Archive for September, 2005

Benicàssim (Costa del Azahar, Spain)

Benicàssim is one of the gems of the Costa del Azahar in Castellon province in Spain’s Valencia region. Its beach villas are especially distinguished. Benicàssim was used as a hospital town for the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. Visitors in the 1930s included Ernest Hemingway and the Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier, who stayed at the Villa Pons. Here are 4 photos from July 2004, two of them of the Villa Pons.




This article examines a number of aspects of the phenomenon of anglicisms in contemporary French and Spanish. The discussion is confined to the written language (essentially in its journalistic, technical and business registers; reference is not made to the literary register); and to the French of France and the Spanish of Spain only. The issue of anglicisms is placed in a wider international context, taking account of such phenomena as globalisation and the Internet. Reference is also made to theoretical perspectives that regard individual languages as systems in their own right.


This is the text of a paper given at the University of Surrey, England, in June 2004. It incorporates some material from two earlier texts by the author: ‘The Use of Anglicisms in Contemporary French’, in: Crossing Barriers and Bridging Cultures: The Challenges of Multilingual Translation for the European Union, ed. Arturo Tosi (Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters, 2003); and ‘Unequal Systems: On the Problem of Anglicisms in Contemporary French Usage’, in In and Out of English: For Better, for Worse? (Translating Europe), eds. Gunilla Anderman and Margaret Rogers (Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters, publication forthcoming). Neither of the two earlier texts deals with anglicisms in Spanish.

Essentialy, I argue that espite the higher profile attached in France to resisting anglicisms, (European) Spanish is actually succeeding better than French in stemming the flood.

It was published Lingua Franca (Brussels), 2004-2005, in 3 parts: part 1, Vol 7. No. 7 (2004), pp. 4-7, part 2, Vol. 8, No. 1 (2005), pp. 9-15 and part 3, Vol. 8, No. 2 (2005).

The full text can be read on-line at:


I would like to draw attention to an interesting new development in the writing of (essentially so far) peninsular Spanish, which arrestingly combines the discourses of cyberutopia and equal opportunities. It is now quite frequent in academic, feminist and even some mainstream circles (e.g. bookshop websites) to use a new, gender-neutral graphic convention for certain nouns, adjectives and even articles (wherever the endings -o/-a and -os/-as apply). Where a gender-neutral or gender-indeterminate referent is implied, the terminations -o (masculine) and -a (feminine) are both replaced by the graphic neologism @ (in other words, the ‘at’ sign’ familiar from email addresses), so that ‘amigo y/o amiga’ (male and/or female friend) becomes ‘amig@’. Similarly, in the plural ‘los/las amigos/amigas’ (‘the male friends and/or the female friends’) becomes ‘l@s amig@s’, i.e. friends of either gender, both genders or non-specified gender. In at least some people’s usage, then, a new letter has been added to the Spanish alphabet. In a further curious twist, this usage is not transferable to speech and remains confined to page and screen, thus serving in the cyber age to call in question the orthodox notion of the absolute primacy of speech over writing.

This is an extract from my paper ‘Why the Internet age will not accept simplified English spelling’, given at the University of Mannheim, Germany in July 2005). The full text is at: , and considers aspects of English, Spanish and Portuguese spelling.
I should add that I have recently encountered the cyberfeminist @ in Portuguese as well, but so far only in friends’ emails. Further information would be welcome!


