Nathalie Hester, Associate Professor of French and Italian, has been awarded a prestigious and highly selective National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship for her in-progress book project, Inventing America in Baroque Italy: Columbus, Vespucci, and New World Epic.
Inventing America in Baroque Italyexamines the ways in which, at a time when most of the Italian peninsula was a colony of Spain, seventeenth-century Italian poets represent Italy’s role in the exploration and conquest of the Americas. Taking as its corpus eleven epic poems written in the Italian vernacular between 1596 and 1650, Hester’s bookconsiders the relationship between baroque epic poetry and local politics; between Italian poems about the Americas and Spanish colonialism; and between literary production and emerging notions of Italian identity. A principal argument of this study is that the heated debates about representing Columbus and Vespucci as epic heroes inevitably point to concerns about Europe’s global expansion and Italy’s role in that expansion. This project sheds light on texts that have not received adequate attention in studies of early modern European colonialism and in scholarship on the reception of the Americas in seventeenth-century Italy.
Congratulations, Dr. Hester!
Pedro García-Caro, Associate Professor of Spanish, has published an article, “A Play for Branciforte: Early California and the Survival of Astucias por heredar un sobrino a un tío, a Banned Comedia from Bourbon New Spain,” in the latest issue of Early American Literature (Vol. 53, Number 3, 2018: pp. 773-884). The article traces the provenance of a recently recovered literary manuscript from the Bancroft Library in California: Astucias por heredar un sobrino a un tío. This original text written in Spanish by Fermín de Reygadas is considered to be the earliest secular play performed in a European language in California. Authored in 1789 by a Spanish colonist in Mexico, and banned from the stage by the censor’s office in the spring of 1790, this satirical family drama was never printed, and was only performed (circa 1797) in the newly settled secular town of Branciforte (East Santa Cruz). It was preserved there in private archives, and then briefly rescued by Guadalupe Vallejo and Hubert H. Bancroft to be stored away again, having thus received almost no critical or scholarly attention until now. García-Caro considers some aspects of the textual origins as well as recent performances of the play.
As Tricks to Inherit (translated, adapted, and directed by Olga Sanchez Saltveit), the play was performed at the UO in spring of 2018.
Javier Velasco Camacho (a Ph.D. student in the Department of Romance Languages) in collaboration with Dr. Alejandra Echazú Conitzer (Universidad Católica Boliviana), have published Cuentos by Walter Montenegro (La Paz: Plural, 2018), an edition of short stories written by Bolivian author Walter Montenegro (1912-1991). The book was published by Plural Editores, as part of the collection Letras Fundacionales, a collection directed by Professor Leonardo García-Pabón. This edition includes the short stories, a critical introduction, a chronology of Montenegro’s life, and newspaper articles by Montenegro. Velasco Camacho and Echazú Conitzer celebrated the publication with a book presentation in La Paz this past September.
Walter Montenegro wrote two extraordinary books of short stories, and is considered a canonical author of Bolivian literature. However, his work has been overlooked by Bolivian literary critics. This edition seeks to bring critical attention to this important narrative. The volume includes the two books of short stories: Once Cuentos (1938)and Los Últimos (1947). The first book was motivated by the Chaco War with Paraguay. The second is a critical look at the new middle classes and characters emerging in the city of La Paz in the middle of the 20thcentury, and who would be main actors in the revolution of 1952 (considered the main political event for the process of modernization of Bolivia).
This essay examines Girolamo Graziani’s well-received epic poem, Il Conquisto di Granata (The Conquest of Granada, 1650), as a compelling piece of an Italian genealogy of New World Italian epic poetry, to which corpus the Conquisto belongs, despite its title. Indeed, in a convenient reworking of the historical timeline, the Columbus of this work returns to Spain from his first voyage to the Americas in time to fight the Moors of Granada, and he plays a decisive role in their defeat. The poetic project of the Conquisto incorporates three main aims: to address and remedy criticisms leveled against earlier Italian epic poetry about the New World, to establish Columbus as the narrative and ideological link between Conquest and Reconquest and, more broadly, to maintain the international status of Italian letters at a time when deeds and facts—expansion, colonialism—come to define the prestige of European proto-nations.
Hester, Nathalie. “Baroque Italian Epic from Granada to the New World: Columbus Conquers the Moors.” The Discovery of the New World in Early Modern Italy: Encounters with the Americas in the 16th-18th Centuries. Eds. Elizabeth Horodowich and Lia Markey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2017. 270-287.
Astucias por heredar, un sobrino a un tío (1789) by Fermín de Reygadas has recently come out as an e-book available on different electronic formats. It is a critical, annotated, edition with a detailed introduction to the context, the author, and the provenance of this comedy. According to the oral and written sources surrounding its donation to the Bancroft collection (which forms the basis for UC Berkeley’s Library) by Californio historian Guadalupe Vallejo, Astucias was “the first drama performed in California after its foundation” as a Spanish colony in 1769.
