Empire of Dreams (book)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Braschi's Empire of Dreams)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Empire of Dreams (Spanish: El imperio de los sueños, 1988) is a postmodern book of epic poetry by Puerto Rican poet Giannina Braschi, who is widely considered "one of the most revolutionary voices in Latin American literature today".[1][2][3][4][5] Her third collection of poetry in Spanish, it was published in 1988 in Spain to acclaim as El imperio de los sueños.

It was later combined with her first two poetry collections, translated into English by Tess O'Dwyer, and the trilogy was published in 1994 as Empire of Dreams, the first volume of the Yale Library of World Literature in Translation.[6] Composed from 1980 to 1986, this trilogy represents the first major phase of Braschi's oeuvre: poetry written entirely in classical and modern Spanish.

The trilogy is a hybrid of genres: prose poetry, drama, musical theater, manifesto, gossip, autobiography, diary, literary theory, and antinovel. The central axis of this epic poem is the Latin American immigrant's optimistic new life in the "Big Apple" (New York City), which is dramatized by Braschi as the epicenter of the American Dream. Social and linguistic references to Latin American cities and neighborhoods also abound, such as "the Latin American Quarter in Paris, the barrio chino barcelonés, the zaguanes of Borges's Buenos Aires, and the colonial houses in Old San Juan".[7]

Subject, structure, and themes[edit]

Empire of Dreams deals with issues of artistic creation, immigration, commercialism, capitalism, identity crisis, sexual and gender ambiguity, and revolution. The narrator journeys through a "phantasmagoria of internal and external trials in order to experience the center—of political power, of meaning, of feeling, and of personal identity".[8]

The work has been compared structurally to the Chinese box and the Matryoshka doll. It contains six books.[9]

Part one, "Assault on Time", is a sequence of meditative prose poems on the subject of love lost and the ineptitude of language and grammar to communicate emotions. It was published in 1980 as Braschi's first book of poetry in Spanish.[10] It begins with the breaking of silence: "Behind the word is silence./Behind what sounds is the door".[11] Letters take on a life of their own, roaming the streets of New York, and punctuation marks, such as colons and semicolons, denote pivotal points in a relationship.[12]

Part two, "Profane Comedy", was also published first in Spanish, in 1984. It becomes "loud", as the poet pays homage to the evolution of poetry and performance, especially comedia dell'arte.[13] "Profane Comedy" is composed of four books of poetry, each with humorous gusto and a flair for the grotesque: 1. "Book of Clowns and Buffoons", 2. "Poems of the World; or The Book of Wisdom", 3. "Pastoral; or, The Inquisition of Memories", and 4. "Song of Nothingness". Throughout, Braschi intermingles television jingles and pop songs by such singers as The Beatles and Madonna with poems of the Spanish Golden Age. References include Luis de León, Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Luis de Góngora, Garcilaso de la Vega, and Francisco Quevedo, while cameo appearances are made by poets, painters, philosophers, and composers, such as: César Vallejo, Rimbaud, Goethe, Nietzsche, Shakespeare, Breughal, Beethoven, Van Gogh, and Picasso, among others. She liberally quotes from classical poets, transformed by her use of the "sampling technique of rap music" and hip hop.[14] Though Braschi writes with a strong literary tradition behind her and from an erudite standpoint, "she imbues her text with jollity and a brilliant energy".[15]

The text unfolds through a series of violent and surreal[16] theatrical scenes performed by clowns, buffoons, shepherds, lead soldiers, magicians, madmen, witches, and fortune tellers. These gender-bending immigrant characters attack and occupy the American mainstream, including business centers and tourist attractions.[17] In a climactic episode of "Pastoral; or, the Inquisition of Memories", shepherds cause traffic jams on 5th Avenue during the Puerto Rican Day Parade, ring the bells of St. Patrick's Cathedral, and take over the observation deck of the Empire State Building. There they dance and sing: "Now we do whatever we please, whatever we please, whatever we damn well please".

