El palacio del pavo real

An essay I wrote on Wilson Harris's latest novel (The Mask of the Beggar, Faber, 2003) will be published soon in the C.L.R. James Journal. In the essay, I discuss Harris's rewriting of the last book of The Odyssey in relation to the poetry of Elizabeth Schön and Juan Sánchez Peláez. I will probably post the essay here sometime soon.

One of the points I address in my essay is the affinity between Harris and certain Venezuelan poets of his generation. This is particularly true when we consider how marginalized both of these countries have been, in terms of their literary traditions. One hardly ever comes across the work of Guyanese or Venezuelan writers in anthologies of world literature. While we have to take into account the two very distinct languages used in these countries, their condition as invisible nations on the global literary map remains parallel.

This week, I came across a citation of a Spanish translation of Harris's first novel The Palace of the Peacock (Faber, 1960):

Wilson Harris, El palacio del pavo real, traducción de Delia Matlovic (Barcelona: Diagonal, 2003).

As far as I know, this is the first time his work has been translated into Spanish. The translation was reviewed in the May/June, 2003 issue of the Barcelona Review. The reviewer doesn't mention that the book was originally published in 1960 and that it's one of the foundational texts of anglophone Caribbean literature. Oddly, Carlos Vela reviews the novel as though it were a recent publication, as though the author came from nowhere. Which, in a sense, is true.

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