Juan José Saer’s La grande: another turn, the last, spiral one


  • Adriana Mancini




time, memory, perception, representation


Juan José Saer (1937–2005) was born in the province of Santa Fe, located in the river coastal region of Argentina, and lived there until 1968. He then moved to Paris until his death, where he also wrote most of his works. His literary project is based on a region – the zone – which represents simultaneously geography and existence: it has a real point of reference, a portion of the Santa Fe riverside area of the Paraná river, and also it is a condition for the opportunity for a conversation between friends; a debate over the representational possibilities of language, the relationship between literature and reality, the twists and turns of philosophy. The characters, native to that region, appear throughout his work; they grow old along with their maker. Each novel completes fictional configurations, progresses both in its conflicts and in those of the group they make up. Their Leitmotiven are remembrance, memory, perception and representation of time in several manifestations. La grande, a posthumous novel, is considered a compendium of Saer’s works. It is composed of seven chapters named after the days of the week, from Tuesday to Monday. The last chapter, Monday, which Saer may have conceived as a coda, consists of a single line. His death does away with time bringing an end to his literary project. This paper comprises an analysis of temporal representation in the novel: the aging of the characters in the saga; the construction of space-time coordinates for narrative development, the formal means used for its representation, the embedding of the historical time through references to Argentina’s last dictatorship, and the functionality of the reference to the days of the week for identifying the respective chapters, both in the context of the novel and the author’s work as a whole. 


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Author Biography

  • Adriana Mancini

    Doctora en Letras por la Universidad de Buenos Aires, en cuya Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, es docente e investigadora. Dictó seminarios en las Universidades de La Plata, Venecia, Milán, Colonia (Alemania). Editó los
    ensayos de Walter Benjamin, Denkbildr. Epifanías en viajes y, en colaboración, La ronda y el antifaz. Lecturas críticas sobre Silvina Ocampo. Ha publicado Silvina Ocampo. Escalas de pasión y artículos en revistas especializadas nacionales y extranjeras. Actualmente investiga la vejez y la muerte en la literatura argentina y latinoamericana y prepara el libro Bioy va al cine para la editorial Libraria.



31. 12. 2012




How to Cite

Mancini, A. (2012). Juan José Saer’s La grande: another turn, the last, spiral one. Verba Hispanica, 20(2), 165-177. https://doi.org/10.4312/vh.20.2.165-177