Archive for November, 2010

AEDEAN (Spanish Association of Anglo-American Studies): 34th Conference in Almería

I had the pleasure of participating from 11 to 13 November 2010 in the 34th annual conference of AEDEAN, the Spanish Association of Anglo-American Studies, held this year in the still-sunny Andalusian climes of Almería and ably organised by that city’s university. The sessions covered the usual wide range of topics in linguistics, literature and culture. My main participation was in the comparative literature section, where I gave a paper on ‘Poe, Cortázar and Paris’ (to be published in the proceedings), in a panel chaired by Dr Antonio Ballesteros. I also presented my recent co-edited book on Vikram Chandra (see entry on this blog for 27 May 2010 and text at:

A warm and communicative atmosphere framed sessions of stimulating intellectual debate. The social programme included a reception in the Aljibes Árabes, the former  Moorish water-tank, and a visit to Almería’s impressive air-raid shelters from the Civil War. Herewith, photos of conference, campus and city, including the superb Moorish fortress known as the Alcazaba.

In the photos / en las fotos: Ana González Rivas-Fernández, Christopher Rollason, Antonio Ballesteros, Sagrario Romero Illán


NOTE added 29 Jan 2012: The proceedings have now been published on CD-Rom:

–      José Ramón Ibáñez Ibáñez and José Francisco Fernández Sánchez (eds.), A View from the South: Contemporary English and American Studies: Proceedings of the 34th International AEDEAN Conference Almería 2010  (CD-Rom), Almería (Spain): Editorial Universitaria de Almería, 2011

My own paper is included: Poe, Cortázar and Paris: A Study in Doubling, pp. 80-85. It is also available on-line at:


Me ha complacido participar, entre el 11 y el 13 de noviembre 2010, en la edición 34 del congreso anual de AEDEAN, la Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Noertamericanos, el cual tuvo lugar este año en el siempre ameno clima andaluz que brindó la ciudad de Almería, cuya Universidad organizó el evento con esmero. Las sesiones cubrieron la habitual amplia gama de temas de lingüística, literatura y cultura. Mi participación principal fue en la sección de literatura comparada, en la cual dicté una ponencia sobre ‘Poe, Cortázar y Paris’ (que se publicará en las actas), en el marco de un panel moderado por el Dr Antonio Ballesteros. También presenté mi libro co-editado, recién salido, sobre Vikram Chandra (véase entrada en esta bitácora, 27-V-2010). La atmosfera fue cálida y comunicativa, y los debates intelectuales alcanzaron niveles muy estimulantes. El programa social abarcó, entre otras cosas, una recepción en los Aljibes Árabes y una visita a los muy impresionantes refugios anti-bombardeo de la Guerra Civil. Aquí, unas fotos de congreso, campus y ciudad, sin olvidar la magnífica Alcazaba árabe de Almería.


NOTA agregada  el 29-I-2012:  Las actas han sido publicadas en CD-Rom:

–      José Ramón Ibáñez Ibáñez y José Francisco Fernández Sánchez (eds.), A View from the South: Contemporary English and American Studies: Proceedings of the 34th International AEDEAN Conference Almería 2010  (CD-Rom), Almería (Editorial Universitaria de Almería, 2011

Se incluye mi propia ponencia: Poe, Cortázar and Paris: A Study in Doubling, pp. 80-85. Ese texto también se encuentra disponible en:


Photos by / fotos por: Christopher Rollason, Ana González-Rivas Fernández, Sagrario Romero Illán


FAROL (Portugal) No 16: tribute to José Saramago

After an eight-year hiatus, FAROL (ISSN 0873-7460), the quality educational and cultural magazine based at the Escola Secundária de Monserrate in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, is back with its issue No 16, ably edited as in the past by Agostinho Pereira. I have collaborated with FAROL in the past, and it is now my pleasure to do so again.

The new issue includes interesting material on the centenary of the Portuguese republic and the teaching of philosophy in schools, and, in particular (pp. 77-98) a section in homage to the late José Saramago.

The tributes to Saramago include new pieces by the recognised experts Ana Paula Arnaut (University of Coimbra), Adriana Alves de Paula Martins (Catholic University of Viseu) and Miriam Ringel (Israel).

Also included are the Portuguese-language versions of my own reviews of the master’s two final novels, A Viagem do Elefante (The Elephant’s Journey) and Caim (Cain) – pp. 79-80 and 81-82 respectively. These texts are also available on-line – in Portuguese:

and in English in entries on this blog (20 June 2009 and 9 January 2010 respectively).

It is a great honour for me to participate in this homage to the great Portuguese Nobel alongside such distinguished names, and I thank Agostinho for conceiving the project and giving me this very special opportunity!


On 3 November 2010, at the age of 81, P. Lal, doyen of publishing in the world of Indian Writing in English, passed away. Purushottama Lal was the founder of Writers Workshop, the influential Kolkata imprint which has published, among some 4000 titles in English, early works by the likes of Vikram Seth and Anita Desai. Besides, he was a major contributor to the theory and practice of translation (or ‘transcreation’, as he preferred to call it), notably in the epic project of his later years of rendering the ‘Mahabharata’ into English verse.

 He was also the friend, encourager and correspondent of David McCutchion, the pioneer in the study of Indian Writing in English who dies tragically young in 1972. The Lal-McCutchion relationship bore fruit in the tribute volume:

P. Lal (ed.). David McCutchion: Shraddhanjali. Calcutta: Writers Workshop. 1972.

and in the collection of letters: David McCutchion. The Epistles of David-Kaka to Plalm’n [P. Lal]. Calcutta: Writers Workshop. 1972. Repr. 1997.

 Indeed, I briefly had the privilege of corresponding with P. Lal myself when writing a piece on Raja Rao and McCutchion (‘David McCutchion, Pioneer Critic of Raja Rao’, in Raja Rao: The Master and his Moves, ed. Jaydeep Sarangi, New Delhi: Authorpress, 2007, pp. 9-20, – see entry on this blog for 19 November 2006). Like many, I have quoted P. Lal in my own writings on Indian matters, and I join a chorus of voices in India’s literary world in regretting his passing. p>

 The ‘Times of India’ published an obituary by Subhendu Mund on 9 November (‘P. Lal: A Legend Who Created Legends’), and in the wider English-speaking world, ‘The Economist’ featured an eloquent tribute in its 13-20 November issue (‘P. Lal’, p. 97 –,

recalling: ‘He was determined to keep the best English writing alive and well in India. And that meant making space for new creative writers, too … when it came to presenting the best of Indian writing in English, nothing was too much trouble’.