A Critic’s Journey

Ilan Stavans, Author . Univ. of Michigan $60 (208p) ISBN 978-0-472-11706-2 ISBN 978-0-472-03382-9

Stavans (On Borrowed Words ) displays an admirably broad reach in these 33 essays (previously published mainly in the Nation and the Chronicle of Higher Education ), most on Spanish-language fiction from Cervantes to Sandra Cisneros and José Saramago. Some essays discuss wider topics, including how Spanish spread among the Western Hemisphere’s largely Indian peoples. Exploring Jewish issues, Mexican-Jewish-American Stavans includes a particularly interesting piece on anti-Semitism in Latin America. His writing reflects his deep love of the creative imagination and is full of pungent observations, such as, “A vast majority [of humanities professors] make a profession of being pretentious.” Stavans’s own graceful writing exemplifies his definition of his craft: “The critic is a compass that helps one to navigate the cultural map.” (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/09/2009
Release date: 12/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 200 pages - 978-0-472-03382-9
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