Reeditions of nineteenth-century novels and the fictionalization of new audiences.
In my estimation, the choices made about the prefatory matter and annotations (or lack of them), the translation, and the design of the volumes reveal differing concepts of the audience. The title of Walter Ong's article "The Writer's Audience is Always a Fiction" succinctly summarizes this theorist's belief that all writing implicitly constructs or "fictionalizes" an imagined readership for itself and a relationship between the text and its audience. While the texts that Ong discusses in most detail are creative writing, he stresses that "other types of writing without end" could be studied for their "fictionalizing of readers' roles" (19) and briefly illustrates some applications to such nonliterary forms as private letters and diary entries. In a paragraph showing some of the ways in which his concept might be used to examine the presuppositions hidden in critical discourse, Ong observes:
Today the academic reader's role is harder to describe. Some of its complexities can be hinted at by attending to certain fictions which writers of learned articles and books generally observe and which have to do with reader status. There are some things the writer must assume that every reader knows because virtually every reader does. It would be intolerable to write, 'shakespeare, a well-known Elizabethan playwright," not only in a study on Renaissance drama but even in one on marine ecology.... It takes time to get a feel for the roles that readers can be expected comfortably to play in the modern academic world. (19)
In the present study, the line of analysis suggested by Ong is extended to new editions of nineteenth-century Spanish American and Brazilian novels to see what these editions imply or assume about today's readers and their relation to the narrative conventions and practices of the nineteenth century. While Ong suggests that his approach could be relevant to any written text, my inquiry goes a step further in applying it as well to the graphics displayed on book jackets.
Both reissues in the original language and translations into English come in for consideration, as well as both scholarly editions and those designed for the general reader. The elements surveyed include translation, new prefatory material and jacket copy, and jacket design. The editions surveyed were produced from the 1960s onward; simple reprintings of existing pre-1960s editions are not considered
Of special interest is the manner in which the women and non-white characters, as well as those who emblemize particular social classes, in nineteenth-century novels are presented to readers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The new editions often anticipate a reading public that will find romantic heroines lacking in independence, be offended by stereotyped portraits of nonwhite or lower-class characters, or bridle at the assumption, found in much nineteenth-century fiction, that the bourgeoisie is by nature the predominant group in society.
While many recent editions of nineteenth-century novels could eventually be surveyed, this very preliminary inquiry relies only on the examination of new editions, in the original language and in English translation, of five celebrated narratives: Sab (1841), the Cuban novel by Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda (1814-1873); Martin Rivas (1862) by the Chilean Alberto Blest Gana (1830-1920); Iracema (1865), the Brazilian work by Jose de Alencar (1829-1877); Maria (1867), by the Colombian Jorge Isaacs (1837 95); and Aves sin nido (1889) by Clorinda Matto de Turner (1853-1909) of Peru. I have not attempted to mention every edition of these novels published from the 1960s through the twenty-first century; to list the reissues of Maria alone would occupy many pages. Rather, the plan has been to single out selected examples that especially clearly represent ways of imagining readers. (1)
All five novels have been frequently reprinted in recent years. McGrady (13) notes that during its first one hundred years (1867-1967), Maria appeared in some 150 editions, and it continues to be republished. The other novels cannot compete with such a proliferation of editions; indeed Sab fell into neglect until its rediscovery in the late twentieth century and has been through fewer editions than the other novels. Today, though, all five remain in print, in part because of their frequent adoption for classroom use or as required reading for literature examinations. While Aves sin nido is less of an international required-reading staple than the other novels, its use has risen in recent years, and new editions appear with regularity; in addition, I have chosen to include it in this survey because of some unusual features of its publishing history, to be discussed in the section on translations. In addition to offering a large sample of editions to survey, these novels all present the same problem for editors, foreword-writers, and jacket designers: their manner of representation, especially the exaggerated characterization typical of romantic narrative, is not in line with current-day tastes.
Those in charge of introducing the novels to today's readers must choose their strategies, situating themselves on a continuum between two poles. At one extreme, the presenters draw attention to the differences between the society and fiction of their times and the worlds created by nineteenth-century novelists. The readers may be conceived of as "visitors from another planet," requiring assistance to cope with the puzzlingly unfamiliar or politically incorrect elements of the reissued novels. Difference may also be highlighted in a more positive way, by anticipating that a postmodern public will delight in elements of long-abandoned styles; the quaint customs of nineteenth-century characters and old-fashioned habits of novelists are played up for their value as antiquities. At the other extreme is the presupposition that nineteenth-century narrative is sufficiently like today's that new readers, simply by immersing themselves in the invented universes of the works, can adjust their expectations and accept differing conventions of representation.
A look at translations of the novels shows diverging concepts of how to maximize their appeal to current-day readers. A fundamental issue is whether to present the works in a language that continually reminds readers that the work was composed in the nineteenth century and takes place then or earlier, of to bring the language of translation into line with currently prevailing conventions.
