- v Spanish-Language Contributions
We noted in our last entry that the most recent noteworthy development in Spanish-language scholarship has been the emergence of electronic journals. The accessibility of a variety of critical studies has continued in journals such as Espéculo, Cyberletras, and Cuentos en Red. Espéculo has led the way with an assortment of articles dealing with topics ranging from classic American literature to contemporary literature and cultural studies. In "La 'ficción suprema del yo': Influencia de Walt Whitman en León Felipe" (Espéculo 29: n.p.) José M. del Aguila Gómez offers an ambitious two-part essay. The first part extols Whitman as an important figure in world literature, as the first great American poet, and as one of the fathers of modern poetry. Noting Whitman's far-flung influence on American and European poets, Aguila Gómez then turns to Whitman's presence in Spain. The second part of the essay examines the impact of Leaves of Grass on the evolution of modern poetry, and the author presents a comparative study of Whitman and the Spanish poet León Felipe. He argues that Felipe enthusiastically embraced Whitman's "Song of Myself"—and the passionate celebration of self, individuality, and the egalitarian voice. The essay notes that Felipe translated Whitman and often worked the American poet into his social criticism:
I lived in North America six years, looking for WhitmanAnd I did not find him. No one knows himEven now no one knows himPoor Walt! your word "democracy"Has been trampled by the Ku-Klux-Klan.
The author posits that Felipe sought to emulate Whitman in being "the voice of the people," fusing the individual voice with the voice of a nation to encompass humanity in the democratic spirit. Elena Otto Cantón's "El tema del doble en William Wilson, de E. A. Poe" (Espéculo 30: n.p.) covers well-trod ground and makes a minor contribution, but it demonstrates the continuing interest in Poe. The author also makes an acute point in noting that the theme of the double and the Poe example have gone beyond the border of literature: they have created "a subject matter for numerous studies in varied disciplines, such as art history, philosophy, sociology and communication theory." Cantón traces the theme of the double from classical times to the present and outlines its different treatments in Robert Louis Stevenson, Dostoyevsky, and Poe. [End Page 521] Her examination of "William Wilson" leads to her conclusion that Poe brought a different dimension to the theme of the double, anticipating Freud and bringing to the subject matter the complexities of the human psyche. Gabriela Gómez Vera's "Aproximaciones a 'What Inn Is This' y la poética de Emily Dickinson" (Espéculo 30: n.p.) offers an engaging topic in investigating Dickinson's gnomic poetry and poetics. Her close reading of "What Inn Is This" focuses on the interrogative mode of the poem and a characteristic of many of Dickinson's poems. Vera concludes that Dickinson's originality lies in her extraordinary conjoining of content and form, her powerful use of ambiguous, startling imagery, and her evocative rendering of death. For Dickinson, poetry was the "necromancer that evokes the world of the dead and death itself." Her poetics, like her life, is singular and mysterious. Julio Angel Olivares Merino's "El abrazo de la protoenlutada: Utopias de omnisciencia, disolución, y degradados en The Turn of the Screw, de Henry James" (Espéculo 27 : n.p.) is significant in two ways. First, there is a scarcity of Spanish-language scholarship on James. Second, Merino's thorough and ambitious examination of the difficult Jamesian terrain of ambiguity and ambivalence offers a first-rate critical analysis of the story. Contending that The Turn of the Screw is the most fascinating and astutely conceived and executed ghost story in the history of literature, Merino proposes an eclectic, postmodern approach to the story. He concludes that James's genius created a story that is revitalized each time it is read anew: "Everything in that niche and totality of the work, evanescent and...