jueves, 28 de enero de 2010

Mexico 2010 Reading Challenge

Libro de buen amor (manuscrito S)

OK, so let's try this again.  A mere day or two after posting and then deleting a list of stuff I thought would make a cool set of reading for the Decades Challenge if only I were so inclined to join, I'm back with the same list and an announcement that I guess I'm ready to join a challenge after all.  More on that in a moment. In the meantime--and although the U.S. blog world's apparent infatuation with kiddie literature and paranormal romance makes me fear that (re-)posting this list will mark me as even a bigger geek/pariah than I already am--here are the projected titles for my upcoming personal reading project skirmishes with 14th century manuscript culture:

1300s: Libro del Caballero Zifar
1310s: ???
1320s: Dante, Divine Comedy
1330s: Don Juan Manuel, El Conde Lucanor
1340s: Juan Ruiz, Arcipreste de Hita, Libro de buen amor
1350s: Boccaccio, The Decameron (alternate: Ibn Battutta's travel chronicle)
1360s: Guillaume de Machaut, Le Voir dit
1370s: Travels of Sir John Mandeville
1380s: Piers Plowman
1390s: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (alternate: Bernat Metge, Lo somni)

Libro de buen amor (c. 1343)

Although I mentioned in the deleted post that I thought that the 14th century was one of the greatest centuries for literature ever (all the proof that's needed: people with questionable taste couldn't buy mass market paperbacks in department stores and supermarkets and then blog about them back then!), I've decided to make my peace with the post-printing press world by joining the Mexico 2010 Reading Challenge hosted by Sylvia of Classical Bookworm.  You can read about this challenge's details by clicking on the link above; my current ideas for possible reading choices appear below.

Carmen Boullosa, La otra mano de Lepanto (2005)
Carlos Fuentes, La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962)
Martín Luis Guzmán, El águila y la serpiente (1928)
Octavio Paz, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz o Las trampas de la fe (1982)
Elena Poniatowska, La noche de Tlatelolco (1971)
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Respuesta a sor Filotea de la Cruz (1691)
Jorge Volpi, En busca de Klingsor (1999)

P.S.  Since a few of these works will be rereads anyway, please let me know if you have any additional titles to suggest for either list above.  I'll try to leave the post up for more than 6 hours this time, too!

13 comentarios:

  1. This actually looks like a pretty good list for this challenge, especially since Divine Comedy is a good paranormal romance! I'll be interested to see what translation you use for Chaucer; I understand there is a wide discrepancy in quality.

    I don't have any suggestions myself for your Mexico challenge but I thought you might appreciate this list of "Great Young Adult Fiction with Latino Themes" at:


  2. I thought you might be drawn to the Mexico challenge! I associate your taste so strongly with 20th century Central- and South-American lit that it's interesting to hear about your enthusiasm for the 14th century, but very cool nonetheless. I'm reading your poor neglected Petrarch at the moment. :-)

    And Jill, I'd personally recommend reading Chaucer in the original. Middle English is largely recognizable to modern English speakers, and reading untranslated works is always more exciting, I think.

  3. *Jill: LOL about the Divine Comedy being a paranormal romance! Touché. But that cryptic url for the Latino lit site proves what a nefarious lot you YA boosters are at heart! Are we even now? I was planning on using the Norton Critical Edition of The Canterbury Tales edited by V.A. Kolve and Glending Olson in Middle English, which I once used for a class, but a look at the cover this morning reminded me that this version is just a "selection" (9 tales and general prologue)--so I'll have to look for a more complete edition. Agree with Emily that this work should be read in the original Middle English, which isn't so difficult.

    *Emily: I wasn't going to join any challenges not named Orbis Terrarum this year, but I couldn't resist the Mexico one after all. Very predictable, I know! And while I'll def. make some room for Petrarch this year, his temporary absence from the list certainly points out one of the issues I have with challenge lists in general--having to scrounge around for somebody you haven't even heard of to fulfill certain parameters (say, finding an author from the 1310s) while overlooking an obvious good choice in another category to avoid duplication. Dumb!

  4. Glad to see you re-post this list, Richard. I had come across the original and was in the middle of looking at it--when suddenly it was gone.

    Also glad to see your joining the Mexico 2010 Challenge as well--I look forward to reading your reviews. I'm working on my own post/list but will probably be adding Fuentes and Poniatowska, as well as Rosario Castellanos' Balun Canan. Balun sounds like it might be very similar to The Book of Lamentations I'm currently reading, but it'll be interesting to see/read any differences. This time I might try reading the untranslated work, as Emily wrote, it is more exciting to read the author's own words/language.

    As far as adding to your lists. I haven't read it myself but am inspired by your list to try Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde.

  5. Hola, Richard, veo que en tus retos hay mucha literatura medieval, enhorabuena, yo tengo pendientes varios libros del Ciclo Bretón, editados por Siruela.

    Lo del reto mexicano es muy buena idea; de esos libros ya leí el de Fuentes, el de Paz (no completo), el de Sor Juana (habla de su vida con el lenguaje rebuscado del barroco) y el de Volpi.
    Te recomiendo a Bruno Traven y Pedro Páramo, de Rulfo.
    ¡Un saludo!

  6. *Hi Lourdes! Sorry about the disappearing post thing, but thanks so much for reminding me about Castellanos' Balún Canán. It's come highly recommended by a blogger friend of mine in Italy, so I picked up a copy of it tonight and may end up reading it for the challenge! Also, glad to hear you're considering reading it in Spanish--I agree with you and Emily that that's indeed more exciting whenever possible. Anyway, thanks for the visit here and welcome to the blog. Cheers! P.S. I haven't read Troilus and Criseyde yet, but I understand it's quite good.

    *¡Hola Andrómeda! Veo que tú también vas a participar en el reto de México 2010. ¡Qué maravilloso! De tus recomendaciones, he leído Pedro Páramo de Rulfo pero sólo conozco B. Traven por la película de El tesoro de la Sierra Madre. Tengo entendido que Traven era todo un personaje. De todos modos, gracias por el comentario y suerte con tus lecturas sobre el Ciclo Bretón (por supuesto, anticipo tus reseñas). ¡Un abrazo!

  7. I love the list. I've only read the three biggest names on it and would like to know more. Troilus and Criseyde is indeed excellent.

    Now, as for scrounging around in the 1310s, one might look for a Yuan Dynasty play or poet, or an early Noh play. Or how about an Icelandic saga? The superb Grettir's Saga is usually dated "c. 1320." Use that "c."! 1319 is definitely c. 1320.

    Soon enough, kiddie lit and paranormal romance,as written by Robert Louis Stevenson and George MacDonald, will take over Wuthering Expectations.

  8. Ooo, I found a book about Sir John Mandeville at a library book sale when I was 13 or so, and I read it with relish. Recently my mother found it in my stuff still hanging around her house and threatened to toss it, but I said NO!! Fascinating guy. It's about time I read his Travels too I think. :)

  9. Yes! Icelandic Sagas! (They are kind of paranormal romances too, though.)

  10. I look forward to hearing more from you about Sor Juana! I've been checking in on the group reading of 2666 that just started, and I just learned that Bolano cited her as an influence. Also, in the Part about the Critics, Morini was reading Il Libro di Cucina di Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, by Angelo Morino.

  11. *Amateur Reader: You guys are killing me with the kiddie lit and paranormal romance, but thankfully I appear to be immune to the Scottish version of both! Still haven't ruled out joining your challenge either. In the meantime, hey, great suggestions for the 1310s: Gretta's Saga sounds like a winner. Thanks!

    *Sarah: That's such a funny story about Sir John, and I love that you were reading about him at 13! His Travels book is supposed to be partly and maybe even almost entirely made up, but I hear it's quite entertaining.

    *Emily: The nice thing about an Icelandic paranormal romance is that I can always throw in another gratuitous anti-Bjork crack if I'm ever at a loss for words!

    *Isabella: That's interesting, I didn't know that Bolaño was a fan of Sor Juana. And I'd forgotten about the Sor Juana cookbook thing scene from 2666 that you mention--but what a nice memory to bring back to my attention! Sor Juana is great, by the way, both a wonderful poet and a fascinating character in her own right. Look up her poem that begins "Hombres necios que acusáis..." (sometimes translated in English under the title of "You Men") for a wonderful "feminist" broadside that was probably a good 300 years ahead of its time!

  12. I too love teh 1300s decades list. That's classic! Happy reading. :)

  13. *Rebecca: Thanks for the vote of approval! Maybe I'll join the challenge after all, who knows. Cheers!