Two English versions of Iracema exemplify these options most clearly. Alencar's celebrated novel, set in the era of the Portuguese conquest of Brazil, first appeared in book form in 1865. It was already published in English in 1886 as Iracema, the Honey-lips: A Legend of Brazil, translated by Lady Isabel Burton and published by Bickers & Son of London. While it is hardly unusual for an 1886 translation to sound archaic, what is noteworthy is that the Burton version was reissued in 1976 and again in 2006, even after a modern retranslation had become available in 2000. Burton's attempt to recreate the stylized effect of Alencar's original results in a literary language that does not disguise its artifice. For archaic effect, Burton used thou pronouns and located a character's inner turmoil in his or her bosom. As equivalents for the words from indigenous Brazilian languages that Alencar inserted in his Portuguese, Burton used items derived from Amerindian languages that had made their way into English, such as wigwam and tomahawk. These passages illustrate Burton's methods of antiquing her English and bringing in "Indian" words:
Martim looked softly in the virgin's face. "No, daughter of Araken! Thy presence gladdens me like the morning light. It was the memory of my native land that brought a saudade to my anxious soul." (Alencar, Iracema, the Honey-lips 15) "What keepest thou within thy bosom, beautiful daughter of the forest?" (51) Ere the father of Jacauna and Poty, the valiant warrior Jatoba, ruled over all the Pytiguara warriors, the Great Tomahawk of the Nation was in the right hand of Batuirete, the Head Chief, Sire of Jatoba. (66) Four moons had lighted the heavens since Iracema had left the plains of Ipu, and three since she had dwelt in the wigwam of her husband by the shore of the sea. (70)
In 2000, the Library of Latin America project, which sponsored the publication by Oxford University Press of new translations of nineteenth-century works, brought out Clifford E. Landers's version of Iracema. Landers pursues a strategy very unlike that of Burton. The earlier translator had created a literary language that matches the degree of artifice found in the indianista original. Landers's English Iracema is comparatively self-effacing; it makes sparing use of terms that stand out either as archaic or as signaling the "otherness" of indigenous peoples. He employs before instead of ere, you instead of thou, and so forth. The passage that in Burton begins "Thy presence gladdens me like the morning light" in Landers starts out "Your presence brings joy, like the morning light" (16). Where the Burton translation reads "What keepest thou within thy bosom?" the Landers version is "What secret do you keep inside your heart?" (56). The assumption appears to be that current-day readers would rather not be constantly reminded, by means of lexical choices, of the temporal distance between themselves and the story.
Landers also attenuates the indianismo and, more broadly, the exoticism of the work by avoiding terms derived from indigenous languages that today's readers may associate with a stereotypical view of native communities as colorfully folkloric. Rather than call the indigenous homes wigwams, or any other word from an Amerindian language, this translator designates them as huts. Burton's "The Great Tomahawk" becomes "the great war club" (73). The terms Landers chooses are not specifically associated with Amerindian peoples, since peasants worldwide inhabit huts and anyone with no more sophisticated weapon might wield a club. In so doing, Landers creates a text that is less exotic, not only than Burton's translation, but than Alencar's original. In addition, while Burton augments the exoticism of her translation by leaving Portuguese words like saudade untranslated, Landers finds an English equivalent for nearly every term. The new translation follows the current trend to avoid, as offensive, emphasizing the otherness of cultures perceived as exotic and is consistent with, for example, the drive to eliminate "Indian" mascots in team sports and to discourage the use of such terms as squaw.
Given the enormous popularity that Maria has enjoyed in Spanish, it is noteworthy that the novel has won scant attention among those who read literature in English, though Anglophone students of Spanish are often assigned the original Maria. In 1890, Harper & Brothers of New York brought out Maria, a South American Romance. This English version, which Enrique Pupo-Walker characterizes as "a deficient and incomplete translation" (250), is the work of Rollo Odgen. Ogden apparently became impatient with the secondary narratives and left out some of the material not directly relevant to the central tale of doomed love. (It should be noted that, until well into the twentieth century, it was not uncommon for translators to omit or transpose segments or take other liberties with the original.) Ogden's Maria was reissued in 1918 and, somewhat surprisingly, in 1981 the little-known Gordon Press reissued the same version rather than a new translation. While the English-language Maria may be found in the Library of Congress, it seems to have made little impact. The longtime Isaacs scholar Donald McGrady (13) mentions only in passing the novel's appearance in English. Maria's meager circulation and promotion in English may be read as an assessment of the English-language audience as little able to appreciate the sentimentality of the tear-filled novel.
Aves sin nido, whose original first appeared in 1889, was published in English in 1904, albeit in a Bowdlerized version carried out with the support of the American Bible Society. The agenda behind the publication is undisguised; representatives of this missionary organization replaced the author's preface with a foreword proposing Protestantism as the solution to the clerical corruption portrayed in the novel. (Matto, who was fluent in Quechua, had been working as a Bible translator for the American Bible Society.) In addition, a brief direct swipe at the Catholic clergy has been added to the text of the novel. The translator's identity has proven difficult to trace; he or she is credited only as J. G. H. (2)
There are two recent English editions, and again readers have a choice between an archaic version and a somewhat modernized one. The University of Texas Press edition of 1996 is an emended version of the 1904 translation. The Texas edition restores the matter that J. G. H. deleted, removes his of her added matter, and replaces the pro-Protestant foreword with the author's original preface, but maintains throughout the quaintly elevated diction of the English edition of 1904. The retention of the distinctly archaic subtitle that appears on the 1904 translation, A Story of Indian Life and Priestly Oppression in Peru, on a 1996 publication suggests an attempt to appeal to the postmodern fondness for anachronistic embellishments. In a foreword, the volume editor, Naomi Lindstrom, details the process by which the 1904 version was emended, including mimicking J. G. H.'s style to reinsert deleted passages; the emendation was as time-consuming as a new translation. The foreword does not explain the decision to emend the existing translation rather than retranslate. However, since it was not a cost-cutting or time-saving measure, the assumption is that the audience seeks in the novel a way of understanding the outlook of the turn of the twentieth century and that language from that period contains some informational value that would be lost in a modern rewriting. The other recent edition is a meticulous new English version, slightly retitled Torn from the Nest (1998) by John H. R. Polt, prefaced by Antonio Cornejo Polar, another of the retranslations in the Library of Latin America project; the English is much closer to current-day standards and conventions.
