Angelitos: A Graphic Novel
Ilan Stavans and Santiago Cohen The Ohio State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PN6727.S677A83 2018 | Dewey Decimal 741.5973
From internationally renowned Ilan Stavans, in collaboration with award-winning illustrator Santiago Cohen, comes Angelitos: A Graphic Novel, an explosive new graphic novel about a college student and his interactions with Padre Chinchachoma, a charismatic Catholic priest who devotes himself to rescuing homeless children in Mexico. Though his work gives hope to the desperate masses of children on the streets of Mexico City, his efforts interfere with and infuriate the police—with dire consequences. Set in a deeply classist society and against the backdrop of the tragic destruction of the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, the core of the story also revolves around the student’s fear that Padre Chincha might be sexually abusing the children he rescues, at a time and place when such actions went unchecked by the Catholic Church.
Though Angelitos: A Graphic Novel is a fictional retelling of a desperate time, it draws on autobiographical elements to tell the real-life story of Alejandro García Durán de Lara, popularly known as Padre Chinchachoma, a complicated figure revered by some and reviled by others.
Winner of the 2020 SAMLA Studies Book Award — Edited Collection
Cities both near and far communicate in a variety of ways. Travel between, through, and among urban centers initiates contact, and cities themselves are sites of ever-changing cultural and historical encounters. Predictable and surprising challenges and opportunities arise when city borders are crossed, voices meet, and artistic traditions find their counterparts. Using the Latin word for “translation,” translatio, or “to carry across,” as a point of departure, Avenues of Translation explores how translation perpetuates, diversifies, deepens, and expands the literary production of cities in their greater cultural context, and how translation shapes an understanding of and access to a city's past and present literary and cultural practices. Thinking about translation and the city is a way to tell the backstories of the cities, texts, and authors that are united by acts of translation.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Luis Montez-Denver attorney and part-time detective-has been getting his career and his life together. So how did he end up in a ditch, his car twisted and smoking nearby, a gun-wielding giant in a cowboy hat coming toward him?
The answer: his friend, Felix "Gato" Guerrero.
Trouble has always followed the larger-than-life Felix the Cat. Now it has jumped all over him. His girlfriend is the wife of a ruthless local crime lord and in spite of bullets and hit men he won't give her up. His former father-in-law blames him for a family tragedy and is bent on revenge. Worst of all, Felix is determined to remain unaware of the dangers. It's up to Montez-and not for the first time-to step in and save him.
As in his Edgar-nominated The Ballad of Rocky Ruiz, Manuel Ramos immerses readers not only in a thrilling mystery but also in the fascinating Chicano culture of the West. Fast-paced and richly textured, The Ballad of Gato Guerrero is an entertaining addition to the acclaimed Luis Montez mystery series.
This debut novel in the acclaimed Luis Montez series introduced a hero unique in detective fiction: a world-weary middle-aged lawyer steeped in the politics, history, and culture of the golden age of Chicano activism.
Twenty years ago, a gang attacked four Chicano student activists and shot down their leader, Rocky Ruiz. Now the survivors, Montez's former compatriots in the movement, are in danger. One is killed, another beaten, and a third driven into hiding. Enter Teresa Fuentes, a beautiful young lawyer determined to solve the mystery and just as determined to avoid becoming involved with Montez. To save his friends, Montez must reexamine the central event of their shared past-the murder of Rocky Ruiz. Just as difficult, he finds, may be to untangle his feelings for Teresa Fuentes.
The Hispanic Malcolm X. Writer. Activist. Civil rights attorney. Obese, dark-skinned, and angry. Man with a surplus of personality. Man of vision. All the above describe Oscar "Zeta" Acosta. El Paso-born, Acosta became a leading figure in the Chicano rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, winning landmark decisions in civil rights cases as an attorney. As a tireless writer and activist, he had a profound influence on his contemporaries. He seemed to be everywhere at once, knowing everyone in "el movimiento" and involving himself in many of its key moments. Tumultuous and prone to excess, he is the Samoan in Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In 1974, after a last phone call to his son, Acosta disappeared in the Mexican state of Mazatlán.
Hailed as "a fine, learned homage" (Kirkus), "a kaleidoscopic portrait" (Booklist), and "a game of mirrors" (The Washington Post), Bandido is a veritable tour de force. Through interviews and Acosta's writings (published and unpublished), Ilan Stavans reconstructs--even reinvents--the man behind the myth. Part biographical appraisal, part reflection on the legacy of the Civil Rights era, Bandido is an opportunity to understand the challenges and pitfalls Latinos face in finding a place of their own in America.
