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This article is taken from PN Review 243, Volume 45 Number 1, September - October 2018.

Poetry of the Spanish Minorities Mark Prendergast
Six Basque Poets (ed. Mari Jose Olaziregi; trans. Amaia Gabantxo) Arc Publications
Six Catalan Poets (ed. Pere Ballart; trans. Anna Crowe) Arc Publications
Six Galician Poets (ed. Manuela Palacios; trans. Keith Payne) Arc Publications

DOES GALICIAN LITERATURE DIFFER from Basque literature, Catalan literature? What space does the poet write from in a postmodern, globalised world? These bilingual anthologies of Spain’s minority language poets cannot provide the grounds for a definitive answer to these questions, but they do give the English reader a place to start. What about the reader? Is buying one of these volumes online a bit like deciding which take-away cuisine to log on and order for tonight’s dinner? If English reading culture is hybridising, does this in any way affect greater sovereignty for minorities? In the context of Basque literature, L. Elena Delgado has been critical of the extent to which edition and translation operate as means of constructing palatable cultural identities for ‘universal’ consumption. Delgado questions the extent to which minority literatures are read as supplements to the dominant literature, drawing a comparison with the role of the Grand Tour in finishing off the education of the wealthy westerner, and arguing that: ‘This brief period of exposure to carefully chosen “local” cultures and sites, only served to reinforce deeply ingrained ideas about the universality and historical continuity of supposedly homogenous Western European culture’. Not surprisingly, in her introduction to each of these volumes, series editor Alexandra Buchler has a more benign take on reading in translation. She argues for ...


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