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Severo Sarduy and the Neo-Baroque Image of Thought in the Visual Arts

by Rolando Pérez

Publication Year: 2007

Severo Sarduy never enjoyed the same level of notoriety as did other Latin American writers like García Márquez and Vargas-Llosa, and his compatriot, Cabrera-Infante. On the other hand, he never lacked for excellent critical interpretations of his work from critics like Roberto González Echevarría, René Prieto, Gustavo Guerrero, and other reputable scholars. Missing, however, from what is otherwise an impressive body of critical commentary, is a study of the importance of painting and architecture, firstly, to his theory, and secondly, to his creative work. In order to fill this lacuna in Sarduy studies, Rolando Pérez’s book undertakes a critical approach to Sarduy’s essays—Barroco, Escrito sobre un cuerpo, “Barroco y neobarroco,” and La simulación—from the stand point of art history. Often overlooked in Sarduy studies is the fact that the twenty-three-year-old Sarduy left Cuba for Paris in 1961 to study not literature but art history, earning the equivalent of a Master’s Degree from the École du Louvre with a thesis on Roman art. And yet it was the art of the Italian Renaissance (e.g., the paintings as well as the brilliant and numerous treatises on linear perspective produced from the 15th to the 16th century) and what Sarduy called the Italian, Spanish, and colonial Baroque or “neo-baroque” visually based aesthetic that interested him and to which he dedicated so many pages. In short, no book on Sarduy until now has traced the multifaceted art historical background that informed the work of this challenging and exciting writer. And though Severo Sarduy and the Neo-Baroque Image of Thought in the Visual Arts is far from being an introduction, it will be a book that many a critic of Sarduy and the Latin American “baroque” will consult in years to come.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Title

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pp. i-

Series, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ii-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

The legacy of Tannhäuser in my own life has taken almost as many twists and turns as the story I discuss in this book. This book grew out of an essay I published in the journal Jewish Social Studies that sought to account for the influence of Tannhäuser on Heinrich Heine, Theodor...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-7

In July 2001, the well-known Jewish conductor, Daniel Barenboim, leading the Berlin Staatskapelle orchestra, asked his audience at the Israeli Music Festival in Jerusalem if they would like to hear some of Richard Wagner’s music during the encore. Wagner had been unofficially banned in Palestine...

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Chapter One: The Original Tannhäuser Ballad

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pp. 8-10

The Tannhäuser legend that influenced Heinrich Heine and Richard Wagner (and therein Theodor Herzl and I. L. Peretz), is a 1515 version from Nuremberg.1 There is much disagreement about whether the knight discussed in the ballad was a historical thirteenth-century...

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Chapter Two: Heinrich Heine

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pp. 11-39

In the November 5, 1981 edition of The New York Review of Books, the American literary critic, Alfred Kazin, told the troubling story of how “Hitler, flushed with triumph when he occupied Paris, ordered that Heine’s grave in Montmartre be destroyed.” Heinrich Heine...

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Chapter Three: Richard Wagner

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pp. 40-69

In April 1842, a decrepit horse and buggy was travelling through the Wartburg valley in Thüringia, Germany. Inside the carriage were Richard Wagner (1813- 1883) and his first wife, Minna, returning from two-and-a-half years in Paris. The air was cold and damp and they shivered in their...

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Chapter Four: Theodor Herzl

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pp. 70-94

On the evening of May 11, 1895, the crowd was seated and nervously waiting for the curtain at the Académie de Musique, better known as the Paris Opera; it was an invited audience of political luminaries, journalists, and artists at the dress rehearsal for Richard Wagner’s opera...

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Chapter Five: I. L. Peretz

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pp. 95-124

In October 1899, the first snow of winter was falling in the courtyard of the Citadel prison in Warsaw. The jail housed the usual motley crew of a Tsarist prison: thieves, murderers, army deserters, anarchists, socialists, revolutionaries, and poets. The political prisoners, who received comforts...

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Conclusion

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pp. 125-135

The medieval knight Tannhäuser has been on a remarkable journey in the course of this book, during which he has come into contact with, and been transformed by, three of the most important figures in the construction of Jewish culture in modern Europe. While he himself has changed, he...

Discussion Questions

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pp. 136-138

Index

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pp. 139-148


E-ISBN-13: 9781612491493
E-ISBN-10: 1612491499
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557536044
Print-ISBN-10: 155753604x

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures
Series Editor Byline: Patricia Hart

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Subject Headings

  • Art and literature.
  • Sarduy, Severo -- Aesthetics.
  • Sarduy, Severo -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Sarduy, Severo -- Knowledge -- Art.
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