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Friday, September 6, 2013

Your [Literary] Christmas Gift Arrived

Your Christmas present is here.
Truth is it arrived just about a year ago.
 It is one of the most complete works about the history and current status of literary creation in El Salvador and as far as I know, “Literatura: Análisis de situación de la expresión artística en El Salvador” [Literatura: A situational analysis of artistic expression in El Salvador] — authored by Tania Pleitez Vela under the auspices of Fundación AccesArte —  is only available in Spanish.
The literary fabric diagnosed
The literary fabric diagnosed

Since it’s downloadable at no charge at several URLs, like the one hyperlinked above as well as this other one, it would probably be advisable to get it now. And I mean, right away, before somebody starts thinking about blocking the free access.
A donation or whatever type of support you might want to offer the author [yes, there is a link on her website for that purpose] or the
Fundación would be my suggestion about the way to go, case you feel some kind of unease about the freebie. 
The 400-plus pages book has been available in CD [and online] since about September 2012 and summarizes the research conducted by Pleitez Vela in the 24-plus months lapsed before its publication.
The first part of the book, some 95 pages, summarizes what Pleitez Vela calls an “Outline for a Salvadoran literary historiography.” The rest [excluding, of course, those pages for acknowledgments, etc.] deals with the “status” of the subject of literature in El Salvador, a very detailed and thorough analysis of literary creation in El Salvador from 1980 to 2011.
The dates are important to bear in mind: One of the bloodiest internal wars in Latin American history was fought during the first 12 of those 32 years, with the divisions still raw and quite visible up to the present day.
Violence, not political in origin as during the armed conflict but simply criminal in nature, still permeates the whole nation.
The study’s main purpose, says the author, is to diagnose the interaction between the Salvadoran writers and their environment over the last three decades. Its theoretical base is a “deconstruction” so that a diagnosis of what the author calls the “literary fabric” of El Salvador can be performed.
Perhaps not unexpectedly, Pleitez Vela prefaces the study by quoting one of the most trite expressions ever heard in the Central American country:  “Nobody cares about literature in El Salvador.” Stereotypical, of course, and definitely non-scientifically based, as it is also the case with some of the other frequent sayings one hears or sees around the subject.
At the beginning of her Findings [Pg. 319], Pleitez Vela tells also about the graffiti sprayed on the walls of the cultural center in downtown San Salvador: “Cultura para qué, si el pueblo tiene hambre” [Who the hell needs culture, when people go hungry.]
What’s unexpected [at least by the evidence that I have collected so far] is the apparently scarce repercussion of Pleitez Vela’s outstanding work.
It’s very likely that it may have been already debated or analyzed in public forums in El Salvador and quite probable too that, locally, there may have been news stories about the publication.
Online, the evidence of people talking about the work is pretty thin, at least in Spanish.
Other than the author’s own stories and the Fundación’s announcements on the Internet, there appear to be only three main articles about the work.
One of those was a post that Rafael Francisco Góchez published in his blog in October 2012 [full disclosure here: the writer happens to be my nephew and is also one of the writers interviewed and quoted by Pleitez Vela.]
Two other stories, one by my writer friend Miguel Huezo Mixco and the other by his wife, María Tenorio, figure prominently in the results of a Google search. Miguel, however, also happens to be one of the sources for the study — and quoted at length, we might add — and both him and his companion are part of the Fundación’s team working on the project.
Which is not to say [that goes for the three of them] that their posts or op-ed articles in online media or Salvadoran newspapers are lacking in credibility. If anything, their knowledge should give more weight to their opinion. So I believe.

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