Archive for September, 2005

Vikram Chandra in Spanish translation: LOVE AND LONGING IN BOMBAY (paper)

 

TRANSLATING A TRANSCULTURAL TEXT – PROBLEMS AND STRATEGIES: ON THE SPANISH TRANSLATION OF VIKRAM CHANDRA’S ‘LOVE AND LONGING IN BOMBAY’ ** by Dr Christopher Rollason, 2004 **

I originally gave this paper at the Fourth Congress of the European Society For Translation Studies (‘Translation Studies: Doubts And Directions’), held at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon, 26-29 September 2004.

 ** ABSTRACT ** Indian writing in English is now recognised as a major contemporary current in English-language literature. The likes of Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh and Anita Desai have won worldwide acclaim for the quality of their writing and their imaginative use of English. However, the act of translating a text from this corpus of writing raises a number of sociolinguistic and methodological issues which require negotiation between text, translator and reader. These include: the role of English as global lingua franca; the position of English in India (a minority and ex-colonial, but also transregional language, whose mastery is a badge of educatedness); the fact that Indian writers in English, whether India-resident or expatriates, are writing not in their native language but in a second language; and the resultant ‘transcultural’ character of their texts. ** This paper will examine the translation into Spanish of Vikram Chandra’s prize-winning collection of linked stories, ‘Love and Longing in Bombay’ (1997) (‘Amor y añoranza en Bombay’, translated by Dora Sales Salvador and Esther Monzó Nebot, 2001). Starting out from the position that a work of fiction produced in English by an Indian writer has, in cultural terms, already been translated in the original writing process, the analysis will centre on the problems confronting the translator of such a text into a third language and the strategies chosen to meet the challenge, and will also consider the issue of the visibility of the translator and the concrete means (glossary, afterword) employed to highlight this crucial dimension.

 

** Translation published by Espasa (Madrid): www.espasa.com

**

Note added 19 September 2008:

 ** This paper can be found in expanded, revised and updated (2007) at: http://yatrarollason.info/files/CHANDRALISBON2007VERSIONrev.pdf

** There is a favourable mention of this paper and the translation in the on-line article: ‘Hybrid texts, sources and translation’ (March 2008), by Mohammad Bagher Roozgar, Department of Translation Studies, Safashahr University, Iran, at: http://www.translationdirectory.com/articles/article1655.php

Note added 31 May 2010

**The paper has now been published in print form. Details:

‘Translating A Transcultural Text – Problems And Strategies: On The Spanish Translation Of Vikram Chandra’s "Love And Longing In Bombay"’, in Sheobhushan Shukla, Christopher Rollason and Ana Shukla (eds.), Entwining Narratives: Critical Explorations into Vikram Chandra’s Fiction, New Delhi: Sarup, 2010, pp. 79-104;

 

MANJU KAPUR: NOVELISTA DE LA MUJER INDIA

Crónicas de la mujer india: Manju Kapur, novelista ** Este texto es una versión más larga de una nota que apareció en julio de 2005 bajo el titulo ‘Mujer india’ en el ‘San Marcos Semanal’ (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima), No 42.** Son ya dos – Hijas difíciles (Difficult Daughters) y Una mujer casada (A Married Woman) – las novelas en las que Manju Kapur, profesora de literatura inglesa en el Miranda House College (Delhi), ha sabido dibujar, con enorme sensibilidad, la compleja y dinámica realidad de las mujeres indias de clase media. Estas dos narrativas le han merecido no sólo el elogio de la crítica sino también un impresionante éxito de ventas, tanto dentro de la India como en el mercado global, de manera que Kapur ya está cotizada entre las más destacadas exponentes femeninas de la literatura india de habla inglesa, como Anita Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri o Arundhati Roy. El público lector de habla castellana tiene la suerte particular de disponer de traducciones de ambas novelas, merced a la editorial Espasa, de Madrid, y a la excepcional labor traductora de Dora Sales Salvador, de la Universidad Jaume I de Castellón y también co-traductora del libro Amor y Añoranza en Bombay (Love and Longing in Bombay), de Vikram Chandra (también publicado por Espasa). ** En Hijas difíciles (1998, traducción, 2003), novela localizada principalmente en la India de los años 40, Manju Kapur habla, con gran elocuencia, del concepto de independencia. La búsqueda del control sobre su propio destino, tema motor de esta narrativa, se refiere a la Independencia que anhela y logra una nación (si bien cruelmente dividida por una funesta Partición), pero también a la independencia añorada por una mujer, hija de esa misma nación. Virmati, la protagonista, busca unas relaciones humanas que le permitirán ser ella misma, ejercer el grado de control sobre su vida que, como mujer educada, ella sabe merecer. Como a tantas otras mujeres del subcontinente, se le quiere imponer el típico ‘casamiento pactado’. No obstante, rechaza esta fatalidad y se enamora del ‘Profesor’, un hombre culto pero ya casado. Su deseo por él se ve correspondido, pero la relación no le trae la felicidad esperada. ** Con Una mujer casada (2002; traducción, 2004), Manju vuelve a bucear en las turbulentas aguas de la condición femenina, ahora en el marco de una realidad más contemporánea, la de la ‘nueva’ India globalizada. En la primera página se nos presenta a la protagonista, Astha, mujer emblemática de una India aún sumida en la tradición: ‘Astha había sido educada adecuadamente, como corresponde a una mujer, con enormes complementos de miedo’. Mujer hindú casada con un correligionario, hombre de negocios de Delhi, vive un matrimonio convencional pero cómodo, hasta el momento en que traba conocimiento con Aijaz, musulmán y miembro de un grupo de teatro militante. Aijaz fallece trágicamente, en la secuencia de los enfrentamientos hindu-musulmanes que llevaron a destrucción de la mezquita de Ayodhya. Pero es en la propia ciudad de Ayodhya donde Astha conoce a Pipee, mujer de origen hindú que trabaja en una ONG y resulta ser la viuda de Aijaz. En contra de todas las pautas sociales, la amistad entre las dos mujeres deviene en una relación lesbiana, clandestina pero de lo más pasional. Esta relación trastorna la vida familiar de Astha, si bien con consecuencias problemáticas e imprevisibles. En ambas novelas, la escritura de Manju Kapur delinea las relaciones humanas y su contexto social con una gran finura y un cuidadoso atención a los detalles cotidianos. Las traducciones de Dora Sales son muy respetuosas con la alteridad india, además de que ambos volúmenes incluyen un copioso glosario de términos en diversas lenguas indias, así facilitando la comprensión por parte del lectorado hispanoparlante del texto y de la realidad subyacente. Es la traductora quien nos explica, en su nota a la segunda novela, cómo Manju Kapur nos surge como ‘una de las voces narrativas más sociales y progresistas de la narrativa india contemporánea – una de las escritoras más generosas y atrevidas, que sabe que en la literatura, como en la vida, a veces no hay respuestas, no hay conclusiones fijas’. Quien lee a Manju Kapur vertida por Dora Sales descubrirá, con placer y emoción, la otredad de la India de hoy, al tiempo que reconocerá muchos rasgos que, a fin de cuentas, no distan tanto de su propia identidad. ** Sitio de la editorial Espasa : www.espasa.com

