Thursday, September 12, 2013

Was my vote for de Blasio not counted?

The vote count for the Sep 10 New York mayoral Democratic primary  on the New York Times web site, premised on 99 percent of the vote being counted.  shows no votes for De Blasio in that precinct and 55 for Quinn--but I voted for de Blasio as did at least one other person in my building. Given that the neighboring precincts were all carried by De Blasio, it seems very odd that Quinn is carrying this precinct by such an overwhelming margin and De Blasio has no votes, particular;y when I know I voted for de Blasio. This does not inspire confidence in the system; next time, I am using an absentee ballot. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Two Readings by me in NYC, October

Dear friends, i would like to alert you to two readings/talks of mine to be held in prominent Manhattan locations in October. On October 8, I will be speaking on Anthony Trollope's Phineas Finn and the Bildungsroman, at the Center for Fiction (formerly the mercantile Library), 17 East 47th st. Tickets can be ordered by clicking on this link

On October 25  from 6 to 8 pm, there will be a reception at the Instituto Cervantes, 211 E. 49th St., for my latest-co-edited book (co-edited with Juan E. De Castro and Will H. Corral). Light refreshments (wine and cheese) will be served and admission is free.

Hope to see you at one or both of those!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Anglosphere, The Internet, and the Special Relationship

We have all been reading about the perceived decline of the US-British special relationship because of the UK parliament not approving force in Syria.

I think something different is happening. After the Internet began, people across the English-speaking world, reached out to each other, found common interests, suddenly found aspects of literature and culture until then strictly national had become international. Both my work on Anthony Powell and my Australian work could not have happened in quite the same way without the Internet and the way it made people aware of cultural priorities and discourses in their own language.

This may be what happened with Latin America and Spain, as Juan de Castro chronicled in the last chapter of THE SPACES OF LATIN AMERICAN LITERATURE. In the 1990s, after the Internet, the valuation of Spain in Latin America became much higher, to the point where it seemed all Latin America was 'happening' in Spain, the Madrid newspaper EL Pais became the place to read about Latin American literature,      
I think after a time this reached a saturation point; the channels were no longer new. Also, translation software becoming better, and an increased interesting and desire for translation to avoid a perceived parochialism of the Anglophone, kicked in. In a sense it is as if people perceived not just the closeness of Bush and Blair but the 'Anglosphere' that was touted as an ideological satisfaction for the US, Britain, Australia, acting in concert in Iraq, as responsible for what went wrong there; so after the Iraq debacle there was a greater interest in translations, in multilingualism.

So I think this, not any quirks of President Obama or Prime Minister Cameron or Ed Miliband, as has been mooted in the press, is really the backdrop here. The relationship of the US and UK is as it has always been--with great commonalities of culture and outlook, with fundamental loyalty, but with national interests that do not always square. It is the hype of Anglophone unity that occurred after the first impact of the Internet that was the exception?

 I think similarities in can be seen in the Spanish speaking world. (The Francophone and Lusophone worlds were so recently political unities the same issues do not apply there I think).