist literary culture and in today’s academic study. Bolstered with illuminating readings of major writers and little-discussed figures, Cosmopolitan Desires challenges Latin Americanists and students of world literature alike to rethink the terms, and the agendas, of literary studies in a global age.”—david damrosch, author of What Is World Literature

“Rarely is such a consequential critical intervention so firmly grounded in exquisite close readings. Cosmopolitan Desires recovers the largely forgotten story of the profound ways in which—from modernismo through the Boom to contemporary debates about globalization—‘Latin American literature’ and ‘world literature’ have desired and shaped one other. Anyone interested in Latin American literature will have read it; anyone interested in world literature should.”—christopher bush, author of Ideographic Modernism: China, Writing, Media

“This sophisticated and provocative book rethinks the functions, values, and conflicts of Latin American literature in modern societies. Within the frame of ‘world literature,’ Siskind sheds new light on the geopolitical configurations of knowledge and cleverly explains the dynamics of local literary productions.”—graciela montaldo, author of La sensibilidad amenazada: Fin de siglo y modernismo