Things related to Raymond Williams

The poet I am trying to translate is actually neobaroque and that is why I am having difficulty — I am trying to make him modernist. But my modernism is neobaroque, anyway, so things work out in their way. I was against the project and would not have undertaken it using my better judgment but what I am creating turns out to be beautiful. I am not sure where it may be published.

Meanwhile, I found some note fragments from a class I once gave. I don’t know what to do with them so I will put them here.

Raymond Williams, THE COUNTRY AND THE CITY. A classic from 1973.
Raymond Williams was a pioneer in the field of cultural studies, which analyzes the symbolic dimensions of ordinary life (and not just of high culture).


Country” means countryside but also nation and land; “city” means the capital, the large town, a distinctive form of civilization
Leslie adds: note Angel Rama, LA CIUDAD LETRADA, on the city as lettered (educated) place of political power (the city also speaks a different language, a European one as opposed to a native one)

The contrast between city as intellectual place, but also place of noise and dirt, and the country as backward, but also nurturing, energizing, and peaceful, reaches back to classical times, despite the fact that the actual forms city and country have taken, are most varied
England is one of the very first urbanized countries, but it imagines itself (in its literature) as rural
Leslie adds: note Williams’ descriptions of his father’s and grandfather’s lives … this is in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, after Sarmiento writes but not so terribly long after
The country and the city, and the contrast between them, is part of a single paradigm; country and city are imbricated with each other, in multifaceted relationships
From the 16th century forward English literature imagines in the country a sort of Golden Age
But actual relationships between the country and the city have to do with such things as rent and power

On historical change in relationships country/city: even 400 years ago people idealized non commercial pasts, rural delight … imagined a pastoral world
What is said about the country, and the country/city relationship, reflects or refracts, develops along with, interpretations of current social, economic, political, and historical developments

“knowable communities” ([realist] novels try to make communities knowable; what do they exclude, though, or fail to capture?)
“structure of feeling” (meanings and values as actively lived and felt): novels (and other texts) do not grasp a Zeitgeist or essence, according to Williams, but a historically produced and bound “structure of feeling”

Talking about and representing the country is important to people writing about the situation of the nation because of this question: who gets to decide what one’s relationship to the land should be? (This matters because it has to do with how one should think about oneself / one’s community, what one’s place is in it, what one’s life is like.)

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The poems


Your verse does not conceal saliva
Or the clicking of your tongue when you read
This makes it all the finer
Because it makes the visitor palpable
And it makes the words
Which are the words of everyone
Into a prior miracle
Something just like love.

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I keep saying I need bibliography software, but I need one that will allow me to create lists, or tag projects. I have to work on this. I keep posting about books, on the theory that this is enough, and it is of course not, and I have tried to keep bibliographies in this blog site, but that is not enough.

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New world baroque, and more

The January 2009 PMLA, which I am discarding because it is available online, I have not read it, and I have so many reading materials that I must get rid of some to see what I do have, has good material on New World Baroque and Neobaroque by major authors including Monsiváis; there is also work on perspective and spectacles in early modern Spain, and a great deal of interest on Simone de Beauvoir.

I am discarding two issues of Revista Iberoamericana because they are too tattered and I do not look at them enough. One is 106-107, January-June 1979, Vicente Huidobro y la vanguardia, and I think of it as something that should be in any office. Another is 208-209, July-December 2004, on literary and cultural reviews of the early 20th century in Latin America. That topic is of course one of mine BUT these articles are avaiable online now and I need space.

Planning to throw them out, looking them up, I discovered the existence of another article I missed, and that I really need to read: Judaismo y desarraigo en “María” de Jorge Isaacs. Gustavo Faverón Patriau, Revista Iberoamericana, Nº. 207, 2004: 341-358.


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Los apuntes

El proyecto más amplio:
+ reading of race in discurso letrado:
– there are all these short-circuits
– particularly before 1930, before mestizaje paradigm was consolidated
– against Doris Sommer’s happier vision
Questions for this proyecto amplio:
– why the short-circuits (the evoke and elide)
– why the need for strategies of denial (which mestizaje paradigm was used for)
– why the ambivalence (this will be juxtaposition)
This paper:
– da Silva: useful because global (against L.A. exceptionalism)
– super-useful to me because evoke-and-elide
So the books I am working with:
– use evoke-and-elide to create the Latin American subject
– have to use it because identification of that subject (European/indigenous) is unstable
– are also juxtaposing different discourses (Hooker)
From these books I get legitimacy to discuss:
– white supremacy, because it is global (da Silva)
– Latin America in a hemispheric frame, because both Latin American and US thinkers did

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Spanish women poets of the 20s and 30s

I have photocopies of the first chapter or two of Catherine Bellver’s excellent book, that I am recycling because I keep forgetting that I have them–and do not seem to be reading the poets in question. They are listed here and I have asked to library to acquire the whole book.

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Racial memory and literary history

This is a piece, surely very conservative, by Greenblatt that I want to read. The entire issue of the journal is interesting, too.

The May 2016 issue of PMLA has an article on Jean Franco by Arturo Arias, “From the Cold War to the Cruelty of Violence: Jean Franco’s Critical Trajectory from The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City to Cruel Modernity” that is very useful. Some key ideas from it are:

– The coup against Arbenz as the most important event in 20th century U.S.-Latin American relations (Grandin)- Franco as a Latin American intellectual, ahead of her time in the U.S. and European contexts
* In Latin America the indigenous subject is the privileged interlocutor of the West, and a Western subject of African descent is not.

There is a great deal more in this piece. The idea of “cruel modernity” has appeared elsewhere (e.g. in Pankaj Mishra’s new book) and it is different from earlier critiques of the Enlightenment.

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