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504 LETTERS IN CANADA 1984 Romantic literary programme and Calder6n's place in it, and the German Idealist philosophers' attitudes to Calder6n and his transcendental philosophy of tragedy. A lighter tone pervades the chapters dealing with the attempts to stage Calder6n's dramas and the Spanish playwright's influence on German opera from Haydn to Wagner. Anotherhigh pointin Calder6n's reception is recorded in the first thirty years of this century, marked by the'discovery' of his autos sacramentales (Baroque descendants of the morality play), and an upsurge in scholarship (e.g. Curtius, Spitzer, and Vossler). This increased interestis in tum followed by another peak in the 1950S with an unprecedented number of performances and a continuinghigh standard ofCalder6nscholarship. At all times, though, the author goes beyond recording mere facts and numbers (which he lists, incidentally, in exhaustive indexes at the end of the book). His main concern throughout is to elucidate the how and why of a literary reception. However, a persuasive study like this poses even more questions, such as how Calder6n compares with Shakespeare or Moliere as far as German acceptance is concerned, orwhether Calder6n travelled to Germanyalone or as part and parcel of a collective interest in Spanish Baroque art. -The presentation of the book matches the high standard of scholarship it represents: photographs of seventeenth-century frontispieces, nineteenth-century engravings, and scores of operas highlight the real presence ofCalder6nin Germany's Kulturgeschichte, while notes, indexes, and bibliography make this a perfect tool for reference and further research. (LOUISE FOTHERGILL-PAYNE) Keith Ellis. Cuba's Nicolas Guillen: Poetry and Ideology University of Toronto Romance Series 47. University of Toronto Press 1983. 251. $27.50i $12.95 paper When questioned about the events that had been most influential in his life, Nicolas Guillen replied: 'Icould mentionfive. The death ofmy father, in 1917. The fall of Machado, in 1933. My association with Spain, in 1937. My joining the Communist Party, in that same year. The Revolution, in 1959.' This simple enumeration is an accurate indication of the kinds of personal, political, social, national and international concerns and commitments that nourished the soil and influenced the development of Guillen's poetry. Keith Ellis leads us carefully and wisely through the successive books of Guillen's published poetry: notably from the celebrated Motivos de son (1930) and Songoro cosongo (1931) to the powerful Elegias (1947-58) and the verses of La paloma de vuelo popular (1958), which brings to a close the pre-revolutionary phase of Guillen's creativity; and HUMANITIES 505 again, from Tengo (1964), and its significance as a reaffirmation of revolutionary commitment in the new setting of post-Batista Cuba, to E1 diario que adiario (1972), 'culmination and synthesis ofhis total expression and ideological vision.' Thus the reader is allowed to follow the steady expansion of consciousness as it embraces and transforms into poetry, through an enormous range of expressive modes, the subjects of love, poverty, race, Cuban identity, us imperialism, class struggle, Latin America's problems of underdevelopment, the values of the Socialist world, the impulse to revolution, the defence of national culture, and the building of a new society. As is obvious from the above, any good book on the poetry of Guillen must inevitably concern itself with questions of ideology and political allegiances. Ellis approaches these issues always with a very fine balance of scholarship and concern, of theoretical preparedness as well as sensitivity to the collective.historical experience of the Cuban people. The book is divided into three essential chapters. The first, 'The Theoretical and Historical Framework,' examinesboth the body ofliterary theory (from Marx and Engels to Jose Carlos Mariategui and Jose Antonio Portuondo) most pertinent to the kind of poetry Guillen is writing and which provides a valuable introduction to the ideological and literary background of Guillen's poetry. The second, 'The Poetry,' traces, comments upon, and analyses nearly the entire corpus of Guillen's verse stretching from Cerebro y coraz6n to E1 diario que a diario. The third, 'Conclusions,' returns, with renewed insight, to certain theoretical considerations raised in the first chapter, and treats key topics of great interest: 'Guillen and Marti,' 'Guillen and the Question of Black Poetry,' 'Magical Realism...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 504-506
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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