Julio CortázarJulio Cortázar (1914-1984) is one of the towering figures of Argentine literature. Yet, Cortázar is hardly known in the English speaking world even among the very well educated. Generally, only the most literary of English language readers will be familiar with Cortázar. Archipelago Press in the U.S. recently released the first English translation of the Diary of Andrés Fava, translated by Anne McLean.

An excellent article by Jessa Crispin in The Book Standard discusses the translator’s challenge in broadening awareness of Cortázar:

“‘In decent bookshops you see Hopscotch and Blow-Up, and in really good ones, you might find a few more. But he has become an obscure author in English, which Spanish and Latin American readers find pretty hard to believe.’

‘On the one hand,’ she continues, ‘it is a great shame that more of his work isn’t in circulation in English, but it also means there are many, many readers who still have the discovery of Cortázar to look forward to, and that’s something I envy. I think a Julio renaissance is long overdue, and it could be time to look at re-translating a lot of his early stories.'”

I first saw mention of this article over at the MoorishGirl, which I think is one of the best literary weblogs. As MoorishGirl says, “When I came to the States, I was surprised to find out how little of world literature people seemed to read. And things aren’t improving, with literature in translation being constantly curtailed to make room for the Da Vinci Codes and Harry Potters.”