An unstructured genre that blends high aesthetic standards with nonfiction commentary, the journalistic crónica, or chronicle, has played a vital role in Latin American urban life since the nineteenth century. Drawing on extensive archival research, Viviane Mahieux delivers new testimony on how chroniclers engaged with modernity in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and São Paulo during the 1920s and 1930s, a time when avant-garde movements transformed writers' and readers' conceptions of literature. Urban Chroniclers in Modern Latin America: The Shared Intimacy of Everyday Life examines the work of extraordinary raconteurs Salvador Novo, Cube Bonifant, Roberto Arlt, Alfonsina Storni, and Mário de Andrade, restoring the original newspaper contexts in which their articles first emerged.
Each of these writers guided their readers through a constantly changing cityscape and advised them on matters of cultural taste, using their ties to journalism and their participation in urban practice to share accessible wisdom and establish their role as intellectual arbiters. The intimate ties they developed with their audience fostered a permeable concept of literature that would pave the way for overtly politically engaged chroniclers of the 1960s and 1970s. Providing comparative analysis as well as reflection on the evolution of this important genre, Urban Chroniclers in Modern Latin America is the first systematic study of the Latin American writers who forged a new reading public in the early twentieth century.