I wish to thank, first and foremost, Reynolds Smith, editor
at Duke University Press, for encouraging me to bring together this
collection and Gustavo Perez Firmat and Maria Rosa Menocal for
not letting my spirit flag. More appreciation than can be expressed
here is due to Georgina Dopico-Black for all kinds of help in the
preparation of the manuscript, particularly through her intelligent
observations about form and content, and for her warm encourage-
ment when all seemed futile. Many thanks also to Peggy Preciado
for typing the manuscript into the computer as well as for suggest-
ing changes. Jay Williams, who read with patience and a probing
eye for Hispanisms, should be commended for her discernment
and kindness. Sandra Guardo,
as usual, not only helped with the
technical aspects of preparing the final typescript, but also kept
annoyances and interruptions at bay. Isabel, as always, kept my life
in some semblance of order.
We often forget that our work is done in close touch not only
with texts, but also with people. If our profession is not quite a
movable feast, it feels sometimes like a cruising conga line, with
stops in very cool as well as very hot places and even in very cool
hot places. I have very fond memories of people associated with
each of the pieces included in this book, many of which, at one
point or another, took the form of lectures or papers delivered at
conferences or at various institutions by speCial invitation. The one
on monsters in
La vida es sueiio
dates back to my doctoral dissertation
(Yale, 1970), which was directed by my now colleague Manuel
Duran, to whom I also owe crucial clarifications while preparing
other essays contained here. As if completing some sort of baroque
figure, my doctoral dissertation inspired a piece by Severo Sarduy
("Un Art Monstre,"
81, Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de
Paris, 1981), whose work I study in the last chapter of this book. My
work on monsters also reminds me of the halcyon days of Struc-
turalism and brings to mind a production of Calderon's play at
Cornell, in which I was a speCial consultant, and which featured
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