Martin Rivas also has two diverging English versions, though only one appears to be available in a recent edition. (3) The earlier translation was published in 1916 in London (Chapman and Hall) and in 1918 in New York (Knopf). It bears the title Martin Rivas of Alberto Blest-Gana and the translation is the work of Mrs. Charles Whitham. The translator dedicates the English version to the author, saying "To you, my dear Cousin Alberto, I affectionately dedicate this translation of your celebrated novel 'Martin Rivas'." (4) In the 1916 translation, the narrator and the principal (bourgeois) characters all use a somewhat elevated diction. As in the original, the lower-class characters and the outstandingly vulgar representatives of the lower middle class ate comically singled out for their colloquial, and sometimes grammatically deficient, speech.
In 2000 the Library of Latin America project published a retranslation by Tess O'Dwyer. In this version, the language of the narrator, the central bourgeois characters, and the better-behaved members of the lower middle class is generally more relaxed than in the version of 1916, although some minor bourgeois characters are still made to sound ridiculous for their pretentious and affected speech. As well as giving a more casual and therefore modern effect to the novel generally, this relaxation of discourse makes the lines between the social classes less marked, since colloquial expression is not concentrated in the dialogue attributed to lower and lower middle-class characters. Though the language becomes more democratic in this sense, class distinctions continue to be a central thematic constituent of the novel. The new translation presupposes a readership that prefers a less stiff narrative discourse and that might be uncomfortable at the mockery of the speech of lower-class characters.
The original Sab appeared in 1841 and remained untranslated until the late twentieth century; during this time, there were decades during which no Spanish edition was available, either. During the 1980s and 1990s, in a development contemporary with sharply increased interest in Sab in Spanish, there were at least three projects to translate the novel into English, though only one of them resulted in publication. (5) Nina M. Scott's translation, which finds a middle way between the markedly antique approach and the modernizing option, appeared in 1993, published by the University of Texas Press in a volume that also includes Gomez de Avellaneda's Autobiography. Given the many years during which the novel had no English version and then the competing projects to translate it in the late twentieth century, it is a fair assumption that the translation projects responded to the demand for recovered women's writing that began in the 1970s and continues to this day, especially given the feminist critique implicit in much of the novel and openly stated in the letter that Sab writes while he is dying. Since only one English translation of Sab has actually appeared in print as of this writing, although Catherine Davies has edited a Spanish version (2001) for English-language readers, it is impossible to compare the translators' approaches.
Whether in Spanish or in English, forewords and annotations to new editions give clues as to how editors fictionalize, in Ong's term, the reading public of the 1960s-2000s. Examination of forewords and jacket copy quickly shows that certain aspects of the works and writers are almost compulsory to mention. In the case of Blest Gana, his prominent place in Chilean national literature is the most-noted element. For example, Jaime Concha ("Prologo" xxxviii) calls Martin Rivas a "piedra miliar de la novela chilena." Jorge Roman-Lagunas identifies Blest Gana as "este insigne patriota y ... nuestro primer novelista del siglo XIX" (9). Even extremely brief introductions to Jorge Isaacs are apt to tell readers that 'su padre era un judio ingles" (Marin 5); of course, Jewish ancestry is a theme of the novel. While these standard themes provide commonalities between different editions, the authors of forewords address very different imagined audiences; in addition, the absence or brevity of prefatory material may in itself be a comment on the readership.
Looking at all the different strategies employed by editors, foreword-writers, and illustrators, it is again possible to identify tensions between divergent ways of fictionalizing the potential readership. Current readers may be seen as requiring much, slight, or no assistance; they may be imagined as studying the work or as reading purely for pleasure. The belief that current-day readers need considerable guidance to take in the innovations and achievements of nineteenth-century novels is exemplified by the 1975 annotated textbook edition of Alencar's Iracema. The edition was prepared by the internationally-known critic and novelist Silviano Santiago. Its most notable feature is the editor's way of dealing with the question that Ong calls "reader status" (19). Ong observes that writers of scholarly work diplomatically seek to portray their audiences as knowledgeable, often resorting to convoluted face-saving strategies to avoid implying that their readers lack information or awareness. Santiago, in contrast, fictionalizes his audience as late twentieth-century students to whom the conventions of romanticism are unknown. He explains, for example, that romantic heroines frequently overflow with emotion, and that they often stand out for the beauty and abundance of their hair. While the extensive explanations might be attributed in part to the textbook nature of the edition, the 2004 edition of Iracema from the New York-based Luso-Brazilian Books, whose no-frills Classicos da Literatura Brasileira series is directed at students of Brazilian literature in the United States, takes the opposite tack. The volume in the Classicos collection features only a brief biographical note in English before plunging readers directly into the annotation-free text of the novel. Viewers living in 2004 must either be conversant enough with romanticism to read narratives written under its sway or else seek guidance from sources other than the reissue.
