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Spanish Language, Literature, & Culture.

The Baroque in New Spain: An Aesthetics of Materiality. Rafael H. Mojica, University of Michigan--Flint, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures; home address: 1119 Woodside Drive, Flint, MI 48503; 810/762-3370

Well known among students of the baroque is the variety of affinities and associations developed by this term in the course of its history during the last century. [...B]y establishing a relationship between the mode of the allegorical and montage, Walter Benjamin had already made possible, as early as the 1920s, the access of the baroque to the sphere of the post-modern. In Latin America the baroque finds its most celebrated association with lo real maravilloso of Alejo Carpentier and with what Jose Lezama Lima calls the gnostic space and "the voracious amalgamating appetite that is characteristic of Latin American culture." Parallel to these affinities and associations of the baroque in twentieth century literature and philosophy, the last quarter of the century witnessed an increasing interest in the study of baroque culture and society among scholars of the Spanish Colony. A characteristic that is common to all these developments is a de-emphasizing of aesthetic valuations in the study of the baroque in favor of other types of analysis and descriptions. In this presentation I suggest a study of the baroque in New Spain that approximates such an approach, away from aesthetics and probing into the material exteriority of the baroque.

Juanita la Larga de Juan Valera: Una Fiesta Brava. Jose Orlando Gomez, Wayne State University; home address: 5200 Anthony Wayne Drive 1001, Detroit, MI 48202

Juan Valera has been considered a literary anomaly because he did not adhere to the standards of his day. In his theoretical essays he consistently highlighted the ultimate goal of art that was to be a vehicle of communication and an expression of beauty. This postulate denied the very essence of Realism. His personal aesthetic quest went beyond the borders of the simple act of copying or imitating reality. In his novel Juanita la Larga (1886), the Spanish writer stood aloof from the main and dominant literary movements of the period: Romanticism and Realism. In his narrative work he used some specific aesthetic devices to break the limits of Realism and he consistently used tropes like metaphor, allusion and allegory related to bullfighting (la Fiesta Brava) to color the narration. In this paper, I will discuss different conceptual foundations of Realism, especially the early concept discussed by Roman Jakobson in On Realism of Art. I will (1) explore the artistic tropes that this writer uses to depict his main character Juanita; (2) provide examples from the text in which the schemes of Realism are subverted; and (3) explain how this novel is a revolutionary narration for the time it was written.

(Proto)Feminism in the Works of Ana Caro Mallen and Feliciana Enriquez de Guzman. Deborah A. Dougherty, Alma College, Department of Foreign Languages, Alma, MI 48801-1599; 517/463-7170

The sometimes contradictory manner in which female dramatists of the Golden Age expressed themselves and their growing sense of feminism through their dramatic writing is discussed in terms of the (self)creation of female protagonists, the determination, and realization of a female identity. The emerging vision of what it meant to be a woman within the constraints of their socio-historic moment is demonstrated in works by Ana Caro Mallen and Feliciana Enriquez de Guzman. Also revealed in their writing is an ironic contrast between (self)creation and (self)realization of women on and off the stage.

Lorca's Bernarda Alba as Performer. Stephanie Throne, University of Michigan- Flint, Department of Foreign Languages, 303 E. Kearsley, Flint, MI 48502-1950; 810/762-3370

During the period 1908-1936, a curious dynamic arose from the predominance of female leadership within Spanish theatrical companies, the subsequent incorporation of major female roles into dramas written by men, and the public dialogue on the true nature of woman. In many dramas penned by male canonical playwrights and lesser-known female dramatists, one encounters female protagonists who are hybrid characters of sorts who both comply with and challenge the culturally dominant tropes that took root over time. Perhaps the most important aspect of these hybrid characters is their ability, combined with the ideological power of the cultural stockpile, to affect the perceptions of their spectators/readers and their support or refusal of dominant ideology. Lorca's Bernarda Alba, for example, offers a strong illustration of the powerful effect that characters have on audience perception. She is a representation that produces certain effects as a fantoche who postures, yet is able to achieve a certain coherence dem anded within ideology through the repetition of particular acts and gestures. The audience is disturbed and compelled to seek (psycho)logical explanations for her repeated actions and respond to her by speculating about her family background and motivations, attempting to fit her into a set of cultural assumptions about psychological types and stereotypes.

Epistolary Intimacy and Self-Portraiture in the Spanish Renaissance. Jamile Trueba Lawand, University of Michigan-Flint, Foreign Languages Department, Flint, MI 48502-1950; 810/762-3370

Since Antiquity, the theorists have pointed out the intimate nature of the epistolary genre as a means for self-portraiture and expression of character. Demetrius (De elocutione 97) views the letter as a gift sent by the author, who "writes it as a portrait of his own soul." According to Cicero (Ad familiares 16), the letter writer reveals himself in such a way that the distance between him and the letter recipient disappears. Seneca (Ad Lucilium 40) also indicates this presence of real vestiges of the absent friend, whose memory is renewed in the friend who receives his letter: "the hand of the friend imprinted in the letter offers what is very sweet in his presence: recognition." In prose or in verse, this character of intimacy connected to the epistolary form made it an increasingly popular genre (Kustas 1970). In the Spanish Renaissance, for example, numerous poets wrote epistles to friends or family members: Garcilaso, Boscan, Hurtado de Mendoza, Aldana, etc. The present study examines the characteristi cs of the genre in verse that make it an "intimate portrait" of the writer in a selection of epistles by Spanish Renaissance poets (such as Garcilaso's Epistola a Boscan or that of Francisco de Aldana to his brother Cosine).

Civilization and Barbarism in Luis Bunuel's El rio y la muerte and Miguel Alvarez Acosta's Muro blanco en roca negra. Gerardo Cummings, Wayne State University, Romance Languages Department, Detroit, MI 48202; 313/831-2448

The movie El rio y la muerte is not only one of Luis Bunuel's most overlooked films by the public but also one of his-by his own admission-minor works. This movie is based on Miguel Alvarez Acosta's Muro blanco en roca negra, a novel that, just like the film, has been also ignored by the public. These artistic works do not fall under the mantle of any supposed cannon, but the valuable binary oppositions city and small town and civilization and barbarism that are present in both the cinematic and literary texts make these works tabula rasa and ideal for an essay. What I hope to achieve in my essay is a detailed analysis of these binary oppositions, using as critical frameworks structuralism and posrsrructuralism. When analyzing them structurally, we shall see that each pole of each binary opposition supersedes the other; with poststructuralism (deconstruction to be precise) we shall see that the center doesn't exist and that as result none of the poles of each binary opposition (city/civilization versus small town! barbarism) supersedes the other.

Man and Monster in Nada que ver con otra historia. Dianne Zandstra, Spanish Department, Calvin College, 3201 Burton Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507; 616/ 957-6353; zand@calvin.edu

Griselda Gambaro's narrative version of Nada que ver con otra historia, like the play, presents a present-day Argentine Frankenstein's monster and his creator as doubles who compete for the love of a woman. The uncanny mingling of humanity and monstrosity in both characters parallels the grotesque deformation of the reality that surrounds them. The true monster, as Sandra Messinger Cypess has observed, is the repressive Argentine society of the late 1960s: a nightmarish world in which it is no longer obvious what it means to be human. Gambaro manipulates the grotesque effect achieved by the many contradictions within the text in order to simultaneously destabilize and sensitize the reader to the strangeness of the society she depicts.