Blues for the Buffalo
Manuel Ramos Northwestern University Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS3568.A4468B57 2004 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Winner, 2013 3rd Annual Latino Books Into Movies Award for Suspence/Mystery
The sun, the sand, a young beauty named Rachel in a white bikini--there's no better way to recover from the aches and pains of your latest case. At least that's what attorney and part-time detective Luis Montez thinks until the woman gives him the manuscript of her novel and vanishes.
Montez just wants to rebuild his Denver practice, but an aggressive young P.I. with an emotional attachment to Rachel draws him in. With the woman's powerful adopted family on one side and unexplained death of a writer friend on the other, Montez digs up a series of long-told lies and long-hidden ugly truths. He also finds himself confronting one of the great unsolved mysteries of recent Chicano history. What happened to Oscar "Zeta" Acosta, the iconic activist-writer presumed dead since 1974? More to the point, what made Rachel insist the legendary Brown Buffalo was alive-and that he was her real father?
Hailed as a literary relative of Kafka and Poe by his Italian and Cuban contemporaries, Calvert Casey and his enthralling work have until now remained eclipsed in the United States. This collection brings all of Casey’s powerful short stories and a fragment of an unfinished novel to an English-speaking audience for the first time. Exploring the human condition through poetically unique yet torturous views of the mind, Casey was a renegade artist whose work perceives reality as a smoke screen behind which Truth is hidden. He intended his fiction to disturb and subvert standard, plot-driven views of life. Born in the United States, Casey was raised in Cuba and spent most of his life there and in Europe. He chose Spanish as his primary artistic tongue. A member of the intelligentsia surrounding Castro in the early years of the revolution, he was eventually exiled—and in 1969 committed suicide in Rome at the age of forty-five. Although most of his luminous stories are set in Havana, his is not a touristy, picturesque landscape but an often strange and nightmarish theater of human passions, inhabited by figures—silhouettes, really—that live on the edge of normality. This volume, which showcases Casey’s mastery of the skill of indirect and gradual revelation, is the most complete to appear in any language and includes a biographical and critical introduction written by Ilan Stavans, the noted novelist and scholar of Hispanic culture. Readers interested in the art of fiction and in the complexities of the human psyche will find Casey’s work irresistible.
For almost twenty years, Ilan Stavans—described by the Washington Post as "Latin America’s liveliest and boldest critic and most innovative cultural enthusiast"—has interviewed path-breaking intellectuals and artists in a wide range of media. As host of the critically acclaimed PBS series La Plaza, he interviews guests on pressing issues that affect the Western Hemisphere today, asking hard-hitting questions on immigration, religion, bilingualism, race, and democracy. This book collects for the first time in one volume Stavans’s most provocative and enlightening interviews with Hispanics from both sides of the Rio Grande.
Spontaneous and surprising, these conversations reflect Latino life in the United States in all its facets. Among the more than two dozen selections, Edward James Olmos talks about Hispanics in Hollywood; John Leguizamo describes how he shapes a stage show; author Richard Rodriguez reflects on his gang background; Esmeralda Santiago takes on the Puerto Rican stereotype; and Piri Thomas shares thoughts on the writing of Down These Mean Streets. "A conversation is a tango," writes Stavans, "for it takes two to dance it." Conversations with Ilan Stavans invites readers to catch the rhythm and enjoy these unique meetings of minds.
A Critic's Journey
Ilan Stavans University of Michigan Press, 2010 Library of Congress PS3619.T385C75 2010 | Dewey Decimal 864.64
Ilan Stavans has been a lightning rod for cultural discussion and criticism his entire career. In A Critic's Journey, he takes on his own Jewish and Hispanic upbringing with an autobiographical focus and his typical flair with words, exploring the relationship between the two cultures from his own and also from others' experiences.
Stavans has been hailed as a voice for Latino culture thanks to his Hispanic upbringing, but as a Jew and a Caucasian, he's also an outsider to that culture---something that's sharpened his perspective (and some of his critics' swords). In this book of essays, he looks at the creative process from that point of view, exploring everything from the translation of Don Quixote to the Hispanic anti-Semitism and the Holocaust in Latin America.
Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture and Five College Fortieth Anniversary Professor at Amherst College. A native of Mexico, he received his doctorate in Latin American Literature from Columbia University. Stavans's books include The Hispanic Condition, On Borrowed Words, Spanglish, Dictionary Days, The Disappearance, Love & Language (with Veró nica Albin), Resurrecting Hebrew, and Mr. Spic Goes to Washington, and he has edited books including The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories and the upcoming Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. His story "Morirse está en Hebreo" was made into the award-winning movie My Mexican Shivah.