Part three, "Intimate Diary of Solitude," is a lighthearted antinovel that mocks the Latin American Boom and dictator novels. The composition is a mix-mash of flash fiction, pop songs, tabloid, commercials, diary excerpts, political and literary manifestos, and performance art, closing with a philosophical treatise on the writer's role in the modern age. The heroine Mariquita Samper, a Macy's make-up artist who dreams of being a star, calls for a revolution of "poetic eggs" and shoots the narrator of Latin American Boom novels (such as One Hundred Years of Solitude), who keeps rewriting her own diary in order to turn it into a bestseller.[18] The debate between quality and originality versus fame and fortune is a constant theme in Empire of Dreams. The work closes with a quotation from an anonymous poem of Medieval Spanish literature, a line from "El Conde Arnaldos": "I only sing my song/to whomever follows me".[19]

Influences[edit]

Giannina Braschi credits T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" as the single most influential English-language poem to inform the rhythmic shifts and the inspiration from which she creates a chorus of anonymous voices to capture the collective conscience of the masses.[20] Feminist scholar and poet Alicia Ostriker notes in the introduction to Empire of Dreams that the poet's voice sounds decidedly "macho" and yet it can be theoretically "paired with Luisa Valenzuela, Clarice Lispector, Luce Irigaray, Helene Cixous, and Marguerite Duras, and obviously she owes a great deal to Gertrude Stein".[21]

Braschi has published scholarly articles on Spanish-language poetry by Cervantes, Garcilaso, Antonio Machado, Federico García Lorca, and César Vallejo; and a book on Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. She quotes from their work throughout her book.[22] In an interview with NBC Latino, Braschi identified her favorite poet as César Vallejo: "Vallejo is a jack-in-the-box who performs the movement of my spirit. No matter how much you push him down into the box, the poet always bounces back to affirm his love for life".[23]

Giannina Braschi[edit]

