UC Berkeley Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal

A Premier Humanities Research Journal at the University of California, Berkeley

The Global Market of Texts: The Violence of Intertextuality in Roberto Bolaño’s 2666

The Global Market of Texts: The Violence of Intertextuality in Roberto Bolaño’s 2666

By Tae Catalina Markey

The epigraph of Roberto Bolaño’s novel 2666 is taken from Charles Baudelaire’s poem “Le Voyage.” The poem explores the nature of desire, knowledge and boredom in the face of global travel. Reading the poem alongside 2666 makes more evident how Baudelaire alludes to the work of knowledge production in an earlier stage of global interconnectivity. Bolaño’s 2004 novel reformulates and expands the relations between novelty and boredom, pleasure and intelligibility, desire and exchange that Baudelaire modeled in 1857. Bolaño’s story takes place during a period of economic deregulation through neoliberal trade policies like the North American Free Trade Agreement that rearrange territorial openings for the stimulation of trade and labor that increase the production of electronic goods. This article tracks the evolution of knowledge as a commodity from Baudelaire’s nineteenth-century metropolitan Paris to Latin America in the information age and neoliberal globalization. 2666 repurposes the older form of intertextuality to mark how NAFTA presents changes in the operations of global interconnectivity in the Information Age. Bolaño expands what it means for something to be a “text” by putting the compressed and literalized nature of information into conversation with narrative. By doing this, 2666 highlights how global power structures regulating the flows of information structure and define what was previously understood as Roland Barthes’ playful circulation of texts, demonstrating instead the violence of intertextuality which acts as an allegory for the violence of information in the 21st century.

“Books are finite, sexual encounters are finite, but the desire to read and to fuck is infinite; it surpasses our own deaths, our fears, our hopes for peace.”

—Roberto Bolaño, “Illness and French Poetry” (The Insufferable Gaucho)

Bolaño’s remark in “Illness and French Poetry” pointedly describes how desire always exceeds its objects. The treatment of desire in the French poetic tradition greatly influenced Bolaño’s diagnosis of desire in the 21st century. Indeed, the epigraph of 2666 comes from a poem called “Le Voyage” written by Charles Baudelaire and published in Les Fleurs du Mal in 1857. The poem explores the nature of desire, knowledge, and boredom in the face of global travel. Baudelaire depicts Europeans who voyage to the New World in search of the unknown and exotic in order to escape their tedious daily lives and bitter memories. In their travels, however, the voyagers recognize that their desire for the unknown is constantly frustrated by the moment of discovery. In the process of becoming “known” and documented, their fantasies lose their enchantment and become tedious memories once again. Their pursuit is one of an impossible satisfaction that forever eludes desire’s grasp. Baudelaire’s poem presents a closed circuit: the quest for knowing strips fantasies to ‘reality.’ In doing so, it produces an agonizing boredom that regenerates the very search for novelty and the unknown.

Baudelaire’s allusion to the work of knowledge production in an earlier stage of global interconnectivity is made more evident as the poem is read alongside 2666. Relayed in the form of a dialogue between those who have returned from voyaging and those who have remained, the poem embodies the exchange and commodification of knowledge between the Old and New World. By representing voyagers searching for novelty and returning with knowledge, Baudelaire’s poem maps a system of global exchanges in which knowledge begins to acquire the enchanting qualities of a commodity that reproduces desire through the illusion of novelty. As the poem illustrates, the production of knowledge does not dull the endless desire for the world; instead, its commodification produces humanity’s desire for novelty and stimulates its pursuit for mastery over the unknown.

Bolaño’s 2004 novel reformulates and expands by hundreds of pages the relations between novelty and boredom, pleasure and intelligibility, desire and exchange that Baudelaire modeled in 1857. This chapter tracks the evolution of knowledge as a commodity from Baudelaire’s nineteenth-century metropolitan Paris to Latin America in the information age and an era of neoliberal globalization. The story takes place during a period of economic deregulation through neoliberal trade policies like the North American Free Trade Agreement that rearrange territorial openings for the stimulation of trade and labor to increase the production of electronic goods. This marks a moment of economic openings, but also the transition into a global economy that accrues more profit from digital flows than from manufactured goods.[1] Through a redefinition of intertextuality and its embeddedness in the larger network of information systems, Bolaño marks what occurs to the Latin American novel with the transition into unrestrained flows of information.