Stavans has received numerous awards, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Jewish Book Award, an Emmy nomination, the Latino Book Award, Chile's Presidential Medal, the Rubé n Darí o Distinction, and the Cá tedra Roberto Bolañ o. His work has been translated into a dozen languages.
Hailed as one of the most important Hispanic writers of his generation, Ilan Stavans is a celebrated storyteller whose work has been translated into a dozen languages and has garnered numerous international awards. The Disappearance: A Novella and Stories contains three masterful gems. The novella, “Morirse está en hebreo,” is a thought-provoking meditation on continuity and tradition among Mexican Jews; “Xerox Man” is an intriguing story about a book thief with a bizarre theological obsession; and the title story, “The Disappearance,” is the resonant tale of a Belgian actor who kidnaps himself in an attempt to respond to neo-Nazi groups. Together, these three pieces offer an unforeseen vista of Jewish-Hispanic relations and confirm Stavans’ reputation as an original literary voice.
“In Mexico,” writes Ilan Stavans in the introduction to this provocative new collection on Mexican culture and politics, “[the essay] is embraced as passionately as a sport.” While the American essay may be personal and confessional or erudite and academic, it is presumed to be truthful. By contrast, the Mexican essay pushes the boundaries between fact and fiction as writers seek to make their opinions heard—in literary journals, in newspapers, and even on cereal boxes. “What is real and what isn’t in a Mexican essay, only God knows,” concludes Stavans. In Hurricanes and Carnivals, Lee Gutkind, a pioneer in the teaching of creative nonfiction, brings together fifteen essays by Mexican, Mexican American, and Latin American writers that push the boundaries of style and form, showing that navigating “truth” is anything but clear-cut. Although creative nonfiction is widely thought to be an American art form, this collection proves otherwise. By blending fact and fiction, story and fantasy, history and mythology, these writers and others push the bounds of the essay to present a vision of Mexico rarely seen from this side of the border. Addressing topics that include immigration, politics, ecology, violence, family, and sexuality, they take literary license on a whirlwind adventure. C. M. Mayo shows us Mexico City as seen through the eyes of her pug, Picadou; Juan Villoro examines modern Mexico through the lens of demography; Homero Aridjis uses the plight of nesting sea turtles to document a slowly changing Mexican attitude toward natural resources; and Sam Quinones documents the decline of beauty-queen addiction in Mazatlán and tells us about the flower festivals where, according to lore, only two things matter: hurricanes and carnivals. For readers interested in a literary view of contemporary Mexico, as well as students of the creative nonfiction genre, this volume is essential
I Love My Selfie
Essay by Ilan Stavans / Auto-Portraits by ADÁL Duke University Press, 2017 Library of Congress N7619.S73 2017
What explains our current obsession with selfies? In I Love My Selfie noted cultural critic Ilan Stavans explores the selfie's historical and cultural roots by discussing everything from Greek mythology and Shakespeare to Andy Warhol, James Franco, and Pope Francis. He sees selfies as tools people use to disguise or present themselves as spontaneous and casual. This collaboration includes a portfolio of fifty autoportraits by the artist ADÁL; he and Stavans use them as a way to question the notion of the self and to engage with artists, celebrities, technology, identity, and politics. Provocative and engaging, I Love My Selfie will change the way readers think about this unavoidable phenomenon of twenty-first-century life.
Mexican educator and thinker Jose Vasconcelos is to Latinos what W.E.B. Du Bois is to African Americans--a controversial scholar who fostered an alternative view of the future. In JosèVasconcelos: The Prophet of Race, his influential 1925 essay, "Mestizaje" key to understanding the role he played in the shaping of multiethnic America--is for the first time showcased and properly analyzed. Freshly translated here by John H. R. Polt, "Mestizaje" suggested that the Brown Race from Latin America was called to dominate the world, a thesis embraced by activists and scholars north and south of the Rio Grande. Ilan Stavans insightfully and comprehensively examines the essay in biographical and historical context, and considers how many in the United States, especially Chicanos during the civil rights era, used it as a platform for their political agenda. The volume also includes Vasconcelos's long-forgotten 1926 Harris Foundation Lecture at the University of Chicago, "The Race Problem in Latin America," where he cautioned the United States that rejecting mestizaje in our own midst will ultimately bankrupt the nation.
Hard-luck attorney Luis Montez has hit the big-time at last. He's successfully defended Jimmy Esch, the good-for-nothing son of a powerful Denver family. No small bonus, Jimmy's attractive sister Lisa is, as the saying goes, appreciative. It's enough to make a man quit moping about a lost love.
