During the early 1950s, Argentine writer Julio Cortázar was commissioned by UNESCO to translate Edgar Allan Poe's prose into Spanish. Cortázar's deep knowledge of the English language and his acquaintance with the life and work of the American writer meant that, over the ensuing decades, he produced renditions which are still considered to be among the most literary of all twentieth-century Spanish translations of Poe's work. This article presents a detailed analysis of two paragraphs from “The Tell-Tale Heart,” comparing Cortázar's translation with other, more recent Spanish versions. I aim to show that although Cortázar's rendering is in many ways the most faithful to the original text, his sometimes nonstandard use of Spanish substantially changes the meaning of the original. For this reason, speakers of Peninsular Spanish may have difficulty in understanding his translation, and might not fully appreciate the unity of effect around which Poe composed this story.

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