Category Archives: Bibliography

Le conte du graal, ou le roman de Perceval

You have to order the version I want from France, it seems. Do you think I could get it in New York? And look, look at this film.

Axé.

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Antropologías del sur

There are all these books, new books, amazing South American anthropology and theory books, that you can download from the Antropologías del sur site. There is also a really smart post about writing productivity.

I keep forgetting that I am slightly dissociative, or slightly withdrawn. I forget because it is almost imperceptible, and then I don’t understand myself when it happens. I have had a new and unexplained attraction to small children lately, and I wonder if the one I am looking for is me.

I have thought about access to self, and bringing more ego to things. If I address this small person directly, bring them along with me, it might help. It would be someone to get objective for, to be sweet to, to be positive for.

Axé.

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Sur le corps

The March 2006 PMLA (121:2) is one of those I kept, to study, and am no longer because those articles are now available online and: you must clear out bookshelves if you are to see what you have.

I kept it because it had articles about the body and corporeality, including one on Descartes and another on Frederick Douglass and transnational blackness. So: transnational blackness was a Thing in Douglass’ time; there is a great deal more in this article. On Descartes: there is a Cartesian body, but it is not the mechanical one subject to coercion (Foucault). It is an aesthetic body (“aesthetic machine”).

I wonder. I was making these notes so I could recycle the journal, and remember to read online later. But perhaps these things are of interest for the current presentation, which has Descartes, blackness and the body in it.

Axé.

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Alain Resnais

From Austerlitz, I learned about this Resnais short obliquely based on Borges, Toute la mémore du monde. This article, about architecture in the Bibliothèque Nationale of France, complements the film and the novel very well. And here is a set of 13 films of works by Borges and Bioy Casares.

How do you see film “à la Alain Resnais”? There is a moment in Hiroshima mon amour where Emmanuelle Riva says “Bien regarder, je crois que ça s’apprend.” The entire film is about vision, and it is about war, so it is related to Austerlitz.

Related to both Borges and Resnais: Mon amour, reading films; another list of films on Bioy, in a book; another discussion of Bioy, Resnais, and film.

Axé.

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Bourdieu

There are so many things about Bourdieu. And Sánchez-Prado has some new edited books coming out: on Mexico and world literature, and Bourdieu and Latin America.

The point is that Latin America is so often the beginning point, not the imitator of modern processes, yet the central countries do not recognize this.

I said this long ago, before I had learned it from anyone. I am so gratified when other people see it.

Axé.

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WPA slave narratives

They are fascinating and addictive. The best so far is of Abraham Jones, who was born in 1825 and was therefore 112 when interviewed in 1937. He seemed half his age, it was said. He remembered the 1833 meteor shower, when “stars fell on Alabama.” There is also an interesting story of one Louis, who is from Guiné and who has a great deal of knowledge of, and identification with the forest, animals and plants.

What is salient is that these interviews took place in the 1930s, when food was scarce. There is noticeable nostalgia for the food available in the nineteenth century, especially on holidays. It is also the Jim Crow era and there is noticeable nostalgia for the protection of the upper class white people, as well as identification with them — and explicit non-identification with the poorer whites.

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There might be a problem with my title

This title uses, in English, my modified translation of a phrase from a 19th century text. That phrase is “un ojo conocedor” and my title is “That Discerning Eye: …”.

I discovered by chance (well, by reading U.S. slave narratives) that slaves and, I assume others, referred to the “discerning eye” as one that could see spirits. So this is the discerning eye in 19th century folk belief.

I further discovered that “that discerning eye” is a reference to the eye of God in 1 and 2 Corinthians. Also, in the Spanish Bible, people who know God, and distinguish between good and evil, “conocen.”

The ojo conocedor in the original text has a sense of discernment (making fine distinctions among races and colors), knowledge (racial knowledge), connoisseurship (amateur expertise in fine women).

I do not know that the author, Cirilo Villaverde, is referring to the discernment of spirits (although the idea of Cecilia Valdés as an evil spirit is interesting and fits with his attitude toward her). I am assuming, though, that he does know the Bible: God has an ojo conocedor, and those who know Him lo conocen. The Gnostics were also “conocedores.”

So: does all of this enrich my title and my discussion, or does it just mean I have inadvertently chosen a title whose meaning in English (from spiritualism African American folk belief) I did not know and cannot really tie to my argument?

I think the latter. In fact, the introduction to the book could be, or could begin with this discussion of the title. What do you think?

Axé.

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