by María Negroni
Translated by Michelle Gil-Montero
Literary Nonfiction. Latino/Latina Studies.
15 January 2015
In this book of lyric critical essays, Argentinian poet and critic María Negroni writes about Gothic works — ranging from Horace Walpole’s classic novel The Castle of Otranto to Julia Kristeva’s Black Sun to James Cameron’s film Aliens — and develops an accumulative, absorbing, transnational theory of politics and aesthetics. In the introduction she writes: “I want to share something of that fascinating imaginary, packed with castles and lakes, crypts and laboratories, music boxes and evil gardens, urban ruins and boats like coffins ferrying magnificent dreams. Because in that atmosphere, it is my impression, something crucial materializes: a purely sentimental domain where it is suddenly possible to perceive, under any light, the critical link between childhood and atrocity, art and crime, passion and fear, and the desire for fusion and writing.”
“¡Vigilant rationalists! ¡Atención! You are being monitored by death. Despite all your enlightening efforts, she keeps on coming like a mother. Her fertilizer? Your blindness. Your poetry? Her extraterrestrial bed where the worms don’t stop fucking. Translation: if the distinction between the visible and the invisible is one few critics would dare make in the long empirical night of the 21st century, María Negroni’s update of the Gothic is bold because of its perverse retrofuturism. From the neon oceans of Jules Verne to the intergalactic femininity of Aliens, this is the exhibit one step ahead of our end times—the essay as “hallucinatory knowledge” beyond the optics of power, a voluptuous and bottomless lyrical trance.”
– Lucas De Lima
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
María Negroni (b.1951) is an Argentinian poet, writer, translator, and essayist. She is the author of twelve books of poetry, two novels, and five collections of essays. Previous works translated into English include Islandia: A Poem, Night Journey (both translated by Ann Twitty), The Tango Lyrics, and Mouth of Hell (both translated by Michelle Gil-Montero). The essays in this book are taken from her essay collection Museo Negro (originally published in 1999).
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Michelle Gil-Montero has translated Poetry After the Invention of América: Don’t Light the Flower by Andrés Ajens (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011), Mouth of Hell (Action Books 2013) and The Tango Lyrics (Quattro Books, 2012) by María Negroni, and This Blue Novel by Valerie Mejer (forthcoming from Action Books). She is the author of Attached Houses (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013). She lives in Pittsburgh and is Associate Professor of English at Saint Vincent College.