Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Faint Rustlings

Coffee and Vitamin C for fall mornings
My petticoats have been silent for a month! You must've begun thinking that I got too carried away with the apocalypse theme of the last post... But I'm back, and ready to begin rustling the crinolines of literature and art once more.

Colorado has been changing colors these days, going from green and gray to bright fiery reds, oranges and yellows. I will have to get out and take some photographs of all the beautiful leaves before we get a heavy snow (we've already had several light snows!). As a result of the changing weather, mornings have been filled with cozy sweaters, muted light, and the satisfying crunch of leaves under boots. I really love this time of year; it's great reading weather.

A short stack of reading materials and a devil sculpture made by my husband, Emiliano Lake-Herrera 
Recently, my dissertation theme has begun to take shape... a very recognizable shape, as a matter of fact, complete with pointy tail and horns. I have decided to investigate the figure of the devil in Brazilian literature, most likely as expressed through the poetry chapbooks, Literatura de Cordel. Now that I have a general direction in which to go with my research, I've happily begun shirking all other responsibilities in order to read broadly about the idea of the devil and the idea of Brazil...

The devil is often portrayed not as a towering black beast, but as a man. In fact, he is so like man that characters often mistake him for a simple stranger initially (in contrast, if an angel were to appear in a narrative, there is no mistaking their presence and their divine importance). So the devil appears not as an external push towards sin or wrongdoing through fear or coercion, but rather he seems to work more like a magnet, drawing out our trickster qualities when he is near. And the human characters' task is to out trick him-- we must be more clever, better liars, and as sneaky as possible in our dealings with him (human characters must out-devil the devil!).

I am really excited to be working on this project and have already read some amazing things, including an ethnography on Candomblé (an African spiritous religion) and I should really do a whole post on that book alone! So much rustling to do, my friends...

 In the meantime, I'm just happy to be back on the blog. I hope you have all been doing well and finding good things to read. What has been on your bookshelves recently? What has been rustling your petticoats???
My most faithful reading companion, on the job, on a chilly morning

Until next time-- keep rustling!


  1. So excited by this new vein of research -- and looking forward to long, voluble conversations on this topic.