Dissertation Defense of Felipe Toro, “Atlas: A Cartography of Sports in Latin American Literature (1888–1940)”

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The Department of Spanish and Portuguese cordially invites you to attend the dissertation defense of 

Felipe Toro, M.S.

Atlas: A Cartography of Sports in Latin American Literature (1888–1940)

Dissertation Advisor: Gwen Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.
Committee Member: Tania Gentic, Ph.D.  
Committee Member: Rodrigo Cánovas, Ph.D.

ICC 450

Friday, February 7th, 2020
10:00 AM – 12:00PM


This dissertation analyzes the relationship between writing and the emergence of the modern athletic imagination in Latin America at the end of the 19th century as a way of charting the subjective dimensions of globalization. I explore the moment at which modernismo—the first aesthetic movement that originated in Latin America—addressed the restoration of the Olympic Games in 1896 with the publication of Artemis, a novella by Enrique Larreta set in Olympia and published six months after the inauguration of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens. I consider this inaugural encounter between modernismo and the Olympic movement as a literary matrix to further explore the athletic making of the modern world through the intersection of writing and sports.

This essay argues that Latin American literature adopts sports imaginaries since they provide a cosmopolitan lingua franca through which both Latin American writings and bodies acquire a global citizenship. Thus, I also reflect upon Rubén Darío’s introduction of sports to his chronicle readers as a paradoxical way of “living in English but dreaming in Spanish”, and upon the pseudonyms that the Uruguayan writer Horacio Quiroga borrowed from Pierre Loti’s novels and adapted to his cycling races in Salto, Uruguay. Advancing these research scenarios to the 20th century, I conclude by calling special attention to the Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral’s poetic depiction of a sports stadium and the masses of spectators in 1940 at the beginning of World War II.