Chapter 4 “That Other Unreality”: Place, Non-Place and the Fantastic in Julio Cortázar’s “La isla a mediodía” (1966)

In: Spaces of Longing and Belonging
Ivan Kenny
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This essay focuses on the opposition between “place” and “non-place” in Julio Cortázar’s short story “La isla a mediodía” (The Island at Noon, ). The question of spatiality in Cortázar’s oeuvre has not received a great deal of detailed critical attention, and yet recent scholarship suggests that this dimension is essential to understanding how the fantastic operates in his works. I contend that the “sense of place” of Marini’s island can be read as the element of the fantastic which invades the “non-place” of the aircraft cabin. Augé (1995) categorizes “place” as a location concerned with history and identity, imbued with human characteristics; while “non-place” is a space of transit emptied of history and identity. As the story concludes, place and non-place collapse into each other producing a fantastical rupture in the discursive plane and the creation of two possible “unrealities”.

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Spaces of Longing and Belonging

Territoriality, Ideology and Creative Identity in Literature and Film

Series:  Spatial Practices, Volume: 30


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