It's good for me to experience being shy. It's not like it happens that often. Plus, I can have more empathy for Squid's daughter in her new immersion 1st grade.
Anyway I was *terrified* of this class. I was afraid the prof would fire off some complicated question about my degree requirements or adding the class and I'd freeze up and not be able to answer, and he'd throw me out of the classroom!
Nearly everyone was a native speaker and the prof talked incredibly fast. I'd say for the first half hour I was just desperately concentrating on:
a) being invisible so he wouldn't call on me
b) not fleeing to the bathroom to burst into tears
But then like magic I began following what he was talking about or maybe it's just that he stopped talking about registering, waiting lists (lista de espera...okay that one wasn't so hard...) and how the class will be graded, and started talking about the books. Now, waffly-ass crap about universalismo I can get. As soon as I started understanding him I realized I disagreed painfully hard about everything said. But I think that will be okay.
I got it that he is old school new criticism, latinamerican style, which means (to me) you can ramble on forever without defining your terms and just say anything as long as you make it sound highfalutin'. Also, old school automatic sexist, but not a mean sexist: literature can be feminist and feminine, and feminine lit flowered in the 20th century, and the best woman writer is M.L. Bombal because she is guapissima.
And yes. I must be tormented by 100 yrs of Solitude. Arrrrr matey! But I can take it. Yes! I am tough! El profe then wrote the 5 main points up on the board: We must notice (and talk and write about) how 100 Yrs. is:
1) a perfect expression of creative tropicalism. (which means...?! nada)
2) the expression of perfect musical language.
3) It shows the personal development of the characters. Which makes it so that women are important.
4) something I forgot
5) It's regionalism that is also universalism.
I thought this was hilariously meaningless. In the middle of writing the 5 points, the prof told us lots of stories about medicinal uses of pot, and what his favorite cumb1a is, and what it was like in Berkeley in the 60s, and how he got diarrhea in the airport once. Fortunately I understood that all this was his personal life and didn't take notes on it as having anything to do with Garc1a Marquez.
Oh- there's more. The exemplary Lat. Am. novel - which is (can you guess which novel it is?) is exemplary because:
- it's universal
- it expresses a regional tradition that is timeless
- it is pioneering
- it's the triumph of the ultimate expression of the pure, true language
- it creates a sort of sacred mythical voice of a region
- it has universal themes that are tied to the geography of Lat. Amer.
- it has a voice that's utterly independent of the author
This was all outlined on the board as if it were meaningful...
Um. Yeah. Can you hear my stage-whisper mutter of "whatEVER" from where you're sitting?
There WAS one interesting point which is that 100 Yrs. is very much like C0lombian v@llenato music. And that actually made sense. Yay! I can write a paper on that without wincing too hard. And I will lamely translate that paper into spanish and make my dad correct my awful grammar.