Correas de Zapata, Celia 1935-
CORREAS de ZAPATA, Celia 1935-
PERSONAL: Born October 9, 1935, in Mendoza, Argentina; immigrated to the United States, naturalized citizen; married, 1955; children: Carol, Martin. Education: Escuela Normal, Romas Gody Cruz, Mendoza, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1951; University of Coyo, Mendoza, M.A. (summa cum laude), 1965; University of California—Irvine, Ph.D. (summa cum laude), 1971.
CAREER: Educator and author. San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, professor of Hispanic literature, 1978—. Santa Ana Junior College, Santa Ana, CA, instructor in Spanish, 1964-65; University of California, Irvine, associate professor of Spanish, 1965-68. Committee member, Mexican-American Heritage of Santa Clara County, 1982; panelist, reviewer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1981; special guest, third conference, Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, 1981; founding member, Council for Latin-American Studies, California State University System, 1978; invited guest, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, 1978; coordinator and director, first conference on Inter-American Women Writers, 1976.
MEMBER: Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies, Philological Association of Pacific Coast, Center for Inter-American Women Writers (founder), Latin American Studies Association, Council of Latin American Studies.
Cantós de Evocación y Ensueño, Editorial Troquel (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1968.
Cruz del Sur: Poemas, B. Costa-Amic (Mexico), 1976.
Ensayos Hispanoamericanos, Corregidor (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1978.
Detrás de la Reja: Antología Crítica de NarradorasLatinoamericanas del Siglo XX, Monte Avila Editores (Caracas, Venezuela), 1980.
(Editor and compiler) Short Stories by Latin-AmericanWomen: The Magic and the Real, Arte Público Press (Houston, TX), 1990.
Isabel Allende: Life and Spirits has been translated into Portuguese, Greek, Italian, and German. Has also published a collection of poems, Tiempo ajeno, written dozens of articles on Hispanic writers and cultural issues, and recorded Argentine Writer Celia Correas de Zapata Reading Poems (in Spanish) for the Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape at the Library of Congress Recording Laboratory, Washington, DC, 1978.
SIDELIGHTS: Celia Correas de Zapata is a poet, writer, literary critic, anthologist, and professor of Spanish. She has created courses on creative writing, literary analysis, and Hispanic women writers, including Isabel Allende; led specialized seminars; given public lectures; and inspired and guided young writers into the field of publications. Her collection of poems (also recorded in Spanish) has received excellent reviews.
Short Stories by Latin-American Women: The Magic and the Real is widely used in courses across the United States and Latin America. For this anthology, Correas de Zapata chose thirty-one stories from as many authors to give equal representation to magic realism (the meaning of which she discusses in her introduction) and surrealism. Suzanne Ruta, writing for Women's Review of Books, commented that "The dirty little secret of too many American novelists, feminist or macho, is upward mobility. . . . In Latin America it works the other way. . . . The women in many of these stories are well ensconced in the upper class to begin with. They rattle around in big, old houses or country estates or in luxury high-rises in downtown Rio or Buenos Aires, doing what's expected of them, bored to death. When the moment of truth comes and they break loose, there's nowhere to go but down. To save themselves they have to make allies in the lower classes." Ruta noted that, while "the surrealist entries here are often disappointing . . . this anthology is a welcome reminder of how much good writing by Latin American women we're still missing out on."
The authors chosen by Correas de Zapata for her anthology explore their views on love, sex, politics, and revenge, often with humor and sarcasm. Unlike traditional prose, most of these sketches have no real beginning or end but are, rather, psychological introspections that trace the emotional development of their characters against what Marcela Kogan, reviewing the book for Belles Lettres, called "a dim, cloudy backdrop. . . . Freedom at home lies far ahead for many of these writers," noted Kogan. "Some tales exemplify how many leaders in Latin American countries retain control through a reign of terror. . . . Correras de Zapata points out that the narratives are characterized by a 'fundamental unity of style underlying the diverse themes' and that the modern Latin American women authors 'enjoy a shared esthetics and poetic sensitivity.'"
In Isabel Allende: Life and Spirits, Correas de Zapata writes of a passionate contemporary and long-time friend, and one of the most important Latin American writers of the twentieth century, Isabel Allende. Allende's career as a novelist began as a letter to her dying ninety-nine-year-old grandfather, which she later transformed into her first novel, The House of Spirits. Perhaps more a personal profile than an interpretive biography, Correas de Zapata's book is a representation of Allende's life thus far, capturing both her literary achievements and her spirit. Apart from her personal friendship with Allende, and the fact that she coedits her manuscripts—Allende's mother is the only other person she allows to edit her works—and teaches her works, Correas de Zapata drew on personal interviews with Allende, her family, and her acquaintances in Chile for this book. By providing glimpses into Allende's family and personal life, Correas de Zapata helps readers interpret some of the autobiographical elements in Allende's writings. Reviewing the book for Library Journal, Jeris Cassel commented: "There has yet to be a standard biography of Allende, whose life is still being lived, but this intimate look joins other critical works about her writing and other less contextualized and personal collection of interviews . . . to form the basis of knowledge about this important contemporary writer."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Belles Lettres, winter, 1991, Marcela Kogan, review of Short Stories by Latin-American Women: The Magic and the Real, p. 25.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 1990, review of ShortStories by Latin-American Women, p. 285.
Library Journal, April 1, 1999, Ana-Elba Pavon, review of Isabel Allende: Life and Spirits, p. 76; April 1, 2002, Jeris Cassel, review of Isabel Allende, p. 105.
Publishers Weekly, March 18, 2002, review of IsabelAllende, p. 90.
Women's Review of Books, February 1991, Suzanne Ruta, review of Short Stories by Latin-American Women, p. 15.*