Ricardo Güiraldes’s Américas: Reappropriation and Reacculturation in Xaimaca
Studies in Travel Writing
Travel writing, from the era of the Encounter to the present day, has played an integral role in the dialectical envisioning of Latin America and Latin American culture by Europeans, North Americans and Latin Americans alike. In my analysis of the cosmopolitan Argentine writer Ricardo Güiraldes's novel Xaimaca (1923), I tackle this writer's grappling with the Latin American elite's customary trip of acculturation to Europe. I demonstrate that, far from blindly supporting the belief that culture is a principally metropolitan phenomenon, Güiraldes proposes the notion of cultural (re)discovery within the Latin American context as seen through his protagonist's journey from Buenos Aires to Jamaica. Thus, Xaimaca is more than just the narration of a simple journey; it is also a metaphorical pilgrimage towards the autochthonous, as well as a proposal for a de-centring of Latin American cultural production and the creation of a new continental aesthetic in the post-First World War era.
Ricardo Güiraldes’s Américas: Reappropriation and Reacculturation in Xaimaca (1923). Studies in Travel Writing 7.1 (2003): 9-28.