Tag Archives: fiction and literature

El Cristo de espaldas

“(1952) A novel by Eduardo Caballero Calderon (1910-1993). Written in a realistic, documentary style, this is the story of a young man suspected of political parricide during Colombia’s civil wars (1948-1958). In a parallel development, a young priest, who has remained neutral in the war, learns the identity of the real murderer in confession. His vow of silence renders him an outcast of the town and of the church. The bishop deprives him of his parish in the belief that “Christ has turned his back” on the priest, but the priest understands that it is men who have turned on Christ.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo

“(1864-1936) Spanish philosopher, poet, novelist, playwright, and essayist. The leading member of the Generacion del 98, Unamuno is a major figure in the history of modern thought. The conflict of reason and faith, religion and science, and the problem of life and death anguished him and led him to conclusions which anticipated Existentialism. A vision of the tragic nature of life, its absurdity, and man’s radical solitude is conveyed in his major philosophical works Del sentimiento tragico de la vida en los hombres y los pueblos (1913; tr The Tragic Sense of Life, 1958) and La agonia del cristianismo (1924; tr The Agony of Christianity, 1960). He also explored the problem of 20th-century materialism.

After the failure of his first novel Paz en la Guerra (1897), Unamuno invented the “nivola,” the best example of which is Niebla (1914; tr Mist, A Tragicomic Novel, 1928). Tres novelas ejemplares (1920); tr Three Exemplary Novels, 1930) and San Manuel Bueno, martir (1931; tr St. Manuel Bueno, Martyr, 1954) are his most popular works of fiction. Unamuno experimented with the autonomous character. In Mist the protagonist proclaims his own reality to be equal with that of the author. His novels are primarily concerned not with action, but with the minds of the characters and with philosophy.

One of Spain’s major 20th century poets, Unamuno’s best-known works include El Cristo de Velazquez (1920; tr The Christ of Velazquez, 1951) and Cancionero (1953, a posthumous poetic diary).”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

The Weekly Text, October 5, 2018

Here, on the penultimate Friday of Hispanic Heritage Month 2018, here is a reading on Pablo Neruda. You can use that text any number of ways, I would think, but in any case here is the accompanying comprehension worksheet.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Elie Wiesel’s Night

If you can use it, here is a reading on Elie Wiesel and his classic memoir Night and the reading comprehension worksheet that attends it. At the school in which I currentlhy serve, we have always used this book in, if I’m not mistaken, sophomore English.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Book of Answers: Robinson Crusoe

Was there a real Robinson Crusoe? Daniel Defoe based The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719-20) on the real-life story of Alexander Selkirk (1676-1721), a Scottish sailor who survived for more than four years on the desert island of Juan Fernandez off the Chilean coast. He became a celebrity after his rescue and homecoming in 1709.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Anticlimax

“A critical term, the first recorded definition of which comes from Dr. Samuel Johnson: ‘a sentence in which the last part expresses something lower than the first.’ It is often used deliberately for comic effect to create an ironical letdown by descending from a noble tone or image to a trivial or ludicrous one. For example, in Henry Fielding’s burlesque The Tragedy of Tragedies (1931), Lord Grizzle addresses Huncamunca: ‘Oh! Huncamunca, Huncamunca, Oh!/ Thy pouting breasts, like Kettle-Drums of Brass,/Beat everlasting loud Alarms of joy….’ Bathos is an unintentional anticlimax.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

“A fantasy novel (1964) by Roald Dahl (1916-90), in which Charlie Buckett wins a ticket that allows him to visit a chocolate factory owned by Mr Willy Wonka and manned by tiny men called Oompa-Loompas. It was filmed as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. Dahl’s sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, was published in 1971.”

[A second filmed version of this book, starring Johnny Depp, appeared in 2005 as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.]

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.