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Carlos Fuentes, Bilingual in Thought



Academics of Spanish literature, Alfred MacAdam and Alexander Leones engage in a dialog with Mexican novelist, Carlos Fuentes. In addition to the writer's biography, the three discuss the stark differences between the literature typified by North American writers and those south of the border. For example; Robinson Crusoe versus Don Quixote. The former being an example of a man who succeeds and the other about one who fails. Fuentes, having been exposed to American culture in his youth, relates the political climate, divulging cultural norms, and egalitarian attitudes to these differences.

They also deconstruct the notion of a “character.” Here, the writer argues against the psychological aspects that seem to overcome the characters themselves, or at least as these priorities seem to trump the other attitudes that they might represent in a book. He draws upon character references typified by pure Americana, renowned Latin writers, and other classics, such as: Jorges Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda, The Maltese Falcon, Wuthering Heights, and Orson Welles' Citizen Kane.

The son of a Mexican Socialist diplomat, Carlos Fuentes (1928 – 2012) was born in Mexico but grew up living between Vera Cruz and Washington D.C. These diverging economies and political structures would go on to influence his writing and involvement with social policy. Simultaneous to his career as a novelist and essay writer, Fuentes was head of cultural relations as the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs and an ambassador for Mexico. He also taught at a number of prestigious institutions, including; Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Cornell, Brown, and Cambridge. His critically acclaimed body of work includes: The Death of Artemio Cruz (1962), Aura (1962), Terra Nostra (1975), The Old Gringo (1985) and Christopher Unborn (1987). Additionally, he was the recipient of numerous awards, including; the Mexican National Prize for Arts and Sciences, Prince of Asturias Award, UNESCO's Pablo Picasso Medal, the Galileo Prize and Great Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic.
 

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A unparalleled collection of recovered and restored programs from the seventies produced by Charles Ruas for WBAI-FM, New York's Pacifica station. It features reading, lectures, and performances by such cultural and literary icons as Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, Anaïs Nin, William Boroughs, Buckminster Fuller, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and Jorge Luis Borges, among numerous others. Ruas is the author of Conversations with American Writers, a Fulbright scholar, and a distinguished French translator. He is also a contributor to ARTNews and Art in America. This series is produced in partnership with Charles Ruas, The Pacifica Radio Archives, The Yale Beinecke Library, The Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Collection, and numerous restorers, archivists and collectors.
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