Giannina Braschi, a National Endowment for the Arts fellow, is considered an influential and revolutionary voice in contemporary Latin American literature.[24][25][26] She is also the author of the Spanglish novel Yo-Yo Boing!, and the postcolonial novel United States of Banana (2011). Her collective work explores the politics of empire and independence, while capturing the trials and tribulations of the Latin American immigrant in the United States.[27][28] She has won awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, PEN American Center, Ford Foundation, InterAmericas, Danforth Scholarship, Reed Foundation, El Diario, Rutgers University, and Puerto Rican Institute for Culture. With the publication of United States of Banana, CARAS Magazine named Braschi one of the most influential Puerto Ricans in 2012.[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Giannina Braschi". National Book Festival. Library of Congress. 2012. Braschi, one of the most revolutionary voices in Latin America today.
  2. ^ "Modern Language Association Presents Giannina Braschi". Circumference Magazine: Poetry in Translation, Academy of American Poets. January 1, 2013. Considered one of the most revolutionary Latin American poets writing today, Giannina Braschi, author of the epic prose poem 'Empire of Dreams'.
  3. ^ "World Literature in Translation: Giannina Braschi's Empire of Dreams". Yale University Press. August 1994. Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-09. Braschi's book is a modern classic, informed with all of the major concerns of our contemporary culture.
  4. ^ "PEN: Free Expression/Literature". PEN American Center. November 2012. Giannina Braschi, one of the most revolutionary voices in Latin America today, wrote the postmodern poetry classic EMPIRE OF DREAMS.
  5. ^ D'Amore; Anna Maria (2009). 'Translating Contemporary Mexican Texts: Fidelity to Alterity'. New York: Berkeley Insights in Linguistics and Semiotics. p. 104. In the stakes of literary acclaim and respectability is Giannina Braschi, considered by many to be Puerto Rico's premier poet.
  6. ^ Barnstone, Willis (1994), Literature of Asia, Africa, and Latin America: From Antiquity to the Present, Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, p. 1954, Empire of Dreams is an epic length sequence of poems published to acclaim".../"brightest new voice in her generation in the Spanish language.
  7. ^ "'Geography, (M)Other Tongues and the Role of Translation in Giannina Braschi's El imperio de los sueños'". Studies in 20th Century Literature. 20: 167–192. 1996. "the Latin American Quarter in Paris, the barrio chino barcelonés, the zaguanes of Borges's Buenos Aires, and the colonial houses in Old San Juan".
  8. ^ "Yale University Press Reviews". August 1994. Archived from the original on 2015-06-19. Retrieved 2015-05-09. New York City becomes the site of liberation for its marginal citizens, as the narrator is led through a seeming phantasmagoria of internal and external trials in order to experience the center—of political power, of meaning, of feeling, and of personal identity.
  9. ^ "Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Literature". Encyclopedia of Hispanic-American Literature. 5. Infobase Learning. August 31, 2008. p. 429. ISBN 9781438140605.
  10. ^ "The Washington Post". November 2012. "Giannina Braschi's first published work was a book of poetry, 'Asalto al tiempo'; since then she has had essays, a novella and more poetry published in Spanish. She went on to write the novel 'Yo-Yo Boing!' in Spanglish. Her new novel is her first in English 'United States of Banana.'
  11. ^ Braschi, Giannina (1994). 'Empire of Dreams' translated by Tess O'Dwyer. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. p. 1. ISBN 9780300057959. Behind the word is silence./Behind what sounds is the door
  12. ^ "Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Literature". Encyclopedia of Hispanic-American Literature. 5. Infobase Learning. August 31, 2008. p. 429. ISBN 9781438140605.
  13. ^ Ostriker, Alicia (1994), Introduction to Empire of Dreams, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp. x–xx1, Profane Comedy is an homage to performance, especially comedia dell'arte.
  14. ^ Ostriker, Alicia (1994), Introduction to Empire of Dreams, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp. x–xx1
  15. ^ Kuebler, Caroline (August 1994), "Empire of Dreams" Review, Dalkey Archives, Champaign, Il: Review of Contemporary Fiction, Braschi writes with a strong poetic tradition behind her, and from her erudite standpoint she forges an odd mixture of poetry, prose, drama, and a little of what could be considered music. She imbues her text with jollity and a brilliant energy that stretches its audience from lovers of modernism to seekers of a broadened artistry of language.
  16. ^ Barnstone, Willis (2002), Literature of Latin America, Princeton: Prentice Hall, p. 460, Braschi is a Spanish Arthur Rimbaud reinventing surrealism, creating a modern classic
  17. ^ Cruz Malave, Arnaldo (2015). "Under the Skirt of Liberty: Giannina Braschi Rewrites Empire". American Quarterly. 66.3: 801–818.
  18. ^ Marting, Diane (2010), New/Nueva York in Giannina Braschi's 'Poetic Egg': Fragile Identity, Postmodernism, and Globalization, Indiana: The Global South, pp. 167–182
  19. ^ Braschi, Giannina (2011). Empire of Dreams. Seattle: AmazonCrossing. p. 197. ISBN 9781611090659.
  20. ^ Braschi, Giannina (2014). "52 Weeks / 52 Interviews: Week 34: Giannina Braschi" (Interview). Interviewed by Rathke, Eric J. London. I've studied music all my life. I've sung songs in foreign languages and learned those languages through those songs. I memorized T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land from tapes before I (mis)spoke English and discovered in Eliot's dramatic shifts my own music—the anonymity of the voices that come from no where—the Greek chorus that captures the conscience of the people.
  21. ^ Ostriker, Alicia (1994), Empire of Dreams, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp. x–xxi
  22. ^ "NGO News". January 2013. On the scholarly front, she published a book on the Spanish Romantic poet Bécquer and essays on classics by Cervantes, Garcilaso, Lorca, Machado, and Vallejo.
  23. ^ "8 Latino Poets Disclose Their Favorite Lines of Poetry". NBC Latino. 2013. Nuyorican spoken word poet and author Giannina Braschi's favorite line from a poem is by César Vallejo: I want to live always, even on my belly/because, as I was saying and I say it again/so much life and never! And so many years/and always, lots of always, always, always!" (Translation by Tess O'Dwyer) "Vallejo is a jack-in-the-box who performs the movement of my spirit," says Braschi. "No matter how much you push him down into the box, the poet always bounces back to affirm his love for life.
  24. ^ "Giannina Braschi". National Book Festival. Library of Congress. 2012. 'Braschi, one of the most revolutionary voices in Latin America today'
  25. ^ "Giannina Braschi: Book Fest 12". National Book Festival Transcript and Webcast. Washington, DC: Library of Congress. September 2012. 'Braschi, a poet, essayist and novelist often described as cutting-edge, influential and even revolutionary'
  26. ^ Johnson, Hannah (May 26, 2011). "#BEA11: Books on Display, the Amazon Publishing Booth". Publishing Perspectives. 'Braschi is Puerto Rico's most influential and versatile writer of poetry, fiction, and essays'
  27. ^ Jacobson, Matthew Frye (September 15, 2012). "American Studies Association President's Overview: 2012 ASA Convention Archives" (PDF). ASA.
  28. ^ Jacobson, Matthew Frye (March 15, 2013). "American Studies Association News From the Editors: Reflections on the Annual Meeting". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-05-09.
  29. ^ de la Torre, Patricia (December 2012 – February 2013). "CARAS 2012: Los grandes protagonistas de Puerto Rico". TELEVISA.