BOB DYLAN’S PERFORMANCE ARTISTRY: COLLOQUIUM IN CAEN (FRANCE), 10-12 MARCH 2005 ** Report by Dr Christopher Rollason ** It may not be known to all comers that the work of Bob Dylan has in recent years acquired an increasing (and eminently deserved) weight and significance in the academic world, for its literary and musical merits in its own right and as an aid to study and thought in a whole range of disciplines. Dylan conferences, however, are still a rarity in the university environment, and, unless the author of this report is mistaken, until now none had ever been held outside the English-speaking world (and precious few inside it). The three-day colloquium held at the University of Caen (Normandy, France) from 10 to 12 March 2005 thus marks a major step forward in the visibility of Dylan studies, and the organiser, Catharine Mason, Associate Professor of English at the host university, deserves all praise for this initiative. The event brought together Dylan specialists and experts in related fields from France, Britain, Canada and the US, and enjoyed the support of the US consulate in Rennes (and even the presence of the Consul at the opening). Papers were given in both English and French. ** The vantage points from which Dylan’s work was examined included the literary, the ethnological, the linguistic and the musicological. The literary note was sounded loud and clear in the opening paper, delivered by Gordon Ball, Professor of English at the Virginia Military Institute, on ‘Dylan and the Nobel’. Professor Ball – who is better placed than anyone to speak on the subject, as the person who has nominated Dylan for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year since 1996 – gave a persuasive overview of Dylan’s literary qualities, stressing how his poetry arises out of oral performance and how, in the words of Professor Daniel Karlin of University College, London, Dylan ‘has given more memorable phrases to our language than any comparable figure since Kipling’: if the Nobel rubric includes the criteria that the recipient must have produced work of an ‘idealistic tendency’ and have conferred a major benefit on humanity, Dylan’s output, Gordon Ball believes, unquestionably qualifies. Richard Thomas, Professor of Classics at Harvard University, explored links and analogies between Dylan and the Greco-Roman literary tradition, from the oral delivery associated with Homer and the Roman ‘rhapsodes’ to the references to Virgil on ‘"Love and Theft"’, Dylan’s album of 2001. Professor Thomas predicted that in two hundred years’ time Dylan will be considered a classic and a part of high-register literature. France-based translator, literary editor and critic Dr Christopher Rollason further broadened out the discussion with an overview of Dylan’s relations with the Spanish-speaking world, examining the reception of his work in Spain and Latin America and its translation into Spanish, and suggesting parallels with a number of Spanish-language poets and a very probable direct influence of the poetry of Federico García Lorca. ** The ethnological and the musicological fused in a number of contributions. Catharine Mason provided insight into Dylan’s creative use of blues conventions, focusing on his cover of blues singer Blind Willie McTell’s ‘Broke Down Engine’; Rob Bowman, Professor of Music at York University, Toronto and a widely experienced musicologist, also examined the African-American dimension, comparing Dylan’s version of ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean’ with bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson’s original and arguing that the early Dylan was far more under the African-American influence than is commonly realised. In impressive scholarly detail, Todd Harvey, specialist at the American Folklife Centre at the Library of Congress and author of the study ‘The Formative Dylan’, traced the complex history of the song ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ in its pre-Dylan versions. ** Music is where it all starts, and the colloquium’s strong academic side was no obstacle to the presence of two excellent musicians. Georgia-born singer-songwriter Steve Young, best-known for his beautiful song ‘Seven Bridges Road’ as covered by Joan Baez and the Eagles, played extracts from the traditional repertoire, his own and Dylan’s; and the conference wound up on a high note with the appearance in person of onetime Dylan associate Charlie McCoy. Charlie told an entranced public how he played guitar on Dylan’s song ‘Desolation Row’ and harmonica on his ‘Obviously Five Believers’, how all of the ‘John Wesley Harding’ album was recorded in nine and a half hours, and much more from the annals of Dylan lore, some of which was unknown to even the most hardcore fans present. The challenge will now be for Dylan scholars to build further on the success of this colloquium and help make wider sections of the public aware of the enormous interest and potential, right across the disciplinary range, of Bob Dylan’s work as a subject of academic study.

** Note: The colloquium website is at: Those interested in the scholarly analysis of Dylan’s work may also wish to visit the Bob Dylan Critical Corner site at: ** A FULLER VERSION OF THIS REVIEW MAY BE FOUND AT THAT SITE. The review has also been published in full in ‘The Bridge’ (Gateshead, UK), No. 22, Summer 2005, pp. 99-102.