García-Caro’s groundbreaking research has located the source of the play in Mexico, including the censorship files which had banned it from the Mexican stage in 1790, and has traced the likely place of its performance, in the secular Villa de Branciforte, in what is now Eastern Santa Cruz. This play is a Neoclassic comedy which clearly draws heavily from French and Italian sources but is profoundly familiar with Spanish literary traditions as well and completely adapted for a Hispano-Mexican audience. The fact that it remained in manuscript form and has never before been printed or published has meant that the text remained uncensored with all its original lines, which include a large number of improprieties that could have otherwise been lost along the way.
It is a rare find as we have relatively scant information and little textual evidence of the kind of cultural production that secular Hispanic settlers engaged in or brought with them as they populated the emerging network of villas and pueblos in what is now the US South West in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The play is now available through Arte Público Press, the preeminent publisher of contemporary Latino and Recovered US Hispanic Literature. Teatro Milagro in Portland took up Prof. García-Caro’s proposal to stage this original play and shows run February 9th to March 3rd in Spanish with English superscripts. Early reviews of the production are raving about the currency of the topics and the humorous exchanges, as well as the vibrancy of the language. The troupe of actors at Teatro Milagro comes from a diverse set of backgrounds from all over the Spanish-speaking Americas, and is working under the direction of commedia dell’arte expert Robi Arce, from Puerto Rico. Prof. García-Caro and theatre Director Robi Arce participated on February 16th in a roundtable at Portland State University, a recording is available here.
Watch Latino Network TV news on the play!
The National Endowment for the Arts announced that Amalia Gladhart will receive an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship
The National Endowment for the Arts announced that Amalia Gladhart will receive an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship of $12,500. Gladhart is one of 22 Literature Translation Fellows for fiscal year 2018. In total, the NEA is recommending $300,000 in grants this round to support the new translation of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry from 15 different languages into English.
The author of 30 novels, short story collections, and essays, Angélica Gorodischer (b. 1928) is known for her science fiction, fantasy, crime, and feminist writing. She is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement previously won by such writers as Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Stephen King. Published in 2005, Jaguars’ Tomb is a 218-page novel of 3 distinct parts that addresses the difficulty of representing absence, including those absences left by the abductions and disappearances that occurred during the military dictatorship in Argentina’s “Dirty War” of 1976-83. Each of the sections repeats images from the others and circles a central space that, though it serves different functions in each section, always has a sense of loss at its center.
Amalia Gladhart is a translator and professor of Spanish at the University of Oregon and Head of the Department of Romance Languages. She has written widely on contemporary Latin American literature and performance. Her translations include The Potbellied Virgin and Beyond the Islands, both by Alicia Yánez Cossío; and Trafalgar, by Angélica Gorodischer. Her collection of prose poems, Detours, was published by Burnside Review Press. Her short fiction appears in Saranac Review, The Fantasist, Atticus Review, Eleven Eleven, and elsewhere.
Prof. Sergio Rigoletto has published an essay titled ‘Against the Telelological Preseumption: Notes on Queer Visibility in Contemporary Italian Film’ in The Italianist 37: 2, 2017. The essay is concerned with some of the problems involved in the task of narrating the queer self. At a time in which positive queer representations have become increasingly common in Italian cinema and other media, it is worth asking what conditions underpin the present regime of queer visibility and what alternative queer experiences have been either obscured or marginalized. The first half of the essay explores the recent popularity of the coming out narrative in the Italian context. The essay asks what epistemological assumptions underlie the metaphor of coming out and how such assumptions have come to affect the terms under which queerness appears now visible in Italian cinema and other media. The second section of the essay focuses on several recent Italian documentaries including La bocca del lupo (Marcello: 2009), Felice chi è diverso (Amelio: 2013) and Le coccinelle. Sceneggiata transessuale (Pirelli: 2011). The essay shows the complex ways in which these films deploy their dissident strategies of queer self-revelation and configurations of social legibility.
Le coccinelle. Transsexual Melodrama (Pirelli: 2011)
Leonardo García-Pabón, Professor of Spanish, has published a book entitled El cuento sentimental romántico en Bolivia (siglo XIX) (La Paz, Bolivia: Plural Ediciones, 2017). This book is a 400 pages anthology of short stories of the romantic period in Bolivia (19th century). The anthology is preceded by an extensive introductory study (100 pages) that analyses the articulations of love, nation building, and narratives in the short stories. This anthology recuperates six representative short stories of the so-called sentimental romantic mode, which had been thus far overlooked by scholars and historians. These texts were originally published in journals, magazines, and newspapers in Bolivia and Peru, and this is their first modern edition.
In the introduction, Professor García-Pabón proposes a new classification of Bolivian narrative of the 19th century, separating short stories from novels (and other narratives). Moreover, his study examines each one of the six short stories in the anthology, showing the historical shift from romantic idealism predominant in the middle of the century to social realism being prevalent at the end of the century. His reading also highlights the different notions of nation, gender, love, and subjectivities that appear in these texts.