NEW YORK PAYS HOMAGE TO FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA WITH EXHIBITION / EXPOSICIÓN EN NUEVA YORK HOMENAJEA A FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA

The Spanish newspaper ABC  reports:

‘Nueva York homenajea a Lorca’ (‘New York pays homage to Lorca’) – María G. Picatoste, 15 March 2013 –

www.abc.es/cultura/20130314/abci-lorca-nueva-york-201303131843.html

 that an exhibition will be held in New York’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Library (5 April – 21 July 2013) honouring Federico García Lorca, whose famous collection of poems Poeta en Nueva York / Poet in New York (written in 1929 and 1930 and published posthumously in 1940) immortalised his stay in the city. The exhibition will showcase the manuscript of that volume, which has never been exhibited before. It will be backed up by musical events including a concert by rock singer Patti Smith, readings from the poems and a puppet theatre show.

 **

 El periódico español ABC  informa:

(‘Nueva York homenajea a Lorca’ – María G. Picatoste, 15 marzo 2013 –

www.abc.es/cultura/20130314/abci-lorca-nueva-york-201303131843.html)

 que la biblioteca neoyorquina Stephen A. Schwarzman albergará, del 5 de abril al 21 de julio de 2013, una exposición homenajeando a Federico García Lorca, cuyo célebre poemario Poeta en Nueva York  (escrito en 1929 y 1930 y publicado de forma póstuma en 1940) legó a la posteridad las impresiones de su estancia en la metrópoli. La muestra tendrá como foco central el manuscrito del volume, hasta ahora nunca expuesto. Será complementada por varios eventos musicales, entre otros un concierto de la cantora rock Patti Smith, lecturas de poesías de Lorca, y un espectáculo de títeres.

EL IDIOMA CASTELLANO, “PETRÓLEO” DE LOS PAÍSES HISPANOS – THE SPANISH LANUAGE: THE HISPANIC WORLD’S “BLACK GOLD”

Llamo a vuestra atención un artículo interesante sobre la actualidad del idioma español, publicado en el periódico madrileño ABC el 1-III-2013:

www.abc.es/cultura/20130301/abci-idioma-motivo-admirar-espana-201302282339.html:

“El idioma es el ‘petróleo’ de España” (Fernando B. Lafuente)

 

 Entre los datos que señala este texto, destáquense los siguientes:

*más de 7 millones de escolares y universitarios estudian español en Estados Unidos como lengua extranjera, siendo el castellano de lejos el idioma foráneo más estudiado en las universidades norteamericanas;

*El español es hoy día la segunda lengua de comunicación internacional después del inglés, y es la segunda lengua en número de hablantes nativos, después del chino;

*En internet, el español ocupa el tercer puesto como idioma más utilizado, tras el inglés y el chino;

*En Brasil, ya son 6 millones los que estudian el castellano, y se prevé que pronto serán 11 millones;

*el 80% del léxico del idioma es común a todos los países que hablan español.

 El autor cita a dos grandes escritores mexicanos, Carlos Fuentes: ‘El español es un idioma de frontera’,

y Alfonso Reyes: ‘Si el orbe hispano de ambos mundos no llega a pesar sobre la Tierra en proporción con las dimensiones territoriales que cubre, si el hablar la lengua española no ha de representar nunca una ventaja en las letras como en el comercio, nuestro ejemplo será el ejemplo más vergonzoso de ineptitud que pueda ofrecer la raza humana’.

y, comparando el idioma al petróleo, concluye que, entre otras cosas merced a la labor de la Real Academia Española y  el Instituto Cervantes, “Ahora sí podemos contestar a Alfonso Reyes: «Estamos en ello», y de qué manera”.

