Ana Lydia Vega
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Ana Lydia Vega (born Dec. 6, 1946, Santurce, Puerto Rico) is a celebrated Puerto Rican female writer. She has received the Premio Juan Rulfo (1982) and the Premio Casa de las Américas (1981). Vega was a professor of French literature and Caribbean studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, and retired when her literary work became a success.
Her parents were Virgilio Vega, from Coamo, Puerto Rico, y Doña María Santana, a teacher from the town of Arroyo. She studied at the Academia del Sagrado Corazón, and at the University of Puerto Rico, receiving a Bachelor's degree in 1968. She went on to study at the University of Provence, France, receiving a master's in French literature in 1971, and a doctorate in French literature in 1978.
Puerto Rico's history plays a role in Vega's writings. The country became a U.S. territory under the Treaty of Paris (1898), after the Spanish American War. Remorse still exists toward one of the leading causes of the war, and many people[who?] believe that the bombing of the US battleship Maine (ACR-1) was a conspiracy. This sentiment is present in Vega's works.
Puerto Rico became a commonwealth after adopting a constitution on July 25, 1952. Because of the nation's ties to the United States, English is mixed with Spanish to make up the dialect of the region, which is used in her writings. Migration to the United States is common, and it is also a theme in Vega's stories.
Vega's writing is also influenced by her familiarity with African oral traditions. In 1978, she wrote her doctoral thesis on the influence of Haitian leader Henri Christophe on African American theater and on theater in the Antilles. Vega's father was an accomplished practitioner of the Décima, a Puerto Rican form of poetry emphasizing improvisation.
Language in Vega's works breaks every norm of grammar. Also, Vega's use of English/Spanish interaction is a backdrop of unresolved tensions.
In most of Vega's writings, hierarchy is the common denominator in all relationships. This allows her to dictate the condition of the character who is being subordinated. One way she infuses feminism into her stories is to always put males on the subordinated side of the spectrum. In “Ajustes S.A.” (in “Pasión de historias y historias de pasion”), the main purpose of the women-driven relationship "agency" is to lessen the male's condition. This imaginary agency trains wives to get rid of their well-behaved husbands, clearly a sign of feminism. Also, it is important to notice the female's level of authority. Females are able to excel at directing a single-sex agency whose main purpose is the subordination of the opposite sex. This power and constant abuse could be seen as an extreme case of feminism.
Another example of Vega's close connection to her writings appears in “Caso omiso” ("Case"). This story, also in the same book, recounts the erotic tale between an older woman and a teenage boy. From the start, the female obviously dictates the direction of the relationship. Confident about her abusive power, she reaches farther and tests her ex-husband's will of subordination. However, the root of her power is her total control of the feelings of an obsessed teenage boy and a frustrated husband who cannot overcome the results of their separation. These short stories show the women's hierarchy plays in both relationships. Knowing her victim's feelings, she accommodates herself in the best possible position. This can be seen as another feminist element in her work.
Reception of her work
Vega's books are popular in Puerto Rico, but relatively unknown in the mainland United States. As of November 2013, few of her Spanish-language works had been translated into English, and "her catalog, whether in English or Spanish" was out of print.
Critical studies in English
- Ana Lydia Vega, True and False Romances By: Feracho, Lesley. IN: Quintana, Reading U. S. Latina Writers: Remapping American Literature. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan; 2003. pp. 181–96
- Spanglish, TICKLING THE TONGUE: on Ana Lydia Vega and Giannina Braschi, by Ilan Stavans, World Literature Today, 2000.