Jorge Isaacs's 1867 Maria stands out from the other novels surveyed for the frequency with which it is offered to the reader without much coaching. Many editions begin with Isaacs's words, forgoing any type of prefatory matter. The assumption behind these unprefaced editions appears to be that the romanticism of Maria is of a type that is readily grasped and appreciated by a broad audience. Peculiarly telling is the 1990 edition from Editorial Norma of Bogota, with its double-headed format. From one side, the volume opens directly onto the text of Maria. If turned over, though, it opens onto information about and critical judgments on the novel. The statement inherent in this double-header is that Maria attracts two audiences: one research-minded, and the other wanting only to be absorbed in the story without any critical interference.
At the same time, there ate at least two annotated critical editions of Maria, the Catedra volume of 1986, supervised by Donald McGrady, and the 2005 one coordinated by Maria Teresa Cristina and co-published by the Universidad Externado de Colombia and the Universidad del Valle. In these volumes, the reason for the more elaborate scholarly apparatus is not a view of the publicas unable to understand the novel adequately. McGrady's foreword is literary criticism by a specialist, offering detailed background information and knowledgeable observations about the themes and narrative construction of Maria. The prefatory matter to the 2005 volume is textual criticism, summarizing Isaacs's biography to explain the author's successive rounds of revisions and laying out the procedure followed in producing the new critical edition. In both cases, the foreword-writers assume that readers catch the main drift of Maria on their own, even if they are not aware of all the topics of critical discussion surrounding the novel.
Spanish-language versions of Aves sin nido appear regularly, though of course not with the frequency with which Maria is republished. While inexpensive popular editions such as those from PEISA contain very little prefatory material, in other editions scholarly commentary and annotations occupy an unusually large proportion of the volume in relation to the brief novel. The 1968 edition from Las Americas publishing house of New York features a foreword by Luis Mario Schneider with detailed information about the author's life and times. The Casa de las Americas edition, 1974, offers an extensive textual analysis of the novel by Cornejo Polar. The 2004 Aves sin nido from Stockcero features numerous annotations, concerning especially the author's use of Quechua lexical items. (6) Most scholarly of all ate the 1994 Ayacucho edition, with a critical foreword by Cornejo Polar, notes by Efrain Kristal and Carlos Garcia Bedoya, and a chronology and bibliography by Kristal, and the critical edition by Dora Sales Salvador (2006), with an introduction by Sonia Mattaliia. These editions indicate that the audience for Matto's novel today is seen as often comprising a scholarly readership, eager for, if not requiring, biographical information and critical analysis.
Like the light-hearted jacket art for reissues of Martin Rivas, to be discussed in the following section, forewords at times caution unsuspecting readers against forming too high of expectations about the novel, warning them that, despite following some conventions of realism, the novel offers no trenchant social critique. In his foreword to the Nascimento edition, Roman-Lagunas explains to a potentially disappointed readership that Blest Gana ventures only part of the way into realism: "... ni siquiera su obra puede calificarse de realista en el sentido estricto ... porque el realismo significo el derecho a decirlo todo sin ocultar nada y resulta evidente que la obra blestganiana nace mas o menos frenada, prudente, insinuante, no quiere herir, pretende retratar sin que en el retrato aparezcan las llagas, las verguenzas ... No pone el dedo en la llaga" (14). Concha, in more severe terms, warns readers of the complacency with which Blest Gana portrays society. He identifies the novelist's greatest strength and weakness as 'su seguro equilibrio de narrador por una parte y su tibieza, a veces decidida chatura ... Entre la serenidad y la indiferencia como actitud de un novelista hay una frontera indiscemible ..." (x). In particular, Concha is referring to an attitude, pervasive in Martin Rivas, that the stratification of society is to be accepted as natural.
Some forewords to Martin Rivas alert readers to a problematic and potentially confusing aspect of the novel. As Jaime Sarusky summarizes: "?Era Martin Rivas un burgues o un pequeno burgues? ?Cual era su clase realmente? Los criticos estan divididos ..." (xxiv-xxv). Concha has contributed substantive critical commentary to at least three editions of Martin Rivas (Ayacucho, 1977; Oxford UP 2000; Stockcero 2006). In each case, he uses the foreword to caution readers not to let the novel mislead them about the hero's class origin. In Concha's analysis, Blest Gana has made his hero appear to be making his way into the bourgeoisie from a lower social stratum. However, textual evidence points to Martin having been a bourgeois from the start of the story; he is merely from the mine-owning provincial bourgeoisie and not the traditional elite of financiers based in the nation's capital. Such a representation of Martin increases his appeal to readers, since the hero appears to be an underdog pluckily competing against others of more privileged background. Concha cites Alone, the critic who was long a dominant force in Chilean letters, as identifying in Martin "el triunfo de la clase media laboriosa, pobre, inteligente, sobre la alta clase envanecida, aunque no desprovista de meritos" (qtd in Concha, "Prologo" xxiv). Here the audience is fictionalized as ah uninitiated and possibly gullible group needing to be clued in to the true nature of the novel. Readers might either be disappointed by the novel's incomplete realista (Roman-Lagunas) or misled by its deceptive portrayal of the classes in mid nineteenth-century Chile (Concha).
