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Literature > Spanish and Portuguese Literature
The Role of Arabic in Judah ibn Tibbon's Ethical Will
Beginning in 1172, Judah ibn Tibbon, who was called the father of Hebrew translators, wrote a letter to his son that was full of personal and professional guidance. The detailed letter, described as an ethical will, was revised through the years and offered a vivid picture of intellectual life among Andalusi elites exiled in the south of France after 1148. S. J. Pearce sets this letter into broader context and reads it as a document of literary practice and intellectual values. She reveals how ibn Tibbon, as a translator of philosophical and religious texts, explains how his son should make his way in the family business and how to operate, textually, within Arabic literary models even when writing for a non-Arabic audience. While the letter is also full of personal criticism and admonitions, Pearce shows ibn Tibbon making a powerful argument in favor of the continuation of Arabic as a prestige language for Andalusi Jewish readers and writers, even in exile outside of the Islamic world.
The History of an Idea
The notion of retrieving a bit of the past-by owning a material piece of it-has always appealed to humans. Often our most prized possessions are those that have had a long history before they came into our hands. Part of the pleasure we gain from the encounter with antiques stems from the palpable age and the assumed (sometimes imaginary) cultural resonances of the particular object. But precisely what is it about these objects that creates this attraction? What common characteristics do they share and why and how do these traits affect us as they do?
In Antiques: The History of an Idea, Leon Rosenstein, a distinguished philosopher who has also been an antiques dealer for more than twenty years, offers a sweeping and lively account of the origin and development of the antique as both a cultural concept and an aesthetic category. He shows that the appeal of antiques is multifaceted: it concerns their value as commodities, their age and historical and cultural associations, their uniqueness, their sensuous and tactile values, their beauty. Exploring how the idea of antiques evolved over time, Rosenstein chronicles the history of antique collecting and connoisseurship. He describes changing conceptions of the past in different epochs as evidenced by preservations, restorations, and renascences; examines shifting attitudes toward foreign cultures as revealed in stylistic borrowings and the importation of artifacts; and investigates varying understandings of and meanings assigned to their traits and functions as historical objects.
While relying on the past for his evidence, Rosenstein approaches antiques from an entirely original perspective, setting history within a philosophical framework. He begins by providing a working definition of antiques that distinguishes them from other artifacts in general and, more distinctly, both from works of fine art and from the collectible detritus of popular culture. He then establishes a novel set of criteria for determining when an artifact is an antique: ten traits that an object must possess in order to elicit the aesthetic response that is unique to antiques. Concluding with a provocative discussion of the relation between antiques and civilization, this engaging and thought-provoking book helps explain the enduring appeal of owning a piece of the past.
Insular Fictions from Chivalric Romance to the Novel
Pinet looks closely at Amadís de Gaula and the Liber insularum archipelagi as the first examples of these genres. Both isolario and chivalric romance (libros de caballerías) make of the island a flexible yet cohesive framework that becomes intrinsic to the construction of their respective genres. The popularity of these forms throughout the seventeenth century in turn bears witness to the numerous possibilities the archipelagic structure offered, ultimately taken up by the grand genres of each discipline—the atlas and the novel.
Moving from verbal descriptions to engravings and tapestry weavings, and from the chivalric politics and ethics proposed in the Amadís de Gaula to the Insula Barataria episode in Don Quixote, Pinet’s analysis of insularity and the use of the island structure reveals diverging roles for fiction, illuminating both the emergence of the novel and contemporary philosophical discussion on fiction.
Literary Masters on a Popular Medium
When Art Spiegelman's Maus-a two-part graphic novel about the Holocaust-won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992, comics scholarship grew increasingly popular and notable. The rise of "serious" comics has generated growing levels of interest as scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals continue to explore the history, aesthetics, and semiotics of the comics medium. Yet those who write about the comics often assume analysis of the medium didn't begin until the cultural studies movement was underway. Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium brings together nearly two dozen essays by major writers and intellectuals who analyzed, embraced, and even attacked comic strips and comic books in the period between the turn of the century and the 1960s. From e. e. cummings, who championed George Herriman's Krazy Kat, to Irving Howe, who fretted about Harold Gray's Little Orphan Annie, this volume shows that comics have provided a key battleground in the culture wars for over a century. With substantive essays by Umberto Eco, Marshall McLuhan, Leslie Fiedler, Gilbert Seldes, Dorothy Parker, Irving Howe, Delmore Schwartz, and others, this anthology shows how all of these writers took up comics-related topics as a point of entry into wider debates over modern art, cultural standards, daily life, and mass communication. Arguing Comics shows how prominent writers from the Jazz Age and the Depression era to the heyday of the New York Intellectuals in the 1950s thought about comics and, by extension, popular culture as a whole. A columnist for the National Post (Canada), Jeet Heer has been published in Slate, the Boston Globe, the Guardian, the Comics Journal and many other venues. Kent Worcester, a professor of political science and international studies at Marymount Manhattan College, is the author of C. L. R. James: A Political Biography. His work has appeared in the Comics Journal, New Statesman, Popular Culture Review, and numerous other publications.