**

I draw to your attention an interesting article on the Spanish language today, published in the Madrid daily ‘ABC’ on 1 March 2013:

www.abc.es/cultura/20130301/abci-idioma-motivo-admirar-espana-201302282339.html:

“El idioma es el ‘petróleo’ de España” (“Spain’s ‘oil’ is its language”) –  Fernando B. Lafuente

 

This article provides, inter alia, the following information:

*today in the US, over 7 million school or university students are learning Spanish, which is now by far the most widely-taught foreign language in American universities;

*Spanish is now the second most important language of international communication after English, and is the language with the second biggest number of native speakers after Chinese;

*On the Internet, Spanish is the third most used language, after English and Chinese;

*6 million Brazilians are now studying Spanish, a number likely to rise soon to 11 million;

*80% of the Spanish lexicon is common to all Spanish-speaking countries.

 The author quotes two of Mexico’s great writers – Carlos Fuentes: ‘Spanish is a language of frontiers’,

and Alfonso Reyes: ‘If the Spanish-speaking sphere of the Old and New Worlds does not pull its weight on earth in proportion to the territory it covers, if speaking Spanish never becomes an advantage in letters and trade, then we will have set the worst example of ineptitude the human race could come up with’,

and, likening the language to oil, concludes that, thanks among other things to the labours of the Royal Spanish Academy and the Cervantes Institute, ‘Now we can reply to Alfonso Reyes: “Yes, we’re doing it, and just look at us!”’ 

EDGAR ALLAN POE REVIEW, XIII-2 – REVIEW OF MEXICAN STUDY OF POE / RESEÑA DE ESTUDIO MEXICANO DE POE

Now out is the latest issue (Fall 2012, Vol. XIII, No 2) of the Edgar Allan Poe Review, the official journal of the Poe Studies Association (http://www2.lv.psu.edu/PSA/). The bulk of this issue is given over to a series of articles on Poe’s relationship to German idealist philosophy. It also includes (pp. 135-138) my review of the following volume of conference proceedings from Mexico:

 Ana Elena González Treviño (ed.). El genio de lo perverso: Ensayos del coloquio en conmemoración del bicentenario del natalicio de Edgar Allan Poe. Mexico City: Samsara, 2011. 136 pp.

 The full text of the review is on-line on my website, with the journal’s agreement, at: http://yatrarollason.info/files/PoeMxreview.pdf.

I also drew attention to the book on this blog on 6 March 2012 (see entry for that date).

EAPR 13-2

 

Acaba de salir el último número (Otoño de 2012, Vol. XIII, Núm. 2) de la Edgar Allan Poe Review, el órgano oficial de la Poe Studies Association (http://www2.lv.psu.edu/PSA/). La mayor parte de este número la ocupan una serie de artículos en el tema de los vínculos de Poe con la filosofía idealista alemana. También incluye (págs. 135-138) mi reseña del siguiente volumen de actas de congreso, de México:

 Ana Elena González Treviño (ed.). El genio de lo perverso: Ensayos del coloquio en conmemoración del bicentenario del natalicio de Edgar Allan Poe. Mexico D.F.: Samsara, 2011. 136 páginas.

 El texto completo de esta reseña se encuentra en línea en mi sitio personal, con la anuencia de la Edgar Allan Poe Review. Ubicación: http://yatrarollason.info/files/PoeMxreview.pdf.

Noticié el mismo libro en esta bitácora el 6-III-2012 (véase entrada de esa fecha).

**

An extract follows / sigue un extracto:

 ‘In 2009, a [Poe] bicentennial conference was held by the Colegio de Letras Modernas in Mexico City under the title El genio de lo perverso (“The genius of the perverse”). The proceedings – edited (…) by Ana Elena González Treviño –  were published in 2011, in the volume that forms the subject of this review. The full title translates as: “The genius of the perverse: Essays from the colloquium commemorating the bicentennial of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe”. The volume (entirely in Spanish) consists of a brief editorial preface, fourteen critical essays (including one by the editor) and, at the end, a poem by Mario Murgia in the form of a pastiche of “The Raven”. All the contributors hail from Mexico: ten (including Ana González) are from the UNAM [Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México], three from other Mexican universities, and two from outside the academic world of the humanities, (…)  from the National Institute of Genomics and (…) the Mexico City police. The collection thus – and in contrast to others of the bicentennial conference proceedings that have appeared – stands or falls, without transnational support, entirely on the quality of the endogenous analyses it presents testifying to the local reception of the work of Edgar Allan Poe (…)’

