Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC
Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC
Foreign Service Institute
U. S. Government Language School
University of Pennsylvania
During the past decade, thanks primarily to the efforts of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), like Educational Testing Service (ETS), and with the assistance of several government language training agencies under the auspices of the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR), a major theoretical and practical development in the field of foreign language assessment has taken place. This development is the application of a «proficiency» orientation in the testing of foreign language competence. This movement has also brought about the adoption of a proficiency approach to language instruction in many quarters.
Two standards lie at the heart of the oral proficiency testing movement: the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and the ACTFL/ILR speaking proficiency guidelines. The OPI is a direct face-to-face evaluation of the learner's second language competence conducted by trained interviewers and raters. [For information on the direct oral proficiency interview used by the government the reader is referred to Wilds (1975) and Sollenberger (1978). For information on the ACTFL oral interview see Higgs (1984); and Stansfield and Harmon (1987)]. The ACTFL proficiency guidelines (ACTFL 1986), based on the earlier developed ILR guidelines, provide the criteria against which language proficiency is rated. Between 1980 and 1988, ACTFL trained approximately 1,600 oral proficiency interviewers and raters in the major foreign languages taught in the United States: Spanish, French; German, and Russian. As a result, oral proficiency testing is widely available to examinees in need of a rating of their competency in these languages. However for less commonly taught languages such as Portuguese, the scarce number of trained interviewers makes it difficult if not impractical to connect an interviewer in one part of the country with an examinee in another part of the country. This situation impedes the availability of an oral proficiency interview to an individual who may have need for such a rating. The Portuguese Speaking Test (PST), a semi-direct test of oral proficiency, was developed in response to this need.
Semi-direct testing (using recorded and printed stimuli and recording examinee responses) is the most efficient and feasible approach to proficiency measurement in the less commonly taught languages. This approach eliminates the need to sustain a costly and labor intensive face-to-face (direct) Oral Proficiency Interview program for low-volume languages whose enrollment figures may be unstable from year to year. However, semidirect testing does provide the benefits derived from a continual assessment program, and it can serve as the impetus for competency-based learning on the part of students of these languages.
There have been several efforts to develop semi-direct tests of
oral proficiency in foreign languages. One of the earliest was the
Recorded Oral Proficiency Examination (ROPE), designed and
described by Lowe and Clifford (1980). In the ROPE, the examines
hears a series of tape-recorded questions in the target
Another semi-direct test is the Test of Spoken English (TSE), published by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The TSE was developed by Clark and Swinton (1979) and is most widely used by universities to determine whether a foreign student applicant has sufficient command of spoken English to serve as a teaching assistant in his or her field while pursuing an advanced degree. Using a picture booklet and 20 tape-recorded questions, the TSE elicits about a 7-8 minute sample of speech. Examinees' response tapes are returned to ETS where they are scored on a scale of 0-300 by trained raters. The results of the test are sent to institutions designated by the examinee. In a validation study, the TSE was found to be an adequate substitute for a face-to-face speaking test, since it showed a correlation of .79 with an oral proficiency interview (Clark and Swinton 1980).
In 1986, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) conducted a project with support provided by a grant from the Department of Education to develop a proto-typical ROPE-like test for Chinese that could be measured on the ACTFL/ILR guidelines yet use visual as well as aural stimuli (as the TSE) [Clark 1986; Clark and Li 1986]. The Chinese Speaking Test (CST) differed from the former tests in that it used a format similar to the OPI. However, following a «warm-up» in the target language, the stimuli are presented in English. This is because the questions following the warm-up can be quite lengthy and complex One problem with the ROPE, which presented stimuli in the target language, was that not all examinees could understand the test questions. In addition, the CST was specifically designed for examinees at a targeted proficiency range of Intermediate-Low to Superior on the ACTFL scale (1-3+ on the ILR scale). Four parallel forms of the CST were developed. Using a representative student sample and ACTFL-certified interviewers in Chinese, a validation study was conducted to statistically compare the OPI with the CST. Using a sample of 32 subjects, correlations of between .96 and .98 were found between student scores on the four CST forms and the OPI.
The Portuguese Speaking Test was developed under a second grant from the Department of Education. The grant also includes funds for the development of similar tests of Hausa, Hebrew and Indonesian in 1989. The Test Development Committee consisted of Charles W. Stansfield (CAL), who wrote the project proposal and served as Principal Investigator, Dorry Kenyon, Test Development Specialist (CAL), and three experienced instructors of Portuguese with training in using the ILR and/or ACTFL proficiency rating scales: Dr. Ricardo Paiva (Georgetown University), Ms. Fatima Doyle (Foreign Service Institute Language School) and Ms. Inés Ulsh (United States Government Language School).
After reviewing earlier semi-direct tests, the Portuguese-speaking members of the committee developed the specific items for the PST, following the item types used on the CST (Clark 1986). After each item was written, it was critiqued by the other members of the Test Development Committee. Items were then either discarded or revised repeatedly until no flaws could be identified. A professional artist was contracted to work with the Committee in the development of appropriate visual stimuli for the test. Audio stimuli for the Brazilian and Lusitanian versions were recorded in a professional recording studio. When all visual and audio stimuli were ready, three forms of the test were assembled and printed for trialing.
The following section identifies each part of the test and gives a brief description of each item type:
This section corresponds to the «warm-up» section of the direct interview. In this section, the examinee listens to conversational questions about his/her family, education, hobbies, in Portuguese and responds to each question as it is asked. There are 12 to 13 such questions on each form. This is the only section in which Portuguese is used on the tape.
Below are some examples (though not actual test questions) of the type of question found in this part of the test.
For each of the following question types, the examinee is given between 15 and 30 seconds to prepare an answer before being required to speak. Time for giving an answer ranges from 45 seconds to 1 minute and 45 seconds.
The examinee is shown a pictorial map in the test booklet and is instructed to give directions between two points on the map. The question is contextualized in that examinees are instructed that they are giving this information to a friend over the phone.
The examinee is shown a drawing in the test booklet and is instructed to describe the picture in as much detail as possible. Each picture contains a variety of objects and actions. This question is contextualized so that the examinee knows the specific audience being addressed and the purpose of the description.
The examinee is instructed to speak in a narrative fashion about a sequence of four or five pictures shown in the test booklet. There are three sequences of this type; one each for past, present and future time narration. The questions are contextualized so that the examinee is given a specific audience and a specific reason for the narration.
The examinee is instructed to talk about selected topics involving different discourse strategies. These strategies include explaining a process, supporting an opinion and talking about a hypothetical situation. There are five such topics, each printed in the test book let.
Below are some examples (though not actual test questions) of this type of item.
The examinee reads a printed description of a real-life situation in which a specified audience and communicative task are identified. The examinee is then instructed to carry out the specified task. The tasks range from making simple requests to giving a formal toast.
Below are some examples (though not actual test items) of this type of item.
Before beginning the test, the examinee listens to general directions on the test tape. These directions are also printed on the front cover of the test booklet.
order to ensure that the questions were clear, understandable and
working as intended and to check the appropriateness of the pause
times allotted on the tape for examinee responses,
As a result of the feedback obtained during the trialing, it was discovered that only minor modifications in the questions were necessary; in most cases this involved clarification or simplification of ambiguous items in the pictures. The original pause times were generally confirmed, though they were reduced in the opening conversation section and lengthened or shortened for some of the topics and situations. More time was given to prepare and answer the questions involving supported opinion.
In response to student comments obtained on a questionnaire completed after the trialing, instructions were added to, the general test directions explaining that, although the location of questions varied between Brazil and Portugal, the examinee would only need to answer in the type of Portuguese he/she normally uses. In addition, it was decided to provide two different versions of the tape (one for Brazilian and one for Lusitanian Portuguese) in the warm-up conversation section. This decision did not alter the tests significantly, although the wording of the scripts for part one varied slightly. The, questions and test booklets remained the same for both versions. Also based on student comments, some items were chosen for deletion from the final forms.
In its final version, the PST lasts approximately 43 minutes and elicits a speech sample of approximately 22 minutes.
A research study was designed and carried out to validate each of the three forms of the test. The study sought to answer the following questions:
1. Can this test, which involves spoken responses in Portuguese, be scored reliably by different raters?
2. Are the three separate forms of the PST interchangeable, i. e., do they produce similar examinee results independently of the particular form administered?
3. Do the recorded responses produce the same score as a regular five interview for any given examinee?
To answer these questions, a research de sign was prepared involving 80 subjects. The subjects were predominantly undergraduate students who had completed a year or more of Portuguese study in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Maryland, College Park, and current and former students of the Portuguese Department at Georgetown University. One subject was a CAL employee and another worked at the Foreign Service Institute. Each subject received an honorarium of $20.00 for participating in the study104.
Each subject was administered two forms of the PST and an oral proficiency interview. The research design controlled for any advantages or any effects on student scores resulting from the order of administration of the tests, with half of the subjects receiving the oral interview first and half the taped test first. The third test for all subjects was a taped test. The design also controlled for the order of the PST tests in that 10 subjects took Forms A and B, 9 subjects took A and C, and 11 subjects took B and C. Within each group half of the subjects took one form first and then the other form while the other half took the PST forms in the reverse order. The design also attempted to control for proficiency level. Based on teachers' observations, subjects were assigned into a «high» group and a «low» group. Half of each of the forms A-B, A-C, and B-C groups were selected from the high group, and half from the low group.
Two raters were used in the validation study. They were Fátima Doyle (rater 1), an ILR-certified rater from the Foreign Service Institute and María Antonia Cowles (rate 2), ACTFL-certified rater from the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Doyle conducted 16 of the face-to-face interviews and Ms. Cowles conducted 14.
The majority of the subjects were tested at their respective university in one session, between 21/4 and 3 hours in duration, except in a few cases where conflicts in the subject's schedule made this impossible. In such instances, testing was done on contiguous days.
The live interview was tape recorded. Upon completing the live interview; the interviewer assigned a rating to the subject. After all, interviews were completed, the recorded Rape of the five interview was given a second, independent rating by the other water. Each rater also rated each of the recorded PST test tapes, anonymously and in random order. All the ratings were completed during a period of six weeks, after which subjects were sent six test scores in the mail: the scores of each of the raters on the five interview and the scores of each of the raters on the two PST forms taken by each examinee.
Ratings on both the five interview and the tape-based semi-direct tests were based on a scale combining both ACTFL and ILR rating scales. For statistical analysis, these ratings were converted to a scale with weights as signed as follows:
|ACTFL/ILR Level||Coded as:|
The system of score coding above is based on the ILR 0 to 5 rating scale and is intended to assign an appropriate numerical value to the proficiency level descriptions. For example, proficiency at an Advanced-Plus level is characterized by many of the same features as at the Superior/3 level, though the examinee cannot sustain the performance. Thus, the numerical interpretation falls closer to 3.0 than mid-way between the two, as may be expected.
Table 1 shows the mean score, standard deviation and other basic statistics for the ratings assigned by each of the two raters to subject performances on each of the semi-direct test forms and on the live interview.
In answer to research question 1 (Can the test be scored reliably?), it was found that different raters could score the test with a
|All Forms (N=60)|
high degree of reliability. Interrater reliabilities (Pearson product-moment correlations) between the ratings assigned by Rater 1 and those assigned by Rater 2 for each of the semi-direct test forms and for the five interview are shown in Table 2 below.
|All 60 Forms Paired||.95|
These interrater reliabilities are all uniformly high across the three test forms and the five interview. Interrater reliability was not adversely affected by the semi-direct test format as opposed to the OPI. This suggests that the PST elicits as ratable a sample of speech as the five interview.
In response to research question 2 (Are the forms interchangeable?), the three separate forms of the PST were found to produce similar examinee results. Parallel-form reliabilities for the same subject taking two different test forms, with the same rater scoring both forms, are shown in Table 3.
|Tests Taken by Subject||Rater 1||Rater 2|
|Forms A and B (N=10)||.99||.97|
|Forms A and C (N=9)||.99||.93|
|Forms Band C (N=11)||.99||.97|
|All Forms (N=30)||.99||.96|
|First Form/Second Form|
The statistics indicate that the parallel form reliability of the PST is very high. With the first rater, the parallel-form reliability was nearly perfect .99. With a different rater, rater 2, the parallel-form reliability was also a very high .94. Such favorable statistics provide strong support for the proposition that each form of the PST elicits a sample of speech that is uniformly challenging to the examinee. The fact that the parallel-form reliability was high for two different raters supports the claim that the sample of speech elicited by different forms is equally ratable.
Table 4 shows parallel-form reliabilities for subjects taking two different test forms, with each form scored by a different rater.
|Rater l/Form A-Rater 2/Form B (N=10)||.98|
|Rater l/Form A-Rater 2/Form C (N= 9)||.94|
|Rater 1/Form B-Rater 2/Form A (N=10)||.92|
|Rater l/Form B-Rater 2/Form C (N=11)||.97|
|Rater 1/Form C-Rater 2/Form A (N= 9)||.97|
|Rater 1/Form C-Rater 2/Form B (N=11)||.97|
|Rater 1 /First Forms - Rater 2/Second Forms (N=30)||.95|
|Rater 1/Second Forms - Rater 2/First Forms (N=30)||.95|
This type of parallel-form reliability takes into account measurement error that can be attributed to natural variation in examinee speech, error that can be attributed to differences in test form, and error that can be attributed to differences in raters. Thus, it may be viewed as a lower-bound, conservative estimate of the reliability of PST scores. Again the reliabilities here are all high, and the average reliability under these severe conditions (different forms and different raters) is .95.
To answer the third research question (Does the PST produce the same rating as the oral interview?), correlations of semi-direct test scores with the five face-to-face interview were calculated. These are given in Table 5 below. These correlations are evidence of the validity of the PST as a surrogate five interview. (Note that in pairing the two ratings, each examinee's interview rating was used twice to correspond to each of that examinee's two PST form ratings.)
|Rater/Form||Rater l/Interview||Rater 2/Interview|
|Rater 1/Form A (N=19)||.96||.91|
|Rater 1/Form B (N=21)||.95||.94|
|Rater 1/Form C (N=20)||.93||.92|
|Rater 1/All Forms (60 pairs)||.95||.93|
|Rater 2/Form A (N=19)||.92||.90|
|Rater 2/Form B (N=21)||.91||.91|
|Rater 2/Form C (N=20)||.93||.92|
|Rater 2/All Forms (60 pairs)||.92||.91|
Again, the correlations are all high. The average correlation based on 120 pairs of ratings (30 subjects x 2 PST forms x 2 ratings, correlated with the rating assigned for the five interview) was .93. Such results support the claim that the PST is a valid measure of oral language proficiency that can be substituted for a five interview.
addition to analyzing examinee test scores, we also compared the
two testing formats (semi-direct versus
live interview) through an analysis of feedback from the examinees
themselves. To do this, a questionnaire containing nine questions
about both for mats was given each examinee after the last taped
test. Examinees had to mark choices
The questionnaire revealed that the same percentage of students (73%) felt that their maximum level of Portuguese speaking ability had been probed by each test (Figures 1 and 2). This suggests that for the most part the students felt their speaking ability was being adequately tested and they found no difference in the ability of the two test formats to test the depth and thoroughness of their present Portuguese speaking ability. None of the students felt there were unfair questions in the five interview (Figure 3); however, for the taped test, 5 students (17%) felt there were unfair questions on the PST (Figure 4). This may be due to the fact that some of the students tested were beneath the recommended ability level of the test (i. e., their level was discovered to be 0+ on the ILR scale, Novice on the ACTFL scale). For such low proficiency students, the five interviewer can adapt the interview or cut it short, whereas in the taped test, the weaker examinee is asked every question. In any case, only a very low percentage of students felt there were «unfair» questions on the taped test.
Students were also asked in which test they felt more nervous. It was expected that a large percentage of the students would feel more nervous in the taped test, since that mode of testing speaking ability is more unfamiliar and perhaps «unnatural». Indeed, about 70% of the students did feel more nervous in that mode, while over 30% of the students felt more nervous or the same amount of nervousness in the five interview (Figure 5).
Another question focused on perceived difficulty. Despite the fact that students did approximately the same on both tests (see correlations above), the vast majority (90%) perceived the taped test as more difficult (Figure 6). Perhaps some of the individual comments are enlightening; these seem to revolve around the timed pauses, the length of the test (for students who were not at the recommended level), and discomfort in talking to a machine. It appears the «unnatural» format contributed heavily to perceived difficulty.
Regarding the technical qualities of the taped test, students were asked whether the pauses were too long, too short or about right. The majority (70%) of the students had no problem with the timed pauses in general (Figure 7). From the individual comments and the fact that 3 students marked in more than one category in response to this question, pause time was in general an individual concern, varying from person to person and from question to question. Given the individual variation mentioned above, in a taped test with timed pauses such as the PST, the fact that 70 per cent of the students felt the pauses were about right is significant. It is also significant that 100% of the students felt the PST directions were clear (Figure 8). This is gratifying as there is no possibility in the taped-test mode for examinees to ask questions if something is misunderstood once Part One of the test is begun.
The last question served as a «catch-all» summary question. It asked the students which type of test they preferred taking. The majority (86%) choose the five interview (Figure 9). From the comments, it can be seen that this is probably a reflection on the five interview testing mode, which seemed more natural, rather than a reflection on the technical quality of the taped test. However, 14% of the students either preferred the taped test or had no preference, and two comments suggest that the taped test was more interesting and challenging than the five interview.
summary, the responses of the examinees indicate that though they
were very positive about the content, technical quality and ability
of the taped test to probe their speaking ability, the unfamiliar
mode of testing and perceived «unnaturalness» of
speaking to a machine caused a greater perceived difficulty and
more nervousness than the five interview. Thus, the majority of the
students said they preferred the five interview to the taped test.
Nevertheless, given the extremely high correlations between the two
types of tests and the positive response to the taped test quality
it appears that the taped test may confidently be used as an
alternative, albeit «second choice» in the examinee's
eyes, to oral proficiency testing via the five interview. Moreover,
it is expected that future examinees who
The type of test instrument discussed in this article can be called a simulated oral proficiency interview (SOPI). While such an instrument is a semi-direct test, the SOPI differs to some degree from other semi-direct tests (such as the TSE and the ROPE) that have been developed, in that the SOPI follows very carefully the OPI format. The SOPI used here begins with a warm-up, then introduces more complex functions such as giving directions and giving a detailed description. It then tests narration in the present, past, and future. Next, it tests the ability to speak on a variety of topics involving different content, and finally, it tests the ability to handle several interactive situations through simulated role playing tasks. Following the warm-up conversation, in Part 1, the difficulty of tasks increases within each part. Questions at the end of each part are typically more difficult than the questions at the beginning of the next part. Therefore, the SOPI also follows the OPI format in that it moves from level check to probe several times during the assessment. Although no «wind-down» (ending the live interview with each questions or praise for the examinee's performance) was used here, there is no reason why a wind-down should not be incorporated in future forms of the PST. Indeed, the raters who participated in the PST validation study made this suggestion, which will be implemented in the development of other SOPI tests.
