Archive for May, 2007

MY REVIEW OF / MI RESEÑA DE: CLORINDA MATTO DE TURNER (PERU/PERÚ), “AVES SIN NIDO” (1889)

 

Está disponible en mi sitio mi reseña de la primera edición crítica
publicada en el
Estado español de esta importante novela peruana, de cariz
indigenista y pro-mujer, en versiones lingüísticas castellana e inglesa
**
Now up on my site is my review of the first critical edition
to appear in Spain of this important Peruvian novel, pro-native and
pro-women:
**
http://yatrarollason.info/files/ClorindaAVESES.pdf
http://yatrarollason.info/files/ClorindaAvesEN.pdf
**
Véase también mi entrada de bitácora / see also my blog entry for 27-11-2006
(launch of the book / lanzamiento del libro, Castellón de la Plana)
**
RESUMEN:
Libro reseñado:
reseña de Clorinda Matto de Turner, AVES SIN NIDO
(novela de 1889; edición crítica de Dora Sales Salvador, 2006)
**
Ficha técnica:
Castellón de la Plana (Comunidad Valenciana, España): Universidad Jaume I /
Ellago Ediciones (Colección Sendes), 2006, ISBN 84-8021-557-7, 300 págs.
**
En el paisaje de la literatura peruana de la segunda parte del siglo XIX,
hoy día va cobrando cada vez más importancia retrospectiva la figura de
Clorinda Matto de Turner (Cuzco, 1852 – Buenos Aires, 1909), escritora que
se destaca por su trabajo a favor de la educación femenina, por haber
aparecido en el Índice papal de libros prohibidos a pesar de ser cristiana
practicante y creyente, y por la novela Aves sin nido (1889), que marcó un
hito en la literatura latinoamericana de cariz intervencionista y social y
que ahora aparece, por primera vez en el mercado español, en una edición
crítica , con una amplia introducción (incluyendo una cronología de la
autora) y una muy completa bibliografía. La responsable de esta útil
contribución a los estudios latinoamericanos es Dora Sales Salvador, de la
Universidad Jaume I de Castellón (España).

Clorinda Matto de Turner nació en Cuzco, en 1852, bajo el nombre de
Grimanesa Martina Matto Usandivares. El apodo Clorinda, bajo el cual
compuso sus obras, se lo debió a su marido, José Turner, comerciante de
origen británico con quien se casó en 1871. Su padre, de la clase
media-alta, era dueño de una propiedad en la localidad de Paullo Chico
(cerca de Coya, departamento de Cuzco), donde su joven hija pasó varias
temporadas que le permitieron, como nos señala Dora Sales, ‘observar de
cerca la vida y costumbres de los indígenas quechuas’ (Introducción, 28),
además de aprender su lengua y así convertirse en intelectual bilingüe
(hasta el punto de publicar, a partir de 1901, una serie de traducciones de
textos bíblicos al quechua) . En este aspecto, la podemos acercar a
escritores posteriores como Castellanos y Arguedas, ellos también sujetos
oriundos de los estratos burgueses e hispano-blancos, pero caracterizados
por un conocimiento íntimo de las vidas de los indígenas subalternos y
acérrimos defensores de sus derechos y su dignidad. A la vez, Matto se
irguió desde muy temprano como promotora activa de la causa de la mujer
peruana y latinoamericana, sea cuál sea su origen étnica.
**
ABSTRACT:
Book reviewed:
Clorinda Matto de Turner, AVES SIN NIDO
(novel of 1889; critical edition by Dora Sales Salvador, 2006)
**
Details:
Castellón de la Plana (Comunidad Valenciana, Spain): Universidad Jaume I /
Ellago Ediciones (Colección Sendes), 2006, ISBN 84-8021-557-7, 300 pp.
**
In the literary landscape of Peru of the second half of the nineteenth
century, increasing retrospective importance is today being given to the
figure of Clorinda Matto de Turner (Cuzco, 1852 – Buenos Aires, 1909), a
writer who stands out thanks to her work for women’s education, for
appearing on the papal Index of Banned Books despite being a practising and
believing Christian, and for her novel Aves sin nido (Birds Without a Nest
), first published in 1889, which marked a key moment in the history of
socially committed writing in Latin America, and which now appears, for the
first time on the Spanish market, in a critical edition , with a full
introduction (including a chronology of the author) plus an extensive
bibliography. This valuable contribution to Latin American studies is the
work of Dora Sales Salvador, of the Universidad Jaume I de Castellón
(Spain).