‘THE HOBBIT’, PETER JACKSON’S FILM(S) AND J.R.R. TOLKIEN’S BOOK: WHO DOES THE TALE BELONG TO? / ‘EL HOBBIT’, LA(S) PELÍCULA(S) DE PETER JACKSON Y EL LIBRO DE J.R.R. TOLKIEN: ¿A QUIÉN PERTENECE EL RELATO?

‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, released in December 2012, is the first instalment of Peter Jackson’s three-part film version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s much-loved work of fantasy ‘The Hobbit’. I at least found the film riveting from beginning to end, but it also raises complex questions concerning narrative authenticity and the whole issue of who it is that a story, literary or cinematic, belongs to.

Hobbitlibroportada

Belvalcine

 

 The first edition of the book appeared in 1937, but Tolkien revised the narrative in later versions published in 1951 and 1966, to bring it into line with the trilogy which he had subsequently completed, ‘The Lord of the Rings’. What was originally a self-contained narrative relating Bilbo the hobbit’s journey and return home thus changed its nature by becoming a prelude to the longer work: ‘The Hobbit’ was no longer purely a story in its own right.

 The new film can so far only be judged provisionally: its content is not fully autonomous but is also determined by the second and third parts which the public has not yet seen, though hints and rumours are circulating. ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ will be released in December 2013, to be followed in summer 2014 by ‘The Hobbit: There And Back Again’. It is of course controversial that a relatively short novel (389 pages in my edition) should be expanded like this into three films. There is perhaps a precedent in the case of the Harry Potter book/film series, where the seventh and last novel was split into two for the cinema, making eight films in all. There, however, the outcome was to keep a maximum of detail from the book. With ‘The Hobbit’, by contrast, the expansion is achieved by means of additions to the original story – reversing the more usual film adaptor’s practice of leaving material out.

 The additional matter appears to have been taken mostly from the author’s appendices to ‘The Lord of the Rings’, published at the end of its third part, and also, possibly, from other, unspecified and apparently unpublished, writings by Tolkien. Some of the new elements, however, look as if they have been invented by the director. The sequences involving the magician Radagast – only mentioned once in the novel – appear to have come from nowhere, and for part two we are promised a brand new female character, an elf-guardian called Tauriel.

 Here as with Harry Potter, the director has to deal with a highly informed and articulate fan community. Unlike J.K. Rowling, Tolkien is no longer with us to intervene personally in the filming, but his fan community is everywhere and even antedates the internet. Some fans have made it clear on-line that they would have preferred a film version free of interpolations, and are already calling for a shorter alternate version, without the additional matter and reflecting only the book they know and love.

 The evidence of part one, though, suggests the extra material is an improvement. Modern sensibilities over the absence of female characters are allayed by the importation of the elf-woman of power Galadriel from ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Thorin Oakenshield and Elrond both appear as more complex characters than in the book, and in particular the deepened relationship between Thorin and Bilbo helps underscore the themes of the hobbit’s mission and personal evolution.

 It does seem that the new material is in Tolkien’s spirit and has been introduced with all due care. Thus far, the changes deepen a story which has in any case been changed before, evolving in interaction with later stories. Ultimately, the tale of the ‘The Hobbit’, book and film(s), is a shared treasure which belongs to everyone – the author who wrote it, the director who transposes it, the fan community, and its readers/spectators in general. All are free to accept, reject or interpret Bilbo’s story in its latest form, a dynamic narrative taking on new life as a collective property in the internet age. As Bilbo himself says, ‘roads go ever ever on’, and so does the road of ‘The Hobbit’!

