Archive for September, 2010


I am pleased to report that a text of mine has been included in a project for performance improvement in the Mexican education system. This is the 2010 edition of the project known as ENLACE:

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:

As an aid to the analysis of the fragment from Castellanos’ book included in the test, an extract has been included from the review of the edition of that novel that appeared in Spain in 2004 (ed. Dora Sales Salvador, Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra), which I wrote in the same year and which is available in English:

– ‘”A Woman Schooled in Latin”: Rosario Castellanos, Ambassador of Mexico and Chiapas” Hispanic Horizon (New Delhi), Vol. XXIV, No 26, 2008, 29-40

and Spanish:

        “Mujer que sabe latín”: Rosario Castellanos, embajadora de México y de Chiapas’, (partial versions published in magazines in Mexico and Peru).


Question No 110, in particular, is about the nature and purpose of the review.

In this way, I have been able to make a contribution to the quality control set-up in the national education system. I therefore, through this medium, express my deep gratitude to the Mexican authorities responsible –¡¡¡MUCHÍSIMAS GRACIAS!!!

 For more details of the review, see entry in this blog, 27 September 2005


Me complazco informar que un texto de mi autoria ha sido incluido en un proyecto para la mejora del rendimiento del sistema educativo mexicano. Se trata del proyecto ENLACE, en su edición de 2010 :

La finalidad de este proyecto (cuyas siglas significan Evaluación Nacional de Logro Académico en Centros Escolares) es “generar una sola escala de carácter nacional que proporcione información comparable de los conocimientos y habilidades que tienen los estudiantes en los temas evaluados”. Se aplica a la enseñanza primaria y al primero, segundo y tercero año del sector secundario, principalmente en las asignaturas base de Español y Matemáticas, y las pruebas (tipo “reactivos de opción múltiple”) se aplican a todos los alumnos de todos los centros del nivel en cuestión, públicos y privados, en el país entero.

En la prueba de Español de 2010 para el segundo año de la enseñanza secundaria, las preguntas 106 a 113 conciernen la literatura mexicana, y concretamente dos novelas, CANEK de Emilio Abreu y BALÚN CANÁN de Rosario Castellanos:

Como ayuda al análisis del fragmento del libro de Castellanos que figura en la prueba, se ha incluido un extracto de la reseña de la edición española de dicho libro de 2004 (edición de Dora Sales Salvador, Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra), que escribí en ese mismo año y que está disponible en lengua inglesa:

– ‘”A Woman Schooled in Latin”: Rosario Castellanos, Ambassador of Mexico and Chiapas” Hispanic Horizon (New Delhi), Vol. XXIV, No 26, 2008, 29-40;:

        “Mujer que sabe latín”: Rosario Castellanos, embajadora de México y de Chiapas’,   (publicaciones parciales en revistas en México y Perú.)


En línea:



La pregunta No 110, en particular, concierne la naturaleza y finalidad de la reseña.

De esta forma, me resulta haber hecho una aportación al proceso de control de calidad en el sistema educativo del país, hecho por el cual quisiera expresar, por este medio, mi sumo agradecimiento a los responsables mexicanos del sector. ¡¡¡MUCHÍSIMAS GRACIAS!!!


Para detalles, véase entrada en esta bitácora, 25-IX-2005


ARGENTINA, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, 2010 – en la Feria del Libro de FRANKFURT, 2010

This year’s Frankfurt Book Fair (6-10 October 2010) will feature Argentina as special guest of honour. Details are at :

There will be lectures and round tables on subjects including Borges and Cortázar, the tango, and the state of the Argentinian publishing industry – for an interesting article on the last-named theme, see:

        ‘The Argentine book market’, by Alejandra Rodríguez Ballester


Photo: the building where Julio Cortázar lived in Paris (rue Martel), as symbol of the Argentina-Europe link


Note added 17 October 2010: for a full report on the Fair, see entry for 16 October 2010


Este año, en la Feria del Libro de Frankfurt (6 a 10 de octubre de 2010) el país invitado es Argentina. Detalles:

Habrá conferencias y mesas redondas centradas en una amplia gama de temas, entre  otras Borges y Cortázar, el tango, y el estado del sector editorial argentino. Para un interesante texto sobre este último tema, véase:

        ‘The Argentine book market’, por Alejandra Rodríguez Ballester

Foto: el inmueble donde vivió Julio Cortázar en París (rue Martel), como símbolo del vínculo entre Argentina y Europa


Nota añadida 17-X-2010: para un reportaje detallado de la Feria, véase entrada 16-X-2010


Novelist William Wall on José Saramago and politics

Anyone interested in José Saramago could usefully look at an article at:

(Three Monkeys Online – book blog – 31 August 2010), entitled "José Saramago – an appreciation",

by William Wall, an Irish novelist who has before now been longlisted for the Booker Prize.


This article is primarily a review of the English translation (‘The Notebooks’) of Saramago’s ‘O Caderno’  – if I mistake not, the first volume of his political and general short writings to appear in English? – but it also makes some extremely valid points about the political nature (an aspect sometimes occluded) of the Nobel Laureate’s work as a whole, finding ‘The Notebook’ ‘a fascinatingly direct insight into the mind of a literary Nobel prizewinner who no longer cared very much what effect his opinions could have on his own standing, but who wanted passionately to cut through the fake discourse, the lies that he called the "other truth", that allow our modern form of semi-democracy to flourish’.


I am also pleased to note that Wall quotes and links to my own article on Saramago and Orwell (see entry on this blog for 25 April 2006):


          ‘How totalitarianism begins at home: Saramago and George Orwell’, in In Dialogue with Saramago: Essays in Comparative Literature, eds. Mark Sabine and Adriana Alves de Paula Martins, Manchester: University of Manchester, 2006, pp. 105-120;


Wall states: ‘In the USA his communism damaged his reputation – and the sales of his books – and it was divisive in Portugal where it sat awkwardly with Portuguese pride in his Nobel Prize, but in other parts of the world it was understood and welcomed, among readers of the European Left, and more particularly in South America where it was especially appreciated by the vast Lusophone population of Brazil.’ I am not sure if the remark about the USA is fair, since Saramago has certainly had a higher profile (and higher sales) there than most recent non-Anglophone writers; and the remarks about Brazil are also true of Spanish-speaking Latin America. At all events, though, this is one of the best brief introductions to the master’s work that I have seen in quite some time!


William Wall’s piece has also appeared in the on-line journal Irish Left Review (26 August 2010),

under the same title, ‘José Saramago: An Appreciation’:


It is also now on his blog (slightly amended):