In the 1950s, the Argentinian author Julio Cortázar (1914–84) composed Imagen de John Keats, a little-known work that merges his own life with that of the British Romantics. Part biography and part autobiography, it includes personal essays and literary criticism that weave through the poems, life, and letters of Keats from his early youth to death. This article positions Imagen de John Keats as an important case study in world literature criticism. It demonstrates how Cortázar was not only a Latin American Boom writer who enjoyed international fame but also an idiosyncratic practitioner of reading and writing methods that transcend nation and period. Modeling innovative techniques that the author calls “automatic translation” and “global close reading,” Cortázar anticipates some of the problems recently voiced in critical debates surrounding world literature. Imagen de John Keats is simultaneously an example of world literature that blends fiction and nonfiction, and a model for world literature criticism.

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