Page 64 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

Basic HTML Version

58
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
well as a writer. In this, he is characteristic o f Latin American
Jewish writers who more frequently are writers
in addition
to the ir
train ing in some o th e r profession, such as law, medicine, civil
engineering, or diplomacy. Diego Viga holds degrees in biology,
anthropology, psychology and pharmacology and is now p ro fes­
sor emeritus at Universidad Central del Ecuador in Quito. His
writing makes liberal and witty use o f this background , b lend ing a
knowledge o f science with humanitarianism and humor. He has
had fifteen novels published, twelve o f them in G erman , and
th ree volumes o f sho rt stories published in Spanish.
Outstanding among these single voices from countries o th e r
than Venezuela and A rgentina are Clarice Lispector from Brazil
and Esther Seligson from Mexico. Clarice Lispector was bo rn in
the Ukraine in 1925, and b rough t to Brazil when she was two
months old. She grew up in Recife, in the northeast state o f
Pernambuco. Early in her life, she was influenced by the writings
o f Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf and Rosamund Lehman ,
and her work exhibits a keen feeling fo r psychological com­
plexities developed against domestic backgrounds. H e r first
novel,
Perto do Coracjio Selvagen
(Close to the Savage Heart)
was
published in 1944, and he r volume o f short stories,
Laqps de
Familia (Family Ties),
translated by Giovanni Pontiero, was pub ­
lished by the University o f Texas Press in 1972. Recently de ­
ceased, h er repu ta tion as a writer is growing rapidly. She has been
the subject o f many articles and a short bibliography o f these can
be found in the in troduc tion to the University o f Texas publica­
tion o f her stories.
Esther Seligson’s literary activities are extensive, embracing
philosophy, history, criticism, translation, and fiction. Beginning
with her early schooling at la Escuela Israelita Yavne in Mexico
(1948-1959), she has studied at the University o f Paris, the Insti­
tute for Hebraic, Sephardic and O riental Studies in Madrid, the
Martin Buber Cen ter at the Free University in Brussels, and the
University Cen ter fo r Jewish Studies in Paris. She has conduc ted
seminars on such diverse subjects as Samuel Beckett, Jewish T r a ­
ditional T hough t, and the Art and History o f the Middle Ages.
She has translated E.M. Cioran into Spanish, and has written
philosophical fiction, which is a dom inan t mode in h e r writing.
H er novel,
Otros son los sueos
won the Prem io Nacional de Literat-
u ra “Xavier V illaurru tia” in 1973. She is also an editor on the staff