Conference photos by Gordon Ball and Christopher Rollason are at:** Here below is a small selection of those photos. You can see: the Maison de la Recherche en Sciences Humaines, venue of the conference; Steve Young playing (with Catharine Mason to his right); Gordon Ball reading his paper (Todd Harvey to his left); and Christopher Rollason reading his paper, flanked by Rob Bowman (left) and Richard Thomas (right). All are by Christopher Rollason except for the last-mentioned, which is by Gordon Ball. Elsewhere on this blog (in my Biography entry, near the very beginning) is another photo by Gordon Ball, featuring Charlie McCoy.


BOB DYLAN, EL ARTE DEL ESPECTÁCULO: COLOQUIO UNIVERSITARIO EN CAEN (FRANCIA) por Christopher Rollason ** Quizá no todos sean conscientes del prestigio cada vez mayor que la obra de Bob Dylan va adquiriendo en el ámbito académico. El cantautor norteamericano no es sólo un músico sino también escritor, como lo demuestra la muy favorable acogida brindada a su recién salido libro autobiográfico, ‘Crónicas, Volumen I’. El coloquio que se celebró en la Universidad de Caen (Francia), del 10 al 12 de marzo de 2005, bajo el título Bob Dylan’s Performance Artistry (organizadora: Catharine Mason), ha supuesto un relevante paso adelante para la "visibilidad" de los estudios dylanianos. ** En el registro literario, el profesor Gordon Ball, catedrático de estudios ingleses en el Virginia Military Institute, habló sobre "Dylan y el Nobel", muy en conocimiento de causa pues es él quien va proponiendo a Bob Dylan para el Nobel de Literatura, cada año desde 1996. Si entre los criterios para recibir el premio se incluye el que el galardonado le haya conferido un beneficio mayor a la humanidad, Gordon Ball opina que Dylan cumple plenamente. El profesor Richard Thomas, catedrático de latín y griego de Harvard, propuso una serie de enlaces entre el cantautor y la tradición greco-romana, vaticinando que dentro de dos siglos Dylan será considerado un clásico, plenamente integrado en el canon literario. El Dr Christopher Rollason, ensayista residente en Francia, presentó una panorámica detallada de las relaciones entre Dylan y el mundo hispano, evocando la recepción de su obra en España e Hispanoamérica, su traducción al castellano, y una muy posible influencia directa de García Lorca. ** En las ponencias de carácter más musicológico, varios intervenientes hicieron hincapié en la influencia en Dylan de las baladas de cuño tradicional, anglo-escocesas, irlandesas o norteamericanas, mereciendo destaque la erudita aportación de Todd Harvey, etnólogo en el American Folklife Center de la Library of Congress. También estuvo presente la música en sí: el evento culminó con la comparencia en persona de Charlie McCoy, multi-instrumentista y compadre del Dylan de antaño, quien recordó, a un auditorio pasmado, infinidad de historias de los anales dylanianos. ** El reto ahora será el de consolidar el éxito de este coloquio y concienciar a estratos más amplios acerca del enorme interés y potencial de la obra dylaniana como objeto de estudio universitario.

Colección de fotos del congreso por Christopher Rollason y Gordon Ball en:

 Este texto es prácticamente idéntico a la versión que fue publicada en San Marcos Semanal (Lima, Perú), No 42, 11-16 July 2005, p. 6. Una versión castellana más larga apareció en Fanzimmer (Pamplona, España), No 12 (fechada invierno 2004, publicada 2005), pp. 28-30 y está disponible en el sitio Bob Dylan Critical Corner.


