Dr Montserrat Roser from the University of Kent will be giving a talk next Tuesday 26 June at 5pm in the SLC Common Room (Brennan-MacCallum level 5, opposite the lift). Title: Reconnecting with our Transatlantic Cousins? Latin-American Music in Modern Spanish Literature.Sydney University, NSW
Latin American music is something so taken for granted in Spanish life that its use in literary production, though very extensive, has hardly been analysed. Nonetheless, it is a significant element in the way in which many Peninsular Spanish writers have chosen to develop their own and their characters’ psychologies and their sense of belonging to a wider community. For this reason in my talk I shall address the ways in which, as invisible heritage, Latin American music, dance and song have enriched and sometimes fully shaped a wide range of modern Peninsular Spanish works.
The analysis will look at the extent to which the use of musical forms, references, songs or dances is sometimes perceived as an exotic and external factor –a presence of the familiar other in the form of hybrid texts including lyrics, for instance– and how, in other cases, it is unquestionably accepted as an integral part of Peninsular culture and regarded as an almost autochthonous artistic medium fully stripped of any otherness value.
I shall then explore how some musical forms, such as the tango, the bolero or the Habanera, develop into universal musico-literary languages which fascinate people worldwide, and proceed to look into the implications of this musical transfer when it comes to nationalism. To this purpose my considerations will focus specifically on Catalan literature so as to ascertain which mechanisms are at play when controversial choices, such as the use of Castilian, are rendered unproblematic or even superseded by the added attractiveness of some of these forms, which in some cases, such as that of the Habanera, have become part and parcel of what being Catalan is all about.