**

Fotos: cubierta de ‘Una mujer casada’ y también la de ‘Hijas difíciles’

**

FOTOS:

1) Manjju Kapur 2) Manju Kapur, Antonia Navarro Tejero y Christopher Rollason – seninario en JNU University (Delhi), 2006

**

NOTAS COMPLEMENTARES A ESTA ENTRADA, de 2007:

Agrego que mi texto sobre “Hijas difíciles” fue recomendado en “El País” del 30-IX-06 (Babelia), como un “amplio y riguroso estudio crítico”:

http://www.elpais.es/articulo/semana/fecundas/escisiones/indias/elpbabsem/20060930elpbabese_4/Tes/

**

Agrego igualmente que la tercera novela de Manju Kapur, EN FAMILIA (HOME) también se halla disponible en castellano (Madrid: Espasa, 2006), traducida por Praz Pruneda  y revisada (con introducción y glosario) por Dora Sales.

 
 
 
 
 

ROSARIO CASTELLANOS – ‘BALÚN CANÁN’, NOVELA DE CHIAPAS

 

Rosario Castellanos, ‘Balún Canán’: primera edicion en el mercado español – Primera edición en el mercado del Estado español de la novela ‘Balún Canán’, de Rosario Castellanos

EDICIONES CATEDRA, Madrid – http://www.catedra.com/

 ** Edición de Dora Sales Salvador ** Reseña de Christopher Rollason** **

 RESUMEN

Si Rosario Castellanos está siendo cada vez más reconocida hoy día como una de las voces más originales y elocuentes de la literatura femenina hispanoamericana y mexicana, esta edición de ‘Balún Canán’ (1957), muy cuidadosamente preparada por Dora Sales Salvador, de la Universidad Jaume I de Castellón, tiene la particularidad, bien significativa, de ser la primera de cualquiera de sus obras a ser publicada directamente en el mercado del Estado español. Así, para el publico lector peninsular, se trata de un viaje de descubrimiento a través de las inhóspitas tierras del Estado de Chiapas. Las palabras del título son toponímicas, significando en el idioma maya ‘Los Nueve Guardianes’, refiriéndose a los cerros que rodean la ciudad de Comitán. No obstante, la vida de las gentes chiapanecas que narra Rosario, con ternura y compasión pero sin sentimentalismos, es más bien áspera, marcada por el conflicto cada vez más bullicioso entre ladinos e indios de la época de Cárdenas, así como por el sufrimiento de otro grupo marginado: el género femenino, sea cuál sea su etnia, siendo su representante máxima en la novela una niña cuyo nombre no llegamos a saber, hija de una familia tradicional de terratenientes. No obstante, si algo compensa la dureza de las vivencias narradas es el lenguaje, eminentemente pulcro y esmerado, que emplea en cada momento aquella Rosario que, nunca lo olvidemos, también fue poetisa. La comprensión de la realidad mexicana por parte de la gente ajena se halla enormemente facilitada por el ejemplar trabajo editorial de Dora Sales, quien ha sabido proporcionar una introducción rica y pluridimensional, una amplia bibliografía, y un aparato muy generoso de apuntes, explicadores de los abundantes mexicanismos del texto. La novela se halla complementada al final por el texto de ‘Primera revelación’ (1950), cuento de Rosario que merece ser leído como esbozando ya los grandes temas de una obra magistral, cuya lectura se revela como imprescindible para cualquier persona del Estado español que desee bucear en esa alteridad que es la sensibilidad mexicana.

