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Volume 45, Issue 1, 2017

Translation, Travel, and Circulation

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Dante’s Purgatorio Canto VI in Nineteenth-Century Brazil: Translating the Nazione/Nação

In the 1888 Brazilian –not Portuguese– translation (as the cover proudly reads) in terza rima of Purgatorio Canto VI by Brazilian José Xavier Pinheiro the choice of the translator of the word pàtria instead of the word paese (or in Portuguese país) caught my attention. In this paper I argue that the use of the word pàtria was done in an attempt to translate, both inside and outside the text, the national consciousness present in Dante, a national consciousness that was much needed in nineteenth century Brazilian society. Purgatorio Canto VI is where we witness the moving embrace between Virgilio and Sordello, an embrace prompted by their discovery that Mantua is their common hometown. Such a tender moment unleashes Dante’s rage toward Italy and its citizens, condemning the many wars and the frivolous political games of their municipalities, particularly of Florence. While in the Italian text Sordello inquires about Dante and Virgilio’s “paese” (v.70), in the Portuguese text Pinheiro deliberately uses the word “pàtria” (v.70). First, I discuss the creation of Dante as a political icon by nineteenth century Italian patriots and activists, Mazzini among others, and the ways in which these ideas traveled to Brazil through Garibaldi (among others). Second, I look at how Pinheiro uses this potentiality in his translation of the Purgatorio VI, to reflect on the impact that the translation might have had on the construction of the literary canon of a new nation and whether such ideas can be actually translated. Third, I show how both the Risorgimento’s reinterpretation of Dante and Pinheiro’s translation challenge the arguments advanced by Benedict Anderson in his book Imagined Communities. Finally, I conclude by reflecting on translation as a tool for political change.

Daguerreotypy, Optical Metaphors, and Visual Power in Echeverría’s "El matadero"

Although Esteban Echeverría’s El matadero has inspired a wide array of interpretations, as of yet, no critic has studied the text’s visual character in relation to the historical events affecting Río de la Plata society in Echeverría’s day: namely the popularization of the daguerreotype, the image driven propaganda promoted by the Federalist regime, and the surveillance technologies employed by the so-called mazorca. Here, I argue that Echeverría’s work articulates the epoch’s profound anxiety regarding the purposeful visual ordering of society. Ultimately, El matadero both participates in and critiques the hegemonic discourse of organized visuality that characterized Juan Manuel Rosa's Argentina.

Visions of the Green Fairy: Gendered Absinthe Consumption in Modernista Poetry

This article discusses representations of abinsthe consumption by two poets associated with modernismo: Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera and Delmira Agustini, as gender performances. Whereas previous readings into the drinking glass trope in modernista poetry pays scant attention to the importance to the role of commodity visual culture associated with this period, this article presents context for the specificity of absinthe in modernista poetry. By examining on the one hand, how Nájera constructs contradictory scripts of male consumption and how Agustini responds to these modernista scripts, this article argues that Agustini succeeds in resolving the contradictions of gendered modernista consumption by destabilizing gender identity in her poetics.

The Violence Within and the Violence Without: “La noche en blanco” by Reina Roffé

On the surface, “La noche en blanco” is the story of a young girl whose mother is taken by men in the night moments after she leaves her with an elderly stranger who lives across the hall. The old woman is led to reflect on her past as she spends the night awake with the young girl who, by morning’s light, will likely have no one to shelter her from the terrors of the street or the State because it seems certain that the old woman will again flee the violence and pain within herself and without her walls. However, buried within the story itself is the transnational exploration of a repeated or recycled violence, the traumatic memories it engenders across time, and the appearance of the Holocaust as a historical/cultural referent. This analysis aims to explore these elements buried at the heart of the story. The complex associations created by Roffé’s text revolve around the juxtaposition of an old woman’s traumatic past in Vichy France (1940-1944) with a young girl’s trauma-in-the-making in Buenos Aires during the Argentine military dictatorship (1976-1983).

