22 feb. 2006

Connections. Pedro Salinas wrote his great trilogy of love poetry for an American woman named Katherine Whitmore, a professor of Spanish at Smith College. Imagine her then turning around and teaching the poetry written for her to her students. When she did so she was overcome with waves of emotion, she writes. She married someone else, because don Pedro was not going to abandon his wife, Margarita. He could never understand why she had broken off the relationship. Any woman would be proud to be the muse for a poet like him, he told her. She wanted to break with him earlier, but he arrived in the U.S., lost and disoriented, and he could not take the shock.

Our friend Harriet Turner took classes with Katherine at one time. She didn't share the fact that the poetry she was teaching to the class was about her. She was apparently a great beauty, "every inch the lady."

It turns out the Katherine was born in Kansas and once studied Spanish at the University where I teach, before going to Berkeley for her Ph.D. So she is the most famous Spanish major in our department, though nobody alive now in the University would remember her. She was my grandparents' generation, born in 1897, and was six years younger than Salinas.

Hispanism in the U.S. is bound up with the exile community of Republican Spain. Guillén, Salinas, Cernuda, taught at American Universities. Other influential professors from Republican Spain: Antonio Sánchez Barbudo, Ricardo Gullón.

2 comentarios:

Henry Gould dijo...

there's a snapshot of Ramon Sender, taken by Edwin Honig, in Arizona, in the anthology for Honig, "A Glass of Green Tea".

The Spanish Civil War was the 3nd big moral event in Honig's life (after, 1) witnessing the death of his little brother under a truck, in Brooklyn, & 2) his rejection of his father's orthodox faith).

Jonathan dijo...

Honig was a siginificant Hispanist of his generation, with work on Calderón.