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Carmen Boullosa speaks on historical novel set in Texas in 1850s

boullosaThe Department of Romance Languages and the Translation Studies Working Group welcomed renowned Mexican writer Carmen Boullosa (novelist, playwright, essayist, poet) to the UO on February 17, 2015. Author of some fifteen novels and numerous plays and other texts, Boullosa visited the UO to present Tejas: La gran ladronería en el lejano norte, just published in English translation under the title Texas, the Great Theft (translated by Samantha Schnee). Boullosa’s bilingual presentation included a discussion of the many threads of research and inspiration that went into the writing of a novel set in Texas in 1859, and a side-by-side reading of a selection of the novel in both Spanish and English. Boullosa’s narrative crisscrosses the border, capturing the spill and flow of gossip and speculation and repetition at full speed. It is also a novel that deals in translations, in the contact between and among languages, a novel written in Spanish that invites the reader to imagine parts that are spoken in English. As the characters hear, mishear, repeat and distort–sometimes deliberately, other times by chance–a key, precipitating phrase (carried back and forth across the border by human voice and carrier pigeon, in various languages, discreet or combined), Texas becomes a novel, in part, about translation, a novel already in translation from its very first moments.

Texas Cover—Carmen Boullosa