La tercera margen: Transmutación y poesía de la materia como continuidad en Marémobília y Junco de Nuno Ramos

En el presente ensayo exploraré algunas relaciones intersemióticas de traducción entre la imagen no. 19 de la instalación artistística Marémobília (2000) y el poema “2” de Junco (2011) de Nuno Ramos. Nuno Ramos es un artista brasileño multifacético.  Mi propuesta afirma que es posible encontrar puntos de contacto y continuidad entre la obra diversa del artista, lo cual constituye procesos de traducción, o transmutación, de temas, conceptos y representaciones claves a lo largo de su obra. Su trabajo e interés sobre la materia y materiales y las intenciones estéticas formales sobre el lenguaje y literalmente sobre las cosas, establece de entrada ya una metáfora sobre la traducción. El artista traduce la materia, nos lleva del trabajo directo con las cosas y los materiales al trabajo lingüístico con el poema, nos lleva de un estado material a otro a través de la metáfora y la imagen y la representación material. En primer lugar exploro la metáfora del tercer espacio propuesto por Susan Bassnett y derivado de Walter Benjamin, así como el concepto de traducción intersemiótica de Roman Jakobson, principalmente; a partir de las transmutaciones, o auto traducciones, en las piezas analizadas de Nuno Ramos.

Producción de historia, producción de territorio: traducciones y remakes en el arte mexicano contemporáneo

En la década de los 90 del siglo XX en México se crearon una serie de obras de arte que hacian alusión directa a obras canónicas del arte contemporáneo occidental que, sin embargo no se conocían en el país pero de las que se tenía referencia a través de medios documentales. Esos remakes o traducciones cuestionaban de forma directa las tradiciones del arte Mexicano y la mismo tiempo actualizaban el canon norteamericano. Este texto es una reflexión al respecto de los remakes que se realizaron en la década de los 90 y un análisis de sus consecuencias más allá de su propio contexto. Lo que mostraré es que esas obras ponen en crisis cualquier relato histórico lineal y al mismo tiempo permiten pensar en otros relatos que afectan a la comprensión del arte local y del arte norteamericano: la posibilidad de pensar el arte estadounidense en México no como influencia ni como derivación sino como consecuencia histórica-critica de un proceso global hacia afuera produciendo una crisis en un sentido amplio, a saber, cómo es que la misma configuración del la historia del arte de ese país puede tener consecuencias territoriales en México.

¿Dónde se genera la violencia?: Los personajes cotidianos y el espacio urbano en Crímenes municipales de Darío Ruiz Gómez

La extensa obra literaria de Darío Ruiz Gómez (1936- ) se ha visto influenciada por su labor como urbanista y crítico de la ciudad. Desde las últimas décadas del siglo XX, ha llamado la atención sobre la centralidad del espacio en la vida social y cultural de las comunidades y ha participado activamente en la defensa del espacio de los ciudadanos en Medellín, Colombia. De igual forma ha promovido la inclusión de la cultura y la historia en los planeación de los procesos sociales, siguiendo las propuestas de Henry Lefebvre y la evolución de los estudios culturales. A través de sus ensayos críticos y literarios, exploro en este ensayo la forma en que dicha actividad ha repercutido en su obra narrativa, creando un sustrato crítico sobre el cual se desarrollan sus cuentos y novelas, en las cuales la pregunta sobre la ciudad, sobre el fenómeno urbano, ha sido un componente fundamental.


Reggae as Subaltern Knowledge: Representations of Christopher Columbus as a Construction of Alternative Historical Memory

In this article, I examine how identity is not being “rediscovered” in reggae music, but rather produced through a re-telling of history that blends trauma and witnessing. Albert Memmi underscores the importance of re-telling history in The Colonizer and the Colonized (1957) when he rightly declares that the greatest consequence of colonialism was the exclusion of the colonized from both history and their community (151). Representations of Christopher Columbus, largely through first-person testimony, illustrate a metonym for how reggae music can be useful for the diffusion and endurance of a counter-discursive epistemology to undermine Western knowledge and culture as hegemonic. These musicians re-write themselves into history and forge a community by raising doubts over the problematic encounter between Columbus and indigenous peoples, an encounter often perceived as one of the fundamental moments for the development of modern American civilization. Such a project is not unique to Jamaica. According to Kenyan postcolonial theorist Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, “most national liberation movements start by rejecting the culture of the colonizer, by repudiating the religion of the oppressing nation and class and the entire education system of the colonizer” (27). Although not a liberation movement in and of itself, reggae and Rastafari have sought to revise history since for these musicians, the “truth” surrounding the encounter has been one-sided and misrepresented. Indeed, in Reggae Wisdom (2001), Anand Prahlad discusses how reggae musicians take on the role of teacher in order to “focus on specific areas of history and culture that have been distorted by the texts found in colonial school systems or in other forms of hegemonic propaganda” (33). Reggae musicians, in an act of counter-discursive difference, reduce Columbus, viewed as heroic in the Western world (the United States still celebrates Columbus Day as an official holiday), to a liar, thief, slaver, and pedophile. Central to the alternative epistemology in reggae is the revision of Western historical figures often credited with Western expansion to present him as a villain of the Antilles.