A Culinary Apologia: Laura Esquivel's Intimas Suculencias. Rosa B. Fernandez-Levin, Grand Valley State University, Modern Languages & Literature, Allendale, MI 49401-9403

Like so many contemporary Latin American women writers before her, Laura Esquivel has chosen to depict the cultural, social, and personal struggle of a gender in spaces endowed with a marvelous elusive quality. Like Water for Chocolate enabled her to explore the many challenges women face in a culture whose norms and values endanger their personal, spiritual, and social growth. In her latest text, Intimas suculencias, the popular Mexican author engages in colorful lengthy praise of the cultural, social, and spiritual qualities of the Mexican axis mundi, the kitchen, and its complex rituals, the recipes. Esquivel contends that both are not only vital to character development but also capable of luring the reader into a wondrous world in which women are empowered to enact a metaphysical and spiritual search for meaning.

El contradiscurso en la estetica de la Postmodernidad: Tantas veces Pedro de Alfredo Bryce Echenique. Margarita Krakusin, Alma College, Department of Modem Languages, Alma, MI 48801-1599; 517/463-7117; krakusin@alma.edu

To arrive at a sensitive model of literary postmodernism one should accept as a working hypothesis that post modernist texts make a distinctive use of certain conventions, techniques, and recurrent structural and stylistic devices, even though individually their intentions, implications, and aesthetic results may be widely different. Like Nabokov and Borges, Alfredo Bryce Echenique "problematizes" representation. This essay shows that in Tantas veces Pedro, Bryce's poetics of impossibility, a poetics that works with impotence of the word and with failure, enlarges the postmodern hypothesis by showing that its characteristic "possibilism" also comprises the negation of possibility.

La sombra de Chariot en la obra de Cesar Vallejo. Natalia Gomez, Grand Valley State University, Department of Modem Languages and Literatures, Allendale, MI 49401-9403; 6161/895-3203

Since the publication of Xabier Abril's 1958 book, Vallejo, a number of scholars have addressed the influence of Charles Chaplin in Cesar Vallejo latest work. However, it has only been since Victor Fuentes's essay, "La constante cinematografica en 'Poemas humanos"' published in 1992, that the relationship of these two artists has been analyzed in some extent. Fuentes mentions the importance of s movie En pos del oro and its intertextuality as well as the influence of the Soviet cinema on Vallejo's writing. Although Fuentes's essay is very revealing, he leaves the discourse open for future research. This paper continues Victor Fuentes' study by analyzing the common boundaries that Vallejo and Chaplin shared: The dialectic of materialism, the power of silent movies, the need of a social art, and the tragic-comic perspective of life. These affinities between both artists are shown by comparing three of Chaplin's movies: Modern Times, The Circus, and The Gold Rush with some of Vallejo's poems, his drama Dressing Room, and the only film script ever known from the Peruvian author, Presidentes de America.

The Vision of God in Lucila Gamero de Medina's Short Stories. Edward Miller, Jr., Spanish Department, Calvin College, 3201 Burton Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546; 616/957-6359

In 1994 Segisfredo Infante described the Honduran novelist and short story writer Lucila Gamero de Medina thus:" ...era una mujer contradictoria, liberal, romantica y conservadora al mismo tiempo." This extraordinary author and pioneer of feminism in Honduras is being rescued by critics like Juan Ramon Martinez, and is now more appreciated for her contributions to Honduran and Central American Literature. A revalorization of her place and importance as novelist must include a study of one of the many constant elements in her extensive literary production: her vision of God and the Church. It is one that corresponds to the century and time in which Gamero de Medina was educated, but one in which atheism and anti-religious aspects in her novels and short stories have been replaced by a discreet pantheism in which God is the author of all things. I will use her short stories to show that in the imaginary space that she creates in her narrative there is a place for God and the Church.

Society's Slavery for the Women in Avellaneda's Sab. Lonna Lutze, Alma College, Department of Foreign Languages (Spanish), Alma, MI 48801; lonnalutze@hotmail.com

Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda's novel Sab has long been recognized as antislavery literature comparable to Uncle Tom's Cabin in the United States. However, Sab contains another kind of slavery in addition to a white's possession of African slaves. Throughout the novel, the female Cuban writer has strong feminine messages about the institution of marriage, a female's obligation of servitude, and women lacking the right to make life decisions. Avellaneda compares females' position in society to African slaves', and the author's viewpoint is made clear when a male mulatto slave exclaims his pity for women, whose plight, he says, is worse than his own.