What a difference a day makes. Inside of twenty-four hours, a cop rumored to have received bribes from Montez takes a header off a mountain, Jimmy Esch is found butchered, and the cops consider the attorney their top suspect. Lisa -- Montez's alibi -- has conveniently disappeared. As if all that wasn't enough, Montez must also cope with the news his father is in the hospital.
Distracted by family strife and a media circus, Montez broods on the latest wrong turns in his life. Then he decides to act. Jumping bail, he heads across the Rockies to the barrios of San Diego. It's not easy to unravel the perfect set-up when you're down to your last cent. But Montez pursues the truths that will clear his name, and ultimately confronts the powerful force that is Family.
The Latin AmericanEcocultural Reader is a comprehensive anthology of literary and cultural texts about the natural world. The selections, drawn from throughout the Spanish-speaking countries and Brazil, span from the early colonial period to the present. Editors Jennifer French and Gisela Heffes present work by canonical figures, including José Martí, Bartolomé de las Casas, Rubén Darío, and Alfonsina Storni, in the context of our current state of environmental crisis, prompting new interpretations of their celebrated writings. They also present contemporary work that illuminates the marginalized environmental cultures of women, indigenous, and Afro-Latin American populations. Each selection is introduced with a short essay on the author and the salience of their work; the selections are arranged into eight parts, each of which begins with an introductory essay that speaks to the political, economic, and environmental history of the time and provides interpretative cues for the selections that follow.
The editors also include a general introduction with a concise overview of the field of ecocriticism as it has developed since the 1990s. They argue that various strands of environmental thought—recognizable today as extractivism, eco-feminism, Amerindian ontologies, and so forth—can be traced back through the centuries to the earliest colonial period, when Europeans first described the Americas as an edenic “New World” and appropriated the bodies of enslaved Indians and Africans to exploit its natural bounty.
Art by Theresa Villegas, Essay and Riddles by Ilan Stavans University of Arizona Press, 2004 Library of Congress GV1295.L68S83 2004 | Dewey Decimal 794
A pastime, delightful—
Chips, cards, and a table.
The riddles insightful,
the future, unstable! What is it?
It's Lotería, the Mexican game of chance! For the uninitiated, it might seem like bingo played with a riddling tarot deck. But this enthralling board game is more than entertainment. The images found on its cards—La Virgen, El Pan Dulce, La Telenovela—are miniature reflections of an entire culture, capturing the joys and sorrows of the Mexican people.
Wildly popular on both sides of the border, Lotería cards originated in the Iberian peninsula in the eighteenth century but have been redesigned so many times as to defy expectation, with boards devoted to ecclesiastical figures, soccer idols, and even vaudeville starlets. With the dawn of a new millennium, American artist Teresa Villegas created a new Lotería set that is already gaining popularity in Mexico, and her striking images are also widely exhibited in galleries across the United States.
This gift book, which will bring pleasure and bewilderment to children and adults alike, reproduces more than two dozen of Villegas's 54 colorful cards, pairing them with insightful, humorous riddles written by award-winning author Ilan Stavans. Stavans also revisits his childhood in an essay that examines the role of luck in Mexican life and recreates the sort of poetry jam that often accompanies Lotería contests wherever they might take place. Delve into the emblematic pages of this marvelous volume to find your own Calavera. Let yourself unravel the paths of El Deseo and the mysteries of El Corazón. Before too long, you'll realize that luck is never truly accidental—for a turn at ¡Lotería! is always an opportunity to come face to face with El Destino.
A Luis Leal Reader
Luis Leal Northwestern University Press, 2007 Library of Congress PQ7114.L43 2007 | Dewey Decimal 810.986872
Since his first publication in 1942, Luis Leal has likely done more than any other writer or scholar to foster a critical appreciation of Mexican, Chicano, and Latin American literature and culture. This volume, bringing together a representative selection of Leal’s writings from the past sixty years, is at once a wide-ranging introduction to the most influential scholar of Latino literature and a critical history of the field as it emerged and developed through the twentieth century.
Instrumental in establishing Mexican literary studies in the United States, Leal’s writings on the topic are especially instructive, ranging from essays on the significance of symbolism, culture, and history in early Chicano literature to studies of the more recent use of magical realism and of individual New Mexican, Tejano, and Mexican authors such as Juan Rulfo, Carlos Fuentes, José Montoya, and Mariano Azuela. Clearly and cogently written, these writings bring to bear an encyclopedic knowledge, a deep understanding of history and politics, and an unparalleled command of the aesthetics of storytelling, from folklore to theory. This collection affords readers the opportunity to consider—or reconsider—Latino literature under the deft guidance of its greatest reader.
