Friday, July 15, 2011
Yesterday, I bought the new book by Josefina Ludmer, Aquí América Latina. Una Especulación. For those not familiar with Hispanic scholarship, Josefina Ludmer is a very famous scholar who retired from Yale University and went back to Argentina a few years ago. She has written a lot on Southern Cone literature. She has a lot of academic scholarly books. Of course, as with any serious scholar, she is widely read and widely criticized. But her new book is something else, something she had started with her previous book, El cuerpo del delito. Un Manual. It's written as essay, in the traditional form of the genre (as opposed to academic essays). It mixes reflections with the personal with scholarly ideas. I find some of the essays more interesting than others, but overall, I find the book refreshing. As academics, we are forced to write within very specific parameters that conform to scholarly writing. I don't complain, it's part of the game. But one thing I miss is reading essays by intellectuals. It is a genre that is still widely cultivated in Argentina (see Nicolas Casullo, Eduardo Gruner, Eduardo Rinesi and others), but I can't find in the United States. I don't mean just by people in my field, but by people in the Academia at all. Can somebody recommend me essays (in the sense that I've been talking about) written in the United States in the past 30 years?