Friday, April 16, 2021

Cien Años

 My favorite librarian has her first master's degree in Spanish literature, so she has read Cien Años de Soledad by Gabriel Garcia Márquez more than once. I have always been vaguely aware of it, but it was not until I heard this discussion of the work on the BBC Forum that I was motivated to read it soon, rather than eventually.

Image: Detail of mural by Oscar Gonzalez & Andrew Pisacane
Raul Arboleda via Getty & BBC


While we were listening to the discussion, Pamela ordered the Audible version of the Rabassa translation for us to read together (she knows my Spanish level). I will be updating this post when we have finished, and may be assigning this to geography students in the near future. I will at least be assigning this conversation, as the scholars explain so much about the human geography of the entire Latin American realm in just 39 minutes.

The seven-generation family saga that some of these scholars consider a veritable bible of Latin America takes place in the fictional coastal village of Macondo. As they detail in their discussion, it is based very directly on the arrival of modernity in the author's real home village of Aracataca -- which is much more fun to pronounce.

Because BBC often sunsets its digital content, I have downloaded this discussion for use in my class, and I am copying its description below, because it includes the names of all the speakers. 

Released On: 15 Apr 2021

Considered to be one of literature’s supreme achievements, One Hundred Years of Solitude by the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez is reported to be the most popular work of Spanish-language fiction since Don Quixote in the 17th century. Written in 1967, it tells the story of seven generations of the Buendía family, whose patriarch is the founder of a fictional Colombian village called Macondo. But why is it said this novel – which fuses the fantastical and the real – tells the story of Latin America and has given an entire continent its voice?

Joining Bridget Kendall are Ilan Stavans, Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College in Massachusetts, in the United States, and the biographer of Gabriel García Márquez; María del Pilar Blanco, Associate Professor in Spanish American literature at Oxford University, and Parvati Nair, Professor of Hispanic, Cultural and Migration studies at Queen Mary, University of London.

Produced: Anne Khazam

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