Clorinda Matto de Turner was born in Cuzco, in 1852, under the name of
Grimanesa Martina Matto Usandivares. The adopted name Clorinda under which
she wrote her works was bestowed on her by her husband, José Turner, a
businessman of British origin whom she married in 1871. Her father hailed
from the upper-middle class and owned a property in the locality of Paullo
Chico (near Coya in the departamento (province) of Cuzco), where his young
daughter stayed on a number of occasions. These stays enabled her, in the
words of Dora Sales, to ‘observar de cerca la vida y costumbres de los
indígenas quechuas’ (‘observe the life and customs of the Quechua natives
from close up’ – Introduction, 28). She may thus be compared with later
writers like Castellanos and Arguedas, who also came from the
white/Spanish-speaking/middle-class strata but had an intimate knowledge of
the lives of the subaltern natives and were convinced defenders of their
rights and dignity. At the same time, Matto was from early on an active
promoter of the cause of Peruvian and Latin American women, whatever their
ethnic origin.

**

Nota añadida 1-7-08:

La versión española de esta reseña ha sido publicada en / The Spanish version of this review has been published in:

Boletín de la Academia Peruana de la Lengua (Lima, Perú), No 43, 2007, pp. 173-181

véase (número entero): http://www.scribd.com/doc/3494850/Academia-Boletin-43

 

**

Nota añadida / Note added 15-7-08:

Me informa mi amigo Elio Fiestas que ha difundido el texto de esta reseña "ENTRE ALUMNOS DEL COLEGIO NACIONAL "DOS DE MAYO" DE LA PROVINCIA CONSTITUCIONAL DEL CALLAO, LIMA". Le quedo enormemente agradecido 🙂

I am told by my friend Elio Fiestas that he has distributed the text of my review to school students at the COLEGIO NACIONAL "DOS DE MAYO" DE LA PROVINCIA CONSTITUCIONAL DEL CALLAO, LIMA. I am most grateful to him 🙂  

Advertisements

COLEGIOS CAROS DE CURAS – novela de Ana García-Arroyo sobre la ‘vieja’ España de la enseñanza religiosa

 

COLEGIOS CAROS DE CURAS (Barcelona: Ellas Editorial, 2007, ISBN
978-84-934973-2-3 -www.ellaseditorial.com/novedades.htm) es la primera
novela de Ana García-Arroyo, estudiosa de la cultura india radicada en
Barcelona cuyas publicaciones anteriores incluyen Fábulas feministas
(traducción de la autora india Suniti Namjoshi, 2003), Sexualidades
alternativas e el arte y la cultura de la India (2006) y The Construction
of Queer Culture in India: Pioneers and Landmarks (2006). Se trata de una
narración, en tercera persona pero en un registro a la vez informal y
comprometido, que expone ciertas facetas del lado oscuro de una España
contemporánea que muy a menudo quiere presentarse al mundo como una
sociedad dinámica, moderna y europea, pero donde en realidad persisten
muchas lacras de su todavía reciente pasado autoritario.

La autora nos narra la historia de Ruth, profesora de literatura en
LaFillet, un (ficticio) centro de enseñanza secundaria de Barcelona,
perteneciente a la iglesia católica pero funcionando con concierto del
Estado. Cuando Ruth ingresa en el cuerpo docente del colegio, cree
sinceramente en la ideología oficial de una institución que afirma
consagrarse al amplio desarrollo de la entera personalidad de sus alumnos y
alumnas. Ruth es una persona que cree muy profundamente en la Educación con
mayúscula, que da todo su ser a sus clases y sus alumnos, que encara la
Literatura no como una mera asignatura que le toca impartir, sino como una
fuente viva de experiencias y conocimientos que nos ayuda a vivir mejor.
Además, es una gran apasionada de la cultura india, poseedora de una
sensibilidad abierta al multiculturalismo y la diversidad. No tolera las
prácticas abusivas, sean cuales sean los orígenes de éstas. No obstante y a
la larga, esta misma sensibilidad la llevará a una posición de
incompatibilidad con la mentalidad de LaFillet.

Efectivamente, con el transcurso del tiempo nuestra profesora se encuentra
cada vez más decepcionada y amargada. Se van multiplicando las
irregularidades y los desvaríos en el cuadro de la vida cotidiana del
colegio. La jerarquía presiona a los docentes a que falsifiquen las notas,
para mantener incólume la buena imagen académica del centro, ‘situado en
una posición de buen ver en el ranking de los colegios de Barcelona’ (p.
92). La delegada sindical descubre que su correo electrónico está siendo no
sólo controlado sino saboteado. Una empleada del colegio que contrata a un
abogado para que le suban el sueldo recibe llamadas telefónicas
amenazadoras, y desiste de su lucha. Ante la venta de drogas que se
practica con toda visibilidad en el centro, la dirección no quiere
reaccionar y hace la vista gorda, pues uno de los ‘camellos’ es no sólo
hijo de papá, sino hijo de un compinche del director. Así, se va acumulando
todo un catálogo de abusos y mezquindades.