 **

La película ‘El Hobbit: un Viaje Inesperado’ (‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’), estrenada en diciembre de 2012, constituye la primera parte de la trilogía del realizador Peter Jackson basada en la muy querida novela de fantasía de J.R.R. Tolkien, ‘El Hobbit’ (‘The Hobbit’). De parte mía, fui fascinado por la película del inicio al final, pero no cabe duda de que a la vez esta cinta plantea unas preguntas más bien complejas relativas a la autenticidad narrativa y a la cuestión de pertenencia (¿a quién, a fin de cuentas, pertenece un relato, literario o cinemático?).

Hobbitrevistaportada

 La primera edición del libro apareció en 1937, pero Tolkien revisó la narrativa en versiones posteriores publicadas en 1951 y 1966, para alinearla con la trilogía que había completado entretanto, ‘El Señor de los Anillos’ (‘The Lord of the Rings’). Así, una narrativa que inicialmente fue totalmente autónoma, relatando el viaje y el regreso a casa del hobbit Bilbo, cambió de naturaleza, convirtiéndose en un preludio a otra obra más extensa.

 Por ahora, cualquier juicio acerca de la nueva cinta tiene que ser provisoria: su contenido carece de autonomía, ya que no deja de ser condicionado por las segunda y tercera entregas – que el público todavía desconoce, aunque rumores y especulaciones no faltan. La película ‘El Hobbit: la Desolación de Smaug’ (‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’) saldrá en diciembre de 2013, seguida en el verano de 2014 por ‘El Hobbit: Partida y Regreso’ (‘The Hobbit: There And Back Again’). Evidentemente, ha generado polémica el que una novela relativamente corta (en mi edición en inglés, no rebasa las 389 páginas) sea así alargada para crear tres películas. Hay tal vez un precedente en el caso de la serie de libros/cintas de Harry Potter y la escisión de la séptima y última novela en dos cintas, resultando en un total de ocho películas por siete libros. Allí, no obstante, el resultado fue la salvaguarda de un máximo de elementos del libro; en cambio, con ‘El Hobbit’, la expansión se consigue por la interpolación de material adicional. Así, se invierte la costumbre, más frecuente en la adaptación cinemática, de recortar la narrativa.

 El material adicional parece derivar principalmente de los apéndices al ‘Señor de los Anillos’ que Tolkien incluyó en el tercer volumen de la trilogía, y también, posiblemente, de otros escritos del autor, no especificados y aparentemente aún sin publicar. Sin embargo, algunos de los nuevos elementos tienen pinta de ser invenciones del realizador. Las secuencias con el mago Radagast – personaje nombrado una sola vez en la novela – parecen no tener antecedentes, y para la segunda parte se nos promete un personaje totalmente inaudito de sexo femenino, una elfa guardián llamada Tauriel.

 Como en el caso potteriano, el realizador tiene que llevar en cuenta la existencia de una comunidad de fans superinformada e hipercrítica. A diferencia de la señora Rowling, Tolkien ya no está entre nosotros para intervenir en persona en la creación de las cintas, pero su comunidad de fans es omnipresente e incluso es más antigua que la Red. Algunos fans han afirmado ya en línea que hubieran preferido una versión cinemática sin interpolaciones, pidiendo ya que se haga una variante más corta, sin el material adicional y reflejando únicamente el libro que conocen y aman.

 Con todo, la evidencia de la primera parte sugiere que el material nuevo aporta una mejora global. En respuesta a las sensibilidades modernas relativas a la ausencia de personajes femeninos, se ha importado a Galadriel, la poderosa elfa del ‘Señor de los Anillos’. Tanto Thorin como Elrond son aquí personajes más complejos que en el libro, y en particular la relación más profunda entre Thorin y Bilbo tiene el efecto de subrayar los temas de la misión y evolución personal del hobbit.

