Deep Rivers by Jose Maria Arguedas. Austin. 1978. University of Texas Press. Translated From The Spanish By Frances Horning Barraclough. Introduction by John V. Murra. Afterword by Mario Vargas Llosa. 248 pages. 0292715161.




   This powerful, poetic novel, set in the Peruvian Andes, has long resisted translation; its publication in English is truly a literary event. Jose Maria Arguedas draws upon his own Peruvian boyhood in portraying 'the sad and powerful current that buflets children who must face, all alone, a world fraught with monsters and fire, and great rivers. Ernesto, the narrator of DEEP RIVERS, is a child with origins in two worlds. The son of a wandering country lawyer, he is brought up by Indian servants until he enters a Catholic boarding school at age 14. In this urban Spanish environment he is a misfit and a loner. The conflict of the Indian and the Spanish cultures is acted out within him as it was in the life of Arguedas. For the author, the final resolution was his suicide in 1969. For the boy Ernesto, salvation is his world of dreams and memories. The games, music, insects, and flowers of his Andean childhood are more vividly alive for Emesto than the disturbing world of the present. This nostalgia helps to explain the novel's lyrical purity and its poetic, reminiscent tone. A major theme in Deep Rivers is the boy's strong link with the natural world, which is humanized to an extent that surpasses simple metaphor and becomes almost magical. Two of the novel's main episodes-the insurrection of the marketwomen and the suffering of the Indians during a typhus plague-involve conflict between the Indians and their Spanish masters. Ernesto observes these events, bewildered by the violence with which the two cultures clash. As Mario Vargas Llosa points out in the afterword, DEEP RIVERS records historical events and social problems at a personal level, 'the only way literary testimony can be living and not crystallize into dead symbols. ' Texas Pan American Series. CONTENTS: TRANSLATOR'S NOTE; INTRODUCTION by John V. Mutra; THE OLD MAN; Deep rivers; THE LEAVE-TAKING; THE HACIENDA; BRIDGE OVER THE WORLD; THE JOURNEYS; ZUMBAYLLU; THE INSURRECTION; DEEP CANYON; STONE AND LIME; YAWAR MAYU; THE COLONOS; AFTERWORD; DREAMS AND MAGIC IN JOSE MARIA ARGUEDAS by Mario Vargas Llosa; GLOSSARY.


Arguedas Jose MariaJose Maria Arguedas was an ethnologist, a poet, a folk musicologist, and the major Indianist novelist of our time. He was born in 1911 in Andahuaylas in rural Peru and, like Emesto, was raised by Indian servants whom he deeply loved. He earned his doctorate in anthropology at the University of San Marcos in Lima, where he was head of the Anthropology Department at the time of his death. While Arguedas' poetry was published in Quechua, he invented a language for his novels in which he used native syntax with Spanish vocabulary. This makes translation into other languages extremely difficult. Frances Horning Barraclough teaches Spanish at Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, and has spent almost twenty years living and working in Chile and other parts of Latin America.






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