Entre los peores sucesos de la vida de este singular colegio de ‘estimable
reputación’ figura el infeliz incidente que afecta a un estudiante,
Alfredo. Una pandilla de alumnos ‘normales’ le inflige una descomunal
paliza. Alfredo es un joven ejemplar y alegre que por el mero hecho de que
se sabe que es gay, sin complejos, y quiere muchísimo a su novio (Rahul, de
origen indio), tiene que enfrentarse a los comportamientos homófobos de
algunos de sus compañeros y profesores. Quien acepta defenderlo dentro del
colegio es Ruth, la cual va tramando unos lazos profundos de simpatía con
este alumno de bachillerato que se atreve a vivir en público el papel que
corresponde a su ser interior.

Más adelante, descubrimos que esta solidaridad tiene raíces tan hondas como
auténticas. Es que Ruth lleva dentro de sí un secreto. Si ella vino a
Barcelona para trabajar en LaFillet, fue para vivir con la persona que ama.
Y aunque durante muchos años ningún colega tiene idea de la realidad, esta
persona es una mujer – Marina, a quien conoció en un viaje a Egipto y que
resultó ser el gran amor de su vida. La autora nos revela las presiones
sociales, el camuflaje cotidiano, al que aún hoy se tienen que enfrentar
las personas que aman a alguien del mismo sexo: ‘Al final ambas decidimos
que mantendríamos silencio con aquellas personas que jamás entenderían lo
nuestro, y que, de una forma u otra, nos podrían perjudicar’ (p. 120).

¿Hasta qué punto va a degenerar la cada vez más ruinosa y anti-educacional
atmósfera del colegio LaFillet? ¿Hasta cuándo podrá Ruth, por muy buena
profesora que sea, aguantar las contradicciones de su situación allí? Ana
García-Arroyo entreteje una narrativa absorbente, a través de la cual quien
lee con sensibilidad se identificará con fuerza con la figura de Ruth y su
lucha para defender su personalidad frente al ambiente hostil que la cierne
y, a pesar de todo, lograr una mejor vida, en una Barcelona no tan liberal
como se la suele pintar.

IJOWLAC (INDIAN JOURNAL OF WORLD LITERATURE AND CULTURE, Kolkata), Vol. II

IJOWLAC (INDIAN JOURNAL OF WORLD LITERATURE AND CULTURE, Kolkata), Vol. II

Now out is the latest number of the journal IJOWLAC (INDIAN JOURNAL OF WORLD
LITERATURE AND CULTURE) (editor and contact person: Dr Subhendu Mund,
subhendu_mund@hotmail.com).
**
Contents of this issue (Vol. II, Jul-Dec 06) include:

Poems by Laksmisree Bannerjee

Interview with dramatist Mahesh Dattani

Critical articles on, inter alia: the poetry of Kamala Das (by Niranjan
Mohanty); Jhumpa Lahiri (Rajeshwar Mittapalli); Stephen Gill on his own
poetry; Toru Dutt (Subhendu Mund); the stories of Basavaraj Naikar (Christopher Rollason);’Early Travel
Narratives in Eastern India’ (Sachidananda Mohanty); the Bengal Renaissance
(Jasbir Jain); and 3 pieces on Australian literature – Dorothy Porter (Paul
Sharrad); Judith Wright (S. Robert Gnanamony); and ‘Love and Mourning in
Australia’ (Chiti Das).

Book reviews, inter alia of a volume of interviews with Edward Said (Nibir
K. Ghosh), of poems by Jayanta Mahapatra (Jaydeep Sarangi) and of John
Boulton’s ‘Essays on Oriya Literature’ (Himansu Sekhar Mohapatra).

Reports on a number of important conferences held in India, including my own
on ‘Cultural Studies and Writers’ Meet’ –
events at JNU Delhi, March 2006 to which I refer elsewhere in this blog.

