The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Magical Realism Day. Borges and Cortázar


On December 8, 2018 the Magical Realism Day will take place at the Yasnaya Polyana Cultural Center. Its participants will discuss Leo Tolstoy‘s influence on Latin American literature and tell about the fantasy world of the texts by Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar. It is a joint project of our museum and the cultural department of the Embassy of Argentina.

Admission is free, but registration in advance is necessary. Register at:

Magical reliasm that combines elements of reality with magical and mythological features was the main genre in Latin American literature in the 20th century. This way of depicting the reality results in ambiguity and increased color and symbolism of the artistic language. Among the Latin American authors who represent magical realism Gabriel Garсia Marquez, Julio Cortázar, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Jorge Luis Borges should be specially mentioned.

The program:

14:00 – lecture by the translator Alexander Kazachkov, Borges and Lunfardo.

„Translating of a book is an endless process. The translator can change and, as he believes, make the text better again and again – until he makes it worse. The most difficult and interesting thing is to convey the wordplay and solve a complicated translation task,” says Alexander Kazachkov. Based on the example of A Model for Death, a parody detective story by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares, he will tell the audience about the lunfardo dialect of Buenos Aires, and about his work with texts by Borges and other Latin American authors.

Lunfardo is a version of the Spanish language used in Argentina and Uruguay. It formed due to the contact of two closely related languages, Spanish and Italian. It originates from the dialect of Spanish convicts who were exiled to those places in the 17th and 18th centuries. After the introduction of mass education in Argentina in the second half of the 20th century, lunfardo gradually died out, but it influenced the formation of the phonetics and vocabulary of the Argentinian version of the Spanish language.

15:30 – screening of the documentary film Cronopios and Famas (directed by Julio César Ludueña, 2014, Argentina; 86 minutes; Russian subtitles). The film based on Julio Cortázar‘s book with the same title will be presented by Horacio Lazzari, cultural counselor of the Embassy of Argentina.

Background information:

Alexander Kazachkov is a simultaneous interpreter and translator of fiction. A member of the Union of Translators of Russia, a many-time participant of the Translators' Seminar at Yasnaya Polyana. Alexander Kazachkov’s main job includes translating all Russian/Spanish government negotiations, and the President’s meetings with his Spanish-speaking colleagues. An admirer of Argentinian literature, he translates works by Jorge Luis Borges, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Miguel Ángel Asturias, and Rubén Darío. He also translated The Rose of the World by Daniil Andreev and Memories of Shostakovich by Mikhail Ardov into Spanish.

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