Extrapolating from our experience in developing the PST and the results obtained in this validation study, it is interesting to speculate on the possible advantages of the PST (and other SOPI test instruments that might be developed with equal care in other languages) over a five interview. This study found that the PST produces scores that are comparable to those obtained on the five interview. The scores were based on speech samples that are equally ratable by interviewers; that is, the speech samples were about equally useful to the interviewers in helping them as sign a rating within the Novice to Superior ACTFL levels. Thus;. there is evidence that the two formats (SOPI and OPI) produce results that are commensurate, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
However, under certain circumstances the PST may be preferable, even when an interviewer is available. One such situation may be when accuracy of rating is a concern. The PST is consistent from form to form and the raters used in the PST operational program106 are highly reliable. Thus, when the quality of a rater is a major concern, such as when an important decision will be made based on the oral proficiency rating assigned an examinee, it may be preferable to use the PST.
Another situation when the PST and similar tests in other languages maybe preferable is when many examinees need to be tested within a short span of time. For instance; if only an hour were available for testing a group of students; the PST could be administered to all examinees simultaneously in a language laboratory and the examinee response tapes scored subsequently by raters.
The PST and similar SOPI tests in other languages may offer psychometric advantages as well. It is possible that the PST produces results that are more consistent than those obtained through a live interview; even when expert interviewers are used. This is because the PST forms were carefully developed and trialed; thereby ensuring that the questions are of equivalent difficulty. On the other hand, live interviews are always different in content, even when expert interviewers are used.
The average correlation between a live interview and a -PST form (.93) is about equal to the correlation between a single interview scored by two different raters (.94). It would be interesting to determine the correlation between two different interviews scored by different raters and compare it to the average correlation between two different PST forms scored by different raters (.95).
Although this study included only one live interview (which was
rated twice), we suspect that the very consistent results obtained
here on different forms of the PST might not have been duplicated
for two different five interviews. Differences in examinee
performance could find their origin in the many factors related to
a possible «interviewer effect», such as variations in
the degree, of nervousness on
In conclusion, on the basis of the experience of the Portuguese Speaking Test, simulated oral proficiency interviews employing a semi-direct method of test administration appear to be an appropriate and workable alternative to the Oral Proficiency Interview, especially in cases where using the OPI is economically or essentially unfeasible, as in many of the less commonly taught languages.
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. 1986. ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. Hastings-on-Hudson, NY American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
Clark, John L. D. 1986. Handbook for the Development of Tape-mediated, ACTFL/ILR Scale-based Tests for Speaking Proficiency in the Less Commonly Taught Languages. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Clark, John L. D. and Ying-chi Li. 1986. Development, Validation, and Dissemination of a Proficiency-based Test for Speaking Ability in Chinese and an Associated Assessment Model for Other Less Commonly Taught Languages. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. (Alexandria, VA: ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 278 264)
Clark, John L. D. and Spencer Swinton. 1979. An Exploration of Speaking Proficiency Measures in the TOEFL Context. TOEFL Research Report 4. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.
_____.1980. The Test of Spoken English as a Measure of Communicative Ability in English-medium Instructional Settings. TOEFL Research Report 7. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.
Higgs, Theodore V., ed. 1984. Teaching for Proficiency, the Organizing Principal. Skokie, IL: National Text book Co.
Lowe, Pardee, Jr. and Ray T. Clifford. 1980. «Developing an Indirect Measure of Overall Oral Proficiency». Measuring Spoken Language Proficiency. Ed. James R. Frith. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. 31-39.
Sollenberger, Howard E. 1978. «Development and Cur rent Use of the FSI Oral Interview- Test». Direct Testing of Speaking Proficiency: Theory and Application. Ed. John L. D. Clark Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. 1-12. (Alexandria, VA: ERIC Document Reproduction Service, No. ED 172 523).
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Wilds, Claudia P. 1975. «The Oral Interview Test». Testing Language Proficiency. Eds. Randall Jones and Bernard Spolsky. Arlington, VA: Center for Applied Linguistics. 29-44.
EDITORIAL POLICY: Publishers and authors are invited to submit books for review in Hispania; in general, journal numbers will not be reviewed. Hispania cannot accept unsolicited reviews nor honor requests to review specific books. Members of AATSP who wish to be considered as reviewers may send copies of curricula vitae to the Book Review Editor. Those assigned books for review will receive a stylesheet and a statement of editorial policy.
The seventy articles that comprise this collection of proceedings demonstrate the efforts of scholars -not exclusively academicians- in the province of Guadalajara (Spain) to come together for the exchanging of ideas concerning the historical and Cultural make-up of their region. Taking its name from the Henares River as the unifying geographical element of the province, the conference focused on events, people, and places in the cities of Guadalajara and Alcalá de Henares. The topics presented range in interest from archaeology, art, and biography to economics, history, and sociology.
While many of the articles offer engaging reading, the proceedings as a whole can only appeal to the American Hispanist who knows the area exceedingly well. A case in point concerns the articles that focus on the descriptions of specific artistic and archaeological findings. As a result, the unfamiliar and highly specialized material makes the volume of limited interest. Some of the articles, however, seem especially noteworthy because of their wider range.
Medievalists may find that «Sobre la conquista cristiana de Guadalajara y Sigüenza (de las tradiciones a la historia)» offers a bit of trivia related to the Cid: The author tells that legends abound concerning the Christian reconquest of these two cities. It appears that in the sixteenth century the powerful Mendoza family sought to link its name to that of the Cid by claiming that Alvar Fáñez played a decisive role in the reconquest of Guadalajara (1085). «Mosé Ben Sem Tob de León, autor del 'Zohar', ilustre vecino de Guadalajara en el siglo XIII». Perhaps the best-written article in the collection, concerns this Jewish mystic whose «Libro del Esplendor» influenced later Spanish writers, namely Santa Teresa and Unamuno.
Two articles, «Estudiantes alcalaínos y seguntinos en los arzobispados y obispados de Nueva España en la época de los Austrias (1535-1700)» and «Virreyes americanos de origen alcarreño donate el período de la casa de Austria», demonstrate the involvement of the region in American affairs. Of the 140 bishops and archbishops to be appointed to the New World, forty attended the region's two universities (Alcalá and Sigüenza); seven viceroys belonged to noble families from the area.
Cervantes, Alcalá's most famous native son, is the subject of two articles. Golden Age specialists will recognize the name Dominick Finello, whose «Cervantes y los dramas de pastores del siglo de oro» discusses the pastoral in Spain as a game in which literature became life-like and where the reading of a text led to the reenactment of that text in everyday life: Finello cites two examples from the Quixote and mentions several comedias in which Cervantes demonstrates this imitation. The article leaves the reader with a desire to explore further the question of the pastoral during the Golden Age: «Miguel de Cervantes, Antonio de Sosa y Africa» treats the theme of captivity, especially in the writings of Sosa, friend and companion of Cervantes in captivity. To fully understand and appreciate the state of captives in Africa during the sixteenth century one should consult Sosa's diálogos which would appear to be an excellent source book.
As one would expect, many articles deal with Cardinal Cisneros and 'his' university «La documentación pontífica de la Universidad Complutense en el período fundacional» traces the efforts of Cisneros from 1495 to obtain Papal Bulls to charter the university. The prelate's efforts were rewarded in 1512 with a Bull that served as the charter. «El municipio y la universidad de Alcalá de Henares: Dos instituciones tradicionalmente enfrentadas» points up the functions that occurred because academic, not municipal authorities held control over the civil and criminal discipline of the students. As a result, public functions were especially bother some because they precipitated great tensions between the two entities.
The most fanciful of the articles is entitled «Cristóbal Colón, alcarreño». It would appear that Columbus was one of a set of illegitimate twins born to Aldonza Mendoza, stepsister of the Marqués de Santillana: Evidently the other twin was murdered by family members and Columbus was given over to the family of his wet nurse. Columbus did not reveal the secret because he needed money and the help of his relatives. According to this article, the admiral lies buried by his mother's side in the church of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios in Cogolludo. What appears to be conjecture, and the lack of scholarly notes and documentation leads one to consider it imaginative.
While this volume offers some informative reading,
David G. Burton
This anthology comprises excerpts from thirty five previously-published texts selected to recount from the Christian perspective the Moorish presence in Spain, 711-1150; two proposed companion volumes are to gather texts from the later centuries and those written in Arabic. In keeping with the goal of the Aris & Phillips Hispanic Classics series to make texts accessible to the layman and the student while remaining acceptable to the specialist, a parallel English translation faces the original document written in Latin, Old Spanish or Old French. The general Introduction high fights the thematic orientation and style of the selections, acknowledges editorial liberties with the published sources, and explains the use of proper names, coinage and the system of dates. Three maps delineate respectively the political division of the peninsula in about 1130, the frontiers of Christian and Muslim Spain from 914-1480 (after Lomax), and locate selected cities and rivers in the peninsula. A Booklist of nineteen entries includes general reference works written in Spanish and English. A brief introduction to each reading sketches pertinent historical and literary features and provides a citation for the immediate published source.
Counterbalancing Castro's view of the relatively peaceful coexistence of Christians and Moors, Smith's mosaic of texts from cultural history portrays enmity and hostility with some background shadowing of the medieval opponents' mutual affective regard. Smith laments the absence of contemporary Christian texts about the XII c. schools of translators in Toledo, the arts and craft products of al-Andalus, libraries and literacy, and social practices, and conjectures that the writers either «disdained» them or were more concerned «with the struggle of faiths and campaigns on a large scale...» (vi).
Raising his own doubts about which might be the better method, the distinguished British Hispanist has ordered the documents according to the date to which they refer rather than to their date of composition. This overriding concern with content can explain in part the editor's uneven treatment of source material and means of textual transmission. In 1, the reader meets Lucas de Tuy's Chronicon mundi through the Castilian translation used in Alphonso X's Estoria de España found in the Primera crónica general (= PCG). In 2, Rodrigo de Rada's De rebus Hispaniae appears in the Latin original; the second time that author is cited (5), it is through the amplified Alphonsine Castilian translation in the PCG; the third time (18), the text appears in the Latin original. The Toledano's Historia arabum is not included.
Because the editor proposes to present the reconquest from the Christian perspective, he feels the need to justify the inclusion of portions of the lost history of Ben Alcama (20, 22, 23) preserved through the intermediary of the PCG. In the introduction of 20, he appeals to the text's «great importance» (99); in 22, he argues unconvincingly for its inclusion because the Arabic original is «lost and more positively, that what he [Ben Alcama] wrote has been mediated through Castilian of a period only slightly later than his own» (109). One wonders if Ben Alcama also will be included in the companion volume dealing with the Arabic perspective.
Epic-legendary characters and the sources for our knowledge of them receive the editor's unique treatment. Pondering Ben Alcama's report of the Cid's speech to the Moors at Valencia, Smith suggests that the Campeador spoke in Arabic (115). He rejects the plausibility of a poetic source for the legend of the mora Zaida (21), although he is aware of the numerous factual liberties in the text and the Alphonsine filters. He posits a XIII c. prose source because the text «shows no obvious poetic traces in the form of remaining rhymes or turns of phrase» (104). The portion cited contains the prosification of a variant of the traditional, oral based epic formula «sonando... las nuevas» (cf. PMC 1154, 1156, 1206) -«sonando la su muy grande fama», «la su buena fama et del su buen prez que cresçie coda dia et sonaua mas»- as well as the formulaic commonplace of being love-struck «de oidas, que no de vista», well-studied by Menéndez Pidal, Gautier and others. Not surprisingly, given the editor's critical position, he rejects the epic origins of the Poema de Fernán González (13) and the traditional roots of the Cid epic (24). Student and lay users of the anthology should be alerted that the prefatory material represents that editor's distinctively individualistic views.
The edition contains few misprints; however, it consistently restores the ç in the PCG material. All the printed sources of the anthology's contents do not appear in the Booklist, nor are they always cited in complete form in the introduction to the relevant excerpt. This well-edited collection provides a wide panorama of significant, fascinating texts from the cultural and intellectual history of the early years of Moorish occupation of the Iberian peninsula. Although the original writers may have been removed from the events (by up to five centuries), and their texts may have been translated and re-translated, prosified and re-poeticized, their testimony to the ardor of the Reconquest has been delivered to a broad audience by this commendable collection of readings.
Nancy Joe Dyer
Texas A&M University
Con extraordinario acumen, nos brinda la emérita catedrática Ruth H. Webber una colección de ensayos preparados por expertos de enjundia a fin de entretejer un mosaico panorámico de un género vivido, amén de vívido, en la secular conciencia ibérica.
El trabajo discurre a lo largo de dos coordenadas: en el tiempo, evalúa la tradición romanceril hasta la actualidad; en el espacio, sigue el manantial poético desde la Península hasta otras regiones atadas a su cultura.
Vistos a vuelo de pájaro, los diez ensayos de este libro tienen mucho paño que cortar: Diego Catalán se ocupa por la «artesanía literaria» (1) y columbra la proyección sintagmática a través de los nexos paradigmáticos de unos romances ejemplares; Ana Valenciano reseña la problemática de las expediciones del Seminario Menéndez Pidal para enriquecer el repertorio vigente; Antonio Sánchez Romeralo estudia la difusión del género gracias a los pastores trashumantes; Suzanne Petersen se apoya en los medios electrónicos para el análisis geográfico y cronológico del mecanismo de reproducción y cambio de la narrativa poética enmendándole la plana al eternamente desconforme Daniel Devoto (77-79); Maximiano Trapero reseña el estado del romance dialogado en las Canarias; Manuel da Costa Fontes enfoca su estudio en las Azores, Portugal y entre los grupos emigrados al Canadá y a los Estados Unidos; Judith Seeger analiza las versiones brotadas en el medio rural de la costa brasileña; Mercedes Díaz Roig se encara a la tradición del romancero en México; Samuel Armistead y Joseph Silverman presentan la vertiente sefardita con riqueza de atisbos; Beatriz Mariscal de Rhett analiza la correlación entre las estructuras narrativas del romancero y su cambiante manera de captar la realidad.
Por ser obra de estudiosos especializados, este trabajo destila y condensa los resultados más recientes y certeros sobre las distintas facetas del tema. La esmerada traducción al inglés, casi siempre llevada a cabo por la Dra. Webber, no relega el libro simplemente al lector angloparlante, sino que ensancha su impacto entre cuantos se ocupan por un género poético que germina en las postrimerías de la Edad Media y se acerca ahora a su propia postrimería tras una confusa alianza de intereses hostiles a su rebrote originario. Se acerca el ocaso, es cierto; pero el ocaso de la tradición oral no deja de avivar la tradición literaria, añadiendo así una validez sui generis a este bien presentado tomo colectivo.
California State University, Northridge
Como el editor mismo confiesa (10), el presente estudio no pretende ser más que un estudio comparativo, o sea, un cotejo de un manuscrito anónimo del siglo XV (el propio Tratado) con varios otros documentos didácticos de la Alta Edad Media. El contenido del estudio de Ramírez será de menos interés para los filólogos y críticos literarios que para los que quieran estudiar las influencias políticas, históricas y sociológicas de aquella época.
En su Introducción, capítulo que abarca las páginas 9-83, Ramírez nos ofrece los frutos de sus extensas investigaciones con respecto al manuscrito conservado en El Escorial. En la sección que trata de la descripción física del documento, Ramírez apunta las muchas y variadas lagunas que ha descubierto en el texto. A raíz de estas lagunas Ramírez colige que el Tratado conservado no es el original sino una copia de alguna versión incompleta anterior. Felizmente, los críticos modernos disponen de otro manual para príncipes del siglo anterior, la Glosa castellana al «Regimento de príncipes» (ca. 1350) de Juan García de Castrojeriz, documento que había sido el patrón del Tratado y que ahora sirve de buena guía para la restauración del contenido perdido en dichas lagunas.
Uno de los móviles principales de este estudio es el de refutar y corregir la edición del Tratado que preparó el padre Bonifacio Difernan en 1962. Ramírez cuenta hasta 45 graves errores de transcripción en la obra de Difernan, sobre todo en la ortografía (rregular por reglar), palabras equívocas (tísicos por físicos; la mas por jamás), y varios casos de palabras o frases faltantes (15-17). El editor también rechaza la fecha de composición que ha propuesto Difernan para el Tratado (a fines del siglo XII o el siglo XIII). Ramírez, basando su fallo en las muchas y obvias semejanzas con la Glosa de Castrojeriz, considera «patentemente absurda» la fecha dada por Difernan (17).
Los capítulos del Tratado de más interés son las secciones dedicadas a las mujeres y a los tribunales de justicia en el reino. Tres distintos capítulos tratan de la enseñanza de la mujer (LXVIII), de las viudas (XCVI) y de la virginidad (XCVII). La actitud conservadora, casi monástica, del Tratado se ve en el papel tan limitado que tiene la mujer en estos capítulos. Nunca se refiere a los dotes intelectuales de la mujer en el Tratado. Se le niega toda posibilidad de influir en los hombres; queda suprimido el papel de consejera al marido que señala la Glosa.
El doble asunto de las leyes y la justicia vuelve a aparecer en muchos capítulos donde la justicia se alaba abstractamente o donde se aplican casos concretos a la práctica de uno u otro oficial real. En cuanto a los buenos consejos ofrecidos en el Tratado, Ramírez cita varios ejemplos paralelos en otros tratados medievales como el Libro de cien capítulos, las Flores de filosofía y las célebres Siete Partidas de Alfonso el Sabio.
Además de la transcripción modernizada -gracias a la ayuda de un microfilm- del texto, lo más valioso del estudio de Ramírez es el inventario de asuntos y ejemplos paralelos que aparecen en el Tratado, en la Glosa, y en varias otras obras didácticas clásicas o medievales, incluso la Biblia (66-71). También vale señalar el cotejo de ejemplos que parecen haber sido tomados directa o indirectamente de la Glosa de Castrojeriz (72-77). Otros elementos utilísimos son la bibliografía de obras citadas y consultadas, el glosario, y el índice onomástico.
A pesar de la mucha minuciosidad con que se ha estudiado el Tratado y la fuerza y claridad con que Ramírez ha presentado sus argumentos, me parece difícil que la presente obra les despierte el interés a los hispanistas de hoy. Vale preguntarle al editor: ¿A qué público se dirige este estudio? Es un tomo que, como un débil eco de la más conocida Glosa de Castrojeriz, no aumenta mucho nuestros conocimientos de la Edad Media. Alguno que otro especialista en la época de los Reyes Católicos, quizá, querrá pedir un ejemplar de este estudio para la colección de textos medievales de su biblioteca universitaria. Fuera de esos casos especiales, es francamente dudoso que muchos otros vayan a añadir este tomo, por excelente que sea, a su propio inventario.
E. T Aylward
University of South Carolina
James R. Stamm's study presents an insightful, methodical reading of La Celestina. As the title suggests, the work is approached through its structure, examined progressively in four chapters focusing respectively on «El marco textual» (such peripheral material as the title, «Carta», «Prólogo», verses, íncipit, and «Argumento»); «El Auto o fragmento» (the first act); «La Comedia: Un arte de continuación» (Rojas's ostensible continuation of the Auto); and «La Tragicomedia» (the further continuation, the material interpolated throughout the work and from, acts 16, through 21). Each of these structures is considered through an analysis of its individual components or acts, in the order of their appearance. A final chapter of «Conclusiones» summarizes the current status of critical inquiry concerning the inviting but thorny questions of the author(s)' identity, possible interpretative «keys» to the work, and the work's unity, and further develops conclusions that have arisen in the course of the study.
