XULdigital Project Background

The XULdigital website serves as the digital edition of the journal XUL: Old and New Sign, which was first published in Argentina in the early 1980s.  The original XUL provided a space for literary and political expression despite the hostile environment created by a military dictatorship that had used censorship as the State's key instrument of terror.  The dictatorship that officially began in 1976 collapsed in 1983 with the restoration of democracy.  But after seven years of terror and persecutions there were still close to 30,000 people missing and several thousand people either in hiding or in exile. The Argentine people also faced the challenge of rebuilding political and legislative institutions that had been abolished during the dictatorship. The idea that civil society could recover from a reign of terror and censorship simply by exercising its right to vote was difficult to imagine at the time. It is the degree of difficulty of this effort that gives a new meaning to Argentina’s rebuilding of its cultural and political life.

XUL published its first issue in October 1980 and continued to publish until the end of 1997.  The journal devoted entire issues to the specificity of poetic language as seen in the ones dedicated to Oliverio Girondo and Juan L. Ortiz, along side issues that provided samples of the contemporary poetry of the day—issues that gave voice to a broad spectrum of experimental poetics that were active during two decades of Argentine cultural life. A dozen issues and several hundred pages were the bridge by which the magazine, as its name suggests, established a link with the past through which it sought to redefine the present.

Many of the writers and artists who participated in XUL during the dictatorship continued doing so after democracy was restored, and it is this original group that called upon others to investigate the kinds of poetic practices that functioned as a critique of cultural institutions.  For these writers, the relation between writing and language was of primary importance as evident in those issues that were devoted to translation, visual poetry, the specificity of poetic language, and the literary aesthetic known as the "neo-baroque."  By posing questions that elicited multiple responses and by insisting on the co-existence of different points of view, the journal provided a format and a forum that continues to be of vital interest.  It is in this spirit that we seek to provide access via an electronic version of XUL to these diverse materials, which would otherwise be very difficult to obtain.

In the interest of renewing the dialogue between artistic practice and politics by publishing an electronic version of XUL, the new essays included in 5 + 5 speak to the ongoing importance of this debate.  These articles also offer a response to the fiercely anti-intellectual tendencies at work today.  In a society in which the media—itself an instrument of suppression—is busily engaged in a campaign by which we become the subjects of an increasingly infantile worldview, we publish this electronic edition of XUL.  We offer it with the same attitude that inspired the print edition, in the interest of continuing the dialogue between writing and politics that began in Argentina in the 1980s. The articles that appear in 5 + 5 in both Spanish and English constitute the dialogue between south and north that began in 1994 in a series of conferences that took place in New York, Princeton and Buffalo, and can be read as an invitation to consider what a poetics of the Americas means in a continental sense.  Also contained in this website is an electronic edition of The XUL Reader, which was published by Roof Books in 1997.

The O'Neill Library at Boston College has offered to sponsor the digital edition of XUL:  Old and New Sign with the double intent of establishing an electronic archive that gives the public access to a facsimile edition of the journal in pdf (  This digitalization project also makes it possible to navigate and access two other components:  the complete version of The XUL Reader, the anthology in English originally published by Roof Books, and a series of critical articles in Spanish and English, 5 + 5, that were written specifically for this edition.  Access to all of these components can be found in the portal dedicated to the electronic edition: http:///  These essays can be downloaded individually or as a book.  We hope that these options give readers the possibility of thinking about the material in new ways.

The electronic edition would not have been possible without the participation of the editor of XUL:  Old and New Sign, Jorge Santiago Perednik and the editor of The XUL Reader, James Sherry.  Both supported the project from the beginning and actively collaborated in providing materials from private collections that have been included in this digital version.  A special thanks to Boston College and to Shari Grove, in particular, who reviewed and supported the project from its earliest stages.  The work of those who designed and supervised the website was also critical.  A very special thanks to Jeanne Po from Instructional Design and eTeaching Services and to Este Paskausky form the O’Neill Library for applying their talents to a truly difficult and original project.  Their efforts, along with all of those who helped in making the digital edition a reality, constitute the hidden structure without which XULdigital would not have been possible.

Ernesto Livon-Grosman
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
Boston College

Project Team

Content Direction and Development
Professor Ernesto Livon-Grosman
Department of Romance Languages & Literatures
Project Manager
Jeanne Po
Instructional Designer, Instructional Design and eTeaching Services
Library Resources Consultation
Mark Caprio
    Program Manager, E-Scholarship @ BC, O'Neill Library
    Shari Grove
Collection Services Librarian, O'Neill Library
    Este Paskausky
    Digital Library Systems Analyst
Graphic Design
Jeanne Po
Instructional Designer, Instructional Design and eTeaching Services
    Mike Swanson
    Assistant Director, Graphic Services, Media Technology Services
Jason Williams
Student Assistant, Media Technology Services
Website Template Development
Maria McDowell
Graduate Web Assistant, Instructional Design and eTeaching Services
Website Development
  Jeanne Po
    Instructional Designer, Instructional Design and eTeaching Services
Website Development Assistance
Christain Coleman
    Project Assistant, Romance Languages & Literatures
OCR Assistance
  Matthew Dorsi
Project Assistant, Romance Languages & Literatures
Quality Assurance Assistance
  Sarah Foster
Student Assistant, Instructional Design and eTeaching Services

Versión en español