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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Comparative Literature - Open Access Policy Deposits

This series is automatically populated with publications deposited by UC Berkeley Department of Comparative Literature researchers in accordance with the University of California’s open access policies. For more information see Open Access Policy Deposits and the UC Publication Management System.

Cover page of In the Cards: Prophecy and the Gamble of Language in Borges's "El truco"

In the Cards: Prophecy and the Gamble of Language in Borges's "El truco"


Bringing together Frankfurt School poetics and the history of Argentina and Borges's ongoing alterations to his poetic archive, this essay studies his minor poem "El truco" to understand how Borges's poetics strive to reimagine Argentine politics and the project of writing history.

Diane...The Personal Voice Recorder in Twin Peaks


This article examines the use of the personal voice recorder in David Lynch's Twin Peaks, its connections to noir film, and its use to manage narrative space between characters and audience.

Cover page of The Archaeology of a Discipline and the Discipline To Come

The Archaeology of a Discipline and the Discipline To Come


A review of Michael Allan's "In the Shadow of World Literature."

Cover page of The Mark of the Detail: Universalism, Type, Difference

The Mark of the Detail: Universalism, Type, Difference


Abstract: Departing from the premise that novelistic details particularize and locate characters in a sociocultural matrix, this essay examines what happens to the detail in texts that refuse certain norms of specification. The essay focuses on the French writer Anne F. Garréta’s novel Sphinx (1986), which avoids all linguistic markers of gender for its central pair of lovers, and Toni Morrison’s short story “Recitatif” (1983), which never reveals the racial identities of its two protagonists, one of whom is white and one Black. Drawing on Georg Lukács’s discussion of realism and typicality, the essay considers how these unmarked texts mediate between individual and type, as well as their approaches to the representation of difference.

Cover page of “Rigoberta's Listener”: The Significance of Sound in Testimonio

“Rigoberta's Listener”: The Significance of Sound in Testimonio


“[LOS INDIOS SON] LOS VENCIDOS POR LA CONQUISTA ESPAÑOLA, LOS QUE SE EXPRESAN HOY EN LA VOZ DE RIGOBERTA-MENCHÚ” (“THE voice of Rigoberta Menchú allows the defeated to speak”; Burgos-Debray, Prólogo 8; Introduction xi). This statement introduces thetestimoniorecorded on cassette tapes and then edited into print by Elisabeth Burgos-Debray:Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y asi me nació la conciencia(My Name is Rigoberta Menchú and This Is How My Consciousness Was Born), published in English asI, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala.In order to hear that voice from January 1982, and to consider the important role of aurality in the text's production and later uptakes, one now has to visit the Hoover Institution, on the campus of Stanford University. Given that Menchú'stestimonio, a genre defined by the work of personal witnessing on behalf of a collective struggling against injustice, tells the story of her community's socialist fight against exploitative labor practices and government-sponsored genocide, it might seem odd that her voice has been preserved in the archives of a right-wing think tank in the United States, some of whose fellows provided support for the government Menchú spoke against. However, the Hoover Institution has long dedicated itself to an archival counterrevolutionary practice, collecting the voices, newspapers, personal correspondence, and other documents associated with the ideological enemies of the institution's current and former fellows. Moreover, the location of Menchú's tapes makes some historical sense. Many today will recall that Stanford University, the Hoover Institution, and Menchú were at the center of what has since been called the Rigoberta Menchú controversy (Arias), in which the text galvanized culture war debates when progressive faculty members includedI, Rigoberta Menchúon syllabi to diversify the curriculum. Right-wing pundits railed against the inclusion as an example of “affirmative action for books” (Dinesh D'Souza qtd. in Strauss) and denounced Menchú'stestimonioafter the Stanford PhD and anthropologist David Stoll revealed that it included several inaccurate statements.

Cover page of Forgotten Histories of the AudiobookTape, Text, Speech, and Sound from Esteban Montejo and Miguel Barnet’s Biografía de un cimarrón to Andy Warhol’s a: a novel

Forgotten Histories of the AudiobookTape, Text, Speech, and Sound from Esteban Montejo and Miguel Barnet’s Biografía de un cimarrón to Andy Warhol’s a: a novel


This article investigates the different affordances of magnetic tape and print as they are entextualized in various co(n)texts by writers, ethnographers, and musicians throughout the Americas in the late 1960s. I analyze printed books made from tape recordings—Cuban anthropologist Miguel Barnet and his interview subject Esteban Montejo’s Biografía de un cimarrón (Biography of a Runaway Slave, 1966), Rodolfo Walsh’s true-crime denunciation ¿Quién mató a Rosendo? (Who killed Rosendo?, 1968), and Andy Warhol’s experimental a: a novel (1968)—to ask why these writers transduced their recordings into print rather than release them as audiobooks, how or if listening to those tapes would alter the meaning of their printed entextualizations, and what musical interactions with the same media in the same contexts can tell us about the limits both of print and of symbolic musical notation. Tracing the intersection of musical and literary works, the article argues that a writerly ethics of distortion, rather than fidelity, arises from this mutual encounter with sound on tape, and ponders how dialogic audiobooks might contest older issues of power and representation for those writers, North and South, who worked in support of marginalized (Afro-Cuban, working class, and queer) subjects.

Cover page of This American Voice: The Odd Timbre of a New Standard in Public Radio

This American Voice: The Odd Timbre of a New Standard in Public Radio


Over the past seventeen years This American Life has functioned, in part, as an investiga­ tion into, and representation and construction of an American voice. Alongside David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, Mike Birbiglia, and the panoply of other odd timbres on the show, Glass’s delivery, pitch, and tone have irked and attracted listeners. Yet what began as a voice on the margins of public radio has become a kind of exemplum for what new radio journalism in the United States sounds like. How did this happen? What can this voice and the other voices on the show tell us about contemporary US audio and radio culture? Can we hear the typicality of that American voice as representative of broader cultural shifts across the arts? And how might author Daniel Alarcón’s Radio Ambulante, which he describes as “This American Life, but in Spanish, and transnational,” alter the status of these American voices, possibly hearing how voices travel across borders to knit together an auditory culture that expands the notion of the American voice?