Basic to the critical approach is an inward focus, a concentration on the text itself, details of plot and language, relationships among characters, internal consistencies and inconsistencies, specific content of individual speeches, the inherent thematic and dramatic internal structuring of the acts, and what all of these reveal about the work. It is only as a result of such analyses that externals such as relationships with cancionero poetry, the novela sentimental, or Petrarchan influences arise. Neither does Stamm allow himself to be lured into the blind alleys of such past critical disputations as the supposed converso status of the work's author or characters, although the largely bibliographical notes give due recognition to such issues. Especially sensitive is the detection of linguistic echoes throughout the work, the recurrence of images, phrases, metaphors, and their themes, as one speech recalls or prefigures another.
Based on the internal evidence that he brings to light, Stamm reaches some sound conclusions concerning the work's authorship. While linguistic and thematic echoes between the Auto and the Comedia create an artistic unity and continuity that night argue for attribution to a single author, the absence in the Comedia of the fight, humorous exchanges found in the Auto ultimately suggests two different authors. Inconsistencies' with the previous action at the point of articulation between the Tragicomedia and the Comedia in Act 14 (an especially strong contrast with the previous careful interweaving of the Comedia and Auto), argue for a different author for the so-called Tratado de Centurio, within which Act 16 (discussion of Melibea's marriage), constitutes a return to the themes and tone of the Comedia and perhaps a further intervention by Rojas. Act 19, the lyrical interlude of the lovers' union, is the only addition of the Tragicomedia that responds specifically to the Prólogo's stated reason for the work's expansion as extending the lovers' delight, thus raising further questions on its authorship. Close analysis of their actions and statements leads Stamm to recognize Melibea as «una mujer nueva para la literatura castellana» (66) and Pleberio as «una innovación genial» (140). Celestina's appreciation of Areusa's beauty is also remarkable. With regard to the interpolations made by the Tragicomedia text into the Comedia, Stamm unfortunately concludes that «no son analizables» (187).
The extent and possible implications of the study's conclusions are necessarily circumscribed by the close textual focus. Ultimately, exposing truths that are easily lost in fanciful extra-textual conjecture, and arriving at intelligent conclusions about the text, is a virtue. One might like to have seen some results of an analysis, of the Tragicomedia's various interpolations in the Comedia, but to have attempted this would have required deviating from the very effective progressive structural methodology, while increasing the study's dimensions considerably without the certainty of any conclusive result. All in all, this is a valuable book in its return to first principles, so to speak, constituting a useful and refreshing addition to the extensive bibliography on the Celestina.
Theodore L. Kassier
University of Texas at San Antonio
In Don Quijote, Cervantes seems to have anticipated, or to have intuited, the major issues of contemporary literary theory, issues such as the nature of signs, the problems inherent in the, search for meaning in fiction, and the role of history in textual analysis. Beyond the immediate contexts of the Quijote, critical inquiry has sought to define the place of Cervantes's novel in the development of narrative and to acknowledge its exemplary quality with respect to current theoretical concerns. Practitioners of semiotics, poetics, psychology, and popular culture, to name but a few areas, find in the novel a ground ripe for exploration. The complexity of the internal structure, the richness of the discourse, the ambiguities of characterization, and the plays on authorial intention assure that a formalist approach could never exhaust the options. When one opens the text to the gamut of perspectives and points of reference, the critical scope seems limitless. The polemics inspired by Don Quijote do not detract from Cervantes's accomplishment, but rather illuminate what might be termed the verbal and conceptual density of the novel. Quite fittingly for a work whose plot is based on reader response, the evolution of the critical tradition of Don Quijote forms a graft which is, in many ways, inseparable and indistinguishable from the text proper. It is difficult to read the novel without thinking of the narratives which precede follow it. Similarly, the anxiety of influence extends to the realm of criticism. Don Quijote has a symbolic, iconic force which affects the manner, which readers decode the text. For this reason, Drake and Finello's Guide is especially significant. In its examination of nineteenth-century criticism of the Quijote, the bibliographical study offers views of the novel, of the period, and of critical directions which remain in vogue.
The book is the only guide to nineteenth-century research on Don Quijote since Leopoldo Rius's bibliography, completed in 1904. The volume contains a summary of critical trends and 556 entries, covering studies in Spain, France, Germany, England, the United States, Russia, Italy, and Latin America. As a bibliographical tool, it is impressive in a quantitative sense. More remarkable, however; is the clarity of the synthesis. The introduction and the descriptions of the critical works, arranged chronologically by country, tell a fascinating story, one which occupies the highly important middle ground between the publication and early reception of the Quijote and the vast corpus of twentieth-century criticism. Drake and Finello's work does not present a thesis in the style of Anthony Close's The Romantic Approach to 'Don Quijote' (Cambridge, 1978); its strength lies in the comprehensive vision, which combines explication and reception history. One can use the text as an informative survey or as a point of departure for research. The panorama includes such topics as textual editing, satire, aesthetic judgment, symbolic interpretation, medicine, and historical and biographical considerations. The dominant categories among critical models -early forms of symbolic and «funny book» theories, for example- are present in the studies reviewed.
The book covers major critics and literary figures. Diego Clemencín is an accomplished editor and an advocate of detailed commentary. Nicolás Díaz de Benjumea reads Don Quijote as an allegory of Cervantes's life. Manuel de la Revilla considers the text a dramatization of the opposition between the real and the ideal, even though Cervantes was not aware of his achievement. Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo sees the writer as a poet and nothing more, an ingenio lego, whose knowledge of science could only be that of the time in which he lived. Emilio Pi y Molist, noting that psychology is the key features of the Quijote, prescribes a therapeutic treatment of the knight («to quiet him for two years or more and to force him to act out his madness with out contradicting or punishing him» 120). A number of eminent writers incorporate Don Quijote into their essays. Hartzenbusch, Valera, Galdós, Pereda, Pardo Bazán, Clarín, de Rivas, and Unamuno are active readers of the novel, as are a notable group of authors outside of Spain (including Wordsworth, Scott, Coleridge, Carlyle, and Dickens in England, Hugo and Merimée in France, and the German Romantics). The criticism is, of course, doubly or triply revealing, bound by the culture and tastes of the time and marking the preferences and the prejudices of the individual critic.
Ultimately, the greatest revelation of the Guide is perhaps the sophistication of nineteenth-century commentary. The studies catalogued here are crucial to an understanding of the text and of its critical history, or fate. Dominick Finello has himself contributed to Quijote criticism, most recently with essays on pastoral topics. The late Dana Drake, recognized as one of the foremost bibliographers of Cervantes, leaves a legacy from which Hispanists will profit for many years to come.
Edward H. Friedman
Antiguo promotor de La hija del aire como uno de los
mayores logros de Calderón, y adaptador del texto para el
montaje de Luis Pasqual en 1981, Ruiz Ramón finalmente
resuelve con su excelente edición la increíblemente
prolongada necesidad de fácil y fiel acceso a esta gran
tragedia. Su edición utiliza la Tercera parte
(Excelmo) de 1664 para ambas partes e indica las variantes de
La «Introducción» de Ruiz Ramón se concentra en la proyección dramática de la esencia y del desarrollo trágico de Semíramis. En la Primera parte, subraya «la naturaleza centáurica» (13) que relaciona a Semíramis con «el trágico clan calderoniano» (14) regido por el «mitologema del monstruo» (19) y la concomitante violencia de su liberación de «un espacio tabú» (18). Pero Semíramis se distingue de Segismundo por «la voluntad de los dioses» (14) que enlaza su tragedia con los dramas mitológicos. Quizá por eso la editorial curiosamente identifica la obra en la contratapa como «una de las piezas del ciclo mitológico calderoniano» aunque Ruiz Ramón califica de «trascendente» e «invisible» (18, 44) el conflicto de las diosas que marca a Semíramis in utero con la violencia. El signo doble de la división espacial según las acotaciones y del refuerzo sonoro -«construcción oximorónica» bien destacada por el editor- no sugiere tampoco el complicado montaje de una pieza propiamente mitológica.
Por otro lado, la complejidad dramática de La hija del aire queda nítidamente trazada en su ironía trágica, con la duda como «gozne» donde inciden libertad y destino (22, 28). En la Segunda parte, Ruiz Ramón da en el meollo de las decisiones que desencadenan la caída trágica de Semíramis; destaca la autoignorancia de la protagonista; y analiza el importantísimo papel del gracioso que la conoce mejor que nadie a través de las dos partes de la tragedia.
Se echa de menos la falta de mayor atención a los demás personajes que intervienen en el ascenso glorioso o en la caída trágica de Semíramis. Gran parte de la exquisitez de Calderón es la absoluta economía dramática con que reparte responsabilidad entre todos los partícipes de una tragedia destacando motivaciones ambiguamente egoístas. También cabría destacar más la proyección de Semíramis como «ser andrógino» en los argumentos amorosos (claves en ambas partes) y su frustración final como mujer.
Con característica elocuencia, Ruiz Ramón traza un profundo análisis de la trayectoria trágica de Semíramis, de nuevo inspirando nuevas lecturas de Calderón dentro de un esquema de valores europeos. Con su lúcida introducción, la incorporación metódica de Vera Tassis, escuetas notas, y una utilísima bibliografía, nos pone a la mano un texto riquísimo sobre el sempiterno conflicto entre la ambición del poder y la pasión amorosa. He aquí el fácil y fiel acceso que su edición ofrece a la tragedia calderoniana de Semíramis.
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Among his historical and critical works, the Catalan Antonio de Capmany is known especially for his five-volume Teatro histórico-crítico de la elocuencia española (Madrid: Antonio de Sancha, 1786-94). In it he published excerpts from and commentaries on great writers of the Castilian language from the author of the Poema del Cid and Berceo through Santa Teresa and Fray Luis to Cervantes, Saavedra Fajardo, Quevedo, and Gracián. He was an army officer and a government official and a loyal and patriotic Spaniard. Although his first book was entitled Arte de traducir el idioma francés al castellano (1776), thirty-two years and a revolution later, he viewed with horror and hatred the invasion of his country by the troops of Napoleon.
Centinela contra franceses was the result of Cap many's perturbation Napoleon's army had begun infiltrating Spain as early as October, 1807, on the pretext of reaching Portugal and forcing that country to close its ports to British vessels. French forces tarried in Spanish towns along the route to support free passage of the French back and forth. They meddled in Spanish affairs at the court itself. When the populace of Madrid realized that Napoleon's objective was as much Spain as Portugal, they revolted on May 2, 1808, and were quelled on May 3, as we see portrayed in the two Goya paintings. Still, there were Spaniards who were well-disposed toward the French even after the Spanish victory at Bailén on July 19, 1808. To French sympathizers, to those who were wavering, to Spaniards firm in their resolve who yet had to muster their courage, Capmany directed his patriotic Centinela contra franceses. The first part was published late in September (Madrid: Gómez Fuentenebro, 1808); the second part followed in November (Madrid: Sandra, 1808).
Centinela belongs to a vast anti-Napoleonic literature
that flooded Spain and Europe in those years. Capmany's work is
distinguished because the sixty-five-year-old scholar of Spanish of
sequence brought to his task a mastery of the written word and an
exceptional ability to apply satire and invective with patriotic
fervor. Although he directs his barbs at the French in general, his
personal target is Napoleon. He also reserves some of his most
cutting abuse for French sympathizers among his fellow Spaniards
and most particularly for Manuel Godoy, the favorite of the Spanish
monarchs. At this point in history Fernando, heir to Carlos IV and
María Luisa, is still the «Deseado».
In the introduction, Françoise Etienvre provides a brief biography of the author and an excellent study on the relationship between Capmany's rhetoric and the political situation. She provides a bibliography, a catalog of the many editions of a popular text, and a study of translations. Capmany closed the first part with a call to fellow Spaniards: «¡Alerta, leales y bravos compatriotas míos! ...¡Alerta, españoles!» (126-27). Americans will be interested to know that a translation was published in New York in 1809 in which the translator substituted his own foreword with this warning: «Americans! Read it with attention.... [Y]our security, depends more on a perfect knowledge of [Napoleon's] wily politics... than on the distance which separates you... from his infernal grasp» (65).
In appendices, Etienvre includes a précis in French which she believes was done to be read to Napoleon when he was at Chamartín. She has also included some unpublished verses and a hitherto unknown pamphlet by Capmany entitled Gritos de Madrid cautivo a los pueblos de España. An onomastic index facilitates consultation of the whole.
University of Georgia
Al analizar la obra en conjunto de Unamuno desde la perspectiva del posmodernismo, se propone Navajas ofrecer una lectura nueva, distinta: «Espero que mi libro contribuya a vitalizar a Unamuno, extricándolo [sic] de los contextos interpretativos convencionales (existencial, histórico, etc.) desde los cuales todavía tendemos a acercarnos a él» (10). Su estudio consta de una Introducción, cinco capítulos, y una Conclusión. Los dos primeros capítulos son los que, a mi parecer, mejor destacan los aspectos novedosos de esta interpretación, presentando a un escritor que evidentemente anticipa una serie de postulados básicos de la cultura posmoderna y de la crítica posestructuralista: en su rechazo de la lógica abstracta y en su oposición general al racionalismo de la metafísica moderna; en su aproximación a una noción de la verdad como ficción; en su idea de la «textualización del yo y del mundo» (55); en suma, en su esfuerzo por superar «las insuficiencias del análisis referencial» (16).
En el Capítulo 3 analiza Navajas la obra de Unamuno a la luz de una dialéctica de lo estético y lo ético. Dentro de esa dialéctica, lo estético se considera como lo posmoderno en el escritor, la actitud que lo lleva a abogar por la individualidad rebelde, la defensa de la locura, la disidencia, la oposición; es decir, la actitud crítica por excelencia. Por lo contrario, la categoría ética, predominante en Unamuno según Navajas, es vista fundamentalmente como principio de orden y autoridad, de sociabilidad y adaptación: «De acuerdo con la visión ética, el mundo existe para que le concedamos nuestro asentimiento a sus normas. Esas normas se suponen semánticamente transparentes y proveen principios universalmente válidos...» (99-100). En mi opinión, estamos ante una concepción con evidentes matices kantianos y normativos que acerca demasiado el pensamiento unamuniano a un tipo de esencialismo racional, mientras se excluye la presencia en su obra de una ética personalista, existencial y no-normativa, no menos verdadera y relevante en la dialéctica de sus ficciones y ensayos. Estimo, además, que podrían ponerse serios reparos -para los cuales no hay espacio en una breve reseña- al argumento de Navajas sobre «la orientación teórica general hacia la unidad dialéctica» (101) en Unamuno. Mucho más acertado me parece este crítico cuando habla de «un impulso sintético», pues eso es la «unidad» en Unamuno: ímpetu, deseo, impulso; conciencia que crea su propia visión de permanencia, pero sin llegar nunca a la conciliación lógica, a la Aufhebung hegeliana. Y quizás mi punto principal de discrepancia con este libro, excelente en tantos aspectos, sea precisamente mi impresión (y subrayo la palabra) de que el análisis desconstruccionista ha dado por resultado un Unamuno algo hegeliano y un tanto «metafísico».
Acierta, no obstante, Navajas cuando afirma que Unamuno «a pesar de sus manifestaciones contrarias a los absolutos, aspira al todo» (20). Así en los Capítulos 4 y 5 presta atención a esa aspiración totalizante, que básicamente contradice la dispersión y el pluralismo posmodernista. Mediante el análisis de significativos textos, Navajas expone cómo Unamuno recae con frecuencia en una ideología logocéntrica, etnocéntrica, tradicionalista y aún paternalista. Pienso que también en relación con estas conclusiones, debió insistir más en el concepto de «síntesis ficcional» que él mismo acuña en el título de su libro. En definitiva, la síntesis de los contrarios en Unamuno (caso de que se acepte esta tesis) resulta siempre ilusoria, ficticia, realizada en una dimensión puramente utópica, mítica o simbólica, lo cual haría tal vez aún más fecunda su aproximación a la hermenéutica de un Paul Ricoeur que al posestructuralismo de un Derrida o De Man.
contraste con las muy copiosas referencias a las obras
filósoficas y críticas de los posestructuralistas
(Derrida, Lyotard, Foucault, etc.), en cuyas teorías se
apoya para su análisis, Navajas ha prestado bastante poca
atención a la ingente bibliografía sobre Unamuno.
Resulta extraño, por ejemplo, que Navajas se refiera a la
posibilidad de comparación con Rousseau y no mencione un
libro tan importante como el de Gregory Ulmer, en donde tan
perspicazmente se ha tratado ya el tema. Para subsanar lo que
pudiera parecer como una deficiencia,
Con todo, hay que recomendar la lectura de este libro a todos los estudiosos de la obra de Unamuno. Se trata de un análisis serio y riguroso, efectuado por un crítico inteligente y culto, el cual, sobre todo, hace pensar al lector, y lo enfrenta con una serie de argumentos polémicos que, por lo mismo, resultan de sumo interés y servirán de estímulo para estudios posteriores.
University of Miami
Valle-Inclán (1866-1936). Creación y lenguaje is a collection of seven papers; read at a symposium at the University of Amsterdam; October 13, 1987, in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Valle-Inclán's death. As the title suggests, the essays focus on Valle-Inclán's use of language.
The studies of Ignacio Soldevila-Durante and José Manuel García de la Torre are both practical and useful. Soldevila-Durante reviews existing lexical studies. Although pleased with the results of this particular aspect of Valle-Inclán scholarship, the critic emphasizes the need to formulate more comprehensive theories to include more works by the author. Following Soldevila-Durante's lead, García de la Torre directs our attention to La cara de Dios (1900), a novel which has been relatively over looked by critics within the development of Valle-Inclán's work. García de la Torre's analysis, from the point of view of Valle-Inclán's linguistic evolution, reveals an abundance of popular elements in the novel, at one time associated solely with works written after 1920. Both Soldevila-Durante and García de la Torre illustrate convincingly the need to explore further Valle-Inclán's lexical inventiveness and linguistic creativity as a concrete means of better understanding the author's social and aesthetic commitment.
Eliane Lavaud-Fage, Antonio Risco and Luis Iglesias Feijóo invite us to reconsider three particular aspects of Valle-Inclán's work which have long been the subject of critical dialogue among valleinclanistas. Lavaud-Fage adds to our understanding of Valle-Inclán's use of folklore. As the result of a figurative interpretation, the critic establishes a correlation between the recurring image of wind mills in Valle-Inclán's short narrative and the social and political concerns of the noventayochistas (47). Taking into consideration several dramatic and prose works, Antonio Risco concludes that Valle-Inclán's use of fantastic elements not only serves an aesthetic purpose but an anthropological one as well, that is to say «ese intento de ahondar en el carácter de un pueblo aliando su intuición e imaginación literarias a la mitología del mismo: o sea en tratar de entender a ese pueblo desde dentro, aventurándose, hasta donde puede, en su inconsciente colectivo» (57). Iglesias Feijóo reconsiders the widely accepted supposition that Valle-Inclán's theatre is, for the most part, «unstageable». He contends that the integration of elements of prose and drama in Valle-Inclán's theatre stands as the supreme example of the author's lifelong artistic consciousness, experimentation and desire to break with the traditional demarcations of literary genres (78).
