Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Esther Allen

Committee Members

Fernando Degiovanni

Magdalena Perkowska

Sylvia Molloy

Mariano Siskind

Esther Allen

Subject Categories

Latin American Literature | Translation Studies


Latin American Poetry, Pan American Conferences, Gabriela Mistral, Good Neighbor Policy


My dissertation explores the notion of amateurism in the context of the translation of Latin American literature in the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century. I argue that all literary translators are amateurs in terms of their modes of production, and that this condition allows them to resist the hegemonic projects of their day (In this dissertation, “amateurism” does away with the pejorative connotation that the term has acquired in the common use). With this in mind, I study the work and the career path of two American translators, Alice Stone Blackwell and Isaac Goldberg, and the different ways in which they approached Pan Americanism, the set of knowledges that the U.S. produced about Latin America in the period under review. Blackwell and Goldberg –among the first translators of Latin American Literature into English–, worked inside the framework established by Pan Americanism, and saw how their own translational practices were defined by this context. At the same time, I study the ways in which their amateur practices of translation challenged the ideas of Pan Americanism and put forward alternative ways to relate to Latin America and its literature.

Through the analysis of primary sources –personal correspondence, conferences, and articles– I also examine the marginal position of the literary translator in broader terms. I suggest that her or his place inside the literary field and the margins of the capitalist system of production gives them the necessary space to resist or comment on the inequality of the power relations between the languages and cultures they work with. For Blackwell, these margins are related to her being a woman, radical political views, and ability to move around academic institutions without forming part of them. In Goldberg’s case, to his Jewish identity and his unwavering condition as an amateur translator, which survived despite his failed attempts at making translation a profession.