In the 1970s, Argentina was the leader in the "Dirty War," a violent campaign by authoritarian South American regimes to repress left-wing groups and any others who were deemed subversive. Over the course of a decade, Argentina's military rulers tortured and murdered upwards of 30,000 citizens. Even today, after thirty years of democratic rule, the horror of that time continues to roil Argentine society.
Argentina has also been in the vanguard in determining how to preserve sites of torture, how to remember the "disappeared," and how to reflect on the causes of the Dirty War. Across the capital city of Buenos Aires are hundreds of grassroots memorials to the victims, documenting the scope of the state's reign of terror. Although many books have been written about this era in Argentina's history, the original Spanish-language edition of Memories of Buenos Aires was the first to identify and interpret all of these sites. It was published by the human rights organization Memoria Abierta, which used interviews with survivors to help unearth that painful history.
This translation brings this important work to an English-speaking audience, offering a comprehensive guidebook to clandestine sites of horror as well as innovative sites of memory. The book divides the 48 districts of the city into 9 sectors, and then proceeds neighborhood-by-neighborhood to offer descriptions of 202 known "sites of state terrorism" and 38 additional places where people were illegally detained, tortured, and killed by the government.
Born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico in 1910, Josefina María Niggli was one of the first Latina writers to have her work published in the United States--and thus one of the first to introduce American audiences to the culture and people flourishing along the U.S.-Mexico border. Well ahead of what is now called Chicano literature, her writings--spanning a broad range of genres, subjects, and styles--offer an insider's view of the everyday lives little known or noted outside of their native milieu. In Niggli's plays, for instance, these often invisible working class Mexicans were literally elevated to the public stage, their hidden reality given expression.
A long-overdue gathering of Niggli's work, this volume showcases the writer's remarkable literary versatility, as well as the groundbreaking nature of her writing, which in many ways established a blueprint for future generations of writers and readers of Chicano literature. This collection includes Niggli's most famous and influential work, Mexican Village--a literary chronicle of Hidalgo, Mexico, which explores the distinct nature and tensions of Mexican life--along with her novel Step Down, Elder Brother, and five of her most well-known plays.
It is commonly assumed that the United States and Latin America, culturally so different, move artistically to very different rhythms. Also common is the assumption that, with rare exception, the literary figures on one side of the global North/South divide have had little interest in the work of their counterparts. With Mutual Impressions Ilan Stavans dispels these notions by showing how solid the bridges between writers and across borders have been, at least since the early days of this century, and how crucial they are likely to become as we enter the next millennium. Divided into symmetrical halves—South reading North and North reading South—the book presents essays by leading novelists, poets, and other writers that focus on the work of another literary figure from across the divide. Borges, for example, finds in Hawthorne the perfect precursor to his own interest in allegories; Katherine Anne Porter examines José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi as a rascal whose picaresque views of life in The Itching Parrot served to launch the Latin American novel; Cortázar’s study of the plots and style of Poe shows an affinity that left an indelible mark on the Argentine’s short fiction; Susan Sontag views Machado de Assis as the ultimate mirror, a proto–postmodernist. With other essays by Thomas Pynchon, William H. Gass, John Updike, Gabriel García Márquez, Alejo Carpentier, John Barth, Robert Coover, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Grace Paley, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Mark Strand, among others, Mutual Impressions offers a remarkable view of the connections that comprise a literary tradition of the Americas. It is a book that will surprise and enliven its readers as it informs and awakens in them a sense of wonder.
Contributors. John Barth, José Bianco, Robert Bly, Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier, Hiber Conteris, Robert Coover, Julio Cortázar, Ezequiel Martínez Estrada, Waldo Frank, Carlos Fuentes, William H. Gass, Nicolás Guillén, William Kennedy, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel García Márquez, José Martí, Pablo Neruda, Victoria Ocampo, Juan Carlos Onetti, Grace Paley, Octavio Paz, Katherine Anne Porter, Thomas Pynchon, Kenneth Rexroth, Antonio Benítez Rojo, Barbara Probst Solomon, Susan Sontag, Ilan Stavans, Mark Strand, John Updike, Pedro Henríque Ureña, Derek Walcott, Paul West
Although investigations of Hispanic popular culture were approached for decades as part of folklore studies, in recent years scholarly explorations—of lucha libre, telenovelas, comic strips, comedy, baseball, the novela rosa and the detective novel, sci-fi, even advertising—have multiplied. What has been lacking is an overarching canvas that offers context for these studies, focusing on the crucial, framing questions: What is Hispanic pop culture? How does it change over time and from region to region? What is the relationship between highbrow and popular culture in the Hispanic world? Does it make sense to approach the whole Hispanic world as homogenized when understanding Hispanic popular culture? What are the differences between nations, classes, ethnic groups, religious communities, and so on? And what distinguishes Hispanic popular culture in the United States?