While his text plays with Roland Barthes’ idea of intertextuality as the infinite circulation of texts,[2] Bolaño’s work also shows us how texts are tied to historically specific practices of knowledge production and thus grounds Barthes’ ahistorical vision of texts. 2666 repurposes the older form of intertextuality to mark how NAFTA presents changes to the operations of global interconnectivity in the Information Age. He expands what it means for something to be a “text” by putting the compressed and literalized nature of information into conversation with narrative. By doing this, Bolaño highlights how global power structures regulating the flows of information structure and define what was previously understood as Barthes’ playful circulation of texts, demonstrating instead the violence of intertextuality.

* * *

As the so-called painter of modern life, Baudelaire captured many of the transformations of modernity in his poetry. “Le Voyage” names desire, boredom, and novelty as fundamental characteristics of modern society: the desire for the unknown, the pleasure that arises from revealing it, and the tediousness of its revelation. These different relationships are sustained through international travel and the exchange of commodities between the Old and New Worlds. Yet, before delving into the complexities of desire in relation to knowledge, Baudelaire begins his poem with childhood and its curiosity for discovering the world, highlighting the initial innocence of the desire for knowledge:

Pour l’enfant, amoureux de cartes et d’estampes,

L’univers est égal à son vaste appétit.

Ah ! que le monde est grand à la clarté des lampes !

Aux yeux du souvenir que le monde est petit !

 

To a child who is fond of maps and engravings

The universe is the size of his immense hunger.

Ah! how vast is the world in the light of a lamp!

In memory’s eyes how small the world is!

Baudelaire describes the different representations (maps and prints) that satisfy the child’s desire for the world. The child longs for representations that make the immensity and flux of the world comprehensible. In childhood, desire and the world are proportionate to one another. Baudelaire uses the metaphor of a lamp in order to describe the pleasure derived from the process of uncovering what lies in darkness, or of discovering the unknown. The lamp also materializes the Enlightenment as a moment of turning from tradition to reason, marking a transition from mysticism to knowledge. In the face of this change, knowledge acquires a reductive nature that never lives up to the process of discovery. Joseph Wright of Derby’s 1765 painting “A Philosopher Giving a Lecture on the Orrery” captures the playfulness of the child’s relation to knowledge in contrast to the focused intensity of the adults. Nevertheless, the brightness of the light of the lamp on the children’s faces underscores how their minds were influenced by Enlightenment values at a younger and more formative age. As the adults of the image show, the models representing the world acquire a different function of tediousness and practicality.

Fully grown, the voyagers embark on journeys to fulfill the desire that comes with the process of discovery:

Amer savoir, celui qu’on tire du voyage !

Le monde, monotone et petit, aujourd’hui,

Hier, demain, toujours, nous fait voir notre image:

Une oasis d’horreur dans un désert d’ennui !

 

Bitter is the knowledge one gains from voyaging!

The world, monotonous and small, today,

Yesterday, tomorrow, always, shows us our image:

An oasis of horror in a desert of ennui!

Instead of ever finding the place that fulfills the immensity of their desire, the voyagers are only able to create memories that produce bitterness and boredom. What used to provoke a limitless fantasy becomes small, bitter and boring once it is unveiled. Through the rhyming of “ennui” and “aujourd’hui”, Baudelaire not only portrays the continuous presence of boredom in the everyday, but he also stages it audibly. Given the form of the poem as a dialogue, the repetitive tone and rhythm created by the use of lists (hier, demain, toujours) mimics the monotony of the knowledge presented by positioning the reader as a passive receptacle for the voyagers’ exhaustive complaints.

