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Beschreibung des Verlags
Remo Erdosain's Buenos Aires is a dim, seething, paranoid hive of hustlers and whores, scoundrels and madmen, and Erdosain feels his soul is as polluted as anything in this dingy city. Possessed by the directionlessness of the society around him, trapped between spiritual anguish and madness, he clings to anything that can give his life meaning: small-time defrauding of his employers, hatred of his wife's cousin Gregorio Barsut, a part in the Astrologer's plans for a new world order... but is that enough? Or is the only appropriate response to reality - insanity?
Written in 1929, The Seven Madmen depicts an Argentina on the edge of the precipice. This teeming world of dreamers, revolutionaries and scheming generals was Arlt's uncanny prophesy of the cycle of conflict which would scar his country's passage through the twentieth century, and even today it retains its power as one of the great apocalyptic works of modern literature.
Arlt (1900-1942) was an Argentinian writer of the '20s and '30s whose work was unheralded during his lifetime. Now it is recognized as a seminal influence on Argentinian modernism. In translating Arlt's best-known novel, written in 1929, Caistor notes that he has retained the "incoherencies" of Arlt's hurried prose, but the power of Arlt's vision remains strong. The protagonist, Remo Erdosain, is an inventor and a crank. His search for 600 pesos to pay back the sugar company he swindled leads to the kidnapping and supposed murder of his wife's cousin, Gregorio Barsut. The most sinister of Erdosain's friends is the Astrologer, a messianic terrorist. One of the Astrologer's followers, a pimp known as "The Melancholy Thug," gives Erdosain the money to pay back his employers, but the embezzlement suddenly seems like a minor problem compared to Erdosain's spiritual deterioration. When Erdosain's wife runs off with an army captain, he plots with the Astrologer to kidnap and kill Barsut. Erdosain wants revenge, and the Astrologer wants to use Barsut's money to buy a brothel. As Erdosian's fantasies blur into reality, we are treated to a world reminiscent of the intense Georg Grosz paintings of sex murderers. The Astrologer, with his enthusiasm for both the KKK and Bolshevism, is perhaps Arlt's most frightening creation, and a shocking prefiguration of Juan Peron, 15 years before anyone had heard of the dictator-to-be. Arlt's magnum opus will lure new readers into a keenly rendered dystopia where official facts and psychic fictions tend to change places. His dark imagination uncannily foretold the impending political milieu.