 FOTO: reproducción de la página pertinente de SAN MARCOS SEMANAL


GUITARS AND TARANTULAS: THE SPANISH-SPEAKING WORLD AND THE WORK OF BOB DYLAN o0o by Christopher Rollason, Article last updated on 17 June 2005. o0o

ABSTRACT This article examines a series of aspects of the relationship between the work of Bob Dylan and the cultures of Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin America. The aspects considered include: Spanish and Latin American themes and references in Dylan’s songs and prose texts; tours and cover versions; the reception of Dylan’s work by Spanish-speaking critics and intellectuals; influences and parallels between Dylan’s work and that of Spanish and Latin American musicians and writers, notably Federico García Lorca; and the translation of Dylan into Spanish. Dylan’s work is seen as a hybrid cultural phenomenon, generating fertile connections between high-cultural and more popular elements. It is argued that this is also a characteristic of much Spanish and Latin American cultural production. From this perspective, the relationship between Dylan’s work and Hispanophone culture is seen as an exemplary case of creative bridge-building, both within and between cultural systems. This is an ongoing piece of research which I intend to update regularly on-line. Reader input is welcome. A shorter version (7660 words) was given as a paper on 12 March 2005 at the colloquium ‘Bob Dylan’s Performance Artistry’ at the University of Caen (France).

Full article text at: on the Bob Dylan Critical Corner site


EL MUNDO HISPANO Y LA OBRA DE BOB DYLAN: PRIMER ESTUDIO EN LENGUA INGLESA Si nunca han faltado estudios sobre DYLAN en lengua castellana, algunos de los cuales no han excluido el bucear en las relaciones entre el cantautor de Minnesota y el universo hispano, llega casi seguramente como una novedad absoluta el muy extenso texto en lengua inglesa (de más de 50 páginas) que acaba de colocar (verano de 2005) por la Red el dylanita CHRISTOPHER ROLLASON, ciudadano británico residente en Francia. En el sitio ‘Bob Dylan Critical Corner’ (página de entrada:, hallaréis su ensayo ‘Guitars and Tarantulas: the Spanish-Speaking World and the Work of Bob Dylan’. Este texto es la versión completa de la ponencia (mucho más breve desde luego) que el autor presentó en marzo de 2005 en el coloquio ‘Bob Dylan’s Performance Artistry’, que tuvo lugar en la Universidad de Caen (Francia) y cuyo reportaje, de la autoría del mismo CHRISTOPHER ROLLASON, fue publicado en el No 12 de FANZIMMER (Pamplona, España) y, en versión reducida, en el No 41 de SAN MARCOS SEMANAL (Lima), apareciendo también posteriormente, en un texto ligeramente recortado, en LA PRENSA de La Paz, Bolivia (enero de 2006: véase entrada separada en este blog). **

 En su ensayo (nos referimos a la versión completa), CHRISTOPHER ROLLASON expone toda una multiplicidad de aspectos de la relación existente entre la obra dylaniana y el universo cultural hispano, tanto peninsular como latinoamericano. Entre dichos aspectos, el autor subraya: las referencias españolas e hispanoamericanas en las canciones de DYLAN, así como en sus obras en prosa; la historia de sus giras en España y América Latina; las varias interpretaciones de sus canciones que existen en lengua castellana (y en los otros idiomas del Estado español); la recepción de su obra de parte de la comunidad crítica e intelectual hispanoparlante; influencias y paralelismos identificables entre la obra dylaniana y la música y poesía de los países de habla castellana, con muy especial hincapié en las sorprendentes afinidades que surgen entre DYLAN y FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA; y las varias traducciones al castellano de los textos de DYLAN. ** El texto de CHRISTOPHER ROLLASON ha sabido aprovechar y valorizar los más importantes estudios dylanológicos existentes en el idioma castellano, entre cuyos autores destaca, para el Estado español, a ANTONIO IRIARTE (Madrid) y FRANCISCO GARCÍA (Valencia), y para Hispanoamérica, a la peruana CARLA VANESSA GONZÁLES. ** El autor ha concebido su texto como siendo de naturaleza dinámica, pues se ha empeñado en actualizarlo en la página web siempre que haya material nuevo, además de que aceptará gustoso cualquier aportación complementaria que le proporcionen los dylanitas del mundo hispano. ** Añadimos (marzo de 2006) una simpática foto de miembr@s del DYLAN CLUB de Perú, entre quienes podréis conocer a CARLA VANESSA GONZÁLES (gracias, Carla, por la imagen).