A Browner Shade of Buffalo: Music, Color, and Perception in Oscar Zeta Acosta's New Chicano Identity

This essay reconsiders Acosta’s relationship to the 1960’s counterculture by demonstrating the central role of psychedelic rock music in The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo and in its vision of Chicano identity. While scholars have long debated this question, nearly all of this criticism sets up the counterculture and the emerging Chicano movement in opposition and then seeks to determine to how successfully Acosta’s novels break from the former in order to join the latter. I will argue instead that the moments of rock music in the text, and the transformative visions that accompany them, are the most dramatic moments of what Ranciere calls "the redistribution of the sensible." The novel’s general interest in making hyper-visible the importance of color and by extension the existence of the Chicano body, furthermore, follow directly from Acosta legal strategy in defending the East LA Thirteen to establish that the Chicano was incorrectly classifed in official discourse as white.


Interview with the Chicana Motherwork Collective

The five members of the Chicana Motherwork Collective respond to questions from Mester editors about their work with intersectional scholarship, activism for parenting academics, and experiences with the language politics and translated lives they lead as working-class Chicana mothers working in academia.

La gastronomía, el cómic y el cine como vías de sensibilización: Una entrevista con Santiago Gómez-Zorrilla Sánchez representante de la ONG española ACCEM

ACCEM (Asociación Comisión Católica Española de Migración) es una organización muy interesante por sus esfuerzos de sensibilización en España. Ellos utilizan los programas Refugiados en el cómic y Refugiados en el cine para promover empatía e inclusión. En esta entrevista exploro su uso del cómic, el cine y la gastronomía para facilitar el encuentro entre inmigrantes y nativos. Además de estos temas, tocamos brevemente sobre la xenofobia y racismo en España y Europa para contextualizar la necesidad tener ONGs como ACCEM.

Translation Review Article

Inviting English Readers to Lucho’s Notebooks: A Translation Review of The School of Solitude: Collected Poems

Review article on the notebooks of Peruvian poet Luis Hernández in the context of the new translation collection LUIS HERNÁNDEZ. The School of Solitude: Collected Poems. Translation and Foreword by Anthony L. Geist. Chicago: Swan Isle Press, 2015.

Book Reviews

Samuel Steinberg. Photopoetics at Tlatelolco: Afterimages of Mexico, 1968

Book review of SAMUEL STEINBERG. Photopoetics at Tlatelolco: Afterimages of Mexico, 1968. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016. 266 pp.

Robert Blackwood, Elizabeth Lanza, and Hirut Woldemariam, eds. Negotiating and Contesting Identities in Linguistic Landscapes

Book review of BLACKWOOD, ROBERT, ELIZABETH LANZA, AND HIRUT WOLDEMARIAM, eds. Negotiating and Contesting Identities in Linguistic Landscapes. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. 288 pp.

Patrick Iber. Neither Peace nor Freedom: The Cultural Cold War in Latin America

Book review of PATRICK IBER. Neither Peace nor Freedom: The Cultural Cold War in Latin America. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2015. 336 pp.

Gabriela Copertari and Carolina Sitnisky, eds. El estado de las cosas: Cine Latinoamericano en el nuevo milenio.

Book review of Gabriela Copertari and Carolina Sitnisky, eds. El estado de las cosas: Cine Latinoamericano en el nuevo milenio. Madrid, Frankfurt: Iberoamericana-Verveurt, 2015. 262 pp.

Carme Riera. La voz de la sirena

Book review of CARME RIERA. La voz de la sirena. Barcelona: Lumen, 2015, 96 pp.

Jesús Torrecilla. España al revés. Los mitos del pensamiento progresista (1790-1840)

Book review of JESÚS TORRECILLA. España al revés. Los mitos del pensamiento progresista (1790-1840). Madrid: Editorial Marcial Pons Historia, 2016. 306 pp.