Since 2003, the entire text of Martin Rivas has been available on line. The digital text is proprietary; students and employees of subscribing educational institutions access it through their libraries' websites. The on-line edition has no foreword or introduction. Its format links it more closely to the widespread campaign to make course materials available on line than to the critical struggle to influence readers' understanding of the novel; the audience envisioned here is one of students seeking alternatives to the ever-increasing cost of print texts.
The cover illustrations for reissues of Maria, generally portraits of the ill-fated titular heroine, reveal some assumptions about the reading public. In telling of his great love for Maria, the narrator Efrain provides few specifics of her appearance. She is fifteen and sixteen during the main events of the novel; she has abundant, wavy brown hair; like other romantic heroines, she tunas pale, weeps, and blushes easily; and her face conveys humility and modesty. A number of jackets feature a Maria who appears older and worldlier than the feminine ideal created by Isaacs. On the cover of the 1961 edition from the Editora Nacional Edinal (Mexico), Maria wears bright red lipstick and nail polish. She and Efrain are portrayed in much closer contact than occurs in the novel; Maria is about to receive a kiss on the mouth. The novel emphasizes, of course, that Efrain only manages to kiss Maria once on the forehead before they are forever separated. Clearly the audience envisioned is one to whom 'sex sells."
Less lurid jackets also feature a Maria who is mature and self-assured. On the cover of the 1976 edition from Sopena of Argentina, an elegant, sophisticated Maria wears her celebrated hair in an elaborately knotted chignon. In the novel, Efrain, whose attention is riveted upon Maria's hair, never observes her wearing ah updo, associated with maturity; often in youthful braids, her hair always flows over her shoulders and bust. The very scholarly Catedra edition of 1986, surprisingly, adds years to Maria's visual image. It features a cover portrait of a pale, troubled heroine against the foreboding backdrop of a turbulent sky. This image accurately captures the melancholy apprehension that permeates the novel. Yet, in doing so, it transforms Maria from a girl into a tragic woman whose ravaged face appears marked by years of harsh experience. McGrady's introduction to the same volume that bears this portrait of a mature Maria reminds readers that extreme youth is an important feature not only of Maria but of many romantic heroines (34). The book-jacket portraits of a Maria well into her twenties suggest that the romantic fashion for young and untainted heroines, devoid of any irony, has given way to a liking for female protagonists who are knowing enough to enjoy a self-conscious perspective on the events of the plot. In addition, today's jacket designers may imagine readers cringing at a phenomenon that for the sensual Efrain is quite natural: he found Maria's youth and innocence sexually provocative. To the audience of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, portraying a fifteen year old girl as the focus of a young man's ardent passion may suggest pedophilia.
Three broad-market editions of the novel offer good, but widely diverging, solutions to the problem of imaging Maria. The 1974 version from Ediciones Nautilus (Bs.As.) offers a pen-and-ink sketch of Maria that is either contemporary with the novel or an excellent imitation of period style. Maria, peeking out shyly from under a bonnet, is unmistakably a teenage girl whose face exhibits the undifferentiated, rounded softness of many adolescents. As well as her youth, this Maria clearly displays the features that make some modern readers uneasy with Isaacs's characterization of his heroine. This visualization of Maria makes her too docile and modest for a more scholarly audience accustomed to hearing the passive feminine ideal denounced as a stereotype. (In the novel, Maria maintains a submissive demeanor, yet often strives to exert her will through behind-the-scenes coaxing.) The use of the image on the cover suggests that a more popular audience, less critically distanced from Isaacs's outlook, is still able today to enjoy his fictional construction of the perfect young woman.
Portraits of Maria that include few details constitute a non-controversial solution that is also faithful to Efrain's vague characterization of his beloved. A good example is the 1975 edition from Editorial Huemul (Buenos Aires), which portrays on its cover an adolescent whose abundant hair and modestly downcast eyes obscure the specifics of her appearance. The 1979 Hachette edition with its silhouette portrait, discussed below, is another.
Popular, nonscholarly editions of Maria are particularly likely to feature art, whether jacket design or the old illustrations used inside some versions, that appeals to readers enchanted with the customs of a bygone era. The 1979 Argentine Maria (Hachette) bears on its cover a silhouette of Maria in profile. As well as being one answer to how to represent a heroine whom the narrator hardly describes, this design is among the least anachronistic. Throughout the nineteenth century, many people had their likenesses taken by silhouette makers. Maria, anticipating her early death, is eager to create relics and souvenirs by which she will be remembered; she could plausibly be imagined having her silhouette made.
Some covers downplay the romanticism of nineteenth-century works that commingle this tendency with realism, instead appealing to a readership whose primary interest is in contemporary social observation. The 1988 Ediciones PEISA edition of Matto de Turner's Aves sin nido uses the jacket to showcase the novel's costumbrista side. A sleepy village is shown nestled in the mountains. The 1996 University of Texas Press edition, Birds without a Nest, also foregrounds the novel's value as a social document. It displays on its jacket a photograph taken by the anthropologist Gary Urton, showing Andean Indian women on their knees in a religious procession. This jacket accurately summarizes some of the novel's principal points of interest, yet there is some distance between this social-science image and the novel's idealization of beautiful Amerindian heroines. This cover fictionalizes an audience more concerned with the anthropological and sociological information to be gleaned from the novel than with its literary elaboration. The Library of Latin America edition of Matto's best-known novel, like most of the volumes in that series, has an example of nineteenth-century art on its cover, in this case, View in the Environs of Lima by Johann Moritz Rugendas. Attention is again shifted away from the fictional characters, whose extreme virtue, beauty, and villainy are likely to strike today's readers as ridiculous; instead, the cover promises readers a contemporary view of Peruvian society.
