Animal World

Animal World

infobox Book |
name = Animal World
title_orig = Mundo animal
translator =


image_caption =
author = Antonio di Benedetto
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = Argentina
language = Spanish
series =
genre = Short stories
publisher =
release_date =
english_release_date =
media_type =
pages =
isbn =
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"Animal World" (Spanish original title: "Mundo animal") is a collection of short stories written by Antonio di Benedetto, with hallucinatory animal transformations by the internationally acknowledged Argentine master.

Summary

The animal theme is probably the oldest in literature. Cavemen told stories of hunts, of talking animals and probably of animal-like gods. The first book of the Bible places the serpent in paradise, speaking wisely to the first man and woman. Classical authors like Lucian and Apuleius wrote satires in which pretentious people turned into lowly animals, like a jackass. William Shakespeare created his own memorable jackass, and Miguel de Cervantes had his witty talking dogs. In our century, Franz Kafka presented the learned address of a highly refined ape to a scientific academy. Probably no writer worth his salt has not at one time or other picked up the theme.

A little-known, but fascinating contribution to this tradition is " [Mundo animal", or "Animal World", by the Argentine author, Antonio di Benedetto. It is strangely different from its celebrated predecessors. Kafka, for example, impresses the reader with a striking artistic conception, ingenious logic and magnificent language in each story. Di Benedetto's stories do not impress in this way.

Written in conversational and even intentionally awkward language, they present a confused and troubled narrator, who, tormented by mysterious gnawings of guilt, becomes involved in some obscure way with an animal or whole group of animals. They invade his soul, drive him to rage or deliver him from his obsession. Often the story hinges on a pun, a distorted folktale, or an illogical association. While not spectacular in itself, each story adds to the preceding to create a growing sense of doom. Thus story by story the reader becomes ensnared in a horrifying, hallucinatory realm of associations; the world he thought was human is transformed into "Animal World".

Editions

*Translated from Spanish by H. E. Francis, with an Afterword by Jorge García-Gómez. Grand Terrace, CA: Xenos Books. ISBN 1-879378-17-5 (paper), 138 p. [With cover art by Peter Zokosky.]


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