Through the use of the “image,” the speaker emphasizes that the inability to escape ennui is not a condition of the world itself, but rather a reflection of those engaging with the discovery and production of knowledge. The relentless desire for the unknown reveals itself as a drive that reduces everything to boredom and leaves its agents to derive pleasure from horror. In the face of the world reduced by knowledge, what is revealed is not something about the mundaneness of the world, but about how humans derive cruel pleasure from the enchanting novelty of horror. The only escape from ennui becomes horror, or the voyage itself, as a process that temporarily suspends the repetitive dissatisfaction of the voyagers’ dreams. Baudelaire’s poem quickly shows how desire for knowledge becomes an end unto itself:

Chaque îlot signalé par l’homme de vigie

Est un Eldorado promis par le Destin;

L’Imagination qui dresse son orgie

Ne trouve qu’un récif aux clartés du matin.

 

Ô le pauvre amoureux des pays chimériques!

Faut-il le mettre aux fers, le jeter à la mer,

Ce matelot ivrogne, inventeur d’Amériques

Dont le mirage rend le gouffre plus amer?

 

Every small island sighted by the man on watch

Is the Eldorado promised by Destiny;

Imagination preparing for her orgy

Finds but a reef in the light of the dawn.

 

O the poor lover of imaginary lands!

Must he be put in irons, thrown into the sea,

That drunken tar, inventor of Americas,

Whose mirage makes the abyss more bitter?

The desire of uncovering the unknown, as well as the dissatisfaction and bitterness of memory, only becomes intensified with time. The “inventor of the Americas,” a reference to Amerigo Vespucci and diverse projects of colonization, bring to mind the initial stages of global interconnectivity and intercontinental exchanges. Baudelaire plays with the semblance of sound between the word “amer” (bitter) and Ameriques (Americas) in order to demonstrate the constant dissatisfaction with the exotic. The use of “inventor” accurately points to the production of something that did not exist before, a new product that inebriates its followers with its appeal of difference. The empty abyss exacerbates the perpetual hunger created by this cyclical pursuit for the new. The disappointment with the world once its novelty has worn off motivates the voyagers to embark on more searches for a place that will not obliterate their desire, or (more symbolically) that fuels the global economy. Baudelaire personifies imagination in order to give the faculty its own agency as if to gesture towards its power beyond the will of the human. Indeed, the poem depicts a desire produced by systems of the production of global exchanges that expand beyond the human’s understanding.

Within these systems of global interconnectivity, Baudelaire’s vision of modern travel does not depict voyagers bringing back material goods, but as importing stories, memories and knowledge:

Etonnants voyageurs! quelles nobles histoires

Nous lisons dans vos yeux profonds comme les mers!

Montrez-nous les écrins de vos riches mémoires,

Ces bijoux merveilleux, faits d’astres et d’éthers.

 

Nous voulons voyager sans vapeur et sans voile!

Faites, pour égayer l’ennui de nos prisons,

Passer sur nos esprits, tendus comme une toile,

Vos souvenirs avec leurs cadres d’horizons.

 

Astonishing voyagers! What splendid stories

We read in your eyes as deep as the seas!

Show us the chest of your rich memories,

Those marvelous jewels, made of ether and stars.

 

We wish to voyage without steam and without sails!

To brighten the ennui of our prisons,

Make your memories, framed in their horizons,

Pass across our minds stretched like canvasses.

Through the use of dialogue, the poem illustrates the commodification of knowledge: its transition from personal memories to objects intended for (monetary) exchange. Instead of bringing back items like gold or jewels, those who have left for the new world bring back stories for those who have remained. Baudelaire still uses objects of value, like jewels and art, to assign worth to the memories of those who have traveled. By doing this, “Le Voyage” alludes to a moment in which knowledge becomes a consumable commodity with a precious value.