In the same general vein, the jacket of the 1975 Francisco Alves edition of Iracema offers a drawing of the titular heroine, looking much like an illustration from an anthropologist's field notes and lacking the mysterious beauty that Alencar gave his heroine, who is a priestess-like sacred virgin skilled in sorcery. This image suggests an attempt to anticipate and counter the uneasiness that educated readers of recent decades often feel over the sentimental indianismo of the nineteenth century, with its enchanting Indian maidens. Santiago's annotations to the volume, though, often remind readers that Alencar's characterization of the doomed Iracema is not up to current standards of cultural relativism.
The covers of more popular editions of Iracema are often truer to the novel's sentimental idealization. For example, the 1969 edition from Melhoramentos (S.P.) has very little scholarly apparatus. The montage on its cover features an image of Iracema that successfully, if somewhat gaudily, captures the glamour and magical allure of Alencar's Indian maiden. Other images include an armor-clad soldier in hand-to-hand combat with an Indian brave in a feathered headdress and the hero, in Renaissance pantaloons, standing over Iracema's grave. These figures may not be politically correct or sophisticated, but they sum up the spell-binding exoticism that won Alencar's novel its devoted contemporary public and imply that the broader audience for fiction today is not so unlike the original readership in its tastes and expectations.
Also serving to downplay the romantic imagination is the cover of the U.S. English translation of Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda's Sab. Again a photograph is used for the cover, giving a realistic image of slavery that conceals one of the features of the novel most likely to embarrass current-day readers, the construction of the title character as, in Raimundo Lazo's words, "un romantico embellecimiento de un esclavo" (Lazo cit. en Araujo 44). The unadomed 1976 Havana Sab gives no clues what readers might seek in the novel. The 1999 Catedra edition of Sab appeals to two different readerships, depending on whether the front or back cover is consulted. The jacket art shows a shirtless man of African ancestry whose posture indicates exhaustion, linking the novel with the movement against slavery. However, the copy on the back cover leads readers to view Sab as primarily a manifestation of early feminism. The jacket copy begins "Por la situacion especifica de la mujer en el siglo XIX ..." and argues "En Sab la denuncia social se produce mediante la identificacion de la esclavitud con las condiciones de la mujer, y en la comparacion entre ambas esclavitudes la femenina sale incluso peor parada." Here the design department at Catedra seems to have been imagining a public focused on racial issues, while those writing jacket copy were envisioning an audience influenced by feminism.
The jacket art for Martin Rivas in many instances overtly appeals to the public's sense of nostalgia, suggesting that the mid nineteenth century, in which the novel takes place, was less fraught with complexities than the present era. The cover artwork conveys a more ebullient and carefree spirit than that of the other novels. The sprightly covers of Martin Rivas reflect the decorum and pleasantness that Blest Gana maintained in what is in many ways a realistic novel. None of the characters is detestable, and the hero and heroine overcome obstacles to marry happily at the end of the story.
Top hats and gentlemen's canes, along with other mid nineteenth-century accoutrements, figure prominently on the covers of three recent editions of Martin Rivas. The 1969 Zig-Zag edition portrays a gathering, on a sunny day in a tree-filled park, of ladies and gentlemen in bourgeois finery. The men have top hats and walking sticks. The plumes on the ladies' hats rise well into the air. The artist draws attention to the hourglass figure, clearly produced with the assistance of a tightly-laced foundation garment, of a woman in the center of the jacket. The Pomaire version (n.d.) has as its backdrop a nostalgic evocation of old Santiago de Chile, its aristocratically colonial architecture unspoiled by any sign of traffic or commerce. In the foreground, an upper middle-class couple is out for a stroll. (The novel's characters further their various intrigues by accompanying one another on strolls.) Again the man has a top hat and cane and an impressive show of plumage arises from the lady's hat. Indeed, both members of this couple display conspicuous consumption through multiple accessories, with ruffies or lace at their throats and shawls draped over their arms. The woman, whose waist is tightly cinched, carries a parasol. Some vague and undifferentiated human figures stroll in the background; though little detail is provided, one can make out top hats, elaborate bonnets, and hourglass figures. Finally, the 1997 Ercilla edition has reduced the 1850s upper middle class to two synecdochic essentials, a top hat and cane lying on the letters of the title. Another cover with unmistakable nostalgic appeal is that of the Nascimento edition. The 2000 Library of Latin American cover shows a nineteenth-century portrait, evidently made by a taker of likenesses with little artistic talent, of a woman in a high-necked, many-buttoned dress. Though the average-looking portrait subject does not match the novel's description of its ravishing heroine, the cover promises potential readers entry into a bygone era.
While these covers draw attention to the fact that the novel is concerned with social class, specifically the bourgeoisie, they contain no hint of class conflict or negative criticism of the ruling class. The pleasant, playfully old-fashioned examples of jacket art presume an audience for Martin Rivas that will enjoy fictional immersion in the mid-1800s bourgeois society, with its elaborate finery and customs.