SEVA BHARATI JOURNAL OF ENGLISH STUDIES (Midnapore, India), VOL. 3

SEVA BHARATI JOURNAL OF ENGLISH STUDIES (Midnapore, India), VOL. 3

Just out is the latest number of SEVA BHARATI JOURNAL OF ENGLISH STUDIES
(Vol 3, Feb 07) – editor and contact person: Dr Jaydeep Sarangi,
sarangij@rediffmail.com).
**
This number includes:

Poems by, among others, Stephen Gill (Canada), Rosarita Cuccoli (Italy),
E.E. Sule (Nigeria) and Carla Vanessa Gonzáles (Peru; 2 poems translated by
Christopher Rollason);

a short story by distinguished Indian academic T. Vinoda;

critical articles, inter alia on: R.K. Narayan (by Amandeep Rama), Jhumpa
Lahiri (S. Robert Gnanamony), Shashi Deshpande (Vinay Kr. Pandey), Khushwant
Singh (Seema Murugan) and ‘Re-presentations of colonialism in Indian Fiction
in English’ (Rajeshwar Mittapalli);

an anthropological article by Archana Verma (‘Territory as Woman, Woman as
Territory and Metaphors of Conquest’);

and a review by Christopher Rollason of Antonia Navarro Tejero’s book on
Arundhati Roy and Githa Hariharan.

DEBATE ON ARUNDHATI ROY: MY ARTICLE FROM THE ‘YEMEN TIMES’, 3 May 2007

THis entry reproduces the full text of my short piece
ARUNDHATI ROY, MOST IMPORTANT ‘IN INDIA’ WRITER SINCE TAGORE?,
published in the YEMEN TIMES (Education Supplement), Issue 1047, Vol 14, 3
May 2007, p. 3.

It is a response to Dr R.S. Sharma, ´The Mistress of English Prose’ (Issue
1023, Vol. 14, 8-12 Feb 2007 – review of Murari Prasad, ed., ARUNDHATI ROY:
CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES, Delhi: Pencraft, 2006. For the book itself, see
entry on this blog for 9 October 2006.

**

Among today’s clutch of Indian writers in English, Arundhati Roy is not
only unusually famous but famously unusual. She is an international
best-seller, yet she lives in India and is not liable to the charges of
inauthenticity frequently levelled at diasporic writers. She is seen as a
regional novelist of Kerala, yet was born in 1961, not there but in
Shillong (then in Assam, now in Meghalaya), to a Hindu Bengali father and
Kerala Christian mother. She has written only one novel, the Booker-winning
The God of Small Things, yet is considered a leading novelist by the
critical establishment even though the rest of her work consists of two
screenplays and a large body of non-fiction of a campaigning and
journalistic nature.

As a scholar of Indian Writing in English (IWE) myself, I responded in the
Yemen Times earlier this year (Issue 1021, Vol. 14, 1 February 2007) to Dr
Prasant K. Sinha’s review of another book edited by Dr Prasad, Vikram
Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’: An Anthology of Recent Criticism. I am now pleased
to be able to respond similarly to Dr Sharma’s review of the volume
Arundhati Roy: Critical Perspectives (which I did not contribute to as
such, but did participate in as one of the peer-readers). It consists of a
brief foreword by postcolonial guru Bill Ashcroft, a long introduction by
Dr Prasad, nine essays on Roy (including one by the editor), an interview
with Roy from 2001 (reprinted from Frontline), and an extensive
bibliography. One of the contributors, Antonia Navarro-Tejero, of Córdoba
(Spain), is also the author of a full-length study of Roy and Githa
Hariharan. Like Dr Sharma, I applaud the quality and utility of this volume
for those studying, teaching or simply interested in Arundhati Roy. I
would, however, like in this brief piece to qualify aspects of his
assertions and to raise some additional points.

Dr Sharma correctly notes that ‘a proper estimation of Roy’s activism is
still awaited’, but this book certainly makes a start in that direction.
There have been various critical anthologies and studies dedicated to The
God of Small Things, but to the best of my knowledge this is the first to
attempt a comprehensive coverage of both that novel and her non-fiction –
notably in Murari Prasad’s own essay, which ambitiously straddles the
fiction / non-fiction divide. What, though, no-one in this volume attempts
is a detailed comparison of Roy’s non-fictional practice to that of other
IWE authors. Joel Kuortti, in an article of 2004, did compare Roy’s and
Rushdie’s political non-fiction; but, for instance, Amitav Ghosh has
produced substantial amounts of non-fiction, some of it as politically
engaged as the anti-nuclear Countdown. Vikram Seth’s Two Lives is also
historically engaged non-fiction. Surely, more than Roy is involved here.