While the voyagers equate their new knowledge to monotony and worthlessness, their experiences accrue enormous worth when brought back to those who are living tedious lives in Europe. The locals plead with the voyagers to voice what they have seen and experienced in foreign lands: “Dites, qu’avez-vous vu?”, “Et puis, et puis encore?”.[3] With the repetition of “puis,” the poetic voice acquires an insistent curiosity that conveys, in the locals, a similar thirst for novelty through knowledge. By putting the homonyms of “vous” (“you,” plural) and “vu” (past participle for “to see”) together, Baudelaire indicates a potential collapse between being a person and the act of seeing. The subjects in question are only what they “have seen,” or they are only the knowledge they have produced. Their worth lies in their status as importers of knowledge of the unknown for consumption in the Old World.

Pointing to a structural geographic inequality of the New World as supplier of the exotic and the Old World as the consumer of its knowledge, the exchange of commodities produces the illusion of novelty in “Le Voyage.” As with the travelers, the exchange will continually renew the desire for novelty and intelligibility, as to never deliver satisfaction. The constant pursuit of the “new” that permeates life in the Old World manifests itself through the idea of voyaging without movement, or “without steam and without sails.” Those begging for stories have precisely the same thirst for novelty as those who set out to travel: as they see infinite potential in the consumption of their stories, or of their knowledge.

* * *

The North American Free Trade Agreement marked the entry into a new stage of global exchanges. In 1994, the United States, Mexico and Canada implemented a tariff-free zone that produced new territorial openings for the production and exchange of commodities. Its effects reached more deeply into society than just in the realm of business; for some, like the hundreds of Mexican women workers who were murdered near the new foreign factories, it became a matter of life and death. As political scientists Maxwell Cameron and Brian Tomlin put it, “NAFTA was not just an agreement to create more efficient international institutions; it also had the effect of restructuring basic property rules and state-society relations in each of the three countries, but especially in Mexico” (232).[4] The economic deregulation of neoliberal policy allowed for an opening of borders and new routes of circulation. In the early 1990s, hundreds of companies moved their assembling factories to Mexican border towns; although many of them have now left, some remain and these are called “maquiladoras.” Many corporations producing electronic devices, like IBM, Panasonic and Santo, relocated in search of cheap labor in order to produce the commodities for the entry into the Information Age. Border cities came to be known for their enormous production of electronic goods: the city of Tijuana was often referred to as the world’s capital of television, or TV-juana.

Bolaño’s fictional city, like Ciudad Juarez, lives its violent history and present against the backdrop of the flow of different commodities and bodies into the United States with the opening of borders after the North American Free Trade Agreement. These new routes of desire and exchange greatly modify the picture painted by Charles Baudelaire. Given that Baudelaire’s poem shows how the nature of desire is embedded within the new pathways of exchange, trade and voyage of 1857, how is the nature of desire reformulated in the light of the new pathways of a globalized age in the 21st century? Situated in a different moment in the history of globalization, 2666 presents the flowing circuits of information in the 21st century as a development of the exchange of knowledge presented by Baudelaire in the 19th century. This transition from knowledge to information can be seen in the opening epigraph: “Un oasis d’horreur dans un désert d’ennui.”[5]

The epigraph presents the literalization of a figural conception: as opposed to Baudelaire’s metaphorical desert in which European voyagers attempt to rid themselves of their pasts, 2666 situates its plot in a literal desert. The initial intertextual moment makes reference both to Baudelaire’s poem and to the dead bodies that used to work in maquiladora factories producing electronic commodities in Santa Teresa (or, Ciudad Juarez). The production of many electronic commodities marks a key component for the transformation of the global economy into one partially based on the exchange of information. Bolaño’s global map shows how Mexico’s transition into the information age comes hand in hand with the murders in Ciudad Juarez.

In its original conception, “intertextuality” is understood as having dialogic qualities, or serves to understand how texts have communicative exchanges between them. While the exchange in Baudelaire’s poem comes in the form of narrative, lyric poetry, or discourse, many of the “exchanges” of 2666 occur precisely with an expanded definition of textuality. 2666 acts as an interface for the conversation between narrative and the compressed and literalized form of information. While traditional notions of intertextuality understand texts as being only in conversation with other texts, 2666 conflates the intertextual exchange with economic exchanges of data, distorting what it means for something to be intertextual. It is in the context of NAFTA and the information age that Bolaño shapes his definition of intertextuality in order to move it away from its more playful conception of a circulation of text into a dangerous or cruel vision as to how texts are structured by new forms of textuality.

