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The square root of negative one: the influence of imaginary numbers on Nicanor Parra’s poem ‘El hombre imaginario’

Montebruno Bondi, Piero (2021) The square root of negative one: the influence of imaginary numbers on Nicanor Parra’s poem ‘El hombre imaginario’. . London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This article presents a new and necessary explication of ‘El hombre imaginario’, the most well-known poem of Nicanor Parra, by connecting the repetition of the word imaginario, which is central to the poem, to the symbol i—the square root of negative one—used to represent imaginary numbers. In this interpretation, the poem integrates a cold, sterile element of mathematics into the artful world of antipoetry so seamlessly that this element has gone unnoticed by critics—until now. In the poem, Parra, who was well acquainted with the symbol i—something that this paper carefully proves—uses the modifiers imaginario(s)/a(s) to transpose the meaning of words much in the same way that the symbol i, the imaginary unit, transposes the meaning of numbers. Accordingly, this article attempts to reveal the hidden algebra of the poem, opening an avenue for further interpretation.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2021 00:06
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2021 08:57
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/108946

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