116th Annual Conference - Bellingham, Washington
Friday, November 9 - Sunday, November 11, 2018

Society of the Spectacle and Friendship in Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch

Richard Sperber, Carthage College

Cortázar's 1963 novel follows Nietzsche in positing a competitive form of male friendship as an antidote to an alienating public sphere. The flight from the society of the spectacle leads to a confrontation with Woman, “actor” par excellence (Nietzsche), whose performances challenge the androcentric performance of friendship.

 

Proposal: 

In Cortázar’s 1963 novel, the Argentine protagonist and his best friend play increasingly dangerous games with language, logic, and local institutions, which are supposed to create an alternative reality to an alienating public sphere. Hopscotch follows Nietzsche insofar as the escape from the public sphere--here, the society of the spectacle in Paris of the late 1950s--into a competitive form of male friendship entails a confrontation with Woman whom the philosopher saw as the “actor” par excellence. Cortázar’s two friends respond to feminine performances by intensifying their androcentric performance of friendship and devising a game that countenances the death of the wife of one of the two Argentine friends.