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Faculty Publication: Visiting Assistant Professor Roberto Martínez Bachrich

April 8, 2024

"Plagas volátiles" o las alas del terror: Escenas de horror animal en El Orinoco ilustrado y defendido (1745) de José Gumilla

Author: Roberto Martínez Bachrich

Source: Revista Úrsula, Número 7: Literatura y Naturaleza, February 2024

Type of Publication: Article

Abstract: José Gumilla’s El Orinoco ilustrado (1745) offers a repertoire of monsters that includes multiple flying species, from tiny insects to bloodsucking flying mammals. There are countless specimens of these little beasts in the jungle, and those who do not avoid their attack can experience pain, suffering and even death. Among the “volatile pests” in the Orinoco, Gumilla distinguishes mosquitoes, gnats, rollers, galofas, wasps, green worm flies and bats. These pages read the tapestries of horror that the friar weaves in his natural history based on N. Carroll’s idea of “Art-Horror”. Thus, I suggest that Gumilla, by combining fear and disgust, develops early amazing scenes of animal horror.

Roberto Martínez Bachrich is a visiting assistant professor of Spanish.