In ¡Muy Pop!,Ilan Stavans and Frederick Luis Aldama carry on a sustained, free-flowing, book-length conversation about these questions and more, concentrating on a wide range of pop manifestations and analyzing them at length. In addition to making Hispanic popular culture visible to the first-time reader, ¡Muy Pop!sheds new light on the making and consuming of Hispanic pop culture for academics, specialists, and mainstream critics.
My Sax Life: A Memoir
Paquito D'Rivera Northwestern University Press, 2008 Library of Congress ML419.D75A3 2005 | Dewey Decimal 788.7165092
Winner of 2005 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition
Winner of 2005 National Medal of Arts
My Sax Life is the award-winning memoir of famed Cuban musician Paquito D'Rivera. A best-selling artist with more than thirty solo albums to his credit, D'Rivera has performed at the White House and the Blue Note, and with orchestras, jazz ensembles, and chamber groups around the world. Propelled by jazz-fueled high spirits, D'Rivera's story soars and spins from memory to memory in a collage of his remarkable life. D'Rivera recalls his early nightclub appearances as a child, performing with clowns and exotic dancers, as well as his search for artistic freedom in communist Cuba and his hungry explorations of world music after his defection. Opinionated but always good-humored, My Sax Life is a fascinating statement on art and the artist's life.
Octavio Paz: A Meditation
Ilan Stavans University of Arizona Press, 2001 Library of Congress PQ7297.P285Z9635 2001 | Dewey Decimal 861.62
Octavio Paz: Nobel Prize winner, author of The Labyrinth of Solitude and Sor Juana, or, the Traps of Faith, precursor and pathfinder, a guiding light of the Mexican intelligentsia in the twentieth century. In this small, memorable meditation on Octavio Paz as a thinker and man of action, Ilan Stavans—described by the Washington Post as "one of our foremost cultural critics" and by the New York Times as "the czar of Latino culture in the United States"—ponders Paz's intellectual courage against the ideological tapestry of his epoch and shows us what lessons can be learned from him. He does so by exploring such timeless issues as the crossroads where literature and politics meet, the place of criticism in society, and Mexico’s difficult quest to come to terms with its own history. Stavans reflects on Paz's personal struggle with Marxism and surrealism, his reflections on pachucos, his analysis of love and eroticism, his study of the life and legacy of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and his influence as a magazine editor. But this extraordinary rumination is not only a thought-provoking appraisal of Paz; it is also a feast for the myriad admirers of Stavans, himself a spirited, mordant essayist who is not afraid of controversy. This explains why Richard Rodriguez has portrayed Stavans as "the rarest of North American writers—he sees the Americas whole," and then added, "Not since Octavio Paz has Mexico given us an intellectual so able to violate borders with learning and grace." Octavio Paz: A Meditation is a fitting addition to Stavans’s own oeuvre that will stimulate discerning readers.
The One-Handed Pianist was published to acclaim in the early 1990’s, with the two-part Spanish edition winning the Latino Literature Prize in 1989 and the Gamma Literature Prize in 1992. Its tales look at what it means to be Jewish in the Hispanic world—a world in which spirituality is often exercised outside the realm of orthodoxy.
Stavans constructs fables that raise questions about ethnicity and community; even Stavans’ person raises questions about ethnicity and community: what does it mean that a Jew of Eastern European lineage can call himself Latino and speak for that group?
The Oven: An Anti-Lecture
Ilan Stavans University of Massachusetts Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3619.T385O94 2018 | Dewey Decimal 812.6
After a chance meeting with a shaman in Colombia, Ilan Stavans, the highly regarded literary scholar, found himself in the Amazon rainforest. He had reluctantly agreed to participate in a religious ceremony that involved taking the hallucinogen ayahuasca. Even though he considered himself a skeptic and a rational intellectual, as someone whose worldview was defined by his education and his heritage as a Mexican Jew, Stavans found that the ritual pushed him to reconsider many of his basic understandings, including his perceptions of indigenous cultures in Latin America, as well as his career as teacher, thinker, and artist. This one-act play is delivered in the form of a lecture that mimics the author’s startling spiritual journey. The book includes twenty-five bold images, in color and black and white, which capture the author’s performance of the play.
