Translating History: Baptista Seeks Out New Stories

Posted by Rachael Wilbur
Professor Gonzalo Baptista went to Mexico City this past December to read through unpublished material by 20th Century Hispanic author María Luisa Elío.

Gonzalo Baptista, Assistant Professor of Spanish language and Hispanic culture, has a rich understanding of the importance of art and literature on history. He carried this understanding with him in December on his journey to Mexico City to meet with the descendants of María Luisa Elío, a 20th century Spanish writer. Baptista describes Elío as “a synonym of creativity in her day,” and traveled to Mexico to search through her family’s archives of her work. There he uncovered some unpublished works of Elío’s that may add insight to the history of Spanish exiles living in Mexico after Spain’s transition from a democracy to dictatorship before the outbreak of World War II.

Archive of Elío's work.Archive of Elío's work.“I managed to find 18 short stories, two poems, one film script and one novella. I had ten days to search through and read all of these materials, so while her family went out to celebrate or out in general, I was inside just reading away,” said Baptista. “I loved finding all of her works but what was really amazing was reading all of these letters to her and from her, as she had this great correspondence and friendship with other famous Hispanic writers such as the Nobel award recipients Gabriel García Márquez and Octavio Paz. García Márquez would ask for advice on his work and she would give her recommendations as one of his closest friends. In fact, García Márquez dedicated to herOne Hundred Years of Solitude, his biggest novel, the novel that changed the way of narrating worldwide.”

Baptista has worked with a publishing house in Mexico to have her works published in both Mexico and Spain in the near future. Further plans have been made for Baptista to present his findings and research at a relevant international conference in Berlin at Freie Universität this spring.

“I want to thank Provost John Wells as his support and understanding of the importance of these findings is what enabled me to travel to Mexico and Berlin later this year to represent Emory & Henry College in presenting the works of María Luisa Elío,” said Baptista. He arrived to E&H in the fall of 2016 and loves all of his courses. “I try to bring up to date what our catalogue offers every year, including innovative teaching strategies, such as the use of ePortfolios, active learning, flipped classroom, project-based learning, etc.; and engaging topics, such as Ecology, Human Rights, Community Service, etc. My goal is for our student to face the ever-changing job market successfully, providing them with communicative skills and an ample knowledge of Spanish-speaking communities.”

  • Gonzalo Baptista
    Gonzalo Baptista
My goal is for our student to face the ever-changing job market successfully, providing them with communicative skills and an ample knowledge of Spanish-speaking communities.
-Gonzalo Baptista, Assistant Professor

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