Whether knowingly or not, the last two essays by Jean-Marie Lavaud and Javier Serrano Alonso respond to Soldevila-Durante's and García de la Torre's initial call to realize more far-reaching linguistic studies. Comparing the image of the «ejército» as presented in Farsa infantil de la cabeza del dragón (1914) and La hija del capitán (1927), Lavaud demonstrates how the language of the author's early farces anticipates the more fully developed satiric and parodic humor of his later esperpentos: A logical continuation to Lavaud's essay is the study by Serrano Alonso who analyzes the three different versions of La hija del capitán, written between 1927-1930. After providing some general information about the basic differences between the three versions of the play, Serrano Alonso documents, in detail, in a «tabla de variantes», specific changes made by Valle-Inclán from one version to another with the express objective of intensifying his criticism of the social and political corruption of the time.
As I see it, the purpose of this collection is two-fold: to demonstrate the validity of studies on Valle-Inclán's use of language and to suggest lines of further investigation regarding this particular aspect of Valle-Inclán scholarship. Suffice it to say that valleinclanistas concerned with such an approach to the author will find the text worthwhile reading.
John P. Gabriele
The College of Wooster
El fin con el cual se escribe este libro queda claramente expuesto desde la introducción. Roberta Salper se propone examinar el conjunto de la creación literaria de Valle-Inclán como la construcción multigenérica de un microcosmos independiente y autosuficiente utlizando la técnica decimonónica de interacción textual mediante la reaparición de personajes que pasan de un texto a otro, a lo Balzac; a lo Zola y; en lengua española, a lo Galdós.
idea de Salper es original y, hasta cierto punto, correcta. Ella es
la primera en admitir que este procedimiento, tan inequívoco
en los novelistas del realismo, no es ni tan sistemático ni
Los postulados en los que se sustenta la propuesta teórica de Salper quedan ampliamente justificados por las páginas en que se analizan el ir y venir de aquellos personajes que transitan por distintos textos valleinclanescos con inequívoca apariencia física y actuando conforme a la personalidad con que el autor les ha dotado. Ellos son, naturalmente, Bradomín, don Juan Manuel Montenegro, el ciego de Gondar, el duque de Ordax y el prototipo de la vieja y fiel criada, Micaela. Salper acierta al seleccionarlos como auténticos protagonistas merecedores de estudios individuales. Los análisis detallados que dedica a cada una de estas cinco figuras le permiten ahondar no sólo en los textos como componentes orgánicos del universo valleinclanesco sino también en el proceso mismo de la creación poética. La gran aportación del libro de Salper a los estudios de Valle-Inclán es la minuciosidad con que en él se rastrea la evolución de los personajes recurrentes a lo largo de toda la producción del autor. Salper establece una convincente relación entre el desarrollo vital de Valle-Inclán y la metamorfosis de sus criaturas que reaparecen transformadas de acuerdo a las nuevas actitudes éticas y estéticas de su creador. Gracias a este estudio, el mundo de Valle-Inclán, es decir, el mundo por él creado, revela la función latente de referencia que desempeñan los textos en lo que termina siendo un proceso de autointertextualidad. El análisis de la dimensión sincrónica de este microcosmos literario, seriamente emprendido por Salper, le lleva al examen inevitable de su estructura diacrónica, la cual, en el caso de Valle-Inclán, exhibe un carácter indiscutiblemente palimpséstico, propio de un artista cuya voluntad de estilo le mantuvo en constante revisión de su propia obra.
Las estadísticas de los personajes repetidos que Salper ofrece para sustentar su proposición de Valle-Inclán como arquitecto de un microcosmos literario son un dato novedoso, pero interesan sobre todo porque sirven para demostrar la función de la memoria como ley estructural de la obra temprana del escritor gallego, hecho que explica su índole fragmentaria, la calidad cinematográfica de su técnica y la aspiración al quietismo, que es precisamente lo que le separa de los novelistas anteriores cuya óptica se centraba en el presente socio-histórico en que les había tocado vivir.
El balance que arroja el cómputo final de Salper, doscientos trece personajes repetidos en cincuenta y seis de los setenta y ocho textos publicados por Valle-Inclán, es testimonio suficiente de la validez de su propuesta crítica. El libro de Salper cumple ampliamente su cometido de examinar la obra de Valle-Inclán a la luz de una nueva hipótesis de trabajo. En ello reside su razón de ser, por lo cual nos alegramos de que haya sido escrito y creemos que merece ser leído. Sólo lamentamos el número excesivo de erratas que en determinadas páginas llegan a distraer de la lectura y confiamos que esta limitación editorial sea superada en ediciones posteriores.
Adelaida López de Martínez
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This book is very faithful to its title, for it carefully establishes the practices and expectations of the Spanish theatre when García Lorca made his appearance as a playwright, and against this background, discusses Lorca's theatre, in terms of its meeting and departing from those expectations. This process is developed, in terms of specific sub-genres in the evolution of Lorca's drama. The author's point of departure is critical and popular reception of most of the plays, especially their premières.
Fernández Cifuentes establishes a structure based on the
categories of time, space, dialogue and characters, and this
felicitous structure gives solid coherence to the book. While
keeping in mind the comparative focus of his study (Lorca's
immediate predecessors and contemporaries, and Lorca) to indicate
the innovations Lorca brought to the theatre, he does not fail to
give each play the analytical and evaluative attention it deserves,
as a unique work. He is thus able to appreciate and elucidate
Lorca's theatre from at least three angles of vision. An
illustrative list of some of his observations would
The author makes effective and selective use of critical theory (formalist, semantic, intertextual, absurdist) in supporting his arguments. He engages principal Lorca critics in an interesting dialogue, in which his own voice is clearly articulated. His work is stimulating, and evinces a surprising originality. The discussion from the perspective of performance and comparison of performance with text is also enlightening. Fernández's documented insistence on the continuity in Lorca's theatre, not only from the usual thematic standpoint, but in terms of technique (an example being Lorca's ceaseless experimentation with the use of time, space and language) is one of the major contributions of this book. He isolates and traces the difference and originality in Lorca's entire theatre, beginning as early as El maleficio de la mariposa, and points out the contribution of different sub-genres to each other: the puppet play to farce, farce to serious tragedy, and these to the surrealistic theatre.
In sum, this original work, which presents discourse strategies as a major focus of Lorca's theatre, is one of the outstanding studies of García Lorcas theatre. The few distractions, such as the absence of a final conclusion and the over-use of theoretical background material, on occasion, as in the chapter on Así que pasen cinco años, do not detract from the stature of this book as a singular contribution to the appreciation of Lorca's theatre (perhaps the best book on the subject). It brings a fresh vision, heretofore lacking in Lorca scholarship.
Santa Clara University
Los grandes autores ni son gallegos ni castellanos, sino universales, a menos, claro está, que se empeñen aquellos en redactar sus obras exclusivamente en gallego, en cuyo caso se condenan a sí mismos a ser leídos por una élite que a duras penas puede permitirse el lujo de adquirir un libro a precios actuales. Álvaro Conqueiro (1911-1981), no obstante, es gallego y es universal, porque como buen gallego escribe gran parte de su obra en su lengua materna, pero además sabe que para alcanzar la universalidad, es decir, un público de otras lenguas y para años venideros, no le queda más remedio que verter su obra al castellano. Así pues, escribe primero en gallego y luego se traduce a sí mismo.
Cunqueiro pertenece al linaje de narradores gallegos que se remonta según algunos al propio Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (apellido este netamente galaico), a la condesa de Pardo Bazán, a Valle, a Wenceslao Fernández Flórez, Julio Camba, Gonzalo Torrente Ballester y al propio Cela en sus ficciones no descastadas. Con todos ellos guarda algún parecido. En Cuando el viejo Sinbad vuelva a las islas (1962) el paralelo de su narrador moro Al Faris Ibn Iaquim al Galizi con el cervantino Cide Hameti Benengeli no puede ser mayor. La propensión cunqueiriana a lo fantástico y a lo mitológico se hermana una y otra vez a los deslices semejantes del ferrolano Torrente Ballester. El amor a la cocina y al buen comer lo comparte sobre todo con Julio Camba. El sortilegio absoluto de un lenguaje que ensimisma al lector recuerda la prosa magistral de Cela. Como la Pardo Bazán, las obras de Álvaro Cunqueiro despiden un sabor a la tierra donde ambos ubican la mayoría de sus relatos. Y, por fin, al igual que Wenceslao Fernández Flórez, a quien más se parece y con quien se compara a sí mismo, Cunqueiro posee un humor nostálgico y agridulce.
Con semejantes antecedentes y parecidos, Álvaro Cunqueiro no debiera ser escritor de minorías, mas lo es. Sin embargo, como bien lo demuestra Cristina de la Torre en La narrativa de Álvaro Cunqueiro, no por ello es este novelista un autor menor. Tras haber escrito docenas de cuentos y siete novelas de envergadura, la última, El año del cometa con la batalla de los cuatro reyes en 1974, Cunqueiro nos ha legado un corpus literario que difícilmente podrá ser ignorado por críticos y lectores en el futuro. Estos disfrutan de sus ficciones entretenidas al descubrir lo verdaderamente vital de su subsuelo fantástico, pues los héroes clásicos, ya sean míticos, legendarios, literarios, o bien históricos, se hallan presos como todo hombre de carne y hueso del ciclo vital que nos extingue. Orestes y Ulises, Artús y Merlín, Sinbad y Pablo y Virginia, Julio César y el rey David padecen, envejecen y fallecen como todo mortal.
Los críticos actuales se resisten, en su mayor parte, a la consagración de Álvaro Cunqueiro, ciegos a sus lecciones de los exempla aludidos, confundiendo su virtuosismo heurístico con una ausencia de compromiso social que consideran de rigor en la novelística actual. Menos mal que contamos con la valiosa aportación de Cristina de la Torre para desentrañar semejantes desaciertos; ojalá que su monografía abra nuevos deslindes sobre la narrativa cunqueiriana que desdigan los zurrados antiguos. Claro que bastaría con echar una rápida ojeada a otro nutridísimo segmento de la obra de Cunqueiro, su labor ensayística de periodista, para comprobar lo genuino de su aportación al campo social y político en una época cuando la dictadura anulaba toda garantía personal.
Tan solo algún lunar tipográfico y uno que otro descuido editorial empañan este libro tan bien escrito. La primera de semejantes erratas se da desgraciadamente en la nota inaugural de agradecimiento, aunque la más imperdonable para mí es el título trastocado del libro de Ricardo Landeira La saudade en el renacimiento de la literatura gallega que en La narrativa de Álvaro Cunqueiro reza La saudade en el renacimiento de la "pintura" gallega.
University of Colorado
Michael Ugarte describes exile, a phenomenon that is as old as humankind and that has been an all too frequent occurrence in this century, as an «untamable» subject, one that resists definition. In Shifting Ground he offers not a theory of exile literature but rather a series of reflections, speculations, and readings as he explores how the experience of Spanish Civil War exile has been transmitted. The displacement, temporal and spatial disunity, self-duplication and division that characterize exile experience, he argues, lead writers to reflect on the nature of writing and the problems attendant upon an attempt to record reality. As a result, «exile literature lays bare the workings of literature itself» (20).
Despite the variety of exile writing, it exhibits certain common features. Among these is the propensity for testimony and autobiography as a defense against the experience of loss of identity and place of origin Related to the need to bear witness is an obsession with memory and oblivion, as the exile struggles to recollect and thus preserve people, places, objects, thoughts, and words. The loss of temporal continuity explains the importance attached to time and the nostalgia for the past. Frequent in exilic literature is a defensive moral discourse, as well as a marked ambivalence about the truthfulness of the testimony given and the conversion of that testimony into fiction. The question of audience, important for all authors, is crucial for the exile, as are the problem of the textual representation of the self and the tension between real events and their re-creation. Ugarte studies the work of three non-Spanish writers -Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, and Vladimir Nobokov- as examples of the traits of exilic literature, and he comments upon a number of Spanish authors, including Manuel Andújar, María Zambrano, Francisco Ayala, Vicente Llorens, Rosa Chacel, Rafael Alberti, and Jorge Semprún, before focusing on Max Aub, Luis Cernuda, and Juan Goytisolo.
Politics, for Aub, is the essence of exile and a repeated theme in the five novels that constitute El laberinto mágico, along with an obsession with language and formal experimentation that is particularly evident in his two biographies of invented human beings, Jusep Torres Campalans and Vida y obra de Luis Álvarez Petraña. These last works illustrate Aub's concept of life as text and the inter weaving of fiction and reality that is so typical of exilic literature. The case of Cernuda is somewhat different in that the poet welcomes separation and even before his departure from Spain regards himself as an exile, and yet he longs for integration and wholeness. The paradoxes and elusiveness of the language of La realidad y el deseo, the structural asymmetries, and the split between yo and tú attest to unresolved tension.
Lastly, Ugarte examines the life and work of Juan Goytisolo, emblematic of the patterns of self-exile and the difficulty of stripping oneself of a former existence and signs of identity. However much he rebels against family, class, national origin, and his native language, Goytisolo is unable to ob literate them, and distance from his homeland does not cure his obsession with it. In the novels published after Señas de identidad, Goytisolo increasingly celebrates marginality and those who are at home nowhere. As he criticizes stability and continuity and espouses constant movement and change, his own writing becomes an expression of nomadism, best seen in Makbara. This final section of Shifting Ground is perhaps the finest, and it complements Trilogy of Treason, Ugarte's 1982 book on Goytisolo.
In conclusion, Ugarte reminds us that exile has to do with borderlines and the traversing of them, with physical and conceptual crossings, with liminality. By analyzing a broad spectrum of exilic literature, he illuminates not only many of its tensions and contradictions but also fundamental existential and linguistic problems. Shifting Ground is rich in stimulating insights and provocative reflections.
Kathleen M. Glenn
Wake Forest University
The most exciting work being done today in theory deals with narrative fiction. There is nothing comparable centering on drama, poetry or essay. There is one modern method that has shown a remarkable ability to cut across generic boundaries, however, and that is structuralism -a method of inextricably linked to semiotics, the science of signs. It is the method of structuralism and the science of signs -semiotics- that undergird these two exercises by Ángel Díaz Arenas.
both volumes, there is a concerted and generally successful effort
to pass from exposition of theory to its application. It must be
said, though, that the application is rather mechanical.
Considerable demands are made upon the reader; although the text is
in Spanish, there are, in both instances,
Since Díaz Arenas teaches in Germany, a certain Germanic bias is perhaps understandable. It is clear, for instance, that he favors Stanzel and others over Genette, and, while he nods occasionally in the direction of Wayne Booth, he has apparently not encountered Seymour Chatman, Susan Lanser, or the major U. S. journals that specialize in theory and its application.
La instancia del autorl/lector is divided into three sections, with each subdivision carefully numbered (e. g., 184.108.40.206.5), as rigorously scientific analysts are wont to do. Part One gives the theoretical background, drawing oft en upon Booth and Iser. Part Two applies those insights to Antonio Machado's «Retrato» which would seem, and indeed does turn out to be, a natural testing ground for the notions of implied/abstract author/reader. Part Three takes on a rather more difficult text, the Libro de Apolonio, offering fairly decisive proof of the universal applicability of the method. So the first of the two volumes deals entirely with structuralist/semiotic approximations to verse.
The longer and more substantial study discusses first-person narrative fiction. It is profusely illustrated with charts and diagrams that attempt to capture the essence of lengthy prose expositions, and do so quite well. It too begins with theory and progresses on to analyses of texts, in this case Lazarillo de Tormes, La familia de Pascual Duarte, and the very recent Y Dios en la última playa of Cristóbal Zaragoza, which alternates first and third-person narration. Here, third-person is taken to be a sub-set of first-person. There is also a very worthwhile «apéndice terminológico», which goes beyond mere definitions into detailed critiques of concepts like «extradiegetic», specifically whether it is as useful as a category for type of narrator as it is for type of story (218). Another fine study, similar in nature, is Michael J. Toolan's Narrative: A Critical Linguistic Introduction (London: Routledge, 1988).
Readers who seek a science of literature and/or criticism and who enjoy working with models will find much of value in these two volumes by Díaz Arenas. The style is far from scintillating, but the rigor of both exposition and application is impeccable.
James A. Parr
University of Southern California
This collection focuses on the narrative fiction of Soledad Acosta de Samper, a prolific 19th-Century Colombian writer who covered a wide range of topics in several genres. Also included in the volume are two contemporary critical analyses and a complete bibliography of her writings.
The introduction by Montserrat Ordóñez gives a biographical sketch, then comments on Acosta's literary production. Ordóñez outlines some possible reasons for the marginalization of this author, including the traditional exclusion of women from the canon of Colombian literature. She argues for this new reading of Acosta as important for understanding the way that a woman writer of conservative ideology represents the contradictions of her society and contributes to the creation of a Colombian literary identity.
The first work in the collection, Dolores, is a short novel bearing striking similarities to Jorge Isaacs's María. It is the story of a young woman in love who finds she cannot many because of an incurable hereditary illness. The narrator is the girl's cousin, a doctor powerless to cure her, who goes to Europe to study, and returns too late for her funeral. In comparison to Isaacs's novel, Dolores seems stilted and sketchy, lacking the richness of description and character development found in María.
The next two selections are costumbrista essays. «La monja» shows the lack of acceptable alternatives for women of the time through the story of how five nuns came to be in the convent. «Mi madrina» the description of an old maid in her sixties, is narrated by her godson who nostalgically remembers his visits to her house as the best part of his childhood.
«Un crimen» the story of a peasant family victimized by the local cacique, is probably the best piece in the collection. The matter-of-fact presentation of these poor victims of political impunity and social injustice is reminiscent of Juan Rulfo.
El corazón de la mujer weaves together the stories of six women in the conversation of two sisters and their visitors. The common thread in all six stories is of women who marry to escape an intolerable situation, only to find that they have made their lives worse. While recognizing that most women of the time consider marriage to be the only course of action, the stories demonstrate that it does not produce happiness when entered into for the wrong reasons.
Un chistoso de aldea is a historical novel in which the
protagonist is both witness to and participant in the events
surrounding the struggle for independence. The story calls to mind
the novels of
Lucía Guerra Cunningham's feminist study of Acosta completes this collection. Cunningham traces the romantic vision of woman and argues that Acosta's works represent a subversion of the romantic ideal.
Overall, this collection provides an interesting sample of Soledad Acosta de Samper's writing, situating her within the historical context of the 19th Century and at the same time offering some possibilities for a modern reinterpretation and reevaluation of her work. While her exclusion from the canon is perhaps justified, her work nevertheless provides an interesting look at 19th-Century Colombian popular culture.
Concordia College, (Moorhead, Minnesota)
This rather brief tome presents, for the fast time, significant and new information on the life and fictional writings of Clemente Palma (1872-1946). The stated intention is to analyze the Peruvian's fiction within the context of his own essays on literary theory and criticism. The study focuses on the twenty-three short stories in Cuentos Malévolos (1904, 1913) and Historietas Malignas (1925), eight other short stories, and Palma's two novels: Mors Ex Vita (1918) and XYZ (1934).
The first brief chapter discusses Palma and the fin de siècle environment that nurtured his critical and imaginative faculties. Chapter 2, which comprises the bulk of the study (sixty-seven pages), focuses briefly on «Las Mariposas», a tale considered by some as Palma's arte poética, and then in more detail on his modernist, «heretical», and fantastic stories. The next chapter is devoted to the novels and the final chapter consists of three and one half pages of concluding remarks. The study is followed by ample chapter notes and an excellent bibliography.