  

** Ficha técnica: Rosario Castellanos, Balún Canán (1957). Edición de Dora Sales Salvador (Universidad Jaume I de Castellón). Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra (colección ‘Letras Hispánicas’), 2004. Rústica, 393 páginas. Introducción (págs. 9-118) y bibliografía (págs. 119-128). ISBN: 84-376-2181-X.

** FOTOS: 1) cubierta del libro 2) publicación parcial de esta reseña, noticia de Christopher Rollason sobre el libro de Rosario, aparecida en SAN MARCOS SEMANAL (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima), No 37, junio de 2005, p. 6: reproduccion de la página pertinente

El texto completo de esta reseña se puede encontrar en:

http://yatrarollason.info/files/ROSARIOES.pdf

y en inglés en:

http://yatrarollason.info/files/ROSARIOEN.pdf

**

 

 

** OTRA REFERENCIA: En el blog del escritor y periodista Manuel Cuen (‘Alas de Tigre’): http://alasdetigre.blogspot.com/2005/11/alas-del-eterno-femenino.html hallaréis un texto interesante sobre Rosario, incidiendo en su obra teatral ‘El eterno femenino’.

** ESTE LIBRO EN BIBLIOTECAS UNIVERSITARIAS: Según mis investigaciones por la Red, esta edición de BALÚN CANÁN se encuentra ya disponible en 24 bibliotecas universitarias de varios países. El listado (que voy actualizando) es el siguiente: ** ESTADO ESPAÑOL: Comunidad de Madrid – Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; Catalunya – Universitat Central de Barcelona; Universitat de Girona; Navarra/Nafarroa – Universidad de Navarra; Asturias/Asturies – Universidad de Oviedo; Castilla y León – Universidad de Salamanca; Universidad de Valladolid; ** ITALIA: Università di Trento;** FRANCIA: Université de La Réunion (ultramar);** ALEMANIA: Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden; J.W. Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt; Universität Halle; Universität Mannheim; SUIZA: Université de Fribourg;** ESCOCIA: University of Edinburgh; **EE UU: University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of Denver, Colorado; James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia; Georgetown University, Washington, DC; University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth; Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; University of Illinois at Champaign;** JAPÓN: Tokyo University.** (y añadamos la biblioteca del Instituto Cervantes en Amman, Jordania).

Nota añadida 1-VIII-08:

La versión inglesa de esta reseña de BALÚN CANÁN ha sido publicada (véase entrada para 1-VIII-08 en esta bitácora), bajo el título: ‘”A Woman Schooled in Latin”: Rosario Castellanos, Ambassador of Mexico and Chiapas’, en la revista HISPANIC HORIZON (Delhi), Año XXIV – No 26, 2008, págs. 29-40

Nota añadida 9-XII-08:

Una segunda publicación parcial de esta reseña (siguiendo la de Lima) tuvo lugar en México DF en 2007:

Boletín Informativo del Grupo Tacuba, nr 149 (13-VIII-07), págs. 3-4. 

**

Note added 24 March 2010

 

I am pleased to have discovered at:

http://www.niobraracountylibrary.org/wch/series007/bdtalk_distant.pdf,

in a report on a Mexican literature reading group (in English) organised by the Wyoming Council for the Humanities (USA), at various locations in the state in 2008 – title:

 

Wyoming Council for the Humanities – Book Discussion Archive: Diatant Neighbors – Twentieth-Century Mexican Literature

 

that this article has been included by the Niobrara county library in Lusk, Wyoming in its background file on Castellanos’ novel.

 

I quote Mary Keller, one of the reading group members (p. 9 of the document): ‘Among the many

good leads in that file, compiled largely out of archive resources at Niobrara county library (Thank You!), I really enjoyed Christopher Rollason’s review of Dec. 2004.’

 

I am most grateful to Mary Keller and the Niobrara librarians!

 

**

Note added 25 September 2010:

An extract from this review has been used in the 2010 edition of the
project known as ENLACE:

http://enlace.sep.gob.mx/gr/

The aim of this project
(ENLACE means ‘link’ ; the acronym stands for Evaluación Nacional de Logro
Académico en Centros Escolares, i.e. National Evaluation of Schools’ Academic
Achievement) is “to establish a single scale at national level providing comparable information of the pupils’
knowledge and schools in the subjects evaluated”. It is applied to primary
education and the first, second and third years of secondary education, primarily
in the core subjects of Spanish and maths. The tests, based on multiple-choice
questions, are sat by all pupils in all schools, public and private, at the
level concerned, everywhere in Mexico.

In the Spanish test for 2010
for the second year of secondary education, questions 106 to 113 are on Mexican
literature, specifically two novels: CANEK by Emilio Abreu and BALÚN CANÁN by
Rosario Castellanos:

www.enlace.sep.gob.mx/ba/docs/2010/ENLACE10_2S.pdf

and question 110 directly concerns my review.

For more details, see entry on this blog for 24 September 2010.

**

Photo below: SAN MARCOS SEMANAL (Lima) with extract from the review
 

 

 

 
 

DORA SALES SALVADOR, ‘Puentes sobre el mundo’ – sobre /on Vikram Chandra y/and José María Arguedas

No tengas miedo a lo que tienes para contar” – Reseña de Dora Sales Salvador: Puentes sobre el mundo: Cultura, traducción y forma literaria en las narrativas de transculturación de José María Arguedas y Vikram Chandra ** Ficha técnica: Berna, Suiza: Peter Lang, 2004; Colección ‘Perspectivas hispánicas’, No 21; rústica, 677 pags.; ISBN 3-03910-359-8 – ** RESEÑA por Christopher Rollason **

Texto completo de la reseña:

http://yatrarollason.info/files/PuentesES.pdf

RESUMEN ** Las literaturas hispanoamericana e india de habla inglesa suelen ser invocadas como instancias muy significativas de la escritura ‘del tercer mundo’ o poscolonial. Sin embargo, los estudios críticos de índole comparatista no han abundado. Desde la orilla hispanoparlante, dicha carencia se ve compensada ahora con este libro de Dora Sales Salvador, docente de la Universidad Jaume I (Comunidad Valenciana, España). En este estudio, que constituye la publicación de su tesis doctoral, la autora urde un análisis muy denso y elocuente de dos textos de estas literaturas, integrando con éxito sus planteamientos dentro de un marco teórico en el que prima la multidisciplinaridad. ** Las novelas comentadas son: Los ríos profundos (1958), del peruano José María Arguedas, y Red Earth and Pouring Rain (1995), del indio Vikram Chandra. Dora Sales consigue ilustrar las dos novelas a la luz de un hermoso candelabro de cinco ramas, desplegando un abanico de perspectivas teóricas que abarca las siguientes disciplinas: la teoría literaria (sobretodo la poscolonial); la literatura comparada; la antropología; los estudios de traducción; y los estudios culturales. La autora pone un énfasis muy saludable en las corrientes de pensamiento no occidentales: la antropología latinoamericana (en particular, la transculturación de Fernando Ortiz), y la teoría sánscrita de las rasas (emociones), concebida como alternativa a la ortodoxia aristotélica. Propone, además, un análisis pormenorizado de los aspectos lingüísticos de ambas novelas (integración de elementos del quechua y de idiomas de la India), así como de la interfaz textual entre cultura oficial y cultura popular (incorporación de canciones populares quechuas; influencia del tradicional arte de narrar indio). ** El lector comparte una vivencia literaria que nos recuerda las posiciones de Edward Said, tratándose, en las palabras de la autora, de “la voluntad de asumir como propio no lo uno sino lo diverso”. El objetivo, tan importante, de la comunicación intercultural se halla espléndidamente conseguido en este volumen de gran calidad, que nos aparece para testimoniar con elocuencia al poder que tiene la literatura – muy especialmente en su vertiente poscolonial o transcultural – para construir, en la frase de la novela de Arguedas que hace suya Dora Sales, “puentes sobre el mundo”.

**

Review by Dr Christopher Rollason (Metz, France – rollason@9online.fr), of: Dora Sales Salvador, Puentes sobre el mundo: Cultura, traducción y forma literaria en las narrativas de transculturación de José María Arguedas y Vikram Chandra (Bridges over the world: Culture, translation and literary form in the narratives of transculturation of José María Arguedas and Vikram Chandra) Details: Berne, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2004; Series: ‘Perspectivas hispánicas’, No 21; soft covers, 677 pp.; ISBN 3-03910-359-8 – http://www.peterlang.com **  This book only exists in Spanish **

 

Full text of this review at:

http://yatrarollason.info/files/PuentesEN.pdf

ABSTRACT Indian writing in English and Spanish-American literature are both often evoked as key instances of third-world or postcolonial writing, via the works of such now-canonic figures as Salman Rushdie or Gabriel García Márquez. However, comparative critical studies have been thin on the ground. A major contribution to filling that gap is now offered, from the Spanish-speaking side, by Dora Sales Salvador’s book, whose title reads in English: Bridges over the world: Culture, translation and literary form in the narratives of transculturation of José María Arguedas and Vikram Chandra. Dora Sales, who teaches at the Jaume I de Castellón University (Valencia region, Spain) and originally submitted this work as her doctoral thesis, weaves a dense and convincing comparative analysis of two texts from the two literatures, successfully integrating her discussion within a multidisciplinary theoretical framework. The novels analysed are Los ríos profundos (Deep Rivers, 1958), by the Peruvian José María Arguedas, and Red Earth and Pouring Rain (1995), by Vikram Chandra. Dora Sales is, additionally, the co-translator into Spanish of Chandra’s Love and Longing in Bombay, and has also translated Manju Kapur’s two novels, Difficult Daughters and A Married Woman. Her study was compiled with the full cooperation of both Vikram Chandra and Sybila Arredondo de Arguedas, José María’s widow. Dora Sales powerfully illuminates her two chosen texts with the aid of an elegant five-branched candelabrum, deploying theoretical perspectives embracing the following disciplines: literary theory (especially postcolonial); comparative literature; anthropology; translation studies; and cultural studies. She places a salutary emphasis on non-Western theoretical currents: Latin American anthropology, notably the Cuban writer Fernando Ortiz’s concept of transculturation; and the Sanskrit model of the rasas, as an alternative aesthetic to Aristotelian orthodoxy. Her study identifies a series of points of convergence between the works of Chandra and Arguedas: both write from within a postcolonial or decolonised context and a language reality that is bilingual (Spanish/Quechua) or multilingual (English/Hindi/Indian regional languages) but where languages do not have equal power; both make use of elements deeply rooted in the oral tradition; and both achieve an original form of adaptation, comprehensible but visibly manipulated, of the colonial language to the autochthonous cultural substratum. The author offers a detailed analysis of the language aspects of both novels, in the context of transculturation (lexical and discursive borrowings from Quechua and from Indian languages) and the interface between elite and folk cultures – in Arguedas, the incorporation into the text of traditional Quechua song; in Chandra, the influence of the non-linear narrative of the Sanskrit epics and the storyteller figure.