- Ana Lydia Vega: Linguistic Women and Another Counter-Assault or Can the Master(s) Hear? By: Labiosa, David J.. IN: Athey, Sharpened Edge: Women of Color, Resistance, and Writing. Westport, CT: Praeger; 2003. pp. 187–201
- The Representation of Puerto Rican Women in Two Short Stories by Ana Lydia Vega: 'Letra para salsa y tres soneos por encargo' (1979) and 'Pollito Chicken' (1977) By: Green, Mary; Tesserae: Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 2002 Dec; 8 (2): 127-41
- Traces of Santería in Encancaranublado By: Pardo, Diana; Céfiro, 2002 Fall; 3 (1): 25-30
- Translating Laughter: Humor as a Special Challenge in Translating the Stories of Ana Lydia Vega By: Wallace, Carol J.; Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, 2002 Fall; 35 (2): 75-87
- Ana Lydia Vega's Falsas crónicas del sur: Reconstruction and Revision of Puerto Rico's Past By: Gosser-Esquilín, Mary Ann. IN: Juan-Navarro, and Young, A Twice-Told Tale: Reinventing the Encounter in Iberian/Iberian American Literature and Film. Newark, DE; London, England: U of Delaware P; Associated UP; 2001. pp. 193–209
- Intersections in Ana Lydia Vega's 'Pasión de historia' By: Craig, Linda; MaComère: Journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars, 2001; 4: 71-83
- A Sense of Space, a Sense of Speech: A Conversation with Ana Lydia Vega By: Hernández, Carmen Dolores; Hopscotch: A Cultural Review, 2000; 2 (2): 52-59
- Virgins and Fleurs de Lys: Nation and Gender in Québec and Puerto Rico By: Den Tandt, Catherine. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Universidad de Puerto Rico; 2000
- The Hispanic Post-Colonial Tourist By: Martí-Olivella, Jaume; Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, 1997; 1: 23-42
- Like English for Spanish: Meditaciones desde la frontera anglorriqueña By: Unruh, Vicky; Siglo XX/20th Century, 1997; 15 (1-2): 147-61
- Ana Lydia Vega, the Caribbean Storyteller By: Puleo, Augustus; Afro-Hispanic Review, 1996 Fall; 15 (2): 21-25. (journal article)
- Thematic and Narrative Strategies in Lydia Vega's 'Pollito chicken' By: Engling, Ezra S.; College Language Association Journal, 1996 Mar; 39 (3): 341-56
- 'What's Wrong with this Picture?' Ana Lydia Vega's 'Caso omiso' By: Boling, Becky; Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, 1996; 23: 315-24
- Subverting and Re-Defining Sexuality in 'Three Love Aerobics' by Ana Lydia Vega By: Puleo, Augustus C.; Letras Femeninas, 1995 Spring-Fall; 21 (1-2): 57-67
- 'Así son': Salsa Music, Female Narratives, and Gender (De)Construction in Puerto Rico By: Aparicio, Frances R.; Poetics Today, 1994 Winter; 15 (4): 659-84
- Women and Writing in Puerto Rico: An Interview with Ana Lydia Vega By: Hernández, Elizabeth; Callaloo: A Journal of African American and African Arts and Letters, 1994 Summer; 17 (3): 816-25
- We Are (Not) in This Together: The Caribbean Imaginary in 'Encancaranublado' by Ana Lydia Vega By: Vélez, Diana L.; Callaloo: A Journal of African American and African Arts and Letters, 1994 Summer; 17 (3): 826-33
- Tracing Nation and Gender: Ana Lydia Vega By: Den Tandt, Catherine; Revista de Estudios Hispanicos, 1994 Jan; 28 (1): 3-24
- Contaminations linguistiques: Actes d'anéantissement ou d'enrichissement d'une langue? By: Impériale, Louis. IN: Crochetière, Boulanger and Ouellon, Actes du XVe Congrès International des Linguistes, Québec, Université Laval, 9-14 août 1992: Les Langues menacées/Endangered Languages: Proceedings of the XVth International Congress of Linguists, Québec, Université Laval, 9–14 August 1992. Sainte-Foy: PU Laval; 1993. pp. III: 351-54
- The Reproduction of Ideology in Ana Lydia Vega's 'Pasión de historia' and 'Caso omiso' By: Boling, Becky; Letras Femeninas, 1991 Spring-Fall; 17 (1-2): 89-97
- The Voice Recaptured: Fiction by Dany Bebel-Gisler and Ana Lydia Vega By: Romero, Ivette; Journal of Caribbean Studies, 1991-1992 Winter-Spring; 8 (3): 159-65
- Social Criticism in the Contemporary Short Story of Selected Puerto Rican Women Writers By: Wallace, Jeanne C.; MACLAS: Latin American Essays, 1989; 3: 113-23
- Pollito chicken: Split Subjectivity, National Identity and the Articulation of Female Sexuality in a Narrative by Ana Lydia Vega By: Vélez, Diana L.; The Americas Review: A Review of Hispanic Literature and Art of the USA, 1986 Summer; 14 (2): 68-76
- From a Woman's Perspective: The Short Stories of Rosario Ferré and Ana Lydia Vega By: Fernandez Olmos, Margarite. IN: Meyer and Fernández Olmos, Contemporary Women Authors of Latin America: Introductory Essays. Brooklyn: Brooklyn Coll. P; 1983. pp. 78–90.
- López, Ivette (2009-12-09). "Ana Lydia Vega: hacia los cuadernos del país natal". Claridad. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- Gil de La Madrid, Antonio. "Ana Lydia Vega, escritora". La Gran Enciclopedia Ilustrada del Proyecto Salón Hogar. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- McMahan, Alison (2013-11-05). "The Three Graces of Ana Lydia Vega". Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- "Vega, Ana Lydia". Africana: the encyclopedia of the African and African American experience. Volume 5 (2nd ed.). Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press. 2005. ISBN 9780195170559.
- McMahan, Alison (2013-11-05). "The Three Graces of Ana Lydia Vega". The Lascaux Review. Retrieved 2014-02-09.