On the Edge of the River Sar

On the Edge of the River Sar : A Feminist Translation

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This book presents the first feminist translation of Rosalia de Castro's seminal poetic anthology En las orillas del Sar [On the Edge of the River Sar] (1884).

Rosalia de Castro (1837-1885) was an artist of vast poetic vision. Her understanding of human nature and her deep sensitivity to the injustices suffered by women and by such marginalized peoples as those of her native region, Galicia, are manifest in verses of universal yet rarely translated significance. An outspoken proponent of both women's rights and her region's cultural and political autonomy, Castro used her poetry as a vehicle through which to decry the crushing hardships both groups endured as Spain vaulted between progressive liberal and conservative reactionary political forces throughout the nineteenth century. Depending upon what faction held sway in the nation at any given time during Castro's truncated literary career, her works were either revered as revolutionary or reviled as heretical for the views they espoused. Long after her death by uterine cancer in 1885, Castro was excluded from the pantheon of Spanish literature by Restoration society for her unorthodox views. Compellingly, the poet's conceptualization of the individual and the national self as informed by gender, ethnicity, class, and language echoes contemporary scholars of cultural studies who seek to broaden present-day definitions of national identity through the incorporation of precisely these same phenomena.

Thanks to the most recent works in Rosalian and Galician studies, we are now able to recuperate and reevaluate Rosalia de Castro's poems in their original languages for the more radical symbolism and themes they foreground related to gender, sexuality, race and class as they inform individual and national identities. However, although Castro's poetic corpus is widely accessible in its original languages, these important features of her verses have yet to be given voice in the small number of English translations of only a sub-set of her works that have been produced in the last century. As a result, our understanding of Castro's potential contributions to contemporary world poetries, gender studies, Galician and more broadly cultural studies is woefully incomplete. An English translation of Castro's works that is specifically feminist in its methodological orientation offers a unique and thought-provoking means by which to fill this void.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 178 pages
  • 152 x 225 x 19mm | 386g
  • Cranbury, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1 Tables, unspecified
  • 1611477379
  • 9781611477375

Table of contents


Chapter 1. In Other Words: Rosalia de Castro and Feminist Translation
Chapter 2. Castro's Life and Works
Chapter 3. Edge of the Sar
Chapter 4. Passion
Chapter 5. Fertility/Barrenness
Chapter 6. Motherhood
Chapter 7. Galician Mother/Fatherland
Chapter 8. Agency
Chapter 9. Authorship
Chapter 10. Subjectivity
Chapter 11. Resistance

About the Author
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Review quote

All the poems featured in this edition belong to Castro's last collection identified with the river Sar in Galicia, Spain, the poet's ancestral land. . . .[T]he complete list of poems--a total of 98--appears in the back. The original text and its translation are placed on facing pages, so the reader can follow Geoffrion-Vinci's explanations on word choices and syntactic changes by checking the explanatory notes, which offer clear and specific details along with comments on English-Spanish contrasts. Informed by a feminist approach, the translation is enriched by the notes, many of which deal with use of pronouns to specify gender, subjectivity, and other issues that address the male-female binary opposition. Geoffrion-Vinci (Lafayette College) focuses on Castro's skill in mining the ambiguities created by Spanish with the female position in the language. The poems are grouped according to topics such as passion, fertility and barrenness, motherhood, agency, authorship, and subjectivity. These topics were not Castro's declared concern in the original publication, but the editor's interest is to demonstrate how she was already confronting these matters in her poetry. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduate through faculty; general readers. * CHOICE *
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About Rosalia de Castro

Michelle Geoffrion-Vinci is associate professor of Spanish at Lafayette College.
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