26 oct. 2009

One of the main scholars I have to deal with in this next project is Philip Silver, now retired from Columbia University. He presents a theory of modernist inadequacy in La casa de Anteo, a theory of romantic inadequacy in Ruin and Restitution.

(Silver was probably the main contributor to the study of Spanish poetry among US academics in the generation right before mine. Unfortunately he wasn't much of a mentor to me. Although he's invited me to contribute to a few collections of essays on Claudio Rodríguez, he never really offered to take that role. The person who did try to actively mentor me was another scholar, whose understanding of poetry was rather antithetical to mine. He brought me to Kansas; we were very good friends for a while, but I think the tensions got the better of us in later years. We never had an official falling out, in fact I had to organize a major symposium for him, and to teach his class when he got cancer, but it was very hard on me. At a fundamental level I just could not respect him as a scholar. It was not just a matter of disagreement, because I might disagree with Silver too in some cases. I felt that he just didn't have "it." I also feel his influence on the field is deleterious. He didn't like Silver--partly, I think, because he knew Silver was at a different level.)

It is interesting that in La casa de Anteo Silver studies Lorca's theater--in a book otherwise about poetry. That creates an opportunity, in a way. The best critics have often side-stepped Lorca's poetry and written about the theater instead.