Dr Sharma claims that one weakness of the book is a certain narrowness, in
that ‘most of the essays operate within the single parameter of
postcolonialism’. This is not entirely fair. As Dr Sharma does actually
note himself, the more strictly political dimension is discussed, as is the
feminist aspect. Aijaz Ahmad takes head-on the vexed issue of Roy’s
unsympathetic portrayal of Kerala communism in her novel; Antonia
Navarro-Tejero’s dissection of the exploitative character Chacko critiques
Kerala Marxism, thus strongly diverging from Ahmad, while also offering a
feminist reading with stress on subalternhood. The volume has sufficient
balance.

The complex and multi-stranded content of Roy’s novel is, in fact,
sufficiently dealt with in the volume: what it does lack is a really
substantial discussion of its language. Murari Prasad himself, in 2004, did
publish a paper going into that vital aspect in detail, and a similar piece
would have usefully enriched this collection. As it is, Aijaz rather
polemically claims in his essay that Roy is ‘the first Indian writer in
English where a marvellous stylistic resource becomes available for
provincial, vernacular culture … without the book reading as a
translation’. He even contrasts her novel with Raja Rao’s Kanthapura, whose
English is famously pervaded by Kannada, arguing that in that book Rao
‘wrote in English what could easily have been written in another Indian
language’ (pp. 40-41). This clashes with the widely-held view that The God
of Small Things is comparably pervaded by Malayalam inflections, as
represented in this volume by Alex Tickell (‘these [linguistic] experiments
occur in close proximity to … Malayalam’ – p. 67). There is a potential
controversy here that seems worth taking up, and it would be interesting
for a neutral scholar to look at Roy’s stylistics closely and compare her
English in detail with Malayalam usage (such a study would, though, need to
be accessible to the non-Malayali reader).

Also not taken up by either book or review is the massive international
popularity of Roy’s novel – it is said to have sold over 4 million in over
two dozen language versions – and the related issue of translation. How has
The God of Small Things been received in, say, France, a country where much
of her non-fiction has also been translated? Has the Spanish translation of
her novel been received differently in Spain’s European and Latin America’s
third-world contexts? What difficulties have Roy’s translators experienced
in rendering her very particular brand of English, and what strategies have
they used to get its flavour across?

There, a whole slew of issues remain to be resolved. Meantime, the
contributor Amitava Kumar reminds us that Arundhati Roy has become ‘perhaps
the most important writer in India familiar to the West since Rabindranath
Tagore’ (p. 31). She remains an ‘in India’ writer though so many have
chosen diasporic hybridity. The very special status of her writing is
vindicated by both Dr Prasad’s excellent compilation and Dr Sharma’s very
judicious review. And yet, in response to the questions her work raises,
perhaps the best the critic can do is recall the finale of The God of Small
Things, and echo Roy’s own moving one word of closure, ‘Tomorrow’.

JOURNAL “REFLECTIONS” (INDIA), Vol 5 1&2: INCLUDES MY REVIEW OF SUNNY SINGH, “WITH KRISHNA’S EYES”

Now out is the latest number (Vol V, Nos 1 & 2, January & July 2006) of
REFLECTIONS: A BI-ANNUAL JOURNAL OF ENGLISH CREATIVE WRITING AND CRITICISM
(Bhagalpur, India).

Editor: Dr Gauri Shankar Jha, profgsjha06@rediffmail.com
Additional contact: Dr Jaydeep Sarangi, sarangij@rediffmail.com

This number includes articles, among others, on: Tagore and buddhism (D.
Ganguly), Jhumpa Lahiri (Mita Biswas; S. Robert Gnanamony), Canadian women
writers (Debarshi P. Nath), Toni Morrison (Manjula Davidson), John Keats
(Prasant Mishra), Zadie Smith (Shubha Mukherjee), India as seen by Naipaul
(Kumar Parag), A.K. Ramanujan (Monika Kaushik), bilingualism in Canada
(Raashid Nehal) and India (Jaydeep Sarangi), ‘The Spanish Imagination
Exploring India’, a critical examination of the ‘Forum Barcelona 2004’ by
Antonnia Navarro Tejero, and a text on the ‘fashion of postcolonialsim’ by
the editor. There are also half-a-dozen original poems, and a number of
book reviews, among them the following: of ‘Raja Rao: The Master and his
Moves’ (ed. Jaydeep Sarangi) by E.E. Sule (167-170); of ‘Critical Responses to
Feminism’ (ed. Binod Mishra) by Krishna Mohan; and ‘Chronicle of a Sati
Foretold’, my own review of the novel ‘With Krishna’s Eyes’ by Sunny Singh (162-164)
(text also available at:
http://yatrarollason.info/files/SunnySinghreview.pdf)