Some of the editions surveyed fictionalize the current-day audience as inhabiting a literary culture continuous with that of the nineteenth century. The new audience is assumed to have enough in common with the original one to understand and enjoy a republished nineteenth-century novel without assistance, though the reading experience may optionally be enriched by the information that specialists add through forewords and annotations. The cover art of popular editions often features such elements as a temptingly exotic young woman, a maiden who appears as pure as the driven snow, and an armor-clad hero, carrying the implication that today's general audiences still relish the same alluring, heartrending, spell-binding, cliff-hanging, or swashbuckling features as did the original readerships. Through this emphasis on commonalities, the editions signal a belief that the audience for novels has not changed radically from the nineteenth century to the late twentieth and twenty-first.
Other editions project the image of an audience separated by a deep cultural divide from nineteenth-century narrative customs. Readers may be fictionalized as an easily disoriented group that requires assistance to make sense of the alien conventions of nineteenth-century novels; some foreword-writers (Concha, Roman-Lagunas) seek to alert readers against forming false expectations. Certain editions anticipate an educated audience with a current-day progressive outlook, one that may be embarrassed or disturbed by such aspects of nineteenth century novels as stereotypical portrayals of female, non-white, and lower-class characters. These features are often concealed or downplayed, especially through jacket art that deflects attention from the characterization of individual figures and toward the novel's ability to provide today's readers with a nineteenth-century take on the era's social problems. Critics employ forewords and annotations to warn readers of the ideological bias inherent in the portrayal of characters and situations.
Taking a more positive view of the cultural distance between centuries, nostalgically packaged editions anticipate a readership that will enjoy these novels because, rather than in spite of, the fact that they represent the tastes and outlook of a bygone era. The jacket art for these editions characteristically features items that have gone out of style, such as the top hats, canes, cinched waists, and bustles frequently displayed on covers of Martin Rivas and the bonnet and silhouette portrait associated with Maria. In this latter case the cultural distance is seen as providing the audience with added reading enjoyment, rather than disorienting it.
A general split is evident between popular editions and those prepared for classroom or scholarly use. The volumes for broad audiences tend to assume a readership that will either be little affected by the old-fashioned properties of nineteenth-century novels or else will be charmed by the glimpses of a bygone cultural world. The emphasis is on the pleasure that today's readers may experience as they are drawn into the twisting and turning plots of nineteenth-century novels. The editions prepared for students and researchers are, on the whole, more likely to fictionalize an audience whose relation to nineteenth-century narrative is problematic, at times even treacherous, and requires critical mediation. The noteworthy exception is Maria; even in editions with a significant critical apparatus, the novel itself is considered straightforward enough that today's audiences will be able to understand it without explanation. Overall, though, the more extensive the involvement of scholars in the preparation of any given edition, the more likely they are to imply that readers need critical intervention to grasp adequately the fiction of the nineteenth century. To some extent, the critics provide a justification for the activity in which they are engaged by fictionalizing an audience that will benefit from their involvement. (7)
Alencar, Jose de. Iracema, the Honey-lips: A Legend of Brazil. Trans. Isabel Burton. London: Bickers and Son, 1886. Reissues New York: H. Fertig, 1976; New York: Luso-Brazilian Books, 2006.
--. Iracema. Sao Paulo: Edicoes Melhoramentos, 1969.
--. Iracema. Annotated by Silviano Santiago. Rio de Janeiro: Francisco Alves, 1975.
--. Iracema. Trans. Clifford E. Landers. Ed. and foreword Naomi Lindstrom. Afterword Alcides Villaca. New York: Library of Latin America/ Oxford UP, 2000.
--. Iracema. New York: Luso-Brazilian Books, 2004.
Araujo, Nara. "Raza y genero en Sab". Casa de las Americas 33.190 (enero-marzo de 1993): 42-49.
Blest Gana, Alberto. Martin Rivas of Alberto Blest-Gana. Trans. Mrs. Charles Whitham. London: Chapman and Hall, 1916. New York, A. A. Knopf, 1918.
--. Martin Rivas. Santiago de Chile: Zig-Zag, 1969.
--. Martin Rivas. Santiago de Chile: Nascimento, 1975.
--. Martin Rivas. Barcelona: Pomaire, n.d.
--. Martin Rivas: novela de costumbres politico-sociales. Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1977.
--. Martin Rivas. Havana: Casa de las Americas, 1989.
--. Martin Rivas. Santiago: Ercilla, 1997.
--. Martin Rivas. Trans. Tess O'Dwyer. Intro. Jaime Concha. New York: Library of Latin America/ Oxford UP, 2000.
--. Martin Rivas. 1st. virtual ed. Cordoba, Argentina: El Cid, Coleccion Clasicos en espanol, 2003. Proprietary text may be accessed through the websites of subscribing libraries.
--. Martin Rivas: novela de costumbres politico-sociales. Crit. ed., notes and commentary, Concha. Buenos Aires: Stockcero, 2006.
Concha, Jaime. "Prologo." Blest Gana, Martin Rivas, 1977 Biblioteca Ayacucho edition, ix-xxxix.
Gomez de Avellaneda, Gertrudis. Sab. Ed. and notes, Mary Cruz. Havana: Editorial Arte y Cultura, 1976.