**

Foto de la autora  / Photo of the author:

 

Nota añadida / Note added 2-VII-2009:

Como complemento al libro reseñado, señálese el volumen, publicado en 2009
(Madrid: Iberoamericana, 189 páginas, ISBN 978 84-8489-433-9;
www.ibero-americana.net):
José María Arguedas, QEPA WIÑAQ … SIEMPRE: LITERATURA Y ANTROPOLOGÍA.
Se trata de una edición critica preparada e introducida por Dora Sales, con un prólogo firmado por la viuda del
escritor, Sybila de Arguedas, compuesto por los siguientes textos de Arguedas: cinco relatos, un sexto relato (popular) traducido del quechua, y seis ensayos de antropología, completando el volumen una bibliografía y una serie de fotos de Arguedas y familiares.

As a complement to the book here reviewed, readers may wish to note the volume published in 2009
(Madrid: Iberoamericana, 189 pp., ISBN 978 84-8489-433-9;
www.ibero-americana.net):
José María Arguedas, QEPA WIÑAQ … SIEMPRE: LITERATURA Y ANTROPOLOGÍA.
This volume (Qepa Wiñaq means ALWAYS in Quechua) is a critical edition prepared and introdued by Dora Sales, with a prologue by the writer’s widow Sybila de Arguedas, consisting of the following texts by Arguedas: five stories, a translation of a popular Quechua story, and six anthropological studies, plus a bibliography and a number of photos of Arguedas and relatives.

 
 

NICOLA MENICACCI: BOB DYLAN, THE LAST TEMPLAR – NEW BOOK IN ITALIAN (+ BLOG LINK)

 

‘LOOK INSIDE YOUR MIRROR’ – Review of: Nicola Menicacci: BOB DYLAN, L’ULTIMO CAVALIERE (‘BOB DYLAN, THE LAST CHEVALIER’) 2005, Riola (Bologna, Italy): Hermatena Edizioni, ISBN 88-88437-22-3, soft covers, 232 pp, EUR 19.00 Preface by Alberto Cesare Ambesi

www.bobdylanlultimocavaliere.it, www.hermatena.it

**

Author of review: Christopher Rollason – September 2005

**

Bob Dylan’s work can be imagined as a hall of mirrors. Time and again the poet invites us into ‘a room full of covered-up mirrors’, and challenges us to take off the covers, gaze into the smiling mirror that is each song, and discover within it arcana, mysteries to be plumbed. Does Bob Dylan see his own songs as clearly as the listener who looks inside their mirror and has had their author on his mind? Such is the point of view favoured by a certain group among Dylan’s more loyal admirers, those who believe the songs are there to be endlessly interpreted – that they belong less to Dylan himself than to the listeners for whom they have become an indissociable part of their lives. Nicola Menicacci’s remarkable new study certainly comes from a Dylan fan of this stamp, and is a book addressed to the members of that special group of companions in interpretation.** Nicola Menicacci is already known in Dylan circles for his often daring and always absorbing readings of Dylan songs that have been published over the years on the Bob Dylan Critical Corner site. This volume (so far available only in Italian, though the author promises an English version), takes a particular period in Dylan’s songwriting – 1974-1989, from the Blood on the Tracks to the Oh Mercy songs – and reads the lyrics of those years in the light of a philosophical postulate. The postulate is that during that period – and essentially only that period, with a handful of exceptions before and after – Dylan’s songwriting is consistently coded in two layers of meaning – one on the surface, immediately accessible; the other, hidden and symbolic. As the author puts it in his introduction, this group of Dylan songs would then have the status of ‘messaggi cifrati’ (‘messages in cypher’ – 9). Nicola Menicacci argues that the symbolism which he deciphers (or de-cyphers) in these songs should be related to an esoteric belief-system to which, he contends, Bob Dylan secretly subscribed over those years. This system could approximately be described as pertaining to the alternative or counter-historical spiritual tradition, running against the grain of established Christianity of whatever stamp, that has manifested itself over the centuries in such movements or currents as Gnosticism, the Cathars, the Templars, the Grail cult, the Rosicrucians and Freemasonry, and in such sacred places as Jerusalem, Glastonbury in England and Rennes-le-Château in France. **

THE REST OF THIS REVIEW CAN BE FOUND AT: http://nicolamenicacci.com/bdcc/cavaliere.pdf**

It has also been published in the British Dylan fanzine THE BRIDGE – No 24, Spring 2006, pp. 94-102**

I add a link to Nicola Menicacci’s BLOG at: http://www.nicolamenicacci.com/board/: this blog, almost entirely in Italian, has more information about his book and its promotion and reception, as well as other more general cultural matters.**

The book has been well received in the Italian press – for details, see Nicola’s Press Room at: http://www.nicolamenicacci.com/bd/press.htm. Also on the site you can find Nicola’s promotional videos for the book – http://www.nicolamenicacci.com/bd/videos/ – in both Italian and English.

