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«They All Wanted to Dress Up Like Sor Juana»

At last month’s opening roundtable for the new Benson Latin American Collection exhibit, Inside the Baroque: the Viceregal Legacy of New Spain, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Professor César Salgado told a funny story about 20th Century postmodern Cuban writer Severo Sarduy, a member of the famous Tel Quel group

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Poverty Tourism and Gabo in Yoknapatawpha

Recently, Jessica Carey-Webb wrote about “Favela Chic,” a Paris nightclub built on a favela theme which, as she puts it,  “exploits the colors, sounds and sites of Rio for the client who can spend a mere 9 euros on a caipirinha.” Jessica aptly diagnoses the problems that come from repackaging

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Gabo vs. A Lifetime of Absolute Normalcy

Remembering Gabriel García Márquez, Edwidge Danticat writes: I am often surprised when people talk about the total implausibility of the events in García Márquez’s fiction. Having been born and lived in a deeply spiritual and extraordinarily resourceful part of the Caribbean, a lot of what might seem magical to others

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A Transnational Confederacy (of Dunces)

On Thursday, I’m heading to the annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association in New York. I’ve always got a lot to do right before a conference: polish up the paper I’m presenting, take two dress shirts and my wool slacks to the cleaners, figure out how to get

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Junot in the Park

(Photo by Meg Dowdy) Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of This is How You Lose Her and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, spoke tonight at UT as part of Texas Institute for Literary & Textual Studies 2013 reading series. Keeping my tradition of blogging about things that don’t work out, I’ll

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Dissertation Spotlight: Christina McCoy

This is the first post in what I’m hoping will become a semi-regular series of dissertation spotlights. I’ve got two purposes in mind with this series. First, obviously, I want to highlight some of the Spanish & Portuguese Department’s most talented and smartest grad students, and give their projects some

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Penelope Casas, 1943 – 2013

  My parents married in 1977. Shortly after that, my dad, a naval officer in the JAG Corps, got sent to the base in Rota, in southern Spain, where my parents stayed until 1981. For part of that time they lived in base housing, but when I was born in

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Feliz HemingDay!

  (photo via Brazos Bookstore) Tomorrow (July 21st) is Ernest Hemingway’s 114th birthday. Which means that right now in Key West the annual Hemingway Days festival is going on, highlighted by the world-renowned Sloppy Joe’s Hemingway lookalike contest. If you want to celebrate, but want to stay a little closer

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Happy Hour in Havana

  I’ve written about travel envy before, but I’m feeling it acutely right now, as my friends are off researching, leading study abroad groups and awesome community projects, jetting all over the world and posting the sort of pictures that Megan writes about in this post. All while I’m facing

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Pete Rodríguez at Strange Brew

Speaking of Bebo Valdés, the trumpeter for his 2004-5 world tour was Pete Rodríguez, the son of legendary percussionist and singer Pete ‘El Conde’ Rodríguez. The younger Rodríguez has spent much of the past ten years in Austin, and his Afro Taíno Sextet plays regularly at the Elephant Room, the

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Bebo Valdés, 1918 – 2013

  “Even though I’m Cuban, I’m really an American arranger,” he reflected. “Because the way I write has as much to do with American music as it does with Cuban music. And at the same time it has to do with the fugue.” The quote comes from legendary pianist, arranger,

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Leonardo Boff y el nuevo pontífice

Los pensamientos de Leonardo Boff, gran teólogo brasileño de la teología de la liberación, sobre el primer papa latinoamericano: ¿Por qué el cardenal Jorge Mario Bergoglio eligió el nombre de Francisco? Creo que fue porque se dio cuenta de que la Iglesia está en ruinas por la desmoralización de los

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Chávez on a Plane

There’s lots of good reading this morning on the life, death, and legacy of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. I wanted to share two pieces, both reports by incisive writers of conversations they had with Chávez while flying. First, Gabriel García Márquez describes what he learned of the venezolano while flying

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Borges in Austin

This is a follow-up to Megan’s beautiful post on Borges’ Buenos Aires. I can’t afford a trip to Argentina, so where she sought traces of the writer in his home city, I’m going to follow his ghost around Austin, which was one of his favorite cities in the US. To

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Quick Comment on Carpentier

    Dig the French accent on Cuban author Alejo Carpentier in the video below:   Carpentier Mestizaje   Why do I bring this up? In a very sharp essay in the new issue of Pterodáctilo, my colleague Hannah Alpert-Abrams argues that the North American publishers and translators of Alejo

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What We’re Reading: «Cuban Fiestas»

Last year around this time, I read this article on the anti-authoritarian roots of Western Christmas celebrations.  The idea is that Christmas, for all its commercialization and emphasis on tradition and harmony, actually has lots of riotous, carnivalesque undercurrents running through it, undercurrents that the article’s author (Laura Miller) connected

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Retrato de Enrique Fierro

  «Enrique Fierro sabe que la poesía es cosa seria, por eso escribe un poema que, si lo vemos de este lado, es de vanguardia, y si lo vemos del otro, es clásico, y siempre nos equivocamos de lado. Bueno, supongo que me entienden, nunca leemos de frente, eso se

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