W. H. Hudson; With a new introduction by Ilan Stavans; Illustrated by Keith Henderson University of Wisconsin Press, 2002 Library of Congress PR6015.U23P8 2002 | Dewey Decimal 823.8
First published in 1885, The Purple Land was the first novel of William Henry Hudson, author of Green Mansions. The Anglo-Argentine naturalist distinguished himself both as one of the finest craftsmen of prose in English literature and as a thinker on ecological matters far ahead of his time.
The Purple Land is the exuberant, often wryly comic, first-person account of a young Englishman’s imprudent adventures, set against a background of political strife in nineteenth-century Uruguay. Eloping with an Argentine girl, young Richard Lamb makes an implacable enemy of his teenage bride’s father. Leaving her behind, he goes ignorantly forth into the interior of the country to seek his fortune and is eventually imprisoned and persecuted by the vengeful father. His narrative closes as he sets off on still another impetuous quest.
This facsimile of the 1904 Three Sirens Press edition includes striking woodcuts by Keith Henderson illustrating the characters in the novel and the fauna of Uruguay. Ilan Stavans’s introduction offers an opportunity to revisit The Purple Land as a "road novel" in which an outsider offers reflections on nationality and diasporic identity.
Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison Duke University Press, 2015 Library of Congress G156.S73 2015
Based on a controversial opinion piece originally published in the New York Times, Reclaiming Travel is a provocative meditation on the meaning of travel from ancient times to the twenty-first century. Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison seek to understand why we travel and what has come to be missing from our contemporary understanding of travel. Engaging with canonical and contemporary texts, they explore the differences between travel and tourism, the relationship between travel and memory, the genre of travel writing, and the power of mapmaking, Stavans and Ellison call for a rethinking of the art of travel, which they define as a transformative quest that gives us deeper access to ourselves.
Tourism, Stavans and Ellison argue, is inauthentic, choreographed, sterile, shallow, and rooted in colonialism. They critique theme parks and kitsch tourism, such as the shantytown hotels in South Africa where guests stay in shacks made of corrugated metal and cardboard yet have plenty of food, water and space. Tourists, they assert, are merely content with escapism, thrill seeking, or obsessively snapping photographs. Resisting simple moralizing, the authors also remind us that people don’t divide neatly into crude categories like travelers and tourists. They provoke us to reflect on the opportunities and perils in our own habits.
In this powerful manifesto, Stavans and Ellison argue that travel should be an art through which our restlessness finds expression—a search for meaning not only in our own lives but also in the lives of others. It is not about the destination; rather, travel is about loss, disorientation, and discovering our place in the universe.
This is the first book-length study of one of the most prominent and prolific Latino academics, Ilan Stavans. He has written extensively on Latino culture, Jewish culture, dictionaries, immigration, language, Spanglish, soccer, translation, travel, selfies, and God. The Restless Ilan Stavans surveys his interests, achievements, and flaws while he is still in the midst of an extraordinarily productive career. A native of Mexico who became a U.S. citizen, he is an outsider to both the Chicano community that often resents him as an interloper and the American Jewish community that he, who grew up speaking Yiddish in Mexico City, often chides. The book examines his unlikely rise to prominence within the context of the spread of multiculturalism as a seminal principle within American culture. A self-proclaimed cosmopolitan who rejects borders, Stavans is both insider and outsider to the myriad of subjects he approaches.
After a stirring e-mail exchange with his father, awardwinning essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans decided to do something bizarre: revisit his hometown, Mexico City, accompanied by a tourist guide. But rather than seeking his roots in the neighborhood where he grew up, he headed to the Centro Histórico, the downtown area at the heart of the world’s largest metropolis. It was there that conversos, the hidden Jews escaping the might of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, were burned at the stake. And, centuries later, it was the same section where Jewish immigrants, both Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazim and Sephardim from the Ottoman Empire, made their homes as peddlers. In a sense, Centro Histórico is to Mexico what the Lower East Side is to the United States: a platform for reinventing one’s self in the New World.
With the same linguistic verve and insight that has made him one of the most distinguished voices in American literature today, Ilan Stavans invites readers along for a personal journey that is not only his own, but that of an entire culture. In Return to Centro Histórico he makes it possible to understand the intimate role that Jews have played in the development of Hispanic civilization.
For twenty years, Ilan Stavans has been translating poetry from Spanish, Yiddish, Hebrew, French, Portuguese, Russian, German, Georgian, and other languages. His versions of Borges, Neruda, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Ferreira Gullar, Raúl Zurita, and dozens of others have become classics. This volume, which includes poems from more than forty poets from all over the world, is testimony to a life dedicated to the pursuit of beauty through poetry in different languages.