PHOTOS: Nicola’s book; Nicola at his parents’ home in Florence, Sept 2004 (photo by Chris Rollason); Nicola with Chris outside the Pendragon bookshop in Bologna, Sept 2004 (photo by Rosarita Cuccoli 

Note added 15 September 2009:

This book was discussed in a text which appeared on 23 August 2007 in NY TID, a long-established and prestigious Swedish-language weekly based in Helsingfors, Finland (author: Sven-Erik Klinkmann; www.nytid.fi/arkiv/artikelnt-684-5167.html). See article on this blog for 14 September 2009.

‘MODERN CRITICISM’, ed. Christopher Rollason and Rajeshwar Mittapalli

 

https://www.vedamsbooks.com/no28782.htm

** Modern Criticism/Christopher Rollason and Rajeshwar Mittapalli. New Delhi, Atlantic, 2002, xii, 304 p., ISBN 81-269-0187-X. ** Contents: Preface. 1. Postmodernism’s linguistic turn/Christine Jones. 2. Teaching a postmodern text/T. Ravichandran. 3. The specter of relativism: a critical review of Norman Holland’s models of reader-response/Nouri Gana. 4. Irony in relevance theory: recurrent features, critical stances and possible research trends/Maria Angeles Ruiz Moneva. 5. Towards an inclusive, multi-functional, sociolinguistic theory of stylistics of fiction/Prakash Chandra Pradhan. 6. Language of drama: a consideration/N.V. Raveendran. 7. The symbolism of literature/Gangadhar Gadgil. 8. Language, identity and African literary theory/Anthonia C. Kalu. 9. The trajectory of African critical discourse in English: an overview/Mala Pandurang. 10. India, Indian, Indianness: problematising the Indian English novelist’s identity/Subhendu Mund. 11. Psychoanalysis and Indian writing in English: promises and possibilities/Rajeshwar Mittapalli. 12. Introductory notes on the application of art criticism to legal research/Damaso Javier Vicente Blanco. 13. Toward an exemplary relationship between the judge and the literary critic/Nouri Gana. 14. Feminist deconstruction and reconstruction of male myths and fairy tales via intertextuality/N. Geetha. 15. The passageways of Paris: Walter Benjamin’s ‘Arcades project’; and contemporary cultural debate in the west/Christopher Rollason. 16. Invisible natures: on Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities/Virgilio Augusto Fernandes Almeida.

** ‘This anthology assembles sixteen essays on different aspects of modern criticism, by some of the best scholars from six countries and four continents. The essays, variously, examine a range of theoretical perspectives, point up key issues in the area of postcolonial literary studies, or open up new interdisciplinary perspectives for the future of criticism. ** Among the critical schools and approaches expounded by the distinguished contributors are postmodernism, reader-response theory, postcolonial theory, psychoanalytic criticism, feminist criticism and Marxist criticism. The concluding essays bring the critical debate right up-to-date by suggesting new critical paths for the internet age.

** The contributors included such reputed experts, from India and abroad, as T. Ravichandran, Nouri Gana, Prakash Chandra Pradhan, N. Raveendran, Gangadhar Gadgil, Anthonia Kalu, Mala Pandurang, Subhendu Mund, Damaso Javier Vicente Blanco, and Virgilio Augusto Fernandes Almeida. This rich and diverse volume will prove an invaluable source of reference and stimulus for further thought, for students and scholars alike.’ (jacket) ** Photos: dust-jacket of the book; and, as my own article is on Walter Benjamin, a shot taken by myself of the Passage Walter Benjamin in Strasbourg, France.

See also the entry for this volume at Google Books (search on title and authors): you will find some eye-catching extracts!

Also: photos of Rajeshwar Mittapalli in London and of myself in Vigo (Spain).

 

Note added 17 July 2009:

My own essay in this volume, on Walter Benjamin, has been extensively cited in academic milieux. See entries on this blog: 10 October 2005, 20 May 2008 and 16 July 2009.

Note added 17 April 2012:

MODERN CRITICISM is now in the collections of the following libraries:

Cochin University of Science and Technology (Kochi, Kerala), University of Mysore, and
Swami Vivekananda College (Jaghatsinghpur, Orissa) (all in India), BRAC University (Dhaka, Bangladesh)  and Cambridge University (UL) and Trinity College, Cambridge (England).

 
 
 
 
 

FOOTPRINTS OF THE RAJ: BRITAIN AND INDIA

Footprints of the Raj (exhibition): ‘Eton and India’, Eton College (England),
April-September 2005

Dr Christopher Rollason

Published in The Statesman (Kolkata/Calcutta), 13 Aug 2005,
Lifestyle section, p. 2 and at:

A stone’s throw from Windsor Castle, Eton College has an incontestable place in British history as the school which, since its foundation in 1440, has educated a remarkable number of eminent (male) ruling-class figures, as well as more dissident elements such as George Orwell. Eton also has a notable connection with India, having supplied no less than eleven Viceroys over the colonial period. Times change, but the connection remains and is now richly documented in a fascinating exhibition, ‘Eton and India’, open from 20 April to 30 September 2005 at the College’s Brewhouse Gallery and masterminded by Eton history master Andrew Robinson.

