A Translation of Alfonsina Storni's Cimbelina en 1900 Y Pico (Cymbeline in 1900-and-something): And, Polixena Y la Cocinerita (Polyxena and the Little Cook)

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Edwin Mellen Press, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 269 pages
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This English translation of Alfonsina Storni gives scholars and students in the fields of Latin American literature, women's studies and world theater the opportunity to study rare examples of theater written by a woman on very controversial and progressive issues at the beginning of the twentieth century. In Polyxena and the Little Cook, the intertext is Euripides' tragedy Hecuba. The note tragic farce refers to this play, since it is the only one combining parodic humor and tragic denouement, in opposition to the happy ending of Cymbeline. The Little Cook takes her own life. The scene of the suicide is a clear example of meta-theater; the parodic performance -- theater within the theater-- of Polyxena's sacrifice as described by Euripides tragicomically coincides with the real self-sacrifice of the Little Cook as the primary fiction of the farce.

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About the author (2004)

Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938) is considered one of the most prominent voices in Latin American poetry of the twentieth century, and among women poets, second only, perhaps, to the Nobel laureate Gabriela Mistral. From the start of her literary career Storni raised eyebrows for her controversial feminism, her indomitable honesty, and her barbed wit. Indeed she took on the role of enfant terrible with gusto, displaying a gleeful propensity for mockery and impish behavior. By the late 1920s and early 1930s, Storni was undoubtedly an established poet of considerable prestige and immense popularity. Her readings were attended by hundreds of adoring fans who not only purchased her books but also learned her poems by heart. She was a literary phenomenon most comparable perhaps to the American Edna St. Millay, with whom she shared, among other things, an urbane irony and a defiant yet ludic feminism. In 1935 Storni was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer. Her summers were spent on the seashore of Mar de Plata, an inspirational setting for many of her nature poems of this period. Though she was surely haunted by the specter of death, Storni galvanized the discipline and will to complete her last book of poems which many critics judged to be her crowning achievement, Mascarilla y trebol (Mask and Clover), published shortly before her suicide.

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