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Recovering the Maternal Voice: Cervantes and Galdós in El abra del Yumurí

Frederick De Armas in conversation with Jonathan Elmer and Anke Birkenmaier

Friday, February 9, 2018, 4:30pm

College Arts & Humanities Institute (1211 E Atwater Ave.)

El abra del Yumurí is a novel that takes place in Havana during the fall of 1958, the months preceding the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. It focuses on five women from the upper classes and follows their lives and how they are impacted by instability and political and personal violence. Published in 2016, the novel stems from fragments written in the 1950s by the author’s mother, Ana Galdós. Utilizing the fragments, conversing with his mother, seeking the maternal voice, de Armas transforms the fragments into a full-fledged novel that incorporates many of the authors, artists and works that served as model for the fragments, from Miguel de Cervantes to the foremost Spanish realist novel Benito Pérez Galdós. The author reflects on the legacy of the Galdós family as it appears in the novel, from Don Benito to Domingo Galdós, the author’s grandfather, to Ana Galdós, his mother. Indeed, art is central not only to the fragments but also to the novel and to the author’s scholarly endeavors. These, in turn, circle back and further impact El abra del Yumurí.

Introduction by Professor Steven Wagschal, Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. A Light reception will follow.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and the College Arts and Humanities Institute.