Originally conceived as a doctoral dissertation, Breaking Tradition... unfortunately adheres closely to an overly rigid critical methodology which is repeated for each of the major works reviewed by Kason. The result is the limited critical acumen and literary insight that often characterizes such efforts. Moreover, this reader's curiosity was curtailed too many times by Kason's dependence on others' critical expertise and historical overviews of literary movements. The impression is one of overly simplistic definitions of such concepts as the fantastic and of superficial commentary on the historical events that Kason deems significant to her analysis of Palma's fiction The result is a prose that seems to lack a luster of its own.
Kason's study is of merit despite its several critical and stylistic shortcomings. One strength is the essayist's particularly keen insight into the contradictions between Palma's negative personal and critical views on such subjects as spiritism, decadence, satanism and the appearance of the same in his fiction. Her long-range discussion on this matter is second only to her brief, but perceptive and well researched commentary on the relation between Clemente and his more illustrious father, Ricardo. It is within the light of their individual creative careers, in fact, that the title of Kason's study takes on its real meaning -this study amply demonstrates why Clemente may well have favored the extremist views of the likes of the decadents or fantastic writers in order to avoid the comparison of his fiction with his father's more nationalistic and historical Tradiciones Peruanas.
Breaking Traditions..., to conclude, does offer new information on Clemente Palma and his writings and gives a general overview of his fiction, but its analyses are not profound and the study is limited to a repetitive critical format that is more descriptive than analytical. The book should be read, nonetheless, because Kason has brought fight to bear on an important writer with whom time and historians have dealt in a shortsighted fashion. We would expect that this is only the first of Kason's efforts to unravel the mysteries that obscure the life and writings of Clemente Palma.
Robert J. Morris
Texas Tech University
Handelsman has arranged this book in three parts. In the introduction, he sketches the personality of Benjamín Carrión and analyzes the controversial and polemical nature of his writing, in this case, of his «Cartas al Ecuador» (1943) and his «Nuevas Cartas al Ecuador» (1959), which form the other two parts of the book. Of course, Handelsman's project is to present in one single volume a collection of what he considers Carrión's most important political writing. However, the question is whether or not, indeed, those «Cartas» are worth republishing, and for that matter, worth reading, since most of them are rhetorical pieces, lacking either incisive analysis or stylistic distinction. Handelsman argues that «las contradicciones propias de los que evocan sus experiencias personales con Carrión productos de admiración o de hostilidad-, y el silencio o desconocimiento de los sectores más jóvenes del Ecuador ante su obra, hacen imprescindible la publicación de los textos principales de Carrión» (13), meaning that those «textos principales» are the «Cartas».
can not deny the importance of Carrión in the political and
cultural Ecuadorian scene. After all, he was a vice-presidential
candidate and the founder and President for many years of La
If Handelsman's intention was -as he alleged- to show the «jóvenes» a sample of Carrion's main polemical writings, and «rescatar su obra del anecdotario personal», he would have been better off choosing only a few letters from the first and second period and then to move on to collect samples from other writings more interesting not only to the Ecuadorian «jóvenes», but also to «jóvenes» elsewhere. As it is, few readers will reach the «Nuevas Cartas». Handelsman himself is aware of their (Nuevas Cartas's) doubtful importance, yet he includes them anyway, and in their entirety, because, as he says, «el vínculo entre las dos series de cartas... se patentiza cuando el Maestro [Carrión] señala 'he de seguir diciendo en estas cartas la verdad de la patria'» (13-14). At this time in his career, Carrion's «verdad» was already questionable, since it was shaped by his personal political aspirations and not by his desire to understand his own «ecuatorianismo», evident in the fast group.
Of course, Handelsman's edition of Cartas al Ecuador will be of use, especially to those interested in the turbulent political history of the country, and in the personality of one of its most polemical and controversial figures.
University of Minnesota, Morris
For more than two decades the poets of literatura de cordel -heirs to the medieval itinerant singer poets as well as to the Reformation authors of broadside sheets- have been on the wane as folk artists, largely superseded by electronic media. At present there is more cordel activity in cosmopolitan Rio de Janeiro than in the traditional venue of the Brazilian Northeast. No longer a vital source of entertainment, news, propaganda and moral instruction for the Brazilian Nordestino, literatura de cordel has been taken up by folklorists, collectors, universities and museums, analyzed and classified by scholars within and outside of Brazil. Curran's thorough study links today's urban popular poet with a former epoch when the poetas de cordel were itinerant singers wandering the backlands of the Brazilian Nordeste.
Rodolfo Coelho Cavalcante (1919-1986), school teacher, tabloid journalist, author and/or printer of more than 1,700 folhetos, was a tireless promoter of the form and the single individual who did most for the survival of the genre in Brazil. Without him, literatura de cordel would be much less known and esteemed. As leader of the popular poets and impresário de cordel, Cavalcante personally increased the visibility and prestige of the poets and their art form. But he was disliked because of his blatant commercialism and self-promotion and he was controversial in his politics, which were conservative, Catholic, very patriotic and vehemently anti-Communist. Ambitious, proud, stubborn, and didactic, even if he had never written a single pamphlet, his fife would still have been colorful and interesting. Part I of A Presença contains biographical data illuminated by extensive and well-chosen citations from the folhetos to illustrate Cavalcante's (usually militant) opinions. (Curran recommends Eno T. Wanke's 1983 biography of Cavalcante as complementary to the current study).
Part II is an anthology of Cavalcante's own literatura de cordel, organized and analyzed by major themes, and includes more citations from the folhetos and good critical commentary. There are five sections:
1) Moral: includes many cases of o exemplo, quite similar to the medieval form, and a large number of pamphlets inspired by what Cavalcante saw as changes in custom and tradition. (He found the Sixties intolerable, with their rock music and Beatles imitators; many folhetos excoriate the cabeludos and the sexual revolution.)
2) Religion: long a favorite subject of the Poetas, Curran's selections include pamphlets on Popular Messianic Movements, African Religion (candomblé), End-of-Age, Catholicism vs. Protestantism (rendered by Cavalcante in the medieval form of the debate), and Spiritism.
3) Praise, Homage, and Biography: largely «ABCs» whose subjects include Rui Barbosa, Castro Alves, Jorge Amado, and Origines Lessa -a man worthy of special mention as regards preservation and promotion of literatura de cordel- as well as places and institutions.
4) «News»: like the Mexican corrido (also written in the eight-syllable romance form), literatura de cordel often has «valor noticiero». This section includes occasional pieces and folhetos on economic and social questions, tragedies and public disasters.
5) Politics: in these folhetos Cavalcante was at his most expressive, chronicling Brazilian politics from the era of Gertúlio Vargas and Carlos Prestes through the «Revoluçāo» of 1964 to the «Abertura» of the Seventies and the «Redemocratization» of Brazil. Noteworthy are the pamphlet on John F. Kennedy which was sent to the local American consul, with poetic condolences to the widow and the American people, and the lengthy pamphlet on international Communism, «O Dragāo deo Fim da Era», based upon the Apocalypse of St. John, and analyzed in depth by Curran.
At the end of the volume is a fine bibliography that will be very useful to interested Brazilianists. Curran's extensive notes are also placed at the back, a format which this reviewer found cumbersome.
The origins of A Presença lie in research begun by Curran in 1966, when he first met Cavalcante, and this study represents the culmination of nearly twenty years of on-site research in specialized libraries and in the field with the trovadores. It is exhaustive and -except for the initiated- probably exhausting. This study is not an introduction to literatura de cordel nor is it readily accessible to many potentially interested folklorists and social historians because it is published in Portuguese. (Even in Brazil, this study would have, unfortunately, a relatively narrow appeal, since it requires the reader to know more than a little about the subject). Curran's work, although it contains biographical content, is ultimately a fine, rigorous study of literatura de cordel, its history for the past forty years, its texts and the poetic process. Of particular excellence is the discussion of the place of literatura de cordel, a hybrid of folk and popular poetry, in Brazilian literature. One hopes this study will help to allay a widely-held prejudice that literatura de cordel does not merit serious academic attention.
Michael Fody, III
Kentucky State University
Só muito raramente é que o autor de uma resenha pode cumular de superlativos uma publicaçāo sem medo de ser acusado de exagero ou parcialidade. Uma tal oportunidade foi proporcionada a este resenhista pela leitura da presente ediçāo crítica de Macunaíma, certamente uma das mais bem cuidades ediçōes de obra de autor brasileiro de todos os tempos. O volume faz parte da Coleçāo Arquivos, publicada sob os auspícios da UNESCO, graças ao Acordo Multilateral de Pesquisa e Coediçāo assinado em 1984 por quatro países europeus (Espanha, França, Itália, Portugal) e quatro latino-americanos (Argentina, Brasil, Colômbia, México).
Sob a organizaçāo geral de Telê Porto Ancona López, o presente volume se divide em cinco amplas partes: Introduçāo; Texto; História do texto; Leituras do texto; e Dossier da obra. O material introdutório se compōe de uma apresentaçāo de Darci Ribeiro e um admirável ensaio de crítica textual onde a organizadora expōe os critérios e procedimentos editoriais que nortearam o projeto. O rigor crítico e o equilibrado tratamento aplicados às variantes e aos autográfos do manuscrito de Mário de Andrade merecem o mais alto louvor, haja visto ó lamentável descaso que caracteriza grande parte das publicaçōes de nossas casas editoras.
O texto propriamente dito ocupa a segunda parte do volume em questāo. Obedecendo aos procedimentos enunciados na primeira parte, a fixaçāo do texto aqui apresentado vai além do material encontrado na ediçāo anteriormente publicada por Telê López (Sāo Paulo, 1978). Outrossim, o notável resultado se deve ao vasto conhecimento que a organizadora tem acumulado sobre a obra de Mário de Andrade, tendo em vista suas prévias publicaçōes, como por exemplo, Macunaíma: A margem e o texto (Sāo Paulo, 1974) e o acesso que tem tido aos manuscritos deixados pelo líder modernista. O texto vem abundantemente documentado com notas de rodapé e comentários textuais encontrados nas margens, graças à acertada decisāo gráfica de dispor em colunas localizadas à direita do texto primário as observaçōes editoriais referentes às variantes.
A terceira parte, subtitulada «Percurso e Percalços», acompanha e documenta a trajetória de Macunaíma na realidade cultural brasileira. Abre esta parte um ensaio de Alfredo Bosi no qual se estudam as duas motivaçōes que, para Bosi, orientaram a composiçāo da obra: o desejo de contar e preservar episódios folclóricos; e o desejo de pensar a gente brasileira. No artigo seguinte, Silviano Santiago examina a fortuna editorial e a repercussāo crítica das diversas ediçōes de Macunaíma desde seu aparecimento inicial em 1928. Esta terceira parte é complementada por uma bibliografia comentada por Diléa Zanotto Manfio; uma cronologia que apōe dados biográficos de Mário a momentos chaves da história e cultura de Brasil; e uma valiosa iconografia que inclui retratos de e por Mário, além de fac-símiles de capas e folhas de rosto de primeiras ediçōes e de exemplares anotados pelo autor.
quarta parte se compōe de análises textuais e
contextuais assinadas por alguns dos mais destacados estudiosos de
Macunaíma. Raul Antelo discorre com
segurança e erudiçāo sobre a difícil
questāo da apropriaçāo e originalidade na
composiçāo do texto de Mário. Telê
López analisa a narrativa, dedicando especial
atençāo às características do
herói/anti-herói e aos «motivos [que] trazem
à tona, no decorrer da açāo, os pontos mais
importantes da ideologia da rapsódia» (273). Maria
A quinta parte reúne um paralelo entre o texto de Mário e as fontes coletadas por Koch-Grünberg, notas de pesquisa e preparo, fac-símile dos manuscritos, consideraçōes sobre o prefácio, e referências a Macunaíma feitas por Mário em cartas, entrevistas, crônicas, e em seu diário pessoal. Também incluidas nesta parte encontram-se as notas de Mário para uma projetada traduçāo americana a ser feita por Margaret Richardson Hollingsworth; reproduçōes de trechos de traduçōes de Macunaíma em várias línguas; um útil glossário (preparado por Diléa Z. Manfio) que em muitos casos complementa o Roteiro de Macunaíma, de Cavalcanti Proença (Sāo Paulo, 1956); e uma vasta bibliografia primária e secundária (unificada por Darcilene de Sena Rezende a partir de bibliografias previamente compiladas por diversos autores). Levando-se em conta a natureza desta secçāo do livro, o leitor fica a perguntar-se se a bibliografia comentada da terceira parte (194-205) nāo caberia mais logicamente aqui nesta quinta parte. Tendo em vista a excelente qualidade das anotaçōes, o leitor é levado a sugerir que um projeto futuro inclua uma extensa bibliografia comentada do Macunaíma, devendo sem dúvida ser publicada em volume separado.
Entre os senōes que se podem apontar temos alguns raros erros tipográficos, como os que aparecem nas páginas 100 (falta uma linha de texto) e 256 (Antels em vez de Antelo; o mesmo erro se repete nas páginas pares até 264). Muito mais grave, porém, é a ausência total de texto (pelo menos no exemplar enviado ao resenhista) nas páginas 110-11, 114-15, 118-19, e 122-23. A lamentável omissāo destas páginas diminui o valor de tāo bem cuidada publicaçāo. Felizmente, trata-se de um cochilo tipográfico que pode ser facilmente corrigido em impressōes futuras.
Para os estudiosos de Macunaíma, daqui em diante esta será sem sombra de dúvida a ediçāo definitiva deste marco fundamental da cultura brasileira. O êxito da presente publicaçāo resulta do empenho, dedicaçāo e erudiçāo da organizadora, a quem ficamos todos devedores. Seu aparecimento alcança por completo a meta do Acordo Multilateral de contribuir para o estudo e ampla difusāo desta obra-prima da literatura latino-americana. Tem mais nāo.
Severino J. Albuquerque
University of Wisconsin-Madison
La presente edición crítica de Paradiso, publicada bajo los auspicios de la UNESCO, aspira principalmente a establecer el texto de la novela a base de tres fuentes principales: el manuscrito original que se conserva en la Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, en La Habana, los capítulos publicados en la revista Orígenes, y las principales ediciones en español, en particular la cubana de Ediciones Unión de 1966 y la mexicana de Biblioteca Era de 1968. Según anota Cintio Vitier en la «Nota filológica preliminar», la problemática en torno a la fijación del texto parte de lo siguiente: Primero, el original mecanográfico entregado por Lezama a la Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba para la primera edición de Paradiso no transmite fielmente el manuscrito, «por descuido de las personas encargadas de confrontarla, o del propio Lezama» (XXXVI). Vitier advierte 798 erratas en tal edición. Segundo, las correcciones hechas por Lezama de las erratas en la edición de Unión suman sólo 225, lo que muestra, según Vitier; «que no lo conformó directamente con el original manuscrito, y que... se le escapó no menos del 70% de los errores allí acumulados» (XXXVI). Y tercero, la edición mexicana de Era al cuidado de Julio Cortázar y Carlos Monsiváis, que es la que fundamentalmente siguen las posteriores ediciones y traducciones, se basa en ese texto parcialmente corregido por Lezama; es decir, que hereda la mayor parte de las erratas de la primera edición. Asimismo, se cometen nuevas erratas de edición además de los errores provocados por el intento de regularizar pasajes «que tienen que ver con la sintaxis, el uso de tiempos verbales y la puntuación» (XXXVIII). Vale también señalar que Eloísa Lezama Lima dice haber cotejado la edición a su cargo de Cátedra (Madrid, 1980) con un ejemplar de la edición cubana que tiene las erratas anotadas por el mismo autor. Todo esto implica que para poder establecer el texto, Vitier y su equipo de colaboradores han tenido que realizar un triple o cuádruple cotejo. «Nuestro criterio», concluye Vitier, «ha sido el de la máxima fidelidad posible a las características personales de la escritura de Lezama» (XXXIX).
Aparecen en esta edición tres sistemas de anotaciones: las
que se indican con números y se dan al final del texto de la
novela organizadas según el orden de los capítulos y
que ofrecen amplísima información biográfica,
bibliográfica, histórica y de referencia en general;
las que se indican con letras y se dan al pie de la página y
que tratan de los problemas lingüísticos y
estilísticos, significados de términos, notas
aclaratorias, constantes de la escritura lezamiana y variantes con
las demás ediciones;
El último tercio de este extenso volumen lo forman las secciones tituladas «Historia del texto», que contiene ensayos sobre Paradiso por Raquel Carrió Mendía, Roberto Friol, José Prats Sariol, Severo Sarduy y Manuel Pereira; «Lecturas del texto», que además de los ensayos por Benito Pelegrín y Julio Ortega contiene resúmenes críticos de los capítulos de Paradiso, realizados por Prats Sariol, Vitier, Pelegrín, Carrió Mendía y Friol; y «Dossier», que contiene facsímiles y esbozos del manuscrito de la novela, cartas escritas por Lezama y también dirigidas a él, y una entrevista a Lezama hecha por Salvador Bueno pocos años después de la aparición de Paradiso. Se incluye también un glosario de términos (que bien pudo haberse incorporado en las notas), y una útil bibliografía ordenada como sigue: obras de Lezama, antologías de la obra de Lezama, ediciones de Paradiso, Paradiso en antologías y publicaciones periódicas, recopilaciones de crítica sobre la obra de Lezama, y bibliografía sobre Paradiso. Por último, completa el tomo una lista cronológica de eventos en la vida y obra del autor, paralela a otra lista de acontecimientos nacionales, y un índice onomástico del texto que incluye a personajes en la novela, figuras célebres aludidas, títulos de obras citadas, personajes literarios aludidos, personajes de la mitología y religión y lugares geográficos.
La magia verbal del barroquismo lezamiano, con sus giros pocos corrientes, permite que muchas de las erratas señaladas aquí pasen desapercibidas y que leamos (en la edición de Era) sin percatarnos de ellas, por ejemplo, «delante de su raíz» por «delante de su nariz» (16, 1. 33), «lágrimas de oro» por «láminas de oro» (184, 1. 23), «la ruta de la serpiente» por «la gruta de la serpiente» (222, 1. 7), «orejas abultadas» por «ojeras abultadas» (249, 1. 43), e «impotentes vísceras» por «importantes vísceras» (344, 1. 8).
No cabe duda que esta cuidadosa edición crítica de Paradiso da acceso a serias y provocativas exégesis, datos y conocimientos que facilitan el entendimiento más profundo y preciso de la novela y sus intertextualidades, así como del mundo que desdobla. En cuanto a si llega a establecer el texto definitivo de la novela, eso creo que sólo lo hubiera podido hacer Lezama. Sin embargo, al presentar las distintas variantes en el texto, incluso con el manuscrito, se le permite al lector hacer su cotejo y llegar a un juicio propio.
Seton Hall University
Paraguayan writers are but slightly represented in the traditional canon of Hispanic American literature. The exception of course is the towering figure of Augusto Roa Bastos, who almost by himself has given the literature of his country deserved recognition and undeniable value. The present volume, edited with unusual skin and good sense by Fernando Burgos, is a tribute both to the greatness of Roa Bastos as a writer and to Paraguayan letters as a very significant vehicle for the dissemination of its national heritage and culture. The eighteen essays that comprise this volume were selected from the papers read at the First International Coloquium of Latin American Literature sponsored by the journal Discurso Literario and held at Oklahoma State University in April of 1985.
