Pizarro, Jerónimo and Norman Valencia, translators. Infierno: Comedia, by Dante Alighieri. Ediciones Milserifas, 2019.
Abstract: I have worked on the translation of Dante for over 20 years, since my undergrad years. At the end of 2018, Jeronimo Pizarro (my co-translator) and Humberto Ballesteros (a renown Colombian Dantist who wrote introductory essays and footnotes for every Canto) together with Fredy Ordóñez, head of the Milserifas Publishing House, won an award from the city of Bogotá for the publication of our translation. This translation, which is done in verse, with a modernized Spanish that is easily accessible for contemporary readers, also has an innovative and modern design that is nominated for the Latin American Design Awards to be held in Lima, Peru, in February, 2020.
Valencia, Norman. “Nineteenth-Century Realism, Media, and the Representation of Violence in Fernando Vallejo’s La virgin de los sicarios.” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, vol. 53, no. 1, 2019, pp. 17-36.
Abstract: This paper contends that contemporary representations of violence are profoundly shaped by two interconnected elements: realism and the influence of the media. For the most part, Fernando Vallejo’s work has been classified and analyzed in terms of realism. In my view, however, it also contains a radical criticism of today’s realisms, their links to the media, and their treatment of violent events. While many current portrayals of violence depend on a consensus regarding realistic and objective images of our world, Vallejo refuses to participate in any form of representation based on consensus. In order to discuss Vallejo’s critique of contemporary depictions of violence, I focus on his novel La virgen de los sicarios and two of its defining elements: its first-person narrator and its frontal attacks on the media. I also analyze his unorthodox portrayal of violent realities with the help of two theoretical concepts: Walter Benjamin’s information and Slavoj Žižek’s subjective violence.
Valencia, Norman. “La villa de César Aira y la Imaginación Melodramática Latinoamericana.” Hispanic Research Journal, vol. 20, issue 2, 2019, pp. 157-170.
Abstract: This paper deals with the role of melodrama in César Aira's 2001 novel, La villa. For Jesús Martín-Barbero, melodrama has served as a form of political and cultural expression for Latin America's popular classes. Through an analysis of some elements in Aira's novel, like his textual construction of characters and spaces, I show that he uses this genre with a related yet different objective: to challenge hegemonic practices of reading and canonization. By including melodrama within a radical multiplicity of genres and registers in his novel, Aira produces a powerful critique of the ideas of perfection, coherence, and unity that have traditionally defined 'high literature.' In the process, his text helps us imagine other forms of production and reception of literary works and other interactions between high and popular cultures in the Latin American context.