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Official Master > Master projects

M. Laura Berniell Mac Allister
Teosofía, ciencia y literatura en el primer Arlt: Un intento de acceso al incipiente campo intelectual argentino a principios del siglo XX
Supervisor/s: Annette Mülberger
Date of defense: 04-09-2012

In 1920, the still unknown Roberto Arlt writes an essay, “Las ciencias ocultas en la ciudad de Buenos Aires”. Here we try to show that behind its explicit goal —to expose the tricks of theosophy— this texts includes a clever operation of Arlt, a profane, in order to access the emergent argentinian intellectual field: basing on the hygienist alliance (between scientists and the state), he patologizes and criminalizes theosophy, and simultaneously he associates to theosophy the dominant literary trend (modernism). The refutation —using science as a primary tool— of this literature allows him to propose a new one, more direct and concrete. But, the ways in which he uses science —numerous citations of authority, a hard-worked “expert” language and a condemn of the abuse of he “amoral psychisms” of theosophy and modernist literature— differentiate this proposal from his future work and, also, the public that he is addressing here from his future public. This complex attempt of the young Arlt is another proof of the fact that relationships between science and literature exceed the mere thematic influence. His hard-worked attempt will fail. We propose tentative explanations for that fail (intern and extern to his text). Also, assuming (following Sarlo, 1992) that Arlt is representative of a vast and profane sector, enthusiast of the techno-scientific issues, we’ll illuminate practices, discourses and interests of that sector.