Saturday, March 12, 2005

Do The Europeans Know Something We Don't?

Well, yes, of course. They seem to be hip about everything from how to enjoy big meals at 11 at night to why sex and nudity are more civilized than sex and violence to why not to go to war in Iraq. But what I'm asking about now is Chicano Literature. I hear repeatedly how Chicano Literature is so respected and, yes, even read in Europe. There apparently are several European conferences and academic events that focus on Chicana and Chicano writers and writing. A few friends have made repeated visits to such happenings over the years (María Teresa Márquez and Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, to name a couple). I recently received a message from Dr. Ann-Catherine Geuder in Berlin. She tells me that she has published her dissertation, Chicana/o Literary Scene: Roads to the Public Since 1965 or Chicana/o Literaturbetrieb: Wege in die Öffentlichkeit seit 1965. Dr. Geuder spent months in the US interviewing several Chicana/o writers. Of course, she also read chingos of Chicano Lit. She put all that together in her dissertation and now has published it in German (she's looking for an English publisher). I've seen the table of contents and an English abstract. Hmmm.. some deep stuff going on with the literary homies and rucas. I hope to read the entire book one day. Dr. Geuder is the editor of Bloomsbury Berlin, a new imprint of Berlin Verlag, owned by Bloomsbury London.

So, what's the deal? (By the way, I'm open to invitations to travel to Sevilla or Paris or Naples, even Prague or Berlin, to talk about a hangdog Chicano lawyer who's appeared in a few novels set in the Southwest US. My passport is up-to-date.) Is it because of the "in the belly of the shark" thing? The "voice of the indigenous" thing? Maybe because the Chicano/a motif resonates with the European multicultural, multilingual reality? Any thoughts?