Daring or Collusion?
The Responsibilities of Literature in the Late Anthropocene
Pedro Ángel Palou
February 23, 2018
Reading Room of the Latin American and Caribbean Collection
Third Floor of Smathers Library, 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Join us on February 23 for a wide-ranging conversation with three of the leading literary figures of modern Mexico. Jorge Volpi, Pedro Ángel Palou, and Eloy Urroz will discuss the role of the literary imagination and the responsibilities of the writer in an age of economic, political, and ecological crises.
Beginning their conversation with Amitav Ghosh’s observation in The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016) that only fantastic literary genres such as science fiction and fantasy have fully engaged with the specter of planetary disaster, the speakers – who are known principally as realist authors – will ask themselves and each other, why have realist writers failed to be more daring, and does this seeming reticence signal a form of collusion with political leaders who neglect the real perils of the world to come?
Volpi, Palou, and Urroz belong to Mexico’s Crack literary group, which began with the release of a famous manifesto of five Mexican novelists in 1996. In 2016 the publishing house La Pereza Ediciones republished that text with an update, or “postmanifiesto.” Two decades after finding fame as bold literary innovators of the Crack movement, these writers’ careers continue to burn brightly.
This event is presented in English and is free and open to the public.
About the Speakers
Jorge Volpi is the author of the international bestseller In Search of Klingsor, winner of the Biblioteca Breve Prize and the Deux Océans-Grinzane Cavour Prize in 1999. In 2010 he won Chile’s prestigious José Donoso Prize. In 2011 he won the Planeta-América Prize with La tejedora de sombras. His most recent novel, Las elegidas (2014), in verse, was the source of David Pablos’s film Las elegidas (2015). Volpi’s books have been translated into 25 languages. Currently he is the Director of the Festival Internacional Cervantino, the most important performing arts and music festival in Latin America. In early 2018 he was named the winner of the Alfaguara literary prize.
Pedro Ángel Palou is the author of thirty-three books, including an acclaimed novel Como quien se desangra, winner of the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize in 2003. He was honored with the Francisco Xavier Clavigero National Prize in History for his book on the sociology of culture in Mexico, 1900–1940, La casa del silencio, aproximación en tres tiempos a Contemporáneos. In 2009, he was a finalist of the Planeta Casa America competition for his novel El dinero del diablo, published in twenty-two countries of the Spanish-speaking world. He is currently a Professor of Latin American Studies and Chair of the Department of Romance Languages at Tufts University. Prior to moving to the United States, he served as Minister of Culture of the State of Puebla in Mexico and as President of the University of the Americas-Puebla.
Eloy Urroz is the author of eight novels, four books of literary criticism, four books of poetry, and dozens of essays. He is one of the founding members of the Crack movement, along with Volpi, Palou, the deceased Ignacio Padilla, and Ricard Chávez Castañeda. Currently, he is Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature at The Citadel in South Carolina.
“Daring or Collusion” is sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, Buen Vivir, the Center for Latin American Studies, the George A. Smathers Libraries, and Imagining Climate Change.