Delfina Cabrera received her PhD in comparative literature from the Université de Perpignan via Domitia (in conjunction with the Università degli Studi di Bergamo) under the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate programme ‘Cultural Studies in Literary Interzones’. Her research engages with a wide range of fields including contemporary Latin American literatures, translation studies, archival theories, genetic criticism, gender studies, and the visual arts.

She has taught at the Universidad Nacional de San Martín and, prior to joining the ICI Berlin, was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (Universidad de La Plata-CONICET). She has conducted research as a visiting scholar at both the Universität Potsdam and the Institute of Modern Texts and Manuscripts (ITEM /CNRS-ENS). She has specialized in the study and organization of writers’ archives, especially those of Manuel Puig, Mario Bellatin and, more recently, Paul Bowles. In addition to numerous articles published in academic journals, she is the author of Las lenguas vivas. Zonas de exilio y traducción en Manuel Puig (2016).

Reduction Wars. Mario Bellatin and the Feat of the Small Form
Affiliated Project 2021-23

Mario Bellatin’s first novel, Efecto invernadero [Greenhouse Effect], was over a thousand pages long before it was published, in 1992, in its final fifty-four-page version. This strenuous gesture inaugurates the literary poetics of a writer who has turned the small form (the fragment, the minor sentences, the synthesis) into his hallmark and battlefield. In a context in which Latin American literature had been invaded by social reality, Bellatin was determined to build worlds of his own, devoid of realism and the duty to testify. Since then, Bellatin’s writing has combined, with equal surgical precision, an array of reduction techniques with the invention of confined spaces that only respond to the fiction that sustains them.

For reduction is also a technique of warfare, and in Bellatin’s last published texts (Retrato de Mussolini con familia [Portrait of Mussolini with Family], Carta sobre los ciegos para uso de los que pueden ver [Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who Can See]), one perceives a state of permanent war against the reified forms of the Republic of Letters. This project aims to analyze these texts in light of Bellatin’s reduction strategies and his affinity for confinement.

The Unwriting Machine:
Medio and the Archive in Mario Bellatin

ICI Project 2018-20

How to write without writing? What is a literary milieu outside of itself? How can we read a writing that proliferates by disappearing? Where does the archive end and the oeuvre begin? This project aims to explore the creative (un)writing process of the Mexican writer Mario Bellatin through the polyvalent concept of medio in order to reflect upon the figure of errantry in contemporary Latin American literary practices at large.

Closely engaging with the author’s living archive and his writing practice beyond literature, Cabrera will concentrate on how his works challenge the notion of writing as trace or inscription into a literary body. The development of the concept of medio will be the center of the project as it defines the mechanism of differentiation and transformation between diverse arts and materialities Bellatin uses to expose literature towards an exteriority of wild errancy.