Rojas and Delicado
Rojas's Celestina (1499) is perhaps the second greatest work of Spanish literature, right after Don Quixote, and Delicado sought to surpass it with La Lozana andaluza (1530), an important precedent of the picaresque novel.Both works were written during the height of the Inquisition, when the only relatively safe way for New Christian writers of Jewish extraction like Rojas and Delicado to express what they felt about the discrimination they suffered and their doubts regarding the faith that had been forced upon their ancestors was in a covert, indirect manner. Some scholars have detected this subversive element in Rojas' and Delicado's corrosive view of the Christian societies in which they lived, but this book goes far beyond such impressionism, showing through abundant textual evidence that these two authors used superficial bawdiness and claims regarding the morality of their respective works as cover to encode attacks against the central dogmas of Christianity: the Annunciation, the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation, and the Holy Trinity.This book, which will generate controversy among Hispanists, many of whom have refused to examine these works for non-Catholic views, will be of interest not only to students and scholars of Spanish literature, but also to those involved in Jewish studies, Medieval European history, and cultural studies.
Human-Animal Relations as Revealed in Real Photo Postcards, 1905–1935
From fairy tales to photography, nowhere is the complexity of human-animal relationships more apparent than in the creative arts. Art illuminates the nature and significance of animals in modern, Western thought, capturing the complicated union that has long existed between the animal kingdom and us. In Beauty and the Beast, authors Arluke and Bogdan explore this relationship through the unique lens of photo postcards. This visual medium offers an enormous and relatively untapped archive to document their subject compellingly.
History and Technology
This generously illustrated book records the story of Russia's bells--the thousands of awe inspiring instruments that gave voice to the visual splendors of Russian Orthodoxy and to the political aspirations of the tsars.
Originally published in 1986.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Benito Perez Galdos and the Creative Process was first published in 1954. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Most critics would rank Benito Perez Galdos second only to Cervantes among the great novelists of Spain. However, in spite of the esteem in which he is generally held, Galdos has been the subject of relatively few scholarly studies. Professor Pattison, by an analysis of two of Galdos' novels, attempts to reconstruct the creative processes that were involved in the writing of these novels. This is the first time that such a critical approach has been used in the field of Spanish fiction and the resulting study is significant not only to Spanish scholars but to all students of literature seeking further insights into the fascinating and still elusive creative process.
Professor Pattison analyzes the novels Gloria, published in 1877, and Marianela,which was published the following year. Both are stories of contemporary life, the former having as its theme the conflict between noble religion and the fanaticism of individual religious sects, and the latter presenting a story of tragic love interwoven with the social problem of the responsibilities of the rich toward the poor.
In tracking down the sources of ideas, characters, plots, and viewpoints that emerge in these novels, Professor Pattison worked first-hand in Galdos' personal library in Madrid. From the notes and markings in the books and from other intimate observations, the scholar-detective put his finger on many of the original sources that contributed to Galdos' artistic creations and identified the prototypes for fictional characters among persons Galdos knew.
Performing Exceptionality in Francoist Spain and the Jim Crow South
For centuries, Spain and the South have stood out as the exceptional “other” within US and European nationalisms. During Franco’s regime and the Jim Crow era both violently asserted a haunting brand of national “selfhood.” Both areas shared a loss of splendor and a fraught relation with modernization and retained a sense of defeat. Brittany Powell Kennedy explores this paradox not simply to compare two apparently similar cultures but to reveal how we construct difference around this self/other dichotomy. She charts a transatlantic link between two cultures whose performances of “otherness” as assertions of “selfhood” enact and subvert their claims to exceptionality. Perhaps the greatest example of this transatlantic link remains the War of 1898, when the South tried to extract itself from but was implicated in US imperial expansion and nation-building. Simultaneously, the South participated in the end of Spain as an imperial power.
Given the War of 1898 as a climactic moment, Kennedy explores the writings of those who come directly after this period and who attempted to “regenerate” what was perceived as “traditional” in an agrarian past. That desire recurs over the century in novels from writers as diverse as William Faulkner, Camilo José Cela, Walker Percy, Eudora Welty, Federico García Lorca, and Ralph Ellison. As these writers wrestle with ideas of Spain and the South, they also engage questions of how national identity is affirmed and contested.
Kennedy compares these cultures across the twentieth century to show the ways in which they express national authenticity. Thus she explores not only Francoism and Jim Crow, but varied attempts to define nationhood via exceptionalism, suggesting a model of performativity that relates to other “exceptional” geographies.
Directions in the Modern Spanish Novel
The term metafiction invaded the vocabulary of literary criticism around 1970, yet the textual strategies involved in turning fiction back onto itself can be traced through several centuries. In this theoretical/critical study Robert C. Spires examines the nature of metafiction and chronicles its evolution in Spain from the time of Cervantes to the 1970s, when the obsession with novelistic self-commentary culminated in an important literary movement.
The critical portions of this study focus primarily on twentieth-century works. Included are analyses of Unamuno's Niebla, Jarnés's Locura y muerte de nadie and La novia del viento, Torrente Ballester's Don Juan, Cunquiero's Un hombre que se parecía a Orestes, and three novels from the "self-referential" movement of the 1970s, Juan Goytisolo's Juan sin Tierra, Luis Goytisolo's La colera de Aquiles, and Martín Gaite's El cuarto de atrás.
Seeking a stronger theoretical basis for his critical readings, Spires offers a sharpened definition of the term metafiction. The mode arises, he declares, through an intentional violation of the boundaries that normally separate the worlds of the author, the fiction, and the reader. Building on theoretical foundations laid by Frye, Scholes, Genette, and others, Spires also proposes a literary paradigm that places metafiction in a position intermediate between fiction and literary theory.
These theoretical formulations place Spires's book in the forefront of critical thought. At the same time, his full-scale analyses of Spanish metafictional works will be welcomed by Hispanists and other students of world literature.