This panel aims to present innovative perspectives on Bolaño's works by focusing on the comicality of his works. There is a suspicion that something terribly serious and still unknown awaits critics from behind Bolaño's humour, and it is precisely that suspicion that this panel wishes to address.
In the last years critics have been paying an ever-increasing attention to the works of Roberto Bolaño. His reflections on evil, violence, political horror, and issues of memory and trauma, have consolidated as relevant topics in the study of his work. Their pressing character, however, has arguably made critics withdraw from attending to the role of humour and comicality in Bolaño, which has not been thoroughly analysed. Yet Bolaño openly laughed, both in his fiction and his interviews, at every element of the institution of literature: at writers' aspiration to literary immortality, at the writer's complacency with the market, at the 'commitment' of writers from either left or right, and also at literary critics. There is a suspicion that something terribly serious and still unknown awaits critics from behind Bolaño's humour, and it is precisely that suspicion that this panel wishes to address. We invite papers that explore Bolaño's humour directly or through the way in which existing studies have prevented a lighter approach to his works. Also, papers that look at the relation between horror and humour in his narrative, and at the use of humour as a tool for bringing to light dark realities; and papers that consider irony, sarcasm, parody and the formal and structural artifices Bolaño used humorously. Finally, this panel also aims at discovering further intertextual relations in the works of Bolaño, either with other masters of humour such as Georges Perec or with writers and texts that he mocked.