Caio Yurgel holds a PhD in Comparative Literature (summa cumlaude) from the Friedrich Schlegel Graduierten schule at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. He is the recipient of the prestigious Mario Pedrosa Award for his research on Walter Benjamin (2010). He is also an award-winning fiction writer. He is currently a postdoc fellow at the Chinese University of Hong Kong within the DAAD funded thematic network Principles of Cultural Dynamics (2017),where he is conducting research for a book project on 20th-century literature called After the Apocalypse: A Latin-American Survival Guide.
Before the Apocalypse: Cortázar in Provence
When Cortázar bought a house in the minuscule commune of Saignon, in the outskirts of Provence, the only logical question to ask him was whether or not he was a surrealist (he was not). Such a question must be understood in its bafflement and even alarm: it is not easy, after all, to live this close to Artaud and Sade, although it is also true that it is not easy to live anywhere. That he was a surrealist Cortázar would deny until his grave, but that Provences hook his oeuvre to the core is a hypothesis that remains open. This project seeks to retrace Cortázar's real and fictional steps in the region and to write, from this experience, an essay on his life and work.