 Parece, de hecho, que el material adicional es compatible con el espíritu tolkeiniano y ha sido introducido con el debido esmero. Hasta ahora, las modificaciones confieren mayor profundidad a un relato que, en todo caso, ya sufrió cambios en el pasado, evolucionando en interacción con relatos posteriores. En última instancia, la historia del Hobbit, libro y película(s), es un tesoro compartido que pertenece a todos – el autor que la escribió, el realizador que la transpone, la comunidad de fans, y sus lectores/espectadores en general. Todos disponemos de libertad entera para aceptar, rechazar o interpretar el relato de Bilbo en su última manifestación, una narrativa dinámica que retoma vida  como propiedad colectiva en la época de las redes. Para citar al propio Bilbo, ‘roads go ever ever on’ (‘los caminos siguen para siempre’). Con ‘El Hobbit’ también, ‘se hace camino al andar’ …

Ravi Shankar dies at 92

Ravi Shankar, India’s greatest musician of modern times, left us at the age of 92, on 11 December 2012. Obituaries:

*Reginald Massey, ‘Ravi Shankar obituary – Indian virtuoso who took the sitar to the world’ –
The Guardian, 12 Dec 2012 – www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/dec/12/ravi-shankar-dies
*(unsigned), ‘Pandit Ravi Shankar, sitar maestro, passes away in California’ – The Times of India, 12 Dec 2012 –
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pandit-Ravi-Shankar-sitar-maestro-passes-away-in-California/articleshow/17581097.cms?

These obituaries give a far stronger sense than I ever could of the range and influence of the great sitarist’s work, his creative energy and his dynamism.
I would point out, though, that his musical importance in both East and West goes far beyond his momentary association with the Beatles.
Meanwhile, his two musician daughters, Norah Jones in the US and Anoushka Shankar in India, shine in their respective domains, make another bridge between East and West and will remain keepers of the flame.

 

« La Chute de la maison Usher »: Edgar Allan Poe performed in Esch-sur-Alzette, 30 November 2012

“La Chute de la maison Usher”: Poe performed in Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg)

This review has been published (see entry on this blog for 20 May 2013) in:

The Edgar Allan Poe Review
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Spring 2013), pp. 99-100 –

http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/edgallpoerev.14.1.0099

**

 “As the shades of the evening drew on,” nightfall on 30 November 2012 ushered in a single performance, at the Municipal Theatre in Esch-sur-Alzette, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg’s second city, of  “La Chute de la maison Usher,” a multimedia stage adaptation of “The Fall of the House of Usher.” The event graced the theatre’s boards thanks to a visiting company, the Nouveau Théâtre from Besançon in France, the French-language script being by Sylvain Maurice, adapted from the Baudelaire translation, and the music by Alban Darche.

This is Poe modernised, with no hint in the stark, minimalist decor of any of the original’s Gothic architectural trappings. Yet it remains paradoxically faithful to Poe, reproducing all but word-for-word large portions of the original Poe-Baudelaire text, through the voice of the tale’s narrator turned main actor – including “difficult” passages like the mirror-image tarn sequence at the beginning, or the list of Usher’s esoteric books (replicated to the letter). The spectacle lasts exactly one hour with no interval – in perfect fidelity to Poe’s notion, as expounded in his theory of the short story, of the brief narrative as an aesthetic experience occupying precisely such a time without external distraction.

It also brings to the fore, within that same modern-yet-loyal dynamic, the perhaps latent but extremely powerful multimedia dimension of Poe’s text. As readers of “Usher” know, the tale’s middle section centres on the narrator’s account of how he and Roderick pursue the arts together, through painting, reading, the writing of poetry, and musical composition and performance. “La Chute de la maison Usher” concretises this multimedia element by introducing both music and on-screen visual imagery. There is a missed opportunity when the narrator faithfully describes Usher’s abstract “vault” canvas, but no illuminating image appears on screen. By contrast, however, and arch-significantly,  “The Haunted Palace,” the mise en abyme poem which Usher composes and sets to music, accompanying himself on the guitar, appears as a set-piece, performed in French and transposed into a modern arrangement.

