The Efficient Scribe: Translating Julio Cortázar's Todos los fuegos el fuego

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American scholar and literary translator Suzanne Jill Levine’s seminal monograph, The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction (1991), furnishes prime examples of her active role during the co-translation of works by subversive, creative authors like the Cuban-British writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante. The intention of this article is to discuss another type of collaborative translation by focusing on her working relationship with the Argentinian author Julio Cortázar during the translation process of his collection of short stories Todos los fuegos el fuego (1966; All Fires the Fire and Other Stories, 1973). An exploration of Cortázar’s working life as a translator reveals that he was far from being a playful author, willing to perform a ‘creative self-betrayal’ of his volume of short stories, and that his understanding of original text and translation defined his collaboration with Levine. An analysis of his correspondence with her, including the examination of mistakes that had been highlighted by Cortázar, and of her incorporation of corresponding amendments in her final version aims to prove that Levine translated his short stories as a non-subversive and efficient scribe, guided by Cortázar’s controlled cooperation and with his interference disguised as assistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalThe Translator
Early online date17 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 May 2021


  • Julio Cortázar
  • collaborative translation
  • interference
  • suzanne Jill Levine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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