The first Etonian linked with the subcontinent seems to have been the seventeenth-century diarist John Evelyn, an early investor in the East India Company. Later, another Etonian founded R. Thomas and Co, a firm involved in the indigo and jute businesses in Calcutta. The connection took on political and military colours with the campaigns of Lord Cornwallis in the Third Mysore War against Tipu Sultan and Richard Wellesley’s consolidation of the Company’s territories. Etonian Governors-General included Lord Canning, in office at the time of the 1857 rebellion, while the long line of Viceroys supplied by the College includes Lords Dufferin, Curzon and Linlithgow.

This official history is amply chronicled in the exhibition through documents, photographs and memorabilia, stretching all the way to Partition and Independence and including key pieces of historical evidence such as letters to Linlithgow from both George V and Gandhi. British opposition to the Raj, too, is embodied a copy of ‘Talking to India’, a volume edited in 1943 by George Orwell, then talks supremo for the Indian Section of the BBC’s Eastern Service but also a determined opponent of British rule.

Nor is the more personal and sentimental side of the British presence neglected. There are moving talismans from the life of James Achilles Kirkpatrick, the Etonian who, as British Resident in Hyderabad from 1798 to 1805, controversially took a Muslim wife and has latterly become the subject of William Dalrymple’s best-selling book ‘White Mughals’. Also present is Duleep Singh, last Maharajah of the Punjab and onetime custodian of the Koh-i-Noor, who sent his sons to Eton, while his daughter became a distinguished resident of the nearby village of Penn in Buckinghamshire. On the cultural side too, contemporary Etonians have made major contributions to Indian studies, as the exhibition bears witness with copies of David Gilmour’s recent biographies of Kipling and Curzon, as well as the classic study of Satyajit Ray by (another) Andrew Robinson – no relation to the exhibition organiser, but as keen an Indianist.

The Eton-India connection extends to India’s education system, and reverberates to the present day. The 1880s saw the establishment of the four ‘Chief’s Colleges’, boarding schools set up on the English model to educate native rulers’ sons. One of these, Mayo College in Ajmer, founded in 1872, was described by the then Viceroy, Lord Lytton, as ‘India’s Eton’, and to this day the Rajasthan school maintains an exchange programme under which Mayo pupils study at Eton and Etonians spend gap-year time teaching at Mayo. A later foundation, Doon School in Dehra Dun, set up in 1935, also maintains ties with Eton (its first head was an Etonian), and the exhibition graphically illustrates the links with both Indian schools. In the literary field, we may recall that Orwell was, through his friendship with Mulk Raj Anand, an early champion of Indian Writing in English, and it is interesting to note in this connection that among Doon College’s best-known living alumni are IWE heavyweights Vikram Seth and Amitav Ghosh, while, similarly, Mayo’s include Vikram Chandra.

In the Raj era, Etonians went out to India to rule. In the twenty-first century, the connection will no doubt continue to flourish, with Eton’s alumni finding, in the country their forebears once governed, a new role as valued partners, or indeed employees, of Indian software companies and outsourcing powerhouses – no longer at viceroy’s or governor’s residencies, but on the gleaming campuses of Wipro or Infosys. As Andrew Robinson says in the exhibition catalogue, ‘it is highly likely that many more Etonians of the present generation will find themselves working in India and for Indians’. The long-standing Anglo-Indian relationship is now mutating in fast and surprising ways. This excellent exhibition serves as a powerful reminder to both parties of the richness and complexity of a historical connection that is today, once again, coming very much alive.

Paris and Walter Benjamin: Photos of the Arcades

Here are some photos I have taken of some of the nineteenth-century arcades (or covered passages) of Paris – the paradises of the flâneurs or strollers of the time, and constructions which, apart from their intrinsic interest, have been immortalised thanks to Walter Benjamin’s remarkable study ‘The Arcades Project’. The photos can also be found, with captions, in the first photograph album that appears when you open this blog.  These images complement my essay:

 

‘The Passageways of Paris: Walter Benjamin’s “Arcades Project” and Contemporary Cultural Debate in the West’, in Modern Criticism, ed. Christopher Rollason and Rajeshwar Mittapalli, New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, 2002, pp. 262-296; rev. version at:

Click to access BenjaminPassagesYatraversion.pdf

(Internet), 2002; shorter version in Spanish, ‘El Libro de los pasajes de Walter Benjamin, la historia no lineal e Internet’, trans. Andrea Sekler, Mapocho: Revista de Humanidades (Santiago, Chile: Ediciones de la Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos), No 66, July-December 2009, pp. 13-31; on-line at: http://yatrarollason.info/files/BenjaminES.pdf [for the Spanish version, see blog entry for 7 January 2010].

 

 

Extract from my text:

** ‘What is an arcade? In its classic sense, the term denotes a pedestrian passage or gallery, open at both ends and roofed in glass and iron, typically linking two parallel streets and consisting of two facing rows of shops and other commercial establishments – restaurants, cafés, hairdressers, etc. “Arcade” is the English name: in French the arcades are known as “passages”, and in German as “Passagen”. The modern arcade was invented in Paris, and, while the concept was imitated in other cities – there are particularly fine mid-nineteenth century examples in Brussels – the Parisian arcades remain the type of the phenomenon. Benjamin quotes a passage from the Illustrated Guide to Paris, a German publication of 1852, which sums up the arcades’ essence: “These arcades, a recent invention of industrial luxury, are glass-roofed, marble-panelled corridors extending through whole blocks of buildings, whose owners have joined together for such enterprises. Lining both sides of the corridors, which get their light from above, are the most elegant shops, so that the arcade is a city, a world in miniature, in which customers will find everything they need”. ** The construction that is generally accepted as the first example of the Paris arcade proper was the Passage des Panoramas, opened in 1800 when Napoleon Bonaparte was First Consul, and still in existence. There had been earlier partial precursors in Paris. The “Galeries de Bois” or Wooden Galleries inside the Palais-Royal – the former Royal Palace and residence of the Orléans branch of the royal family – offered, from 1790 until their demolition in 1828, a traffic-free space where a multitude of traders served thronging crowds under a wooden roof, and which, in literature, is the subject of a celebrated description in Illusions perdues (Lost Illusions), Balzac’s classic fictional exposé of Parisian society published in 1843. However, the Passage des Panoramas was certainly the first of the purpose-built glass-roofed arcades, and, therefore, of the arcades proper. This arcade, situated just off the rue Vivienne near the Bourse or Stock Exchange, to this day contains a multitude of small shops and restaurants, and culminates in the back entrance to the Théâtre des Variétés. Most of its successors were constructed between 1800 and 1830, i.e. through the Napoleonic period and under the post-1815 Bourbon monarchy, as restored after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo; a further handful saw the light during the “bourgeois monarchy” of Louis-Philippe and the Second Empire under Napoleon III, the last being built in 1860. All these arcades – in their heyday they numbered between twenty and thirty – were located within a relatively small area of the city, on the right bank of the Seine. In the process that gave rise to them, landowners – aristocrats, bankers or large-scale traders – bent on speculation bought up and demolished old or empty properties, thus creating substantial vacant lots between streets, on which the arcades were constructed.’

**

Note added 18 November 2008

I have added a photo at the bottom, of the glass roofing of the Passage des Panoramas as seen from a room at the Hôtel Vivienne in rue Vivienne, which abuts on to that arcade. The hotel’s cat is a flâneur and likes to stroll in the arcades.

**

 

Note added 12 December 2008:

On my last visit to Passage des Panoramas, I noted with sadness that STERN, the engraver’s establishment which had been there in that arcade since 1834, had closed for good. Benjamin’s ghost will be displeased …  I had already included a close-up from STERN’s window in my montage above (third in first row): here now is another shot of that same window, together with two more, taken in spring 2008 when STERN was still going strong and featuring my friend Stephen Scobie, award-wining Canadian poet and Professor (retired) at the University of Victoria, Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THANKS! ¡GRACIAS!

This blog will be bilingual in English/Spanish, and I extend my most grateful thanks to the person who gave me the idea of creating it, Dr Antonia Navarro Tejero of the University of Cordoba. Thank you, Antonia!

Este blog será bilingüe en inglés y castellano/español, y ya quiero comunicar mis profundos agradecimientos a quien me dio la idea de su creación, la Dra Antonia Navarro Tejero de la Universidad de Córdoba. ¡Gracias, Antonia!

Biography – Dr Christopher Rollason

Dr Christopher Rollason is a British national. He lives in Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg). He graduated with First Class Honours in English literature from Trinity College, Cambridge (England) in 1975, and obtained his Ph.D. from York University (England) in 1988, with a dissertation on Edgar Allan Poe (on whom he has also published numerous articles). For eight years up to 1987 he was a member of the Department of Anglo-American Studies at the Faculty of Letters of Coimbra University (Portugal). Dr Rollason has worked in recent years in various contexts (institutionally/personally/via conferences and/or publications) with universities including: Surrey (England), Caen (France), Bologna (Italy), Vigo (Spain), and San Marcos (Lima, Peru), and, as a guest lecturer in India, Kakatiya University (Warangal, Andhra Pradesh), CIEFL (Hyderabad) and JNU (Delhi). He is a member of AEDEAN (the Spanish Association of Anglo-American Studies) and the Poe Studies Association. Dr Rollason has been Language Editor for the Delhi-based Atlantic Literary Review and has contributed to that journal and to a number of the anthologies issued by Atlantic Publishers, Delhi. Among the Indian literary figures he has written on are Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Vikram Chandra, Amitav Ghosh and Manju Kapur. In 2002 he co-edited (with Dr Rajeshwar Mittapalli of Kakatiya University) the anthology ‘Modern Criticism’, published by Atlantic, to which he also contributed an essay on Walter Benjamin. In 2003 he co-edited (with Dr Dora Sales Salvador of the Universidad Jaume I de Castellón) ‘Postcolonial Feminist Writing’, a special issue of the Atlantic Literary Review. In 2010 he co-edited a volume on Vikram Chandra with Drs Sheobhushan Shukla and Anu Shukla. He has also contributed to a number of other Indian publications, namely: The Pioneer (Delhi), The Statesman (Kolkata/Calcutta), IJOWLAC (Kolkata/Calcutta) and  Kakatiya Journal of English Studies (Warangal). He has published on Bob Dylan in print form in ‘Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais’ and ‘Jornal de Notícias’ (Portugal), ‘Fanzimmer’, ‘The Grove’ and ‘Atlantis’ (Spain) ‘San Marcos Semanal’ (Lima) and ‘Parking Meter’ (Vienna), as well as being a regular contributor to the UK-based Dylan magazine ‘The Bridge’. Dr Rollason has given numerous conference papers on Poe, Rushdie, Dylan and other subjects.

NOTE: Post updated 2 Aug 2018. Dr Rollason also has a website at:

http://yatrarollason.info