One week to the day following my return from last April's annual conference of the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater, where I had spent time chatting with Amy Williamsen about her plans to co-edit (with Brad Nelson) an upcoming special cluster in this journal, I found a voicemail message on my phone, left by a mutual friend who asked me to call her. This friend, a colleague from Amy's days as a graduate student at USC, was calling to relay the sad news that Amy had unexpectedly passed away just a few hours earlier. Needless to say, I was shocked by the news. I still am. And, like many people who have expressed their disbelief at this turn of events, I have not yet absorbed the full measure--both personal and professional--of this blow.
Amy was one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever had the honor to know. I don't actually recall the very first time I met her (it seems to me now that I have known her forever), but it would have been around late 1996 or early 1997, when I was at USC as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow. Although Amy lived in Tuscon at the time, and was a faculty member at the University of Arizona, she continued to take a keen interest in her graduate alma mater. This, coupled with her famous enthusiasm for mentoring junior colleages, led her to introduce herself and to offer any help that I might need as I launched my career. Amy was one of my first professional contacts beyond my own graduate student experience, and I will be forever grateful for her warm welcome to the academy.
Our paths crossed frequently over the years, whether at one or another national or international conference, at the Chamizal Siglo de Oro Drama Festival, or at the many Cervantes Society of America meetings where we coincided. Indeed, perhaps my very favorite memory of Amy involves a late-night, laughter-filled conversation among various members of the CSA Executive Council at Wizard Academy in Austin, Texas.
Amy's passing has left an enormous hole at the center of US Hispanism, particularly among cervantistas and comediantes. And, while it is hard to imagine just how we will manage without her in the coming years, Amy would, of course, want us all to carry on with the same enthusiasm, equanimity, and generosity of spirit that were the hallmarks of both her character and her legacy.
To this end, Brad Nelson will continue to edit the special cluster on Cervantes and science fiction that he and Amy had planned for next year. And this special cluster will be dedicated to Amy's memory.
In the meantime, this Spring 2019 issue of Cervantes begins with a lovely memorial to Amy written by Jim Parr, past President of the Cervantes Society of America and Amy's doctoral dissertation advisor.
Following Parr's homage, this issue offers a cluster of essays that were first presented at the 2018 North American Cervantes Symposium held in Calgary last September. Rachel Schmidt, who organized that symposium and then skillfully edited these articles (with the assistance of Isabel Lara), has written her own very fine introduction, so I will simply stay out of the way and let the cluster speak for itself.
Following the cluster, this issue concludes with three book reviews: Zachary Brandner and John Beusterien on Jacques Lezras "Contra todos los fueros de la muerte": El suceso cervantino; Ana Laguna on Jesus Botellos Cervantes, Felipe IIy la Espana del Siglo de Oro; and Conxita Domenech on Slav Gratchev and Howard Mancing's Don Quixote: The Re-Accentuation of the World's Greatest Literary Hero.
Thanks, as always, to our Associate Editors and other peer reviewers for all their hard work, to Ana Laguna for curating the book reviews, and to John Beusterien for helping me manage a submissions process that involves a hundred moving parts.
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|Author:||Burningham, Bruce R.|
|Publication:||Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2019|
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