Internationally renowned essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans spent five years traveling from across a dozen countries in Latin America, in search of what defines the Jewish communities in the region, whose roots date back to Christopher Columbus’s arrival. In the tradition of V.S. Naipaul’s explorations of India, the Caribbean, and the Arab World, he came back with an extraordinarily vivid travelogue. Stavans talks to families of the desaparecidos in Buenos Aires, to “Indian Jews,” and to people affiliated with neo-Nazi groups in Patagonia. He also visits Spain to understand the long-term effects of the Inquisition, the American Southwest habitat of “secret Jews,” and Israel, where immigrants from Latin America have reshaped the Jewish state. Along the way, he looks for the proverbial “seventh heaven,” which, according to the Talmud, out of proximity with the divine, the meaning of life in general, and Jewish life in particular, becomes clearer. The Seventh Heaven is a masterful work in Stavans’s ongoing quest to find a convergence between the personal and the historical.
A sixteenth-century Mexican nun, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, has become one of the most rebellious and lasting icons in modern times, on par with Mahatma Gandhi, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and Nelson Mandela. Referenced in ranchera, tejana, and hip-hop lyrics, and celebrated in popular art as a guerrillera with rifle and bullet belts, Sor Juana has become ubiquitous. The conduits keep multiplying: statues, lotería cards, key chains, recipe books, coffee mugs, Día de los Muertos costumes. Ironically, Juana Inés de Asbaje—alias Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz—died in anonymity. Her grave was unmarked until the 1970s.
Sor Juana: Or, the Persistence of Pop encapsulates the life, times, and legacy of Sor Juana. In this immersive work, essayist Ilan Stavans provides a biographical and meditative picture of the ways in which popular perceptions of her life and body of work both shape and reflect modern Latinx culture.
The essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans and the analytic philosopher Jorge J. E. Gracia share long-standing interests in the intersection of art and ideas. Here they take thirteen pieces of Latino art, each reproduced in color, as occasions for thematic discussions. Whether the work at the center of a particular conversation is a triptych created by the brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Andres Serrano's controversial Piss Christ, a mural by the graffiti artist BEAR_TCK, or Above All Things, a photograph by María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Stavans and Gracia's exchanges inevitably open out to literature, history, ethics, politics, religion, and visual culture more broadly. Autobiographical details pepper Stavans and Gracia's conversations, as one or the other tells what he finds meaningful in a given work. Sparkling with insight, their exchanges allow the reader to eavesdrop on two celebrated intellectuals—worldly, erudite, and unafraid to disagree—as they reflect on the pleasures of seeing.
Ilan Stavans University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3619.T385W35 2018 | Dewey Decimal 741.5973
The Wall is a poetic exploration—across time, space, and language, real as well as metaphorical—of the U.S.-Mexican wall dividing the two civilizations, of similar walls (Jerusalem, China, Berlin, Warsaw, etc.) in history, and of the act of separating people by ideology, class, race, and other subterfuges. It is an indictment of hateful political rhetoric. In the spirit of Virgil’s Aeneid and Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Master, it gives voice in symphonic fashion to an assortment of participants (immigrants, border patrol, soldiers, activists, presidents, people dead and alive) involved in the debate on walls. It brings in elements of literature and pop culture, fashion and cuisine. Poetry becomes a tool to explore raw human emotions in all its extremes.
Is the Bible actually a love story between a deity and a people? And what does this love story have to do with the modern world? In With All Thine Heart distinguished cultural critic Ilan Stavans speaks to freelance writer Mordecai Drache about love in the Bible.
Presented in an engaging, conversational format and touched with striking artwork, the textured dialogue between Stavans and Drache is meant to show how the Bible is a multidimensional text and one that, when considered over the course of history, still has the power to shape our world. The theme of love provides the connective tissue that binds this work.
Addressing a wide range of topics, from biblical archaeology and fundamentalism to Hollywood movies, lexicography, and the act of praying, With All Thine Heart suggests that the Hebrew Bible is a novel worth decoding patiently, such as one does with classics like Don Quixote de la Mancha, In Search of Lost Time, and Anna Karenina. Similar to the protagonists in these tales, biblical characters, although not shaped with the artistic nuance of modern literature, allow for astonishing insight. This exploration of love through the pages of the Bible—organized chronologically from Genesis to Exodus and followed by insightful meditations on the Song of Songs and the Book of Job—is a delightful intellectual and spiritual treat . . . Shema Ysrael!