The Question of Character in "Don Manuel, the Good Martyr." Ginger L. Davis, Alma College, Spanish Department, Alma, MI 48801; 517/466-8383

Literature is often classified into the useful, the merely beautiful, and a third type, which is a combination of the two. "Don Manuel, the Good Martyr" is a useful piece of literature because it helps us examine what it means to have faith in God. The author asks this question through the characters he creates: strong, vibrant characters that are both complex and symbolic. How these characters ask the question, "What does it mean to believe" can best be explained by examining Angela, Lazaro, and Don Manuel and how they make this story a classic. The three main characters force readers to ask themselves about the nature of doubt, faith, and love without reason. It is not coincidence that the characters' names can be traced to the words: angel, Lazarus, and Messiah. Only by tracing the roots and meanings of the names the author chose for these characters, the characters relationships with each other, and what they show us about humanity can readers truly appreciate this short story.

Evolution of the Historical Novel in El Sigol de las Luces by Alejo Carpentier. Maria A. Saiz, Western Michigan University, Department of Foreign Languages, Sprau Tower, 4th Floor, Kalamazoo, MI 49008; 616/387-3008; mariansaiz@hotmail.com

Since the birth of the first historical novels in the nineteenth century with Walter Scott, Latin American authors took part in its evolution, whether following the traditional model started by Scott, whether making innovations. Carpenrier's novel allows us to analyze that evolution of the historical novel in Latin America. What is more, we can find different aspects in El Siglo de las Luces that make us include the novel within the New Historical Novel. Carpentier tries to make the readers think about history from a different point of view than the traditional one: Latin American situation through utopia and political skepticism. This attempt comes from the desire of present Latin American literature to explain history from a different perspective than the one provided by the western world. Consequently, this novel claims that Latin American reality cannot be explained following the same measures used for the western civilizations.

Of Men and Demons. Gemma Delicado Puerto, Western Michigan University, Department of Spanish, Sprau Tower, Kalamazoo, MI 49008; 616/388-6381

Del amor y otros demonios, which appears to be a chronicle, is, to the contrary, the fictional tale of an impossible, nostalgic, passionate, and interrupted love. The social context, full of demons and prejudices, will impede the development of this sincere relationship and, on a higher level, the process of evolution in Latin America. In the novel, the Catholic church is one of these demons whose power is based on the ignorance of people and their fear to God. Along with decadent upper classes, the church guides the society towards a Nietzschean ending. Their imperialist and anachronical doctrines are the ones accusing Sierva Maria of being possessed. However, her only sin is to be the live example of the fusion between two cultures. She is a typical woman created by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. She is strong and untamable. She is America. She is the product of the mixed American ground that will be cut off due to these biased demons.

Indigenismo in Clorinda Matto de Turner's Aves sin nido and Jose Icaza's Huasipungo. Sarah Reynolds, Calvin College

The Latin American indigenista literary movement protested the treatment of the indigenous peoples of Central and South America. Within the writings, many different rhetorical and persuasive techniques have been used to convey the humanness of the indigenous races to the reader. This presentation compares and contrasts the approaches of two authors, Clorinda Matto de Turner and Jose Icaza. Matto de Turner's nineteenth century novel Ayes sin nido offers a romanticized vision of the oppressed to allow the reader to identify with them. Written almost half a century later, Huasipungo by Icaza depicts indigenous characters as beast-like, but occasional glimpses of their humanity convince the reader that their animalistic qualities are a result of oppressive conditions which must change to allow humanity to flourish.
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Publication:Michigan Academician
Article Type:Critical Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2001
Words:2893
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