Ulysses’s Last Voyage: Bolaño and the Allegorical Figuration of Hell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


There is growing critical consensus among Bolaño scholars that his more extensive novels, Los detectives salvajes (The Savage Detectives, 1998) and 2666 (2004), pay homage, thematically and stylistically, to the Greek classics, foremost among them epics like The Odyssey and The Aeneid. It is also evident, at least in English-language novels, that there are tendencies not only to model narratives on such classics but also to rewrite them in innovative fashions. That tradition, in fact, has a genealogy that extends back to Yourcenar and Renault and has been updated by Zachary Mason in The Lost Books of the Odyssey (2010) and by Madeline Miller in The Song of Achilles (2012), and perhaps no less by the Italian Alessandro Baricco. In the Latin American tradition, one can mention a fairly recent precedent like Fernando del Paso’s Palinuro de México (Palinurus of Mexico, 1977). But no singular contemporary Latin American novel or grouping of them has worked with the intricacies of those classics like Bolaño’s, especially while keeping in mind modern palimpsests like James Joyce’s Ulysses, which in turn takes its cue from Dante. And there is Borges, who rewrites all of them. That said, criticism is at pains to show precise filiations, particularly in terms of characteristics and themes, between Bolaño and his predecessors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiteratures of the Americas
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameLiteratures of the Americas
ISSN (Print)2634-601X
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6028


  • Food Factory
  • Infinite Period
  • Literary History
  • Model Narrative
  • Return Journey


Dive into the research topics of 'Ulysses’s Last Voyage: Bolaño and the Allegorical Figuration of Hell'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this