Category Archives: Teaching

Diarios de motocicleta

There are so many teaching guides on this, the students love the film, and you can have them read part of the book. I think I will start using all of this in a systematic way although it is not my personal favorite. They can learn to map the story, summarize, do a character sketch, narrate in a different tense, study the countries visited, and also learn something about who Che Guevara was other than “a Communist dictator” (which is what they say now).


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Filed under Bibliography, Teaching, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Another world

I got up in Dupont Circle and walked past the row houses to a café, had coffee and came back and packed. I walked to the metro and rode to the airport, changing trains once. At the airport I read old notes on Vallejo and transcribed them, including the outline of an old conference paper, and it was very interesting.

On the plane I finished rereading Bodas de sangre, which I am teaching, and it was interesting as well. When I arrived to New Orleans I picked up the car and drove three hours to western Maringouin, where I haggled with a telephone repair shop, and then came home.

At home in the country I was so shocked to have been in the city and now here, I went into a depression. I decided to hide from the world by reading a biography of Leopoldo Panero, which was fascinating. I have never seen the film El desencanto for some reason, and I must.

I was in another world and I immersed myself in reading about further ones. I felt terrible that I was not engaged in grading or local service, although I was traveling on national service and suffering with it. But reading is also part of my job.


The meeting I went to was sad, contentious and worrisome, but I was four nights in a cosmopolitan, urban area, and I am suddenly in the country. It is so different, it does not seem real. As usual I am terrified to go in to work, but I will do it.

Notice, though, how in a day of travel I read and thought quite a lot about these three authors, and how it is not that aspect of work that scares me — it is not the material, or the research, or the preparation of college-level classes.

It is that I must repress so much self here, perhaps, and that self arises so easily when I leave, and is so hard to shed. My graduate student feels this too, so I am not alone.


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Filed under Banes, Cinearte, Teaching, Theories, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Spanish song database

If you have to teach grammar, here is how you peg concepts to popular song lyrics. They have already figured out which song works best for what.


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Literary Primitivism

They will send me a desk copy!


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Another film course

Jerónimo Arellano has an article in RHM (2016) called “The screenplay in the archive: screenwriting, new cinemas, and the Latin American boom.” The boom novelists also wrote screenplays, not all of which were published. This raises a number of interesting questions I am interested in the article primarily for purposes of course creation. Could one not read boom novels and screenplays together, and watch boom films?

It seems that the Cineteca Nacional and Escuela de Cine Universidad Mayor in Chile have published a series of ten key Chilean screenplays. One could get these, and any films that have been made with them, and there would be a course. Similar projects have been undertaken by the Asociación de Guionistas Colombianos and the Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía, in collaboration with the Editorial El Milagro.

(Note how this post would be a perfect item for a file for me in Evernote, about courses, and it would be connected to the stable URL of the article, and everything.)

The corpus in question includes screenplays, teleplays, and film treatments written by García Márquez, Vargs Llosa, Cortázar, Donoso and Cabrera Infante during the 1960s and 70s. There is some work on the connection between the Boom and a/v, and between literature and cinema (see the article, p. 116), and Fuentes’ adaptation of “¿No oyes ladrar a los perros?” and Antonioni’s of “Las babas del diablo” are well known. Vargas Llosa wrote one in 1972 for Os sertões. García M.’s Tiempo de morir (1965) is an allegorical Western. Indeed, the Boom writers appear to form a screenwriting collective of sorts (see further examples, p. 117 and beyond; Rimbaud and Juan Goytisolo are involved, as well as connections Idelber and Brett have made between all of this and “Latin Americanism”).

A keyword here would be transmedia studies, transmedia poetics. Consider the concept “nuevo guión hispanoamericano” (p. 119). Fuentes had 32 film projects that were not made into films, but whose existence makes a difference to the understanding of what the boom was. (And note: there is my languishing article on nueva canción; this is all of a piece somehow.) The screenplay of the boom is “born literary,” says Arellano. NOTE: this means that the Boom writers did not always insist on the primacy of the author (pace Beverley)?


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An unscientific survey of students revealed these as their favorite films in Spanish. I haven’t seen them all, and some of those I have, I have not seen in a long time. But it is a rather good list.

21 gramos
Azul y no tan rosa
Hable con ella
María llena de gracia
Nueve reinas
Relatos salvajes
Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados
Y tu mamá también


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We’ll read him next semester.

«Nuestro atraso cultural se evidencia cuando nos comparamos con otras naciones. Aún no se han impuesto aquí con toda fuerza el derecho, la libertad, el deber. La tierra clásica del honor es la tierra de la arbitrariedad: en política, en el caciquismo deshonroso; en literatura, el elogio interesado y la censura rencorosa.

Se duda de si la ley del progreso es una verdad en España. La apatía nos ata las manos: callamos ante la injusticia y confirmamos las palabras del ilustro arzobispo De Pradt: “La geografía ha cometido un error colocando a España en Europa, porque pertenece a África. Sangre, costumbres, lengua, manera de vivir y de luchar, todo en España es africano”. El militarismo nos ahoga, la marea de la reacción religiosa va subiendo. Espíritus enérgicos, que trabajaron siempre por la ciencia y el arte libres se rinden a un sentimentalismo religioso que antaño les hacía reír. Revolucionarios de toda la vida, vuelven su cara atrás y refunden su programa sobre las bases de la Iglesia y el Ejército.

Cuarenta millones se dedican a los gastos de culto y clero; seis a la enseñanza. Los catedráticos son separados arbitrariamente de sus cátedras. El Poder legislativo es una comedia; el judicial, un orden dependiente del ejecutivo; el ejecutivo, un servidos de la ambición. El obrero no espera nada del Estado.

Dejemos los entusiasmos exagerados y el lirismo del mal gusto. La época de las declamaciones ha pasado. Necesitamos ahora científicos. El triunfo de las nuevas ideas vendrá por la ciencia. Haga la iniciativa privada y particular lo que el Estado no hace: Fúndense instituciones para la enseñanza, laboratorios para científicos, escuelas donde el obrero aprenda a ser hombre y a hacer efectivos sus derechos. Que aprenda el obrero a desconfiar de los apóstoles del falso socialismo; que medite que el credo católico es incompatible con las aspiraciones del mundo que trabaja.» [1895]


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