The Latin American She-Boom

Instructor: Carmen Boullosa
Thursdays, 5:00 – 7:40 PM
Macaulay Honors College, Online
Course Code: MHC 319

In 1967, the literary universe was shaped by a group of Latin American authors who captured worldwide attention.  Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Julio Cortázar, and Carlos Fuentes were the originators of a “boom.”  This Latin American Literary Boom soon attracted readers’ attention to other authors close to them like José Donoso, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, and Severo Sarduy.

They all shared the same literary agent–a woman, Carmen Balcells. But why did no woman author enjoy a similar success to theirs? Why were no women novelists considered to be part of the Boom?

The absence of any women is astonishing, if we consider the works of, for example, Rosario Castellanos, Elena Garro, or the two Ocampo sisters, Victoria and Silvina.  All these women had the talent and the influence to make up a boom of their own…a “She-Boom”!

Why weren´t any of these women “in”?

We will focus on the works of these female authors and examine them beside García Márquez, Cortázar, Fuentes and Vargas Llosa. At an early session, we will examine (and then set aside) comparisons that lead to hypotheticals like “what if X or Y had very different politics?” or “what if X or Y could have been more attractive to an international audience?”  We will focus on the obvious answer for this gap (gender).

In looking at the authors of the Latin American Literary Boom and the women who were left out, we will imagine and analyze the Latin American Literary She-Boom, and complete the web, fulfill the network, to better understand Latin American literature in all its complexity and variety.