In the Image and Likeness

by Saúl Yurkievich

Translated by Cola Franzen

Available free in three digital formats!

“Saúl Yurkievich is a virtuoso of words. Like a magnificent pianist, he can go from

the softest to the strongest on the splendid keyboard of the Spanish language.

Yurkievich besieges words, finds their god-like resemblances, goes beyond

them with pleasure and, finally, paints his own dream.”

Carlos Fuentes

“What is striking about Yurkievich's work is the range of his presentations

and his ability to shape voices — what he calls 'design in search of designation.'”

—James Hoggard, Denver Post

“This stunning collection forces the reader to encounter the essence of perception. …

For a long time now, the Spanish-speaking world has known that Yurkievich is truly

a luminary. Now, readers of English can at last discover for themselves the uniqueness,

inventiveness, liveliness, and sheer brilliance of this important Latin-American writer.”

—Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno

In the Image and Likeness consists of prose pieces that are neither stories nor essays nor prose poems. In the first half of the book, "Figurations," Yurkievich looks at four great artists in four very different ways. The first selection is a short interior monologue by the 17th-century Spanish painter Velázquez as he paints his masterpiece "Las meninas" late in his life (see excerpt linked to below). The second piece is a much longer monologue by Velázquez's follower, the turn-of-the-19th-century Spanish painter Goya, spoken to the woman he loved and sometimes painted, the Duchess of Alba. His love and his art are seen to constantly affect each other.
        The third selection contains several short views of paintings by Picasso, and the fourth and longest piece is a look at the eccentric German collage painter and Dadaist Kurt Schwitters as he goes about his collection of scraps and clippings and castoffs, including the perfect element to complete "Construction for Noble Ladies," the work on the book's cover. Since Yurkievich himself is a collagist, working with words and ideas, this piece is the book's center.

The second half of the book, "Spectacles," consists of many short pieces that are indescribable as poetry, that simply are. They display Yurkievich's humor and imagination, his sense of the absurd and his way with words. Each is a small delight.


Saúl Yurkievich was born in Argentina in 1931 and died in 2005. The author of seventeen volumes of poetry and fifteen volumes of criticism and creative prose, he was professor of Latin American literature at the Université de Paris Vincennes, and also taught at many American universities, including Harvard, Chicago, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, Maryland, and Pittsburgh.


Cola Franzen is an experienced translator of Latin American literature into English. Her translation of Jorge Guillén’s Horses in the Air (City Lights, 1999) won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. Other translations include Alicia Borinsky’s All Night Movie (Northwestern U.P., 2002) and Antonio José Ponte’s Tales from the Cuban Empire (City Lights, 2002). She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


$11 paper, 112 pages, ISBN 0-945774-59-1. Also available as an e-book.

Available free in three digital formats!

To read an excerpt from In the Image and Likeness, in PDF format, click here.

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