The essays cover the entire range of Roa Bastos's writings and are examined from a wide variety of critical perspectives. This diversity of approach is particularly necessary because of the complexity of his works and the profundity of their underlying meaning in the context of Paraguayan civilization. Fernando Burgos contributes an excellent introductory essay in which he discusses Roa Bastos's position in Paraguayan letters and highlights the content of each essay in the volume. Juan Manuel Marcos, in a brief but cogent essay, informs us of the meaning of the indigenous term «karai» as used in the title of the volume: guide and leader who goes from village to village preaching a better society, goodness and truth. David W. Foster, as the conference guest of honor, writes an outstanding article on Roa Bastos's essays, a genre that seems to have passed by most critics but that serves as an important point of departure for understanding the writer's narrative fiction.
Ten essays deal with the novel Yo el Supremo and all make fine contributions to the study of this work. Wladimir Krysinski's essay is the broadest in scope and deals with Yo el supremo as a «modern novel», in particular the characteristics that make it a polyphonic and dialogical work. «Lo femenino y lo absoluto en Yo el Supremo», by María Elena Carballo, explores the symbolic role of women in the novel and the attitude toward women that a dictatorship fosters or perhaps imposes. Among the other contributors to this section on Yo el Supremo are Francisco E. Feito, Armando Romero, Jorge Luis Cruz, Connie Green, Victorio Aguera, John Kraniauskas, J. Bekunuru Kubayanda, and Eduardo González.
third section of the volume covers the short story, poetry, and
Hijo de hombre. Carlos Pacheco, in a most valuable essay,
understands Roa Bastos's use of binary structures as a fundamental
aesthetic principle in his stories. Mercedes Gracia Calvo deals
with point of view and perspective in Roa Bastos's stories. Tracy
K. Lewis compares several stories in El trueno entre las
hojas with José María Arguedas's short fiction,
in particular the use of the indigenous language by both authors.
Debra A. Castillo analyzes in detail one story,
«Pájaro Mosca», and Luis Manuel Villar does the
This is the best collection of critical essays on Roa Bastos to have appeared in Spanish or English, and Burgos is to be congratulated for bringing them together under one roof. The contributions are uniformly of high quality. Although no general theme was announced to orient the contributors in some direction, a common thread running through most pieces is that the writings of Roa Bastos have wide and deep implications for a more realistic understanding of Paraguayan culture and a more sensitive acceptance of its mores and traditions as an integral part of that culture. I recommend this book most enthusiastically.
Myron I. Lichtblau
Reflections/Refractions is the first book to treat the complete works of the contemporary Argentine prose writer Luisa Valenzuela: nine volumes of narrative in Spanish, five of which are available already in English translation. Both the quantity and the quality of the Valenzuela's production point to the need for a monographic critical study, one that explains for the bilingual English-Spanish reader Valenzuela's difficult intertextual games and intellectually challenging Postmodernist themes. It is important for there to be a book that treats all of Valenzuela's works, translated and untranslated alike, since a few of them have tended to monopolize critical interest, whereas others (including the ones available in English) have received only reviews and casual mention. Additionally, Valenzuela's concerns are often organized by book (as Sharon Magnarelli shows), so that familiarity with certain volumes and not others can lead to misleading conclusions about Valenzuela's oeuvre in general.
Through published articles and unpublished conference papers, Sharon Magnarelli has shown an enduring interest in and knowledge about Valenzuela over the years. In the words of Valenzuela herself, «Sharon Magnarelli is not only the most profound and astute expert on my literary work, her work has, in addition, a brilliance which frequently dazzles me and fills me with amazement» (from the back cover). For readers already familiar with Magnarelli's works on Valenzuela in The Lost Rib and in journal articles, Reflections/Refractions provides both analyses of lesser-known volumes and the all-important overview -chronologically, stylistically, and thematically. By tracing the writer's growth in literary maturity and her consistency in themes and intellectual interests, Magnarelli's new book enhances greatly our understanding of Valenzuela.
A peripheral result of Magnarelli's study is the evidence it brings to bear for the need to retranslate several of Valenzuela's collections, which often were not translated completely, with sufficient care to the organization of material by volume, or with appropriate attention to literalness and metaphoricity.
On the negative side, however, it must be said that more and better editing would have improved Reflections/Refractions. Occasionally there are repetitions of ideas, although not of exact wordings, because some chapters appeared previously as articles and were only slightly revised for inclusion. There are quite a few typographical errors also. While an author is perhaps ultimately responsible for problems such as these, the publisher/editor is equally at fault for not having required further revisions before publication.
I hope I have made clear that, in this new book, the pluses are greater than the minuses, for every one interested in Valenzuela's narrative. The greatest benefits will be reaped by those who have not followed Magnarelli's previous articles, yet overall, Reflections/Refractions offers a valuable contribution to criticism on the author and a good place to start for those unfamiliar with the Argentine's narrative.
Diane E. Marting
Both of these Chicano first novels are set in their authors' native state of Texas. The two novels also have the depth and texture of three generations in their narrative development. Both volumes are in English, essentially, although they mean to convey a Spanish-language reality. The two works also have a strong specific Chicano content in character and setting, with an importance attached to the grandfather as a figure of nobility and dignity.
Genaro González's novel has been long-awaited since his
innovative short story, «Un hijo del sol» was published
in 1970. The novel is ambitiously literary without being
artificially avant-garde. The novel, with some early temporal
dislocations, covers three generations of a South Texas Chicano
family and its interactions with Mexican-American
The narrative focuses on a central figure, Heraclio Cavazos, and recounts the subsequent two generations. In the 30's Heraclio crosses a Rio Grande swollen by hurricane rain. The scene is exciting, harrowing, and nearly fatal, effectively -almost hypnotically- told by González. Heraclio goes on to five in a boarding house with other migrants with names such as the Elephant, the Love Bandit, and El Bruto. After his marriage to Chacha (Graciela) produces two children, Heraclio is widowed and the generations continue, culminating with grandchildren including a living Vietnam War victim-veteran and the acceptance of mall culture and assimilation which signifies the rejection of the Mexican heritage.
Besides a central figure, Rainbow's End also depicts a whole collective protagonist of South Texas border people, undocumented migrants, fellow laborers, and family members that come to constitute a vibrant world of human and drug smuggling, prostitution, curanderismo, exploitation, triumphs, defeats, abortion, cross-cultural confusion, and alienation. It is notable that Rainbow's End concludes with a chapter in which Don Heraclio's sister-in -law, Fela, a secondary character who appears intermittently throughout the novel, and who is a curandera, passes on her trade and knowledge to a young apprentice. Presumably, this Chicano tradition, as well as others, persists and thrives.
Genaro González is both a pessimist and an optimist. Although Chicano culture is threatened, and the Chicano cannot be found «ni aqui ni allá», and in spite of suffering and anguish, the Chicano endures, as in a symbolic hat owned by don Heraclio, an image that mixes the ludicrous and the serious. Ultimately, what remains is González's rich magic of memory, subtle cultural infiltrations, and the noble figure of don Heraclio. The folkloric fantasy in the style of García Márquez is finely wrought, for example, in the rumored appearance of the devil at a dance. The echoes of multiple perspectives offer an all-encompassing vision that transcends the mere decrepitude and degradation of Chicano culture. Rainbow's End brims over with vitality, in a well-structured narrative. Some characters are too diffuse and sketchy, unfocused portraits. At times, the pace is uneven. But overall González is perspicacious in his presentation of sharp, well-stated observations about Chicano life and culture. A border novel with strong touches of magical realism, Rainbow's End is notable.
Schoolland is another worthy Chicano novel. Max Martínez, the author of a highly promising short story collection, The Adventures of the Chicano Kid (1982), sets his novel in a central Texas town. Told by a youngster coming of age in 1957 as his grandfather is approaching the end of his life, the basic nucleus of the novel effectively conveys the contrasts and ironies of Chicano life, or life in general. The unnamed narrator, the seventh of nine children, details the life of a large family, including the drought they survive, first love, the working of the land, a shotgun wedding, the presence of undocumented workers, and a sister's failed marriage. It all flows not like melodramatic novelistic action, but with the depth and texture of life itself.
Schoolland, a bildungsroman like so many other important Chicano novels, recounts a somewhat different story and reality, that of central Texas farmers in 1957, viewed sensitively, with a telling eye for detail and the meaningful anecdote. Martínez does justice to Chicano (and adolescent) life of the 50's by transforming apparently autobiographical materials into a network of cross-references that carefully and meticulously build an interlocking portrait of a people and a time, from after-dinner talk around the kitchen to a fumbling date at the movies.
Martínez's strength is clear in his characterizations, particularly the fresh perspective of the intelligent and impressionable narrator-protagonist and the wisdom of the grandfather, a model of dignity and courage, similar to Heraclio Cavazos. The achievement is all the more remarkable because Martínez focuses on ordinary but intricate every day life, without neglecting the vividly striking incidents of a family's struggle to survive and thrive, in the midst of questions of responsibility, guilt, and mortality. The language has precision and clarity. Martínez writes a textured English with a vibrant simplicity. For example, when the narrator refers to the undocumented migrant who works on the farm: «It didn't matter much that he was from Mexico. We were Mexicans, too, of course. But Marcos de la Fuente was from Mexico. The difference was always present, even though it seldom came to the surface» (101).
Both novels, then, are artistically successful and effective in capturing and conveying the Chicano experience in this century in Texas. Al though both novels are culturally specific, they capture life in universal terms through literature. One key measure of the success of González and Martínez is that the two novels are particularly absorbing.
San Diego State University
These two books, based on the personal memories of the authors,
present different stages of the Chicano experience.
Martínez-Serros writes mostly
«Víctor and David», is a modern, Chicano version of the story of Cain and Abel. This story is constructed with elements that are present throughout the whole collection. Víctor and David represent, respectively, Mexican and American cultures. Their struggle highlights the antagonism of one group towards the other. When Víctor kills David (destroying the threat of acculturation) the former emerges as the «victor». Although on the surface Mexican culture seems to prevail, the deeper structure shows a longing for acceptability. Since this story is a Chicano re-creation of the biblical one, Victor/Cain is really vying for the approval of the Anglo/God.
Martínez-Serros's writing aims to denounce the injustices Chicanos experience from the dominant society and their institutions. José María Rivera dislikes going to church because the Spanish priest calls the parishioners «sheep». José María rejects this metaphor, aware that its ideology is one of dominance. «Ricardo's War» shows the prejudice of educational institutions, as the teachers institute a contest to see who collects the most newspaper for recycling. When the Chicano children win, the teacher names them the «Commando Reserves Enlisted To Increase National Strength». «Soon after this she began matter-of-factly to call Ricardo and his crew 'the CRETINS', anacronym that filled them with pride». The teacher praises the children dubiously: «Those of you who do backwork well should go on doing it, and those of us who do headwork well, should get on with it» (122). The ideology that indoctrinates minority children to do physical work while non-minority children are expected to go on to college is already at work here.
Though the stories are enjoyable, the usage of Spanish is annoying. Narrators frequently tell readers that characters are speaking Spanish, while they provide glimpses of the original utterances: «Don Pito, I'm looking for a different job. Por favor, give me a job, you won't be sorry. Soy muy trabajador, I'm a good worker...» (48). The narrators put the story on hold each time they provide a translation. Contemporary Latin American literature has frequently dealt with the problem of presenting two languages, but writers have opted to assume that the reader has at least a reading knowledge of the foreign language. Readers of The Last Laugh may wish Martínez-Serros had chosen the same solution.
Lesser Evils is different from The Last Laugh. This collection of stories appears to be a sequel to Living up the Street -winner of the 1985 American Book Award- especially those stories narrated from the point of view of a child. Some of the same anecdotes, settings, and even characters reappear in this collection. One of the stories, «Ziggy», seems like a rewriting of «Getting By» from Living up the Street. In Lesser Evils (74) the narrator makes reference to the time when his mother chased his brother Rick with a heated fork, an episode from Living up the Street (13). The short essays, sometimes no more than two pages long, deal mainly with family life, profession and friends. The collection also includes two movie and one book review. These reviews intertwine the narrator's own impressions with the critiques themselves, thus the subjects under review are less important than the feelings of the narrator.
Some of the better stories of the collection take place in the narrator's mind as he watches people and imagines what they do, where they work, whom they see. This technique makes his stories enjoyable and erases the barrier between prose and fiction. «Shopping in the 80s», «I Love My Students», and «Lunch in the Business Park» exemplify this narrative perspective.
Gary Soto also writes with a very good sense of humor, and unlike Martínez-Serros, does not make an issue of his ethnicity. Both texts abound in repetitions which, like musical themes, tie one story to another, although they make the collections appear to have been put together in haste. For example, Soto's narrator talks about liking girls with an overbite in several stories. Martínez Serros mentions the same hail storm in «Killdeer» and «Distillation». The reader's impression is that the stories should have been the first draft of a novel in which descriptions, characteristics, and anecdotes are related only once.
Rolando J. Romero
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
The Cuban exile colony in the United States, now thirty years old, has accumulated a corpus of writing of sufficient size to warrant a need for reference books. Four such works, published between 1972 and 1988, profile exile literature.
In 1972 Matías Montes Huidobro's and Yara González's Bibliografía de la poesía cubana (Plaza Mayor Ediciones) appeared. A decade later José and Roberto Fernández compiled Índice bibliográfico de autores cubanos (diáspora 1959-1975) [Ediciones Universal], and in 1986 Escritores de la diáspora cubana, manual bibliográfico (Scarecrow Press) was published. The most recent effort to extend bibliographical control over a productive and talented wave of exiles is Pablo Le Riverend's Diccionario biográfico de poetas cubanos en exilio (Contemporáneos).
Le Riverend, like Montes Huidobro, concentrates on the single genre of poetry and provides biobibliographical information on 174 poets, many previously unrecognized in other reference books until 1988. Entries, varying in length from 1,250 words for Heberto Padilla to about 250 words for lesser-known poets, incorporate only descriptive data: date and place of birth, citizenship, education, literary prizes, memberships, anthologies in which poetry appears, titles of monograph-length publications, a personal definition of poetry, other literary activities, and information of a miscellaneous nature. The alphabetical arrangement by author suffices as the only access with no accompanying indexes that might facilitate use.
Although Le Riverend's book is surely welcome especially for the number of poets briefly biographized and the accumulated data that might otherwise be lost, several problems beset this effort. The first and probably the most serious is the compiler's intensely polemical attitude evidenced when he divides the world between «good» poets or the exiles and the «evil» ones, i. e., «las ovejas sarnosas» that remained in Cuba. A passion this keenly felt could be an impediment in judging another's poetic work. Furthermore, Le Riverend offers no guidelines for inclusion since he does not grapple with the question of what constitutes a poet and the quantity or quality of publication that permits recognition. Many poets of stature appear; others are newcomers. A cognate problem is his apparent ignorance of the three reference books already mentioned. Awareness of these might have enabled the compiler to treat only those poets excluded from previous works. In the absence of guidelines, one can only guess as to what network, formal or informal, the compiler availed himself in gathering the data. Furthermore, much of the information, formulaic in nature, might have been entered with abbreviations to allow space for analytical comments. The work in general lacks the guiding hand of an experi-108
Diccionario biográfico, regardless of problems, does provide us with data on many heretofore unrecognized poets. As such, it adds to the growing number of books relating to Cuban exiles.
Richard D. Woods
In his postscript entitled «Palabras Finales», Villegas expresses his hope that this new volume will generate a diversity of studies illuminating levels of historicity as they relate to aesthetic approaches or «códigos» in the theater of Spain and Latin America. The greatest virtue of this highly theoretical work is its presentation of some of the possibilities open to the critic who is committed to the study of Hispanic theater in the context of the specific cultural and historical forces that have shaped it.
Villegas's study consists of an Introduction, nine chapters and the aforementioned postscript. Several chapters have been published previously in the journal Gestos, and the Introduction was presented at a literary symposium. The tendency toward repetition throughout the work is probably due to that circumstance. Certain ideas emerge quite strongly, partly as a result of their recurrence and partly because of the author's persuasive analysis. These ideas include the importance of the socio-historical context of drama, the marginality of Hispanic theater, the need to approach that theater from an Hispanic perspective, the importance of the type of theater and audience for which a work was conceived, the integral role of the concept of power in Hispanic theater and what Villegas calls the «discurso crítico metateatral» (defined as «la reflexión de los propios productores de textos teatrales sobre su propio discurso o el discurso teatral en general» ). Villegas also convincingly establishes that the majority of studies devoted to Hispanic theater adopt an European perspective and overlook the Hispanic dimension that is integral to a complete understanding of the work.
Villegas's tendency toward repetition and abstraction does prove to
be a liability at times. His study assumes a thorough familiarity
with a diverse range of critical approaches and eschews the
application of theory to specific plays, preferring to create
general models and apply them to categories of works. A few
Peninsular dramatists and their works are considered, most notably
Arrabal, Lorca, Sastre, Gala and Buero Vallejo; but the most
substantive applications of his «discurso
crítico» are reserved for Chilean
theater. By limiting his analysis of specific dramas to such an
extent, Villegas does little to demonstrate the efficacy of his
approach. And his repeated laments about the unjustly low status
held by all of Hispanic literature in North American universities
seems pointless in
In conclusion, Villegas has produced a rather, abstract and somewhat repetitious volume which raises a number of important issues concerning the relationship between ideology and theater. The book is largely free of errors, with the exception of footnotes 16 to 24 which were omitted at the end of the first chapter. Its importance as a potential stimulus of future critical studies constitutes its principal merit; if a number of «discursos críticos» are developed in response to the challenges presented by its author, then Ideología y discurso crítico sobre el teatro de España y América Latina will have achieved its objective and made a significant contribution to our understanding of Hispanic theater.
Peter L. Podol
Lock Haven University
Portuguese Speaking Test is a semi-direct testing instrument for a language for which there are few trained proficiency interviewers. The package includes a thirty-page Official Test Manual (the only item bearing the names of all the authors), an eleven-page Examinee Handbook to be read prior to taking the test, and three alternate versions of a seven-page examinee booklet, entitled Form A, Form B, and Form C, each of which is accompanied by two alternate cassette tapes, one subtitled Brazilian, the other Lusitanian. The Forms follow the same format and include (1) an audio-oral test, (2) oral tasks cued by pictures, (3) talking about specific topics, and (4) speaking in response to cues describing real-life situations. I will comment on each of these sections briefly.
The audio-oral test, of which alternate versions in Brazilian and Continental Portuguese are provided, is the only section in which the examinee hears Portuguese on the tape. It consists of a make-believe conversation with a native speaker of either variety of the language, designed as a series of personal questions, with timed pauses for recording the answers. The idea of providing the two alternate versions is particularly sound, as the differences between the two standard dialects of Portuguese may easily compromise the evaluation if a learner trained in one is asked to respond to questions uttered in the unfamiliar accent of the other.
If one of the undeniable advantages of semidirect tests is that they make evaluation possible in the absence of local examiners, the flip side of the coin is that recorded questions not only cannot re-create the spontaneity of an actual conversation, but also lack in paralinguistic elements, such as gestures and eye contact, that are an integral part of real oral communication. Such question-and answer testing instruments can easily resemble a telephone interrogation by a taciturn and unhelpful questioner, and Portuguese Speaking Tests deserves credit for incorporating items that can over come that inherent awkwardness.