The music is contemporary throughout, piano- and saxophone-based in an idiom somewhere between jazz and modern classical, with female vocals ascending to peaks of Mahler- or Schoenberg-like anguish. The visual imagery, too, is entirely modern, with rapid fadings and mergings. In a further distancing effect, Roderick Usher is played by a woman, while Madeline does not appear directly at all until after her death.

The story’s climax as embodied in this interpretation rises to ever-intenser heights, verging, quite as much as does the original, on the psychotic. When the narrator flees the collapsing house, no blood-red moon is seen, but the screen throws up the disturbing images of the dark waters of the tarn as they close in on the fissured mansion. Had his phantom been watching, surely Edgar Allan Poe would have approved so moving a retreading and updating of his classic exploration of the confines of mind and art. The Besançon company is to be congratulated on a theatrical achievement which, be it hoped, will if it travels further succeed in attaining the wider audience it eminently merits, in Poe circles and beyond.

See:
www.esch.lu/culture/Documents/Programme%20Theatre-Conservatoire%202012-2013.pdf
www.theatredelacommune.com/cdn/saison-2010-2011/la-chute-de-la-maison-usher

MIGUEL SÁENZ, TRADUCTOR DE KAFKA Y RUSHDIE, ELEGIDO A LA REAL ACADEMIA ESPAÑOLA / MIGUEL SÁENZ, TRANSLATOR OF KAFKA Y RUSHDIE, ELECTED SPANISH ACADEMICIAN

El 22 de noviembre de 2012, el traductor literario Miguel Sáenz fue elegido miembro de la Real Academia Española – véase: Elsa Fernández-Santos, ‘El traductor Miguel Sáenz, elegido académico de la Lengua’, El País, 23-XI-2012, edición impresa internacional, p. 46:

http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2012/11/22/actualidad/1353614625_491968.html .

 Nacido en 1932, Miguel Saénz se ha distinguido a través de una larga carrera profesional como traductor. Ha publicado traducciones al castellano de toda una serie de grandes figuras de las literaturas de habla alemana e inglesa, como Goethe, Kafka, Brecht, Conrad, Faulkner o Rushdie. En el caso del último, destáquense sus traducciones de algunas de las obras más importantes del autor anglo-indio, como Hijos de la Medianoche, El suelo bajo sus pies o Shalimar el payaso.

 En la versión en linea del referido artículo, notemos que Miguel Sáenz declara, relativamente a sus nuevas responsabilidades: “Espero, como homenaje a mis colegas de Naciones Unidas, estudiar un campo que me interesa mucho: el español hablado en los diferentes países hispanoamericanos” – proyecto que, en manos como éstas, ya promete ser de enorme valor.

 Su nombramiento puede considerarse un gran logro para la visibilidad de la traducción. ¡Miguel Sáenz es, así, merecedor de las más sentidas felicitaciones de parte de la comunidad traductora, no sólo española sino mundial!

 **

On 22 November 2012, the literary translator Miguel Sáenz was elected a member of the Real Academia Española (RoyalSpanishAcademy), the leading such body in the Spanish-speaking world. See: Elsa Fernández-Santos, ‘El traductor Miguel Sáenz, elegido académico de la Lengua’ (‘Translator Miguel Sáenz elected language academician’), El País, 23 Nov 2012, international print edn., p. 46:

http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2012/11/22/actualidad/1353614625_491968.html .

 Born in 1932, Miguel Saénz has a remarkable range of achievements behind him as a translator. He has published translations into Spanish of works by authors from the German- and English-speaking worlds of the distinction of Goethe, Kafka, Brecht, Conrad, Faulkner or Rushdie. In the last-named case, we may note that he has translated such major works by the Anglo-Indian writer as Midnight’s Children, The Ground Beneath Her Feet and Shalimar the Clown.

 In the on-line version of the El País article, Miguel Sáenz says that in his new capacity, he now plans to make a detailed study of the different Latin American varieties of Spanish – a project which, in his hands, will be of major interest.

 His membership of the Academy may be considered a major achievement for the visibility of translation. Miguel Sáenz now merits the warmest congratulations from the translator community, not only in Spain but worldwide!

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