--. Sab; and Autobiography. Ed. and trans. Nina M. Scott. Austin: U of Texas P, 1993.
--. Sab. Ed. and foreword Jose Servera. Madrid: Catedra, 1999.
--. Sab. Ed. Catherine Davies. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2001.
Isaacs, Jorge. Maria: A South American Romance. Trans. Rollo Ogden. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1890. Reissued with an introduction by Thomas A. Janvier. New York: Gordon P, 1981.
--. Maria. Mexico City: Editora Nacional Edinal, 1961.
--. Maria. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Nautilus, 1974.
--. Maria. Havana: Casa de las Americas, 1974.
--. Maria. Foreword Marta Marin. Buenos Aires: Huemul, 1975.
--. Maria. Buenos Aires: Sopena, 1976.
--. Maria. Buenos Aires: Hachette, 1979.
--. Maria. Ed. and intro. Donald McGrady. Madrid: Catedra, 1986.
--. Maria. Bogota: Editorial Norma, 1990.
--. Maria. Critical ed., intro., notes. Maria Teresa Cristina. Bogota, Colombia: Externado de Colombia/U del Valle, 2005.
Marin, Marta. "Introduccion." Isaacs, Maria. 1975 Huemul edition. 5-19.
Matto de Turner, Clorinda. Aves sin nido. Ed. Luis Mario Schneider. New York, Las Americas, 1968.
--. Aves sin nido. Lima: Ediciones PEISA, 1973, 1988.
--. Aves sin nido. Foreword Antonio Cornejo Polar. Havana: Casa de las Americas, 1974.
--. Aves sin nido. Foreword Antonio Comejo Polar. Notes Efrain Kristal and Carlos Garcia Bedoya. Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1994.
--. Aves sin nido. Buenos Aires: Stockcero, 2004.
--. Aves sin nido. Crit. ed. Dora Sales Salvador. Intro. Sonia Mattaliia. Castellon de la Plana: Universitat Jaume I: Ellago Ediciones, 2006.
--. Birds without a Nest: A Story of Indian Life and Priestly Oppression in Pena. Trans J. G. H. London: Charles J. Thynne, 1904.
--. Birds without a Nest: A Story of Indian Life and Priestly Oppression in Peru. Trans. J. G. H. Trans. emended by Naomi Lindstrom. Austin: U of Texas P, 1996.
--. Torn from the Nest. Trans. John H. R. Polt. Ed. and with a foreword and chronology by Antonio Cornejo Polar. New York: Oxford UP, 1998. McGrady, Donald. "Introduccion" to 1986 Catedra edition of Isaacs, Maria. 13-48.
Ong, Walter J. "The Writer's Audience Is Always a Fiction." PMLA 90 (1975) 9-21.
Pupo-Walker, Enrique. "Jorge Isaacs." Latin American Writers. Eds. Carlos A. Sole and Maria Isabel Abreu. Vol. 1. New York: Scribner's, 1989. 247-50.
Roman-Lagunas, Jorge. "Prologo." Blest Gana, Martin Rivas. 1975 Nascimento ed. 7-22.
Sarusky, Jaime. "Prologo." Blest Gana, Martin Rivas. 1989 Casa de las Americas ed. vii-xxvii.
Uniersity of Texas-Austin
(1) A relatively new publishing project, Stockcero, deserves mention for making numerous nineteenth-century Spanish American works available to U.S. readers. Stockcero, which specializes in reissues of Spanish-language works and serves principally the U.S. academic market, does not publish a uniform type of edition; its volumes vary greatly in appearance, format, and amount and style of critical apparatus. A number of specialists in nineteenth-century Spanish American literature, including Mary G. Berg and Jaime Concha, work closely with Stockcero. A more detailed discussion of Stockcero and its innovative operating practices would lead us away from the topic of this study.
(2) For more information on the English translation sponsored by the American Bible Society, one may see Lindstrom, "Foreword" to the 1996 U of Texas P edition of Birds without a Nest, xvii-xviii.
(3) In 2000, the Eighteen Hundred Seventy Three P released an inexpensive English edition of Martin Rivas, but I have not been able to find a copy or ascertain whether it is a reissue of the Whitham translation. A record of it appears in Book in Print (accessed 23 June 2007) but it is not available for purchase and is not in the Library of Congress.
(4) While I have not found information on Mrs. Charles Whitham, she may well have been a cousin, either biological or by marriage, of Blest Gana. It should be remembered that the novelist's father, William Blest, was an Irish physician from an educated family.
(5) During the early 1980s, Mildred V. Boyer and Hugh A. Harter were both working on translations of Sab. My information comes from my acquaintance with these two scholars and translators.
(6) It should be noted that Stockcero has reissued not only Aves sin nido but also Matto's two lesser-known novels. This publisher's editions of Matto's Indole (original 1891) and Herencia (1895) were prepared, prefaced, and annotated by the widely-recognized Matto specialist Mary G. Berg.
(7) An earlier version of the article was given as a lecture in the series "Aesthetics, Ideology and Difference in Hispanic Literature." organized by Raymond L. Williams at the University of California, Riverside. I would like to thank the series organizer for his helpful observations on that lecture and David William Foster for his suggestion on a considerably revised version as well as acknowledging support from a Dean's Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin.
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