Professor emérita Virginia Garlitz has published her second book, Wanderings of a Spanish Adventurer: Valle-Inclan’s 1910 tour of South America. (Andanzas de un Aventurero Español por Las Indias, (Barcelona: PPU, 2010, ISBN 978-844-77-1094-2) In it, Dr. Garlitz retraces the steps of the leader of Spanish Modernist literature in the first part of the twentieth century, Ramón María Valle-Inclán (1866-1936) during the tour he made with the theater company of María Guerrero and Fernando Diaz de Mendoza, the most prestigious Spanish actors of the time.
The lectures that Valle gave in the 17 months he and his actress wife Josefina Blanco traveled through Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile reveal the seeds of his most important work on esthetics, La Lámpara Maravillosa (The Marvelous Lamp, 1916). In this book of spiritual exercises, Valle sets forth his “modernista” ideas on art and literature. Dr. Garlitz’s first book, The Center of the Circle, El Centro del Círculo, Chicago 1978], was one of the first scholarly works to fully explicate this treatise; a revised version of the book was published in Spain by the University of Santiago Compostela Press in 2007.
Dr. Garlitz did her research in the spring of 1998 on a sabbatical trip sponsored by Plymouth State University and the Program for Cultural Cooperation of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture and US universities.
Dr. Garlitz discovered many unknown documents, interviews and caricatures concerning Valle-Inclán. The most important caricature that she found illustrates the conflict between the great admiration that the South Americans had for Valle’s work as the author of exquisite plays, novels and poetry and their aversion to his very conservative political ideology. That conflict seems to explain why Valle’s lectures were not better received at that time. Dr. Garlitz found this caricature, which appears on the cover and the frontispiece of her book, in the National Library in Santiago, Chile. She was unable to have it photocopied at the time due to riots which broke out during Chile’s advancement in the 1998 World Cup Games.
Years later, however, after many attempts to obtain the drawing through library search channels, one wintry day in February, Dr. Garlitz met a young Chilean in Plymouth’s Wal-Mart who was working at Waterville Valley, Daniel Venegas Bocic, an engineering major at the Pontifical University in Chile. She asked him if he would locate the drawing when he went back to his university in Valparaiso. He said he would. She gave him the specific information about the journal, the year, the page and so forth and within a few weeks he emailed her some photos of the caricature using his cell phone. He later obtained a full scan, which gave the publisher even better graphic detail.
Dr. Garlitz taught Spanish language, culture and literature at Plymouth State from 1972 to 2003. She was Chair of the Dept of Foreign Languages from 2000 to 2003.
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