Event: “Silvina Ocampo Celebration: Jason Weiss, Suzanne Jill Levine, Sylvia Molloy”, to be held at Americas S...


Event: “Silvina Ocampo Celebration: Jason Weiss, Suzanne Jill Levine, Sylvia Molloy, to be held at Americas Society (of which Interlitq is a Collaborating Institution) in NYC, on 21 May, 2015 at 7pm:

Admission: Free for Americas Society and Young Professionals of the Americas (YPA) members; $10 for non-members. No additional fees will be charged when purchasing online. Not yet an AS Member? Join now!

Authors/translators Jason Weiss, Suzanne Jill Levine, and Sylvia Molloy will discuss Silvina Ocampo’s work on the publication of Silvina Ocampo (poems; trans. Jason Weiss), and Thus Were Their Faces (stories; trans. Daniel Balderston). Ocampo (1903–1993), often overshadowed by her sister Victoria, her husband Adolfo Bioy-Casares, and by Borges, is considered a legend of Argentine letters. In association with NYRB Classics.

We thank the following additional institutions for helping publicize this event:  the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, CUNY; Columbia University; the Consulate General of Argentina in New York; the Consulate General of Colombia in New York; the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute; the Hispanic New York Project; Hunter College, CUNY; Instituto Cervantes New York; InterAmericas®; The International Literary Quarterly; McNally Jackson Books; the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York; New York University; The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church; The 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center; and Words Without Borders.

This event will be held in English.

Event Information: Jose Negroni | jnegroni@as-coa.org | 1-212-277-8353
Press Inquiries: Adriana La Rotta | alarotta@as-coa.org | 1-212-277-8384

Image: Covers of Silvina Ocampo and Thus Were Their Faces (NYRB, 2015). Courtesy New York Review Books.

About the Books 

Silvina Ocampo
Ocampo studied with de Chirico and collaborated with Borges and Bioy Casares. Her poems were celebrated in Argentina but, until now, have been nearly unavailable in English. This selection, translated by Jason Weiss, spans Ocampo’s full career—from early nature sonnets to a late metaphysical turn—and shows her to be adept at “captur[ing] the magic inside everyday rituals” (Italo Calvino).

Thus Were Their Faces
Dark, gothic, fantastic, and grotesque, Ocampo’s stories stand alongside those of her collaborators and countrymen Borges, Cortázar, and Bioy Casares. “Few writers have an eye for the small horrors of everyday life; fewer still see the everyday marvelous. Other than Ocampo, I cannot think of a single writer who . . . has chronicled both with such wise and elegant humor.” —Alberto Manguel.Thus Were Their Faces is translated by Daniel Balderston.

Silvina Ocampo (1903–1993) was born to an old and prosperous family in Buenos Aires, the youngest of six sisters. After studying painting with Giorgio di Chirico and Fernand Léger in Paris, she returned to her native city—she would live there for the rest of her life—and devoted herself to writing. Her eldest sister, Victoria, was the founder of the seminal modernist journal and publishing house Sur, which championed the work of Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares, and in 1940 Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo married. The first of Ocampo’s seven collections of stories, Viaje olvidado (Forgotten Journey), appeared in 1937; the first of her seven volumes of poems, Enumeración de la patria (Enumeration of My Country) in 1942. She was also a prolific translator—of Dickinson, Poe, Melville, and Swedenborg—and wrote plays and tales for children. The Argentine critic Ezequiel Martínez Estrada wrote that “everything in Silvina Ocampo’s poetry carries with it her reminiscence of a lost paradise, of an inferno traveled in dreams.” [from the publisher’s website]

In addition to his translation Silvina Ocampo, published this year by New York Review Books, Jason Weiss has translated Luisa Futoransky’s The Duration of the Voyage: Selected Poems (1997) and Marcel Cohen’s stories, Mirrors (1998). He is the author of The Lights of Home: A Century of Latin American Writers in Paris (2003), and Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk‘, the Most Outrageous Record Label in America (2012), and editor of Back in No Time: The Brion Gysin Reader (2002) and Steve Lacy: Conversations (2006), the latter, selected interviews and other documents of the late soprano saxophonist and jazz composer.

