Archive for April, 2009



 Con motivo del día del libro, la noche del 23 de abril Madrid se convirtió en un hervidero de lectores y escritores compartiendo charlas y experiencias literarias (en la página web podéis consultar las diversas actividades que se organizaron para celebrar lo que se llamó "La noche de los libros"). Uno de los actos programados estaba dedicado, como no podía ser menos en este año de bicentenario, a la figura de Edgar Allan Poe. Este acto, además, constituía en sí mismo una gran novedad: se trataba del primer concierto de cómic celebrado en España. Música, actuación y arte gráfico se aunaron magistralmente, encandilando al público.

            José Ramón García puso las notas de piano a los cuentos de Poe, mientras eran interpretados por el actor Felé Martínez, y el artista Jack Mircala les daba forma con sus cartulinas. Todo perfectamente coordinado. Una gran pantalla mostraba al público las representaciones de Mircala, fiel al estilo que presenta en su libro ilustrado Siniestras Amadas (véase entrada en esta bitácora del 19-I-09, punto 15), dedicado a las hermosas mujeres que habitan la vida y la obra de Poe. Durante una hora y media se leyeron "El cuento mil y dos de Scheherezade", "Eleonora" y "El Gato negro", cada uno de ellos con un ritmo y un tono propios. Los aplausos del Ateneo, que llenó todas sus butacas, fueron los garantes del éxito que tuvo este primer concierto de cómic, o lectura ilustrada.




The night of 23 April 2009 – DAY OF THE BOOK – saw Madrid seething with readers and writers exchanging conversations and literary experiences (for the programme – "La noche de los libros" – see One of the events was, fittingly for the writer’s bicentennial year, dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe. This event was also a major breakthrough as it offered the first concert centred round comic book illustration to be held in Spain, with a fusion of music, drama and graphic art which held the public spellbound.

            José Ramón García provided a piano accompaniment to Poe’s tales, recited by the actor Felé Martínez and illustrated by the artist Jack Mircala. All was perfectly coordinated. A large screen displayed Mircala’s images, faithful to the style he has used in his illustrated book Siniestras Amadas (see entry in this blog for 19 Jan 09, point 15), dedicated to the beautiful women who people the life and work of Poe. The ninety minutes of readings included "The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherezade", "Eleonora" and "The Black Cat", all recited with the appropriate rhythm and tone. The event was held in the Madrid Athenaeum to a full house, and the applause testified to the success of this pioneering ‘comic book concert’.


** Nota amablemente proporcionada por / Note kindly supplied by: Ana González-Rivas Fernández




Spanish translation/edition of Sophie Treadwell’s play MACHINAL

Now on-line at:

 is my review of:

Maria Dolores Narbona Carrión (ed.), Sophie Treadwell: Contexto teatral, biografía, crítica y traducción de su obra Machinal, Málaga: Universidad de Málaga, 2007, paperback, 193 pp., ISBN 978-84-9747-181-7


The book reviewed is in Spanish but the review is in English: I hope it will interest those concerned with American theatre, US women’s writing, and translation and reception studies.




It is usually stated that significant modern American theatre begins with the work of Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953), but, as with other literary forms, that generic history may also be viewed and re-viewed from a female perspective, and the present volume comes as a timely reminder of the contribution to that same American theatre made all but simultaneously by O’Neill’s contemporary, the journalist, novelist and, above all, dramatist and theatre producer Sophie Treadwell (Stockton, California, 1885 – Tucson, Arizona, 1970). Consisting of diverse editorial material in Spanish and a new translation (the first-ever into Spanish) of Treadwell’s best-known play, Machinal (1928), this book is by definition aimed at a Hispanophone public. The present review, it is hoped, may nonetheless also be of interest to English-speaking readers and scholars, as an index of the reception outside the Anglophone world of women’s theatre from the US and as evidence of the capacity of Sophie Treadwell’s writing to cross borders – as also of the problems and challenges involved in translating a work which, on closer scrutiny, reveals itself to be in some aspects a product of cultural hybridation (Treadwell was of part-Mexican origin, and, from today’s theoretical perspectives, doubly liable to subalternhood).


The volume, edited by María Dolores Narbona Carrión, of the University of Málaga, consists of the following: an introduction and chronology, both by the editor; a study of the theatrical context of the play Machinal, again by the editor; a general account of Treadwell’s life and work, by Miriam López Rodríguez, with a bibliography of writings by and on the author; and a translation into Spanish of Machinal (under the same title), by María Dolores Narbona Carrión and Ricardo Vivancos Pérez



Note added 9 January 2010:


This review has now been published (see blog entry, 7 January2010) – details:

Seva Bharati Journal of English Studies (Midnapore, India), Vol. 6, January 2010, pp. 175-187;



For followers of Indian Writing in English (IWE), it is always interesting to learn of an IWE book being translated into an Indian language. Now out is Manju Kapur’s novel HOME from 2006 (see this blog: entry for 31 May 2006), in Malayalam translation – a first for this autthor in this language (though her earlier novel DIFFICULT DAUGHTERS has existed for some time in Marathi). The translation is by Jibu Jamal (Kottayam: DC Books, 2009). For a notice, see NEELA PADMANABHAN: ‘About joint families’, THE HINDU 21 Apr 2009:



Review of Hunt Henion, THE DON Q POINT OF VIEW, Eureka (Montana): SHIFT AWARENESS BOOKS, 2008, 148 pp., 1SBN: 978-0-9822054-19,




Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes’ world-famous novel, has offered generations of entranced readers a world where the boundaries between imagination and reality are porous, ever-changing, and repeatedly crossed. In the ninth chapter of Part I, Cervantes himself claims the book is ‘really’ a translation from an author writing in Arabic, Cide Hamete Benengeli; in the third chapter of Part II, the Don and Sancho are told about a book that is none other than the first part of Cervantes’ novel featuring themselves. Readers have been similarly imaginative. In the American literary tradition, Washington Irving tells of a Spanish countryman who solemnly believes Sancho and the Don to be real people; in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer spins yarns of elephants and diamonds and tells a sceptical Huck: “if I wasn’t so ignorant, but had read a book called “Don Quixote”, I would know without asking”.


Now, more than four centuries on, Hunt Henion’s The Don Q Point of View comes as the latest in a long line of tributes. It might be thought difficult to say anything new about the Don, but in these pages we have a reliving of the Man of la Mancha’s life and hard times that is startling in its originality.


The book’s narrating “I” tells the reader that he who writes actually was, in a past life, a Don Quixote who in real truth existed. The reader who agrees to suspend disbelief, or to believe all the way, is rewarded with a remarkable journey. Hunt Henion retraces his steps as the Don, riding side by side with Sancho across the La Mancha plain: and tells how the book Miguel de Cervantes wrote combined fact with fiction, mixing true recollections of Don Quixote’s life with his own elaborations and inventions.


G.K. Chesterton saw Cervantes’ Don as no better than a “lean and foolish knight’”. Hunt Henion’s Quixote is at the antipodes of any such travesty. He is lean, but he is not foolish. He is one whose vision aspires beyond the surface of things and makes of the world a constant battlefield between good and evil. Despite defeats and disappointments, the paladin of the good never says die, and goes on believing till his last breath in “the impossible dream”. The Don whom Hunt Henion brings to life is the heroic Quixote, the one who on a dusty road frees the chained prisoners bound for the galleys, the one who declares “I am who I am” and refuses to be another. Our narrator relives a life in which he, as Don Quixote, challenged the rigidities and cruelties of Spain in the Inquisition era, never faltering in his vision of a kinder and juster world. In the epoch of Barack Obama, this re-created Quixote is one who stands up against the giants and enchanters of oppression, and shouts long and loud, for all the world to hear, “YES, WE CAN!”


NB: This review is also on the Shift Awareness site accompanying the book details, at: