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Earthly Days (Book Talk)
April 1, 2020 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Location: Board Room, Stanford Humanities Center - Map Link
A Book Presentation on Earthly Days
Binational publisher Archive 48, dedicated to Mexican and U.S. literature, launches its U.S. wing with the first-ever English translation of Los días terrenales (1949), a novel by José Revueltas. Join us to celebrate its release. Translator Matthew Gleeson, publisher Pedro Jiménez and writer Juan Villoro celebrate the publication of this book.
Earthly Days (1949) is Revueltas’ most accomplished and controversial novel. Like Joyce, Revueltas allows the reader to view the inner depths of his characters; like Proust, he meticulously examines memories, thoughts, and feelings; like Dostoyevsky, he focuses his gaze on the darkest passages of the soul; like Sartre, he dwells on the nausea of existence; and like Simone de Beauvoir, he reflects on the possibility of a new woman. Revueltas preceded writers of the Latin American Boom such as Cortázar, García Márquez, and even Juan Rulfo, authors who achieved the reputation and fame that Revueltas was denied. If one may have differences with his style or ideology, the structure of the book is impeccable. Each chapter is a perfect story, woven together by an Ariadne-like thread that unites all parts. To conceptually define the book, I would have to coin the oxymoronic term ‘existentialist Marxism,’ because Revueltas never ceased to be a disciple of Marx; nevertheless, his vision of humanity is brutally negative and ferocious. In a world bereft of God, all that was left for him to describe was our earthly days, ‘atrocious human life.’ –Arturo Dávila.
Archive 48’s goal is the publication of compelling literary works in carefully crafted editions. Like the face of Janus, it looks north and south to bring the best of contemporary and modernist literature from Mexico and the United States cross borders. Archive 48 seeks books that have not been fully recognized by the literary status quo of each country, in an effort to open new conversations and expose other worlds.
Juan Villoro is a writer and journalist. He has been a professor at national University of Mexico UNAM and a visiting professor at Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona and Gabriel García Márquez’ Foundation of New Journalism. Villoro was the Chief Editor of La Jornada Semanal, the cultural supplement of the newspaper, La Jornada. He has won the José Donoso and Manuel Rojas Awards in Chile for his career; the Herralde Award in Spain for his novel El Testigo; the Vázquez Montalbán Prize for his football chronicles God is round; the ACE Award in Argentina for his play Philosophy of life; the José María Arguedas for his novel Arrecife, and various awards for his work in journalism.
Matthew Gleeson is a writer and translator based in Oaxaca, Mexico. With Audrey Harris, he co- translated The Houseguest and Other Stories by Amparo Dávila (New Directions, 2018). With Giada Diano, he co-edited Writing Across the Landscape: Travel Journals 1960-2010 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Norton/Liveright, 2015).
Pedro Jimenez is an editor, translator and essayist. He translated Etel Adnan’s Seasons into Spanish (Archive 48, 2019). He has written chronicles and art reviews in English and Spanish. He is the founder of Archive 48, a bilingual publishing project based in San Francisco and Mexico City. He spent several years as a Stanford graduate student thinking about philosophy and politics before embarking in this literary and editorial journey.