Suzanne Jill Levine is an eminent translator, scholar, and critic of Latin American literature. Her books include Manuel Puig and the Spider Woman: His Life and Fictions (2000) and The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction (1991; 2009). Her recent works include critically acclaimed translations of José Donoso’s The Lizard’s Tale (2011), Luis Negrón’s Mundo Cruel (2010), and Where There’s Love, There’s Hate (2013; in collaboration with Jessica Powell) by Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo, as well as her editions of Jorge Luis Borges for Penguin Classics (2010). She is Director of Translation Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

Sylvia Molloy is an Argentine writer and critic who has taught at Princeton, Yale, and New York University. Her creative and critical publications include En breve cárcel (1981; Certificate of Absence, 1989); Las letras de Borges (1979;Signs of Borges, 1993), At Face Value: Autobiographical Writing in Spanish America (1991), Hispanisms and Homosexualities (co-editor, 1998); El común olvido (2002); and Poses de fin de siglo: Desbordes del género en la modernidad (2013). She has served as President of the Modern Language Association of America and of the Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana and holds an honorary degree in humane letters from Tulane University.

James Purdy, U. S. author, died today in history: 13 March, 2009

James Purdy
James Purdy

James Otis Purdy (July 17, 1914 – March 13, 2009) was a controversial American novelist, short-story writer, poet, and playwright who, since his debut in 1956, published over a dozen novels, and many collections of poetry, short stories, and plays. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages and in 2013 his short stories were collected in The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy.
He has been praised by writers as diverse as Edward Albee, James M. Cain, Lillian Hellman, Francis King, Marianne Moore, Dorothy Parker, Dame Edith Sitwell, Terry Southern, Gore Vidal (who described Purdy as “an authentic American genius”), Jonathan Franzen (who called him, in Farther Away, “one of the most undervalued and underread writers in America”), A.N. Wilson, and both Jane Bowles and Paul Bowles.
Purdy was the recipient of the Morton Dauwen Zabel Fiction Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1993) and was nominated for the 1985 PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel On Glory’s Course (1984). In addition, he won two Guggenheim Fellowships (1958 and 1962), and grants from the Ford Foundation (1961), and Rockefeller Foundation.
He worked as an interpreter and lectured in Europe with the United States Information Agency.

Giovanni Boccaccio, Italian author, poet, and important Renaissance humanist, died today in history: 21 December, 1375

Giovanni Boccaccio by Raffaello Sanzio Morghen
Giovanni Boccaccio by Raffaello Sanzio Morghen

Giovanni Boccaccio (/bˈkɑːiˌ, , bə/; Italian: [dʒoˈvanni bokˈkattʃo]; 1313 – 21 December 1375) was an Italian author, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and important Renaissance humanist. Boccaccio wrote a number of notable works, including the Decameron and On Famous Women. As a poet who wrote in the Italian vernacular, Boccaccio is particularly noted for his realistic dialogue, which differed from that of his contemporaries, medieval writers who usually followed formulaic models for character and plot.

Albert Camus, escritor francés, nació hoy en la historia: 7 Noviembre, 1913

Albert Camus en 1957
Albert Camus en 1957

Albert Camus Sintes (Acerca de este sonido /alˈbɛʁ kaˈmy/ Mondovi, Argelia Francesa, 7 de noviembre de 1913Villeblevin, Francia, 4 de enero de 1960) fue un novelista, ensayista, dramaturgo, filósofo y periodista francés nacido en Argelia.
En su variada obra desarrolló un humanismo fundado en la conciencia del absurdo de la condición humana. En 1957, a la edad de 44 años, se le concedió el Premio Nobel de Literatura por «el conjunto de una obra que pone de relieve los problemas que se plantean en la conciencia de los hombres de hoy».

In his Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech (1950), William Faulkner states "…that the basest of all things is to be a...

William Faulkner
William Faulkner

In his Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech (1950), William Faulkner, the U.S. author who was born on this day in history, 25 September, 1897, states:
Ladies and gentlemen,
I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work – a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.
Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.
He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands…