Carmen, a Gypsy Geography
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Wesleyan University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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List of Illustrations
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Regardless of the words, it seems the melodic contour of the song describes the nature of the land over which the song passes . . . Carmen, a Gypsy Geography began as I finished the final chapter on the life of the great Spanish dancer Antonia Mercé, La Argentina. Both women were dancers, one real, the other a mirage of history, geography, and imagination....
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I have been chasing Carmen most of my life or, perhaps, she’s been chasing me. In theaters, archives, tablaos, flamenco studios, and on concert stages, I have searched for her. This book articulates the spiritual, geographic map of that experience Writing a book is a labor of love and many people contribute to its final shape. First I must thank my editor, the Editor-in-Chief of Wesleyan University Press, ...
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Spain is a bundle of local units tied together by a rope of sand.Richard Ford, Hand-book for Travellers in Spain and Readers at Home, Describing the Country and Cities1[Spain] is a collection of small, mutually hostile or indifferent republics held together in a loose federation. At certain great periods (the Caliphate, the Reconquista, the Siglo de Oro), these small centers have been infected by a ...
CHAPTER ONE Inventing Carmen: Prosper Mérimée and the Gypsy Presence in Western Europe
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As historian and archaeologist, [Mérimée] is a man of erudition turned artist.Figures of the body whose texture forms musical signifying . . . these figures Carmen and the pre-history she traces when she moves or sings is not only the title of the novella or an opera, but also a concept developed in different spaces throughout this book. Carmen in Spanish means villa or country house, a residence ...
CHAPTER TWO Georges Bizet and the Genealogy of Carmen
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Just as Mérimée could not have predicted Carmen transformed into Bizet’s opera, so Bizet could not have known the enormity of the future of his creation. Bizet left behind a gift to operatic and French history: the extraordinary transformation of literary characters into musical form. It was a gesture that the great Spanish historian Americo Castro considers a “magico-human projection” of the literary ...
CHAPTER THREE Mythic Space and Ancient Carmen
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Mythology has the merit to preserve for us very old ideas about the impenetrable secrets of this world . . . In fact, I find that the ancient Greeks did as we do. . . . Note the singular conformity of all religions to leave the idea of the divinity of the demiurge in the background and to give him intermediaries that are either The evolution of Carmen’s mythic status recapitulates the origins of the female ...
CHAPTER FOUR The Gypsy Inside and Outside of History
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The Peninsula acts as a sounding board for Oriental races who usually give their richest sounds in it: the Arab, the Jews, and the Gypsy. It was in Spain that Arab civilization rose to its highest brilliancy; Spanish Jews were the greatest luminaries of Hebrew civilization since Biblical times; and as for the Gypsy, the superiority of the Spanish type over any other is not to be proved ...
CHAPTER FIVE Gypsies in the Dance Cafés of the Islamic Mediterranean
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If, in the context of colonial production, the subaltern has no history and cannot speak, the subaltern as female is even more deeply in shadow.The shape of Orientalism can be mapped like a dance, its bodies moving to and from center stage, crossing and extending back out into space along multiple choreographic routes. For Edward Saïd, author of the groundbreaking theoretical ...
CHAPTER SIX Picasso, the Bull, and Carmen
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We peer back toward a past that seems to have independent being distant from the present; in body memory the past is enacted in the present as a kind In the large country of Gypsies in art, Picasso is the greatest Gypsy of them all. It is necessary to know Spain to understand . . . From his The natural steadiness of [Picasso’s] character is rooted in his Spanishness, ...
CHAPTER SEVEN Space and Place in Islamic Spain: The Archeology of Flamenco
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The essence of life is a feeling of participation in the flowing onward [history] expressed in terms of space. The poetic image offered takes root in us, bringing out the quality of the original . . . we begin to have the impression that we Inside the artist is the spectator — the painting has been there before inside of them — the first spectator of the work is the artist. As the artist made the ...
CHAPTER EIGHT Carmen, a Close Reading of a Nomadic Opera
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As described in Chapter 2, the first performance of Carmen was a flop. Its disastrous reception killed Bizet, who was heartbroken and ill at ease with the press. Today, the global list of past and present Carmens since its 1875 premiere is extensive — a genealogy in itself. With hd.sc movie-theater screenings, it now reaches an enor-mous audience, unimaginable in Bizet’s time. Performed annually in almost every ...
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About the Author
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Ninotchka Devorah Bennahum, choreographer, cultural historian, and native of New Mexico, is an Associate Professor of Theater and Dance at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of Antonia Merce. In 1986, she received her doctorate in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 1991, she founded The Route 66 Dance Company to bring flamenco, ...
Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2013