Within poststructuralist theory, intertextuality refers to far more than just the influences of one author over another. Literary critic Julia Kristeva coined the term in order to describe the relationship of a text to its author, to its reader, and its connection to other texts. Kristeva wrote that the meaning of a text emerges from a continual dialogue within the text itself and with the infinite other texts in the world. Building on Kristeva’s work, French theorist Roland Barthes posited that the study of intertextuality should not be an investigation of what sources have influenced a text. Instead, intertextuality reminds us that the origin of meaning cannot be tracked, given that all texts refer to other texts, whether those be literary or social. All language refers to other signs in language, which have their own meaning. In this sense, language never points to an external reality, but to language itself. Barthes negated the concept of “authorial intention” (as an external reality) to emphasize the role of the reader, and not the author, in the production of meaning. Since language only points to other language, meaning should not belong to, or solely be produced by, the author’s intention. The almost chance nature of writing indicates that the process of writing is not entirely correlated to the outcome of the text; the meaning of the text can emerge unintentionally. The text should be considered materially, only in relation to the plural and infinite world of texts.

2666 registers its own notion of how intertextuality works within a specific historical and social situatedness. Instead of motioning towards the explosion of meaning in the textual world, Bolaño’s work shows us how texts are tied to historically specific practices of knowledge production. Bolaño takes up the idea of “texts referring to the outside” not only by making intertextuality reference other texts, but also by bringing attention to the very circulation and the network in which those texts exist as part of the global circulation of information with the rise of cheap electronic commodities in the 1990s. In some ways, every text for Barthes is intertextual in that every text refers to other texts because all signs in language refer to other signs in language. The examples chosen here are intertextual because they put the literary text into conversation with other types of textuality that do not solely use natural language.

By using the “desert of boredom” as an epigraph, Bolaño’s novel indicates precisely the shift from an abstraction or metaphor of the desert to a harsh “reality.” The epigraph references a real historical place, but, more importantly, by materializing a metaphor (turning it into a material thing in the world), the intertextuality performs the transition from exchanges of discursive knowledge to exchanges of information. In this way, Bolaño not only references the material conditions that give rise to the endless flow of information in the information age, but he also puts his text into dialogue with these historical conditions through the literalization of metaphor. Instead of the use of mimesis or diegesis, perhaps this work occurs through a machine vision where information, in its literalized and compressed form, is more easily processed than discursive knowledge that often makes recourse to metaphors with complex and contradictory semantic fields. Precisely in this epigraph, there is the semantic field of affect (horror, boredom) that is juxtaposed with a semantic field of geographical space (oasis, desert). Instead of attempting to understand the figurative dimension of these words, 2666 literalizes the figurative language: it places horrible things in the middle of the desert. The citation from “Le Voyage” is the beginning of a long encounter with intertextuality as a surrogate for international exchanges of information, and this move points to how global information systems determine how textuality and intertextuality operate. 2666 presents how intertextuality is not only a shifting field of references, but also a pointer to how texts exist within networks of power that, in the information age, are defined by structures of technological telecommunication.

By using intertextuality as a surrogate for international exchanges, Bolaño’s text analyzes the role of power in the production of textuality and the role of textuality in the production of power. In the following passage, the power of the quantification of knowledge in the 21st century produces an informationalized and compressed narrative, but information itself is also a type of textuality. Bolaño’s text reflects on the free-flowing circuits of information in the NAFTA age through the desire for efficacy produced by function of information. 2666 understands the pragmatic effects of textuality: Bolaño understands that texts aren’t only literary, but also have power in many other realms, namely the power driving the information age. As in the following passage from “The Part About The Critics,” the information presented often seems “to inform,” but because of its compressed fashion it looks like it has lost some of its qualities:

La primera conversación telefónica, la que hizo Pelletier, empezó de manera difícil, aunque Espinoza esperaba esa llamada, como si a ambos les costara decirse lo que tarde o temprano iban a tener que decirse. Los veinte minutos iniciales tuvieron un tono trágico en donde la palabra destino se empleó diez veces y la palabra amistad veinticuatro. El nombre de Liz Norton se pronunció cincuenta veces, nueve de ellas en vano. La palabra París se dijo en siete ocasiones. Madrid, en ocho. La palabra amor se pronunció dos veces, una cada uno. La palabra horror se pronunció en seis ocasiones y la palabra felicidad en una (la empleó Espinoza). La palabra resolución se dijo en doce ocasiones. La palabra solipsismo en siete. La palabra eufemismo en diez. La palabra categoría, en singular y en plural, en nueve. La palabra estructuralismo en una (Pelletier). El término literatura norteamericana en tres. Las palabras cena y cenamos y desayuno y sándwich en diecinueve. La palabra ojos y manos y cabellera en catorce. Después la conversación se hizo más fluida. Pelletier le contó un chiste en alemán a Espinoza y éste se rió. Espinoza le contó un chiste en alemán a Pelletier y éste también se rió. De hecho, ambos se reían envueltos en las ondas o lo que fuera que unía sus voces y sus oídos a través de los campos oscuros y del viento y de las nieves pirenaicas y ríos y carreteras solitarias y los respectivos e interminables suburbios que rodeaban París y Madrid. (61)

The first conversation began awkwardly, although Espinoza had been expecting Pelletier’s call, as if both men found it difficult to say what sooner or later they would have to say. The first twenty minutes were tragic in tone, with the word fate used ten times and the word friendship twenty-four times. Liz Norton’s name was spoken fifty times, nine of them in vain. The word Paris was said seven times, Madrid, eight. The word love was spoken twice, once by each man. The word horror was spoken six times and the word happiness once (by Espinoza). The word solution was said twelve times. The word solipsism seven times. The word euphemism ten times. The word category, in the singular and the plural, nine times. The word structuralism once (Pelletier). The term American literature three times. The words dinner or eating or breakfast or sandwich nineteen times. The words eyes or hands or hair fourteen times. Then the conversation proceeded more smoothly. Pelletier told Espinoza a joke in German and Espinoza laughed. In fact, they both laughed, wrapped up in the waves or whatever it was that linked their voices and ears across the dark fields and the wind and the snow of the Pyrenees and the rivers and the lonely roads and the separate and interminable suburbs surrounding Paris and Madrid.

The narrator clusters together words that are literally the same, but might not be related within the context in which they are uttered. The utterances occur in different moments of the telephone conversation, and yet are clustered into discrete bits. The narrator turns the narrative into measurable material; whereas the “excess” bits of the story are discarded. The passage requires the reader to interpolate the story from the cardinal points given: in some ways this is the perfect Barthian “writerly text” in that the reader is fully pushed into the production of meaning. Reading this through Barthian intertextuality would emphasize the role of endless connotative definitions as useful for the project of proliferating meaning from the text’s endless possibilities.[6]

However, this analysis would overlook how the “play” of meaning results from a context in which knowledge becomes quantified and reduced for efficient communication. The playfulness of intertextuality results from a violence inflicted upon communication by processes of informational power. The narrative is compressed in a similar way in which computer files are reduced in size: a file is compressed in order to take up less memory space in order to be transferred more efficiently. However, typically in data compression, some of the original quality of the data is lost. Again, as in the example of the epigraph, there is a tension between discursive narrative-based knowledge and compressed pieces of intertextual information. The passage is Bolañian intertextuality because it references the arrival of the information age through its instrumentalized form, indicating how Bolaño presents intertextuality as circumscribed by the situatedness of the role of informational power (outside the text) in the production of textuality. The passage is intertextual precisely because it is a dialogic moment of 2666 as a text with the new types of textuality outside of the work: information and its pragmatic communication. It reflects on communication in its meaning (in that it is a telephone conversation), and it also performs its situatedness in the 21st century networks of communication. This context in which Bolaño writes inflects his understanding and use of intertextuality: citational exchange codes for the economic transactions that come with NAFTA. Bolañian intertextuality is violent or cruel because it brings in the power that structures the infinite circulation of texts.

Part of this intertextual cruelty/horror is that alongside the instrumentality of narrative as a response to the desire for efficacy comes a loss of specificity and refusal of meaning. As seen in the previous example, while the information is relayed more efficiently, the loss of specificity frustrates the ability to “get the whole picture.” Knowledge, or the process of communicating something, becomes quantified to the point of being nonsensical . The names and diagrams in “The Part About Amalfitano” demonstrate how intertextuality is compressed and instrumentalized for the function of informing. The alleged efficacy for information to inform sets the stage for a desire that should be fulfilled:

CLUJ Submission 26 Photo

Bolaño exploits the enormous weight of referentiality by creating a catalog of famous names. The diagrams seem like they could explain in a more instructive and informative way by reducing potential superfluous material. Their didactic form gives the impression that something useful could be communicated. While the diagrams may make reference to the oeuvres of the people listed, the names and words seem to be evacuated of meaning by their compression or by their instrumentalization. In most Bolañian lists and diagrams, intertextual information often frustrates the experience of the typical utility of information. The intertextuality that seemingly refers to a key to unlock a greater meaning results in frustrating the hermeneutic desire of the character and of the reader by not presenting any valuable detail for unlocking the narrative. The reading process is one of constant frustration, instead of the production of infinite meaning. Bolaño challenges the authority of information and referentiality precisely, making its function useless and inhibiting the construction of a narrative. Bolaño uses the “authority” of intertextuality, as it references outside texts, in order to dismantle the purpose of information, which is “to inform”. In other words, Bolaño’s intertextuality performs the compression, the operations, the desires, and the frustrations produced by the information age as a way to reference their dialogic relationship to the literary text. His intertextuality is always referencing more conventional types of textuality like language and literature (Baudelaire, philosophers, the materiality of the text itself), but performing other types of textuality that are grounded in the contemporary moment of global communication technologies (literalization, compression, instrumentalization). ■

 

Bibliography

Barthes, Roland. “S/Z.” Blackwell Publishing / Monoskop, monoskop.org/images/d/d6/Barthes_Roland_S-Z_2002.pdf.

Baudelaire, Charles, and Gautier Théophile. Les Fleurs Du Mal. HardPress Publishing, 2013.

Baudelaire, Charles, et al. The Flowers of Evil Translated from the French by William Aggeler. Cal., Academy Library Guild, 1954.

Bolaño, Roberto. 2666. Debolsillo, 2017.

Bolaño Roberto, and Natasha Wimmer. 2666. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Bolano, Roberto, and Chris Andrews. Insufferable Gaucho. Pan Macmillan, 2015.

Cameron, Maxwell A., and Brian W. Tomlin. The Making of NAFTA: How the Deal Was Done. Cornell University Press, 2002.

Manyika, James, et al. “Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows.” McKinsey & Company, http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/digital-globalization-the-new-era-of-global-flows.

 

Notes

[1] Manyika, James, et al. “Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows.” McKinsey & Company, http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/digital-globalization-the-new-era-of-global-flows.

[2] Barthes, Roland. “S/Z.” Blackwell Publishing / Monoskop, monoskop.org/images/d/d6/Barthes_Roland_S-Z_2002.pdf.

[3] Tell us what have you seen. And then, and then what else? [Author’s translation]

[4] Cameron, Maxwell A., and Brian W. Tomlin. The Making of NAFTA: How the Deal Was Done. Cornell University Press, 2002.

[5] “An oasis of horror in a desert of boredom” [Author’s translation]

[6] S/Z: “connotation, releasing the double meaning on principle, corrupts the purity of communication: it is a deliberate “static,” painstakingly elaborated, introduced into the fictive dialogue between author and reader, in short, a countercommunication (Literature is an intentional cacography).” (9)