Further reading[edit]

  • Augenbraum, Harold and Stavans, Ilan (eds.). Lengua Fresca: Latinos Writing on the Edge, Mariner Press, 2006.
  • Barnstone, Willis. Literature of Asia, Africa, and Latin America: From Antiquity to the Present, Prentice Hall, 1999.
  • Barnstone, Willis, Literatures of Latin America, Prentice Hall, p. 460, 1991.
  • Bidaseca, Karina. "Written in racialized bodies. Language, memory and (Post) colonial genealogies of femicide in Latin America." Journal of Latin American Communication Research 3.2 (2014): 135-161.
  • Castillo, Debra. ReDreaming America: Toward a Bilingual Culture, State University of New York, 2005.
  • Carrion, Maria Mercedes. "Geography, (M)Other Tongues and the Role of Translation in Giannina Braschi's El imperio de los sueños", Studies in 20th Century Literature, 20:1 (1996), 167-192
  • Cruz-Malavé, Arnaldo. "Colonial figures in motion: globalization and translocality in contemporary Puerto Rican Literature in the United States." Centro 14 (2002): 4-25.
  • Cruz-Malavé, Arnaldo Manuel. "Under the Skirt of Liberty: Giannina Braschi Rewrites Empire." American Quarterly 66.3 (2014): 801-818.
  • Daniele, Daniela. Review of United States of Banana, The Evergreen Review, Issue #128, New York, November 2011.
  • Echeverría, Miriam Balboa. "Mirada y marejada en" El imperio de los sueños" de Giannina Braschi." Confluencia (2002): 98-103.
  • Garrigos, Cristina. Review of United States of Banana, The Evergreen Review, Issue #128, New York, November 2011.
  • Gonzalez, Christopher Thomas. "Hospitable Imaginations: Contemporary Latino/a Literature and the Pursuit of a Readership", doctoral dissertation, Ohio State University, 2012.
  • Gray Díaz, N., "Performing Soledad: the Demythification of Identity in Giannina Braschi's El imperio de los sueños, Romance Notes, 37:3 (1997), 331-338.
  • Goldstein, David and Thacker, Audrey (eds.), Complicating Constructions, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2007.
  • Gonzalez, Madelena. "United States of Banana (2011), Elizabeth Costello (2003) and Fury (2001): Portrait of the Writer as the 'Bad Subject' of Globalisation", Études britanniques contemporaines, Volume 46, July 2014.
  • Gonzalez, Madelena and Laplace-Claverie, Helene. Minority Theater on the Global Stage: Challenging Paradigms From the Margins, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012. "Puerto Rico's premier poet and novelist."
  • Haydee Rivera, Carmen. "El poder de la palabra y la experiencia transnacional: una entrevista con Giannina Braschi," Op-Cit: Revista del Centro de Investigaciones Históricas, Puerto Rico, 2013.
  • Haydee Rivera, Carmen. "Embracing alternate discourses on migration: Giannina Braschi's and Luisita López Torregrosa's multi-dimensional literary schemes," Umbral, University of Puerto Rico, April 2014.
  • Horno-Delgado, Asunción. "Imperiosa y Anti-imperial: Giannina Braschi," Hispanic Poetry Review: HPR 4.7-10 (2002): 37.
  • Gonzales, Madelena and Laplace-Claverie, Helene, "Minority Theatre on the Global Stage: Challenging Paradigms from the Margins," Cambridge Scholars, Newcastle, England, 2012.
  • Kuebler, Carolyn, "Empire of Dreams Review," Review of Contemporary Fiction, vol 15, no. 1, Spring 1995.
  • Loustau, Laura. "Nomadismos lingüísticos y culturales en Yo-Yo Boing! de Giannina Braschi", Revista Iberoamericana, volume 71:211, 437-448, 2005
  • Loustau, Laura. Cuerpos errantes: literatura Latina y latinoamericana en Estados Unidos, Viterbo Editora, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2002.
  • Loustau, Laura Rosa. Cuerpos y textos en tránsito: un acercamiento a la literatura Latina y latinoamericana en Estados Unidos. University of California, Berkeley, 2000.
  • Marting, Diane E. "New/Nueva York in Giannina Braschi's 'Poetic Egg': Fragile Identity, Postmodernism, and Globalization", The Global South, volume 4:1., 2010.
  • Morris, Barbara. "Paradoxes of Postmodernism in Giannina Braschi's El imperio de los sueños." Conflictos Culturales en la Literatura Contemporánea. 17 ensayos y una discusión: 44-53.
  • Ostriker, Alicia. "Introduction to Empire of Dreams," Yale University Press, New Haven, 1994.
  • Popovich Ljudmila, Mila. "Metafictions, Migrations, Metalives: Narrative Innovations and Migrant Women's Aesthetics in Giannina Braschi and Etel Adnan," International Journal of the Humanities, 117–128, 2010.
  • Sommer, Doris, Introduction to Yo-Yo Boing!, Latin American Review Press, Pittsburgh, 1998.
  • Ramos, Francisco José. Postfacio. El imperio de los sueños, Anthropos Editorial del Hombre, (1988): 233-253.
  • Remeseria, Claudio. "Summer reads: brilliant takes on Nuyoricans, random murder and narco-literatura," NBC Latino, August 2013.
  • Rivera Monclova, Marta S. "Discrimination, evasion, and livability in four New York Puerto Rican narratives". Doctoral dissertation, Tufts University, 2010.
  • Rodriguez Matos, Jaime, "Unmothered Americas: Poetry and Universality". Commons Digitalis at Columbia University Dissertation, 2005.
  • Waldron, John V. "Killing Colonialism's Ghosts in McOndo: Mayra Santos Febres and Giannina Braschi,Cuaderno Internacional de Estudios Humanísticos y Literatura, 2011.
  • Zimmerman, Marc. Defending Their Own in the Cold: The Cultural Turns of U.S. Puerto Ricans, University of Illinois, Chicago, 2011.

External links[edit]