This article analyzes queer literary politics and the engagement with cultural precursors in the 1990s and into the twenty-first century in works by Cuban writer Ena Lucía Portela and Argentine writer María Moreno. The lack of a clearly defined tradition of lesbian/queer literature by women in Cuba and Argentina leads these two writers to appropriate or invent their own during periods of increasing liberalization in their respective countries. At first glance, Portela and Moreno’s joyful gestures of what this essay conceptualizes as “creative plagiarism” appear to signal their reveling in a cosmopolitan commons, largely situated in the United States and Europe, via Paris of the années folles (Crazy Years), from which fragments can be drawn to create queer counter-canons. However, the article concludes that through their highly intertextual works both writers reflect critically on the location of the so-called cosmopolitan in queer literary genealogies and on power dynamics and hierarchies among both authors and characters and different creative forms, including academic writing. The article argues that while the diegesis of their texts is largely set outside their local contexts, both writers’ works are deeply located in Cuba and Argentina. Ultimately, Portela and Moreno claim authority for creative writers themselves, as well as their nonliterary cocreators, reflecting critically on literary scholarship.

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