The questions are worded in natural-sounding language, in a register closer to consultative than casual (in Martin Joos's well-known classification in The Five Clocks, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1961). In listening to the questions on all tapes, I ran across only one or two small details that struck me as a bit less than fully natural, and even those might be influenced by my idiolectal preferences. Although an occasional item appears to require cultural information that is independent from language knowledge, on the whole the questions seem appropriate to elicit answers likely to yield reliable material for evaluating proficiency in both aural comprehension and ability to respond to questions.
The second section calls for speaking freely on a sequence of five topics, with recorded instructions given in English and reinforced by drawings as visual clues. The items involve giving directions, describing a picture, and narrating events in which context provides opportunities for using past, present, and future tenses. The drawings describe in detail an assortment of environments and situations about which most learners of Portuguese at U. S. institutions would have plenty of information, even if they were not personally familiar with them. Although I detected no culturally based details that might interfere with an examinee's performance, I suspect higher quality draftsmanship would likely enhance the visual appeal of the test.
third section asks the examinee to talk about a series of five
topics given in English, both orally and in writing. Some items
call for a descriptive answer, while others require examinees to
justify their opinion, and still others refer to hypothetical
situations that provide an opportunity for
The final section includes five imaginary situations to which examinees are expected to respond verbally. Although instructions are very clear, in one or two cases they reflect behavior which, while possibly appropriate in the United States, might be considered bumbling, tactless, or even provocative in a Portuguese-speaking country. Since tests are intended as indicators of how well learners would perform in the target culture, it is preferable that instructions be worded so as not to elicit verbal responses that might be considered undesirable behavior according to criteria of the target culture(s).
Finally, the Official Test Manual includes an overview of the entire program; technical information on the test; detailed explanations on procedures for obtaining the test, administering it, and returning them to the Center for Applied Linguistics for evaluation; information on the interpretation of the results according to the ACTFL 1986 Generic Speaking Proficiency Guidelines; and references on proficiency testing and related matters. Such abundance of information makes this brochure a valuable and practical introduction to proficiency testing for teachers and administrators alike.
A few minor imperfections notwithstanding, Portuguese Speaking Test evinces an impressive amount of careful, painstaking work, and it does the profession a timely service by providing a much needed testing instrument.
Milton M. Azevedo
University of California, Berkeley
This book is a detailed introduction to American Spanish dialectology, in the broadest sense of the term. It covers segmental and suprasegmental phonology, morphosyntax, lexicon, sociolinguistics, and historical development of the range of New World Spanish dialects, region by region, reaching from the southwestern United States to Chile.
The first two chapters discuss, for the beginner, the nature of dialects and field work generally and the general linguistic description of Spanish. Chapter 3 describes the four languages (including Basque) and eight of the dialects of the Iberian Peninsula -as well as Sephardic Spanish. Chapters 4 and 5 review the history of Spanish in Spain, with special reference to the changes that were under way around the time of the discovery of the New World. Chapters 6 through 11 describe the variety of substratum languages over which Spanish was superimposed in the New World -Taino, Náhuatl, Maya, Quechua, Mapuche, Guarani, and others- and recounts the history of the first encounters of Spaniards with these indigenous peoples. Chapters 12 through 18 describe in detail the recognized dialect areas of the Hispanic New World: Mexico (and Central America), the Andean countries, the Caribbean (including Papiamento), Chile, the «Río de la Plata» region, and the south western United States. And finally, Chapter 19 considers the future of Spanish as a world language. The appendices (309-359) show dialect questionnaires used in field work, a glossary of linguistic terms, a table of phonetic symbols, word lists demonstrating sounds as pronounced on the accompanying audiotape, additional tape transcriptions not included in the text, and organized lists of Mexican-American (Chicano) lexical items. The volume ends with a reference list of some 170 items (360 368) and a subject index (369-378). The text is supplemented by tables, figures, and maps.
Although the book is ostensibly for beginners, the complexity of the situation of multiple dialects vying and leveling in the New World is treated both fully and clearly. Transplanted Spanish is compared with numerous examples from other colonial languages: English, French, Portuguese, and Dutch (Afrikaans).
The various dialects and substratum languages are illustrated by sample prose texts, poetry, dialogue, and vocabulary lists. Topics such as the morphology of Basque and Mapuche are treated in greater detail than one might expect from the book's title. Neologisms from Argentina and those from the southwestern U. S. are analyzed quantitatively according to their figurative and emotional nature, reflecting the authors' previous joint work on neologisms.
While the book is highly informative, clearly written, and richly documented, it is not free of inaccuracies. For example, it is suggested that the Spanish Academy is equally uncertain about the genders of sartén and orden (26) -without reference to the differing meanings of la orden and el orden. The term «semivowel» is exemplified (17) by a sound in which «the stream of air is forced through an even narrower opening with audible friction» (my emphasis). And errors with authors' names, such as Alfonso Álvarez de «Villasandrino» with extraneous r (67, 76, 360) and «Manual» Azuela (174), are not reassuring (the name of Mariano Azuela appears correctly on p. 227).
book occasionally seems old-fashioned, in both content and style.
The figure for Spain's population of Basque-speakers is based on a
1960 source (74). References to sources published in the 1940s and
50s are frequent, while recent investigators such as M. B.
Fontanella de Weinberg, J. Lipski, M. Resnick, and T. Terrell are
absent from the bibliography, and H. López Morales and J. J.
The few lapses and the antiquated flavor aside, the book offers a wealth of information, presented in a vivid, engaging style.
Steven Lee Hartman
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
According to the author, Entre Nosotros is a «cross-cultural training kit» rather than a textbook. Although it is also a grammar with the usual drills and paradigms designed for a two-semester sequence of introductory Spanish, the uniqueness of the book consists in the thoroughness of its message to prospective service-oriented professionals that Hispanic clients behave differently from the Anglo norm because of deep-rooted cultural determinants.
Each of the twelve lessons has a «Raising Awareness» section in English; a section of grammatical explanations with a sophisticated dialogue in cartoon form; and a «Combinándolo todo» selection of self-correctional exercises that especially stress the formulation of questions. Each lesson ends with a «Reflejos de la cultura» sampling consisting of a song, poem or literary fragment thematically relevant to the lesson.
The «Raising Awareness» sections are similar to greatly expanded and more sharply focused «notas culturales» of ordinary textbooks. Nonverbal communication with the hands is analyzed in an early lesson, as is the less rigid Hispanic manner of walking and holding the body. Proverbs are often used to introduce a particular facet of Hispanic reality, and Lotito is not reluctant to write frankly about qualities peculiar to the Anglo majority as well (e. g., the «chagrin» of Anglo Miamians now that Miami is a bilingual city; the American presence in Puerto Rico that is a «replay» of the Spanish colonization of the New World; the hasty settlement of debts in Anglo society that can be «offensive» to Hispanics).
The most theoretical material of the text occurs in the final lesson, where Lotito borrows from Pierre Cassé's Training for the Cross-Cultural Mind and lists five key states of consciousness (nirvana, satori, analytical state, functional state and neurotic state). The individual operating from the nirvana state brings a synergistic quality to his communication and alienating differences disappear. The individual in the functional state, on the other hand, is prone to categorize and compare, while the neurotic state is characterized by a total blockage of energy and a rejection of anyone who is different.
The cartoon dialogues are striking and original. The introductory dialogue involves a Puerto Rican woman struggling to understand her Mexican client's dialectal use of the word «pega». When at last they understand each other, she quips congenially, «Bueno señor Aguirre, aquí tengo una 'pega' que pega» (46). Another involves the diagnosis of diabetes in an elderly, proverb-quoting woman who refuses to forego an occasional caramelo in the interest of her health. Still another demonstrates the confusion of a Hispanic client when an Anglo employee reprimands him for not being punctual.
The folkloric «Reflejos», like the dialogues, are given in bilingual form. In the introductory reflejo, a Mexican-American asserts his loyalty to both of his heritages, and in another José Sánchez-Boudy dubs Fidel Castro a «maricón» for turning «la isla más bella / descubierta por Colón» into a «mierda».
The text is followed by a Spanish-English glossary, a bibliography and an adequate, though not exhaustive, index. The glossary is also adequate, but lacks more difficult words from the newspaper and magazine advertisements reproduced in the text (e. g., mondongo, longaniza, ojalador, tablillero). The bibliography includes specialized headings for books on Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Cubans in the United States, as well as on Spanish linguistics, dialectology and bilingual education.
The book has a frankness and personalized tone that inspire confidence. Its cross-cultural invitation to explore such potentially explosive issues as racism, prejudice, anger and hostility is hard to decline in today's world that is ever faster becoming a pañuelo.
Allegany Community College
Hace apenas un poco más de una década que los cursos
de español sobre negocios (también titulados como
español «comercial», «mercantil» o
con terminología afín), se ofrecían en escasas
universidades de los Estados Unidos. Consecuentemente, la urgencia
de libros de texto sobre esa materia era exigua. Cuando se
acentuó, de parte del estudiante, el enfoque práctico
o utilitario en el aprendizaje de las lenguas extranjeras, con
cierta mengua de lo literario, lo cultural o lo puramente
linguístico,-se incrementó paralelamente el
interés sobre el aspecto comercial de la lengua,
principalmente en planteles docentes en áreas de
concentración de hispanohablantes o de firmas
internacionales. De una reducida lista de
Toda reseña sobre un libro de texto, si se desea ser lo más objetivo posible, debe tener en cuenta tres factores: el primero es que el valor didáctico de un libro no se puede aquilatar suficientemente si no se le ha utilizado en el aula; segundo, que cada maestro tiene una peculiar idea sobre «su» curso y «su» libro de texto, lo cual particulariza el empleo y el mérito del texto seleccionado y, tercero, que algunos textos de lenguas extranjeras son compuestos por maestros, que, consciente o subconscientemente, adoptan en su composición la perspectiva de sus instituciones y sus cursos, cuidando poco de la aplicabilidad y flexibilidad del contenido y su organización en otras instituciones docentes. Las opiniones que se emitirán en esta recensión se fundamentan en los tres factores enunciados.
El texto que aquí se enjuicia fue diseñado con un propósito múltiple: primariamente, para estudiantes con «un dominio bastante avanzado del español», que han cursado por lo menos cuatro semestres de la lengua; secundariamente, para hablantes nativos interesados en el tema, estudiantes en el área de los negocios y la administración, profesionales y auxiliares en las actividades comerciales, y funcionarios del gobierno. Consta de catorce capítulos, cinco repasos, cuatro apéndices, y dos vocabularios. Cada capítulo está organizado en tres secciones: «área temática», «palabras y expresiones claves», y «ejercicios y práctica». Los capítulos versan principalmente sobre diversas categorías de cartas comerciales y otras comunicaciones. Los repasos, insertos después de los capítulos tres, cinco, ocho, once, y catorce, (no quince, como se afirma en el prólogo «Para el profesor» [v], ya que no existe tal capítulo), constan de ejercicios, además de temas para actividades suplementarias. Los cuatro apéndices presentan el sistema métrico decimal, las unidades monetarias hispánicas, abreviaturas comerciales, y material didáctico y bibliografía general, respectivamente. Los vocabularios compilan términos, en español a inglés, usados en los capítulos.
El libro está escrito con gran esmero y en español de alta calidad. No cabe duda que sus autores conocen vastamente la lengua, el mundo de los negocios y las comunicaciones del mundo hispano parlante. Esto, paradójicamente, representa una desventaja en un libro de texto que va primariamente dirigido a estudiantes extranjeros, es decir, alumnos, por lo general, con conocimientos no muy sólidos, léxica y sintácticamente, de la lengua y, superficiales, de lo mercantil. El libro es particularmente legalista, muy técnico, formal, a veces con algunas expresiones que hispanohablantes no especializados desconocen o raras veces escuchan (vgr., préstamos quirografiarios, sobres nemados, sumillas, préstamos consuetudinarios, obsecuente, inrayable, etc.). El libro parece a veces compuesto más para mostrar el sólido conocimiento de la lengua y el mundo mercantil por parte de los autores, que como instrumento pedagógico práctico para extranjeros. Sin duda este manual es muy adecuado para hispanohablantes que desean conocer sobre actividades comerciales, trámites burocráticos y terminología administrativa a alto nivel, pero no parece idóneo para el promedio de estudiantes interesados en el español comercial, excepto los de posgrado.
Hubiera sido también deseable que se comprimieran los capítulos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 y 14, y se hubieran incluido más actividades conectadas con los negocios: banca, bolsa, comercio internacional, mercadotecnia, publicidad, seguros, etc. De esta manera se hubiera justificado la inclusión de términos que se consideran de uso indispensable en los negocios: actuario, aforo, alza, amortización, apoderado, arancel, baja, balanza de pagos, bancarrota, cartera, consignatario, corredor, detallista, dividendo, escritura, interés, merma, pasivo, sobregiro, subasta, etc., por mencionar unos cuantos. Es asimismo desconcertante que varios de los términos en español que, según una encuesta de valor debatible, son los más frecuentemente usados en el comercio internacional, y que aparecen en las páginas 49, 93, 163, 245 y 299, no parezcan haber sido usados en el cuerpo del texto.
Los apéndices son muy útiles, aunque con mínimas tachas. En el primero se incluyen las medidas antiguas españolas, un elemento más de erudición que práctico. En el segundo, sobre abreviaturas y siglas, faltan algunas muy usuales (CSF, Dll., dupdo., M/E, P. N., Rte., Sra., Sucs., y otras). En el tercero se ignora a Cuba y su unidad monetaria. En el cuarto no se dan direcciones completas de organizaciones, periódicos y revistas, y entre estos últimos, faltan títulos de publicaciones especializadas en el campo de las finanzas de la región o del mundo hispánico.
Es lamentable que la tipografía, (no imputable a los autores), sea sobria, con material ilustrativo de fuertes tintas negras, lo cual da al libro la sensación de adustez y monotonía. Lo aligeran, gráfica y temáticamente, las «Notas de interés profesional», que proporcionan excelente información sobre la sicología mercantil del mundo hispánico.
En suma, este texto, de indudable valor académico, deberá ser usado en cursos con estudiantes extranjeros de muy sólida preparación en la lengua y con fuerte motivación en el tema. Se beneficiarán altamente además los hispanohablantes que no hayan tenido acceso a la terminología y correspondencia de las actividades mercantiles y administrativas en el área hispánica.
Texas Tech University
Teachers of Latin American culture and civilization have long agreed on one thing: the difficulty of finding a suitable text for classroom use. Such a text should be geared to the third year college student of Spanish, who is rapidly approaching fluency and plans to major or minor in the language, but who still needs guidance in the form of vocabulary aids, comprehension exercises, background material and bibliography. Anthologies of literary selections abound, as do topical collections of news paper articles or journal interviews; however if the first reveal an exclusivist bias, omitting all but the most canonical authors and countries, the second are marred by a worse flaw: the inclusion of material that is superficial, mediocre or trendy, intended to pander to the supposed tastes of today's students.
There are excellent history texts, but they have a built-in limitation: the demands of chronology make it impossible to cover adequately, if at all, events of the recent decade, perhaps the only ones with which the contemporary North American student is familiar. The ideal text, then, would rectify all of these deficiencies: it would be interdisciplinary in nature, including the widest possible range of perspectives, and universalist in scope, embracing all of the nations which constitute that complex entity known as Latin America. Even more importantly, such a text would be truly representative, reflecting in dynamic fashion the heterogeneity of contemporary Latin America and the authentic concerns of all of its citizens.
Tradición y cambio: Lecturas sobre la cultura latinoamericana contemporánea is that ideal text. Beginning with the book's format, the first problem the authors confront and successfully resolve is that of chronology versus thematics, opting for a workable compromise. The «Introducción» offers a short, yet comprehensive outline of Latin American history from the pre-Colombian period to the present. It also presents basic geographical and demographic information. Since its purpose is to contextualize the contemporary materials that make up the bulk of the work, it contains no reading selections. This allows the authors the flexibility to devote the subsequent seven chapters to the exploration of a series of provocative themes, which are fundamental to an appreciation of contemporary Latin American society: «Las clases sociales», «La etnicidad», «La urbanización», «La familia», «La educación», and «La religión». Capítulo 8, «La crítica cultural», is perhaps the most dense, as well as the most timely. Furthermore, it is the only one divided into four interrelated themes: «La identidad nacional», «El machismo», «El militar» and «El desarrollo económico» an editorial decision that exemplifies the authors' inclusive conception of culture as enunciated in the book's «Prefacio».
The list of authors and interview subjects is even more diversified: they come from every level of Latin American society, every nation, every profession, both genders, and diverse races. No country is neglected; geographical areas which have historically been ignored, such as Central America, the Caribbean and Brazil, are amply represented, and numerous voices which have traditionally been silenced or submerged are allowed free expressive rein. One of the most fascinating pieces is the interview with the Ecuadorian pedagogue, Sonya Rendón, in which she discusses the philosophy which informs her Centro Educativo Nuevo Mundo, an experimental school for children of the rich and poor. Or the conversation with Elsa Tamez, a Costa Rican university professor of theology who is active in the popular church, not the Roman Catholic one, however, but the Protestant. True to its title, not all is innovation in this book, and that is one of its major strengths. Alongside figures like Sonya Rendón and Elsa Tamez are the most authoritative players on the contemporary Latin American scene: poets, prose writers, thinkers, academics, church men and women. Consider such names as Rosario Castellanos, Paulo Freire, Dom Helder Camara, Octavio Paz, Gioconda Belli, Camilo Torres Restrepo, Eduardo Galeano, Victoria Ocampo. The reader cannot help but be impressed by Heyck's evident desire to compile an accurate and fair text, correcting by its example the partial view of Latin American culture so prevalent in earlier readers. In fact, the greatest virtue of Tradición y cambio is its strong moral and ethical focus.
The pedagogical features of the book are also well-conceived. This is not only an immensely readable book, but an easy one to teach. Each chapter begins with an introduction which sets the thematic stage for the readings. Each reading is preceded by a brief biographical sketch and followed by diverse exercises designed either to check reading comprehension, stimulate discussion or invite the student to confront conflicting or complementary views from earlier selections. An excellent vocabulary, presented actively in the text proper rather than at the end of the book, allows for continuity in reading, and the extensive bibliographies which conclude the chapters provide materials for supplementary work.
In conclusion, Tradición y cambio is a major contribution to the field of Latin American culture and civilization. I have no doubt that it will enjoy an enthusiastic reception from professors and students.
Susan A. Cavallo
Loyola University of Chicago
El libro que comentamos está escrito por tres investigadores de prestigio en el campo de la lingüística hispánica. Cada capítulo fue escrito por uno de los tres autores que es considerado el especialista en el tema en cuestión, pero, según nos dice López Morales en el prefacio, una vez redactado cada uno de los once capítulos era leído por los otros dos autores, introduciendo las modificaciones que considerasen oportunas, por lo que podemos decir que la coautoría es total. De hecho, ellos no señalan a quién corresponde cada uno de los temas del libro, y sólo por el prefacio al que hacemos alusión sabemos quién escribió cada uno de ellos.
Si tuviésemos que buscar una palabra que resumiera la obra, ésta sería «claridad», ya que los autores han conseguido hacer claro lo que es oscuro para tantos estudiantes, pues a ellos se dirigen: la lingüística desde un enfoque generativo.
En el primero de los capítulos, El lenguaje humano, D'Introno expone el proceso de la comunicación lingüística y hace hincapié en la explicación de los conceptos lengua, lenguaje y habla expuestos en su día por Saussure, y los de Chomsky, competencia y ejecución (que en España preferimos traducir por actuación). Se refiere, también, a la diferencia entre lengua y escritura, elementos frecuentemente confundidos por los principiantes, y que él aclara diciendo que aquélla es un sistema de signos y ésta el medio de representar la lengua.
Zamora, en el capítulo 2, Historia de la lingüística, después de diferenciar las ciencias del lenguaje lingüística y filología (la una tiene el estudio del lenguaje como un fin y la otra como un medio), hace un recorrido por los hechos más importantes que se han dado en la historia de la lingüística, desde la etapa prelingüística hasta el siglo XX, pasando por Grecia y Roma, Edad Media, el Renacimiento y los siglos XVIII y XIX.
D'Introno entiende por Sintaxis (capítulo 3) «lo que media entre sonido y sentido, es la base de la pronunciación y del significado de las oraciones» (47). Es éste un largo capítulo donde se exponen de forma resumida los modelos chomskianos de 1957, 1965 y 1981.
Guitart, en Fonología (capítulo 4), se interesa por la fonética articulatoria, y describe la estructura fónica del español de un modo general, intentando que sea lo más representativa posible. En el capítulo 5, Morfología, Guitart explica los diferentes elementos que entran en juego para formar las palabras.
La gramática generativa, dice D'Introno en La semántica (capítulo 6), ha desarrollado el estudio del contenido semántico de las oraciones, explicando cómo a partir de la significación de las formas léxicas que componen una determinada construcción se puede llegar a su significado global. D'Introno explica en el capítulo 7 Sociolingüística la terminología propia de esta disciplina, y ejemplifica con la descripción de un análisis hecho sobre el español caraqueño según la vertiente variacionista.
En el capítulo 8, Psicolingüística: Adquisición de la lengua, Guitart expone el proceso histórico sufrido por esta rama de la lingüística, dedicando especial atención al proceso de adquisición de la lengua materna y de las segundas lenguas.
En Dialectología, capítulo 9, Zamora, después de explicar qué se entiende por dialecto y todo lo que se refiere a su estudio, defiende la existencia de dos grandes zonas dialectales en el mundo hispánico: de un lado estaría el grupo de los dialectos peninsulares y, de otro, el de los hispanoamericanos. Termina el autor exponiendo algunos de los hechos que se dan en una y otra parte del Atlántico.
Zamora, en el capítulo 10 Bilingüismo, define éste como «el uso de dos (o más) lenguas con capacidad comunicativa en cada una de ellas» (268), y ve que existen diversos tipos: social, individual, equilibrado, coordinado, compuesto, aditivo y sustractivo. En el capítulo 11 Lingüística diacrónica, Zamora expone diversos procesos que sufren las lenguas en su proceso histórico, ejemplificados, como es preceptivo, con el español.
El libro termina con una bibliografía que suponemos selectiva, pues en algunos capítulos echamos de menos algunos trabajos sobre el español. Nos referimos fundamentalmente al capítulo 8, concretamente al apartado dedicado a los problemas de adquisición del español como lengua materna, en el que no se tienen en cuenta los trabajos que se están llevando a cabo en países como México, Puerto Rico y Chile, a excepción de una obra del chileno Echeverría.
Todos los capítulos terminan con un cuestionario y un autoexamen. Creemos que los autores deberían haber incluido las respuestas a estos ejercicios, lo que aumentaría la utilidad de la obra, pues los lectores podrían manejarla sin la necesidad de la ayuda del profesor.
Es este un libro, como ya hemos dicho, claro, dirigido a un tipo de estudiante que los autores conocen bien, el estudiante norteamericano subgraduado que llega a la Universidad sin grandes conocimientos en lingüística. Nosotros pensamos que tiene también utilidad para el universitario español del primer ciclo, que tras la lectura de unas pocas páginas, puede tener una visión clara de lo que es el estudio de los diversos niveles lingüísticos desde el punto de vista generativo.
Universidad de Alcalá de Henares
As the English-speaking world has «discovered» and taken interest in Spanish literature, more English translations of such works have appeared. Each genre has certain difficulties inherent to it and certain master writers pose greater problems with their obscure or deep thoughts, images, words and philosophies. One of the most complex Spanish authors is Francisco de Quevedo, and any effort to translate his writings has proven a monumental, but rewarding task. R. K. Britton's translation of the Sueños represents an ambitious and painstaking project necessary in order to bring Quevedo's works to the Anglo world.
Britton prefaces his translation with a lengthy introduction on Quevedo and his times and at tempts to situate the Dreams within the framework of Spanish literature, culture and the Inquisition. The translator surveys the historical background from which these essays or «diatribes» emerged and situates Quevedo amongst his contemporaries in terms of theme and form. We have only to compare the Sueños with the visions of Don Quijote and the «illusions» of Segismundo to understand Quevedo's impact on and role in the evolution of Spanish thought. The introduction and notes thus serve as an important key to the appreciation and understanding of Quevedo's thoughts.
Britton includes the original Spanish with the corresponding English on a facing page, which aids in a quick comparison of the two versions. The translator explains many of the difficulties involved in the present work and presents an analysis of the «flavor» and language that could not be rendered into modern English. By and large, the finished product is more than adequate, although no translation can please everyone. The present work, however, does contain some deficiencies of note that prevent it from being an outstanding translation.
Following a trend set by modern editors and publishers, Dreams has neither an index nor a bibliography, both useful tools for future scholarship. Britton acknowledges a debt to Sir Roger l'Estrange's 1667 translation without any bibliographical detail nor with any justification for improvement on l'Estrange's work. In the introduction, Britton quotes Quevedo inconsistently, at times in Spanish, at others in English without citation of works or translations (i. e., is the English version Britton's or that of another scholar?). While he provides notes to some of Quevedo's Latin quotes, the translator fails to supply renditions of others of equal difficulty or obscurity.
Some inconsistencies of style exist, as in all translations, but the introduction at times contradicts the notes. On page 4, the introduction of the Inquisition to Castile took place in 1478, while on page 325, it began in 1480. Occasional proofreading errors subsist in the text and hence we find Villena and Villalena (33) as forms referring to the same individual. A reference to Henry Kamen's study of the Inquisition is indicated as page 18 rather than page 19, where it actually appears. Britton mistakenly identifies Ana de Austria as the third rather than as the fourth wife of Philip II. The arbitrary date of 1480 is assigned as that of the date of Spanish unification, although no explanation or justification is furnished for its selection. Some of the longer Spanish paragraphs are illogically divided into short, choppy English paragraphs with no note or explanation for the translator's having done so. In a few instances, the style and language seem awkward (e. g., page 42); admittedly, however, style is a question of personal taste.
Despite the drawbacks cited above, R. K. Britton's translation is a useful and necessary tool for the non-Spanish speaker who wishes to learn more about Quevedo and the siglo de oro. For the specialist who does read Spanish, the translation and its notes provide an insightful survey of the background of the Sueños and a key for new interpretation of an old work. Anyone planning to teach a course on Spanish literature in translation should consider this work as either a text or a reference work.
Michael G. Paulson
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
These three works of fiction have one thing in common: they were
all written by living Latin American women. Beyond that, they vary
greatly with respect to style, subject and even origin. Mexican
Nellie Campobello belongs to an older generation than Valdivieso or
Muñiz-Huberman. Valdivieso is Chilean (though now an
occasional resident of the U. S.); Muñiz-Huberman describes
herself as Mexican-Spanish-Jewish, because she is a daughter of
Spanish refugees, grew up in Mexico (she now teaches at the
Universidad Nacional), and identifies
La brecha first appeared in Chile in 1961, and went through several editions. In its honest, confessional confrontation with the stifling institutions of marriage and maternity within the context of an oppressive patriarchy, it was indeed a breakthrough in more senses than one: María Luisa Bombal's short novels appeared earlier, but in them the feminist outcry is veiled behind lyric prose and symbolism; Castellanos's Balún Canán contains feminist tendencies within a wider context of a novel of struggle between the Indians of Chiapas and the ladinos.
Perhaps «Breach» would have been a more exact translation of the Spanish, since the author is referring to a break in family and societal traditions; the translator's choice of title goes beyond the original intention, and suggests a transformation and discovery, which is certainly within the spirit of the novel. Narrated in a direct, first-person style, the novel depicts the narrator's imprisonment within a marriage hardly of her own making, but dictated by the pressures of Chilean society:
The narrator discovers early on that she doesn't love her husband, and his excessive possessiveness (mine, mine!) only serves to alienate her further. Her mother-in-law is a classic reinforcer of the nom-du-père («There are many women but there is only one mother»). Her pregnancy makes her husband «lose his toy» and he loses interest in her. She loves her son, but resolves «never again», because having children only reinforces her imprisonment within the system she has grown to hate. There follows separation, and the narrator's break with family and past: she flies to New York, where a friend lives with her American husband; but the Chilean oppressive patriarchy goes with her; her friend can't conceive that she has left Santiago without «her husband's permission».
Breakthrough is a story of a woman's discovery of freedom and of her own individuality and personal worth. It is a moving tale of struggle and triumph. The reader may feel, however, that this form of escape is open only to the wealthy middle class. But once more humane values are established, they may «filter down» to the lower classes. The translation by Daichman is scrupulous and correct; however, some of the flavor is lost, idioms and allusions which simply cannot be transferred to another language. The original «reads» better than the version, which may be expected.
Cartucho is a series of rapid vignettes of violence and execution between Villistas and Carrancistas, from a little girl's eye-view. Living in a northern town, the little girl was eyewitness to these events, which are re-created by the mature writer. Little Nellie is, of course, on the side of the Dorados, whom she describes with loving memory, even as the reader knows they will succumb soon in pain and blood. The writer, Campobello, manages to capture faithfully the little girl's point of view, in a style that is both primitive and sophisticated. At times the lugubrious descriptions achieve a poignant lyricism:
The book's value as testimony of a violent period is undisputed, as is its unique point of view, that of woman-young girl combined. The narrative is detached, almost cold in its objectivity. It perhaps lacks the aesthetic sophistication and psychological depth of Martín Luis Guzmán, who describes similar executions in El águila y la serpiente. Its value as social criticism is vitiated by the almost gleeful attitude of Nellie, who goes out each morning to count and examine the dead. For her it's a game in which she is the observer.
My Mother's Hands is a powerful, poetic homage to the author's mother, left alone to cope with small children after her husband joined the Revolution and never came back. It is a more satisfying piece of writing than Cartucho, with its numbing staccato murders and executions. In this case, I should have liked to compare the English with the original, since the prose frequently approaches poetry, although I was unable to locate it. The little family moved from Parral to Chihuahua to Parral again in its struggle to survive. The heroic woman is capable of any sacrifice, including lying, in order to provide for her children, yet she tends the wounded men on both sides, and at times dances as gaily as a little girl. It is an unforgettable and moving portrait of a woman and mother caught up in war:
The short, beautifully crafted, philosophical tales of Angelina Muñiz-Huberman were a pleasurable discovery for this reviewer. She is a child of that generation of Spaniards who fled the Civil War and found refuge in Mexico, and who have left us a remarkable and thoughtful body of work. The parents remained Spaniards, but the children became «Hispanomexicans», often fusing the best of the two cultures. In the case of Muñiz-Huberman, there is a further complication, a further nostalgia: her desired Jewish roots, real or imaginary (Rafael Cansinos-Assens comes to mind); the powerful identification with distant, almost mythical figures of the Spanish Jewish tradition, those of the medieval Golden Age and the thoroughly Hispanified poets like Rabbi Sem Tob.
But this writer goes beyond her own national and ethnic roots, and aspires to a universality that places her in the company of Borges. She is deeply immersed in literature and philosophy, and her work, like that of the Argentine master, knows no limit in its search for the perfect parable, the ironic twist applied to a well-explored myth. So one of the most deft and moving pieces tells of a Jocasta who recognizes her son immediately, and gives her self up to a perfect love: «But my desire was not impure: I wanted to love both father and son again in one person» (33, 34). «The Prisoner» portrays a tortured victim whose cell could be almost anywhere. Spanish medieval themes occur in «The Minstrel», «The Fortunes of the Infante Arnaldos» and «In the Name of his Name». Sor Juana is movingly portrayed in «Rising Mournfully from the Earth». Other essay-like narratives (her affinity for Azorín is made explicit) subjectively describe her life in Mexico City, the presence of love, her solitude shared by a dog with intelligent eyes. From the epilogue by Elena Poniatowska:
Isolated in her tower in the part of Mexico City called Mixcoac, Angelina writes. She reads and writes -the two cardinal points of the work which she practises like an artisan slowly setting stained glass in a window.
On reading Angelina (as Elena calls her), one feels that he or she already knows her, and would like to share with her those afternoons in the park, in the enclosed gardens of the still-beautiful Aztec capital.
University of California, Irvine
Until Gabriel García Márquez published Love in the Times of Cholera, the Colonial city of Cartagena on Colombias northern coast was relatively unknown to North American readers. García Márquez does mention specific neighborhoods of Cartagena, including the note that one of the main characters moves to the then fashionable upper middle class neighborhood of Manga. Chambacú: Black Slum also takes place in Cartagena, but none of the characters lives in Manga. Rather, they are the slum dwellers of the Chambacú neighborhood who wash clothes for the wealthy residents of Manga. Obviously, Zapata Olivellas interests as a novelist differ considerably from those of García Márquez.
Zapata Olivella is the author of eight novels and is, along with Arnoldo Palacios, one of the two major living black Colombian novelists. From his first work, Tierra mojada (1947), he has been one of Colombia's most virulent social critics. His more recent Changó, el gran putas (1983) was acclaimed by a broad range of readers in Colombia and across the Americas.
Chambacú: Black Slum first appeared in Spanish in 1963, shortly after the repressive dictatorship of Rojas Pinilla in 1950s Colombia. It is a testimonial to the government's repression of the poor and the black. Zapata Olivella dramatically portrays the miserable lives of the slum dwellers, some of whom suffer violent attacks by soldiers; others are recruited into the Colombia battalions sent to the Korean War. Despite the dismal general situation, the inhabitants of Chambacú remain hopeful, at the end, for a better future.
Jonathan Tittler's admirable translation renders the story in an English that compares well to both the literary and the colloquial Spanish of the original. North American readers will finally have access to one of the major writers of Colombia and Latin America, who has already been translated into numerous other languages.
Raymond Leslie Williams
University of Colorado at Boulder
ALONSO, GUSTAVO E. Inversiones y Negocios (Spanish Business Text). Miami: Laurenty Publishing, Inc., 1989. 146 pp.
BAQUERO GOYANES, MARIANO. Estructuras de la novela actual. Madrid: Castalia, 1989. 256 pp.
BEDOYA, LUIS IVÁN. Biografía. Medellín: Cuadernos de Otras Palabras, 1989. 19 pp.
BLANCO AMOR EDUARDO. Los miedos. Barcelona: Destino, 1989. 235 pp.
Boletín Cultural y Bibliográfico. Volumen XXVI, No. 20. Bogotá: Banco de la República, 1989. 128 pp.
CAVALLO, SUSANA. La poética de José Hierro. Madrid: Taurus, 1987. 156 pp.
CHANCE, JOHN K. Conquest of the Sierra. Spaniards and Indians in Colonial Oaxaca. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990. 233 pp.
DITELLA, TORCUATO S. Latin American Politics. A Theoretical Framework. Translated and updated by the author. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989. 236 pp.
ESCARPANTER, JOSÉ. ABC de la ortografía moderna. Madrid: Playor, n. d. 253 pp.
FERNÁNDEZ DE LA TORRIENTE, GASTÓN and EDUARDO ZAYAS-BAZÁN. Cómo aumentar su vocabulario 3. Madrid: Playor, 1989. 245 pp.
_____. Cómo escribir cartas eficaces. Madrid: Playor, 1989, 155 pp.
FERREIRO, PILAR and EDUARDO ZAYAS-BAZÁN. Cómo dominar la redacción. Madrid: Playor, 1989. 156 pp.
FOWERAKER, JOE. Making Democracy in Spain. Grass-roots Struggle in the South 1955-1975. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989. 289 pp.
FULLER, GRAHAM E. How to Learn a Foreign Language. Washington, DC: Storm King Press, 1987. 102 pp.
GONZÁLEZ, ALFONSO and MIRTA GONZÁLEZ. Español para el hispanoparlante en los Estados Unidos. Lanham (Maryland): UP of America, 1987. Edición revisada.
GONZÁLEZ OLIE, FERNANDO. Introducción a la historia literaria de Navarra. Pamplona: Gobierno de Navarra, Dirección General de Cultura, 1989. 207 pp.
HIRSCH, BETTE. Languages of Thought. Thinking, Reading and Foreign Languages. New York: College Entrance Examination Board, 1989. 52 pp.
JIMÉNEZ LOZANO, JOSÉ. El santo de mayo. Barcelona: Destino, 1989. 169 pp.
KRENN, MICHAEL L. U. S. Policy toward Economic Nationalism in Latin America, 1917-1929. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1990. 169 pp.
LÓPEZ HEREDIA, JOSÉ. A rey muerto, rey puesto y unos relatos más. Miami: Ediciones Universal, 1989. 134 pp.
LLORÉNS, VICENTE. El Romanticismo español. Madrid: Castalia, 1989. 2ª edición corregida. 599 pp.
MAcCURDY, TIM. Caesar of Santa Fe (A Novel from History). Albuquerque: Amador Publishers, 1990. 240 pp.
MAYO, W J. Cómo estudiar y no olvidar lo aprendido. Madrid: Playor, 1989. 142 pp.
MÉNDEZ-FAITH, TERESA and MARY MCVEY GILL. ¿Habla español? 4th ed. Instructor's Annotated Edition. Fort Worth: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1990. 454 pp.
MOYANO MARTÍN, DOLORES, ed. Handbook of Latin American Studies No. 49. Social Sciences. Austin, University of Texas Press, 1989. 853 pp.
PALLADINO, GRACE. Another Civil War. Labor, Capital, and the State in Anthracite Regions of Pennsylvania, 1840-63. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1990. 279 pp.
RESNICK, SEYMOUR and WILLIAM GIULIANO. En Breve. A Concise Review of Spanish Grammar. Fort Worth: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1990. 275 pp.
Revista de Oriente y Occidente (La Revista de la Inmensa Minoría). Vol. 6, No. 1, Nueva Época. Jerusalem, 1989.
SÁNCHEZ, JOSÉ FRANCISCO. Miguel Delibes, periodista. Barcelona: Destino, 1989. 274 pp.
TORRENTE BALLESTER, GONZALO. La rosa de los vientos. Barcelona: Destino, 1989. 294 pp.
Traymoya, cuaderno de teatro, 21. Xalapa: Universidad Veracruzana, 1989. 119 pp.
VIDAL, HERNÁN. Cultura nacional chilena, critica literaria y derechos humanos. Minneapolis: Institute for the Study of Ideologies and Literature, 1989. 473 pp.
_____. Mitología militar chilena. Surrealismo desde el superego. Minneapolis: Institute for the Study of Ideologies and Literature, 1989. 167 pp.
VILLEGAS MORALES, JUAN. Las seductoras de Orange County. Madrid: Ediciones Libertarias, 1989. 234 pp